Dear SWAPpers New and Old, Novices and Experienced — Welcome to our first collective SWAP “Game”!
Our goal in this project has always been to deepen our individual commitments to our daily spiritual practices, to become the people we are meant to be – ready, fit, prepared, grounded – for what life and God brings us. We aim to be the proverbial firefighters, working out at the station, practicing drills, creating community, waiting for the day when our skills will be called into action. On that day we’ll be primed and ready for whatever challenges await us — having conflict with a co-worker, changing careers, doing the just thing, sickness, addiction, death: our spiritual practice is meant to prepare us to not only weather these storms, but to be able to listen well and properly hear God and His guidance in these times. Spiritual practice, ultimately, is an exercise in attuning our bodies and minds to hear God, to be God-sensitive.
Furthermore, we believe that this is done best in a group. No one can ever discern or translate God’s Word for you, of course, but we know the power of being there for each other – encouraging one another in our spiritual goals, rooting each other on, being accountable for one another, and learning from each other’s journeys.
This “game” isn’t meant to be competitive (or, competitive in the non-fun way). It’s meant to help along the habit formation in a fun way and give us something to look forward to, because, let’s face it: building spiritual discipline is long and arduous work, and sometimes we all wish that our spiritual work yielded bigger and better fruits more frequently!
Let’s continue to work hard in becoming the truest disciples we can be, and then treat ourselves for our hard work with a retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee! Check out their page; inspire yourself with photos of their beautiful space! http://www.geneseeabbey.org/
Here are the game rules:
This SWAP period will span from May 16th, to August 15th, with a 3 day break concurrent with the July 4th holiday. The basic components of our SWAP practice are morning and evening prayer (Matins and Compline), and these components will form the basis of our POINT SYSTEM.
Praying Matins = 1 Point
Praying Compline = 1 Point
This will, of course, be on the honor system, but completing these prayers means you do as the SWAP journal guides you — find a quiet space, light a candle, breathe mindfully for a few moments — really try to focus on your prayer time. If you feel you did your prayerful best at the moment, you get a point.
In any given week, SWAPpers have the opportunity to pray night and day, Monday through Saturday. Sundays are a bit different. In our journals, our “Sabbath space” is our only practice piece for that day. Monday through Saturday praying twice a day gets us 12 points (6 days times 2 praying times a day); engaging with your Sabbath space will get you 1 point. On the FB page for Sundays, there will be an opportunity to engage further with open space questions. Any comment on those posts will get you bonus points!
How to check-in to get points:
Log onto Facebook, and open up the South Wedge Abbey Project Community Page (yes, people outside SWM will see our activity, but the retreat is open only to SWMers. Hopefully though, our activity will help push others to motivate themselves in their practice!)
Every day by 9PM I will make post. It will be a quote, or a Saint’s Day page, or a link to a spiritual resource, etc. All you have to do is comment on that day’s post. Write:
“M” or “Matins” if you completed morning prayer that day
“M + C” or “Matins and Compline” if you completed both morning and evening prayer that day.
On Sundays, comment with an “S” if you completed your Sabbath Space. Comment on the Open Space questions (or other question meant to motivate conversation), and get a bonus point!
If you and your spouse share a FB account, just report for two!
If you forgot to check-in one day (or go to bed earlier than 9PM), just go back to the previous day’s post and comment!
If one of your SWAP goals is to go completely tech free, we’ll sit down together and tally up your days in your SWAP journal at the 4th of July break and at the end of the session!
YOU CAN EARN BONUS POINTS!
Want to try to earn as many points as you can? Attend Wednesday night Midweek Mindfulness, Friday morning Matins at the Mission, a SWAP Small Group, or meet with your Pastor for spiritual direction/conversation. Each will earn you 1 bonus point. Matthew or I will take attendance at each and record points.
Engage with an Open Space question on Sunday or Monday (beyond that it won’t count!) on the FB page, and you will get a bonus point!
POINTS NEEDED TO “WIN” THE RETREAT:
Both individual and collective points will be tallied, but what’s more important are the collective points. To retain the spirit of making sure this is accessible to all newcomers and/or those who find it challenging to build daily disciplines, and honor that we are all in different places regarding our disciplines, there will be a minimum of points needed that we think are pretty feasible: 30 points per person. That means you pray twice a day for a total of 15 days over the 90 day period; or pray once a day for 30 days over the 90 day period. HOWEVER: your points must be spread out such that you are gaining at least 5 points every 15 days. You can’t stuff all your pray time at the beginning or end. This is to encourage steady participation, so you can work on building a habit! 30 points is only about 15% of the overall number of points one could earn over the 90 day period.
However, we all do better in a group setting, right?! So, AS A GROUP, we’ll need to achieve at least 65% of the total possible points we could earn as a collective. What this looks like:
Each SWAPper can earn a total of 174 points over the 90 day period; If there are 18 SWAPpers, as a group, the maximum number of points we could earn is 3,042. To earn the retreat, we must, collectively, earn 1,977 points, and as individuals, earn at least 30. Both conditions must be satisfied to make the retreat possible!