Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Spiritual Deepening

Grounding Exercise

Scripture

Image credit: John-Mark Smith
  1. I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.

    PSALM 85:8 (NRSV)

  2. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

    PSALM 46:10 (KJV)

  3. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. 

    Matthew 18:20

  4. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

    Psalm 62:5

  5. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

    Psalm 27:14 ESV

  6. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

    James 5:7-8

  7. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.

    Psalm 89:9

  1. How to Use Grounding Quotes

    Below are some suggestions for exploring the introductory essays, texts, and videos in the Grounding section of each topic.  Be creative and consider using different processing techniques over time in order to spark the various learning styles of your participants: discussion, personal reflection, artistic expression, music, worship sharing, creative writing, and deep listening.

  2. Friendly Bible Study

    The Friendly Bible Study process applies to Scripture as well as other materials. This process is good for a group of newcomers and old-timers, allowing participants to speak about what is exciting and what is problematic about the text. 

  3. Find the Truth

    Choose one idea or sentence that rings true for you.  Share with a partner an experience you have had that relates to that sentence/idea.

  4. What Do You Notice?

    Shorter variations might be:  What one phrase or idea sticks out for you?  Sit with it for a few minutes and see what rises for you.  Now journal/share with a partner.

  5. Art Response

    Draw or doodle in response to this text.  Allow yourself to be Spirit-led – what color do you want to pick up, and how do you want to use it?  This is not art for to view.  This is exploration and expression.  Alternatively, invite participants to make a visual or 3D response to the text using art materials such as clay or play dough, magazines for collage, paint, mural paper, pipe cleaners, objects from nature (acorns, feathers, grasses, flowers, seeds, bark), or building blocks or Legos. 

  6. Visit the Text in Worship

    Sit in worship with this material.  Let it work on you.  Try not to “think” about it – just let it sit on your lap and soak in.  Now, turn to your partner and share something about your visit with this text.

  7. Journaling

    Write your reaction to the text, how it applies to your life today, what you’re grappling with, or what you’re grateful for.  Use one of the General Questions for Reflection or free-write.  In general, journal writing is kept confidential.

  8. Set it to Music

    If you have a group that is willing to be creative, break into small groups and ask each group to write a tune for the quotation or an excerpt (or assign a different quotation to each group).  Tunes are a great way to “memorize” quotations so that they will stick with you.  Check out Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong for some beautiful examples. 

  9. Worship Sharing

    Settle into worship and invite participants to speak into the silence and share their thoughts about a query.  Craft a query directly related to the text or choose one of the General Questions for Reflection.  A more detailed description of worship sharing can be found here

  10. Homework

    Share a quotation, introductory essay, QuakerSpeak video link, or set of quotations with group participants.  In preparation for the next Spiritual Deepening group session, give the participants some “homework” to do.  This could include:

    • reflecting on the text during their daily spiritual practice or during Meeting for Worship
    • journaling about their response to the text
    • rewriting the message in their own words
    • writing a prayer about the topic
    • finding a song, object, or image that represents to them the theme of the message
    • creating a piece of art that illustrates their response

    As part of your next group sessions, invite participants to share or report back on their homework assignment.

  11. Lectio Divina

    Treat the quotation as a holy text and pay attention to how it speaks to you.  Learn more about the Lectio Divina process

  12. Group Brainstorm

    Ask a question that will elicit one-word answers or short phrases.  On a flipchart paper, record the responses as participants share.  Consider questions such as: 

  13. Writing Prompts

    Invite participants to briefly contemplate the quotation and then respond to a writing prompt.  Create a prompt specifically related to the text or choose one of the General Questions for Reflection.

  14. Pair-Share or Triads

    Divide the group into pairs or sets of three to discuss the quotation.  Return to a large group and share any themes that arose.

  15. Group Discussion

    Ask a question directly related to the text or choose one of the General Questions for Reflection.

  16. Make it Personal

    Rewrite the quote in your own words or to reflect contemporary society and language.

  17. General Questions for Reflection:

    • How is the Divine/Truth/Love speaking to me through this text?
    • What experience in my life reflects the message of this text?
    • What do I have to learn from this message?
    • What resonates with me in this quotation?
    • What stands out to me in this text?
    • What surprised me about this message?
    • What questions arise about my life as I contemplate this message?
    • What canst thou say?  (What do I have to say in response to this message?)
    • What feelings arise in my body as I consider this message?
    • An image that comes to mind as I listen to this quotation is…
    • Where is the growing edge for me around this issue?
    • If I could rephrase this message in my own words, I would say…
    • This Truth tastes like… (smells like… sounds like… feels like… looks like….)
    • In relation to this topic, I used to be.…., but now I’m ……
    • I’d like to ask Spirit / the Universe / God / the Inward Teacher ……. about this message.
    • The point on my spiritual journey when this idea has been most alive in me was…