Rituals for Grad Schoool (and life)

Grad school brings with it its own set of rituals: meetings, papers to write, grading, emails, chats with colleagues, submissions and forms unending, etc. At times these rituals can seem to overtake our life and determine who we are.

So last week we talked about different rituals – rituals that point us to and move us towards God. These help balance the pressures placed upon us from academia but also help us to remember that we are more than simply academics. We are also Christians.

The following are some of the suggestions given of rituals we can do to help us remember that the academic or work rituals are not the only ones that divine us:

– Prayer. This could be in the form of doing the daily office. Otherwise, it could be through beginning and ending the day in prayer. As a couple, you have someone else to remind you and pray with you, praying for friends, family, the day, relationship(s); or, like my community in Amsterdam, pray for the world, the church and the communities of which we are a part. You could also keep a prayer journal, writing down the requests people have for you and then going back to pray for them.

– Reading the Bible. Whether it be a verse or chapters a day, most of us agreed that this was helpful. You could have a plan, like 2-3 chapters, a Proverb every day, or simply read as much as you can (whether that be a verse or a book!) Even keeping a verse in one’s pocket is a helpful way of being reminded of the biblical text. Lectio Divina is also an option.

– Meditating. This involves stopping, clearing and uncluttering one’s soul – and then often turning to and praying to God. It can also take on more unusual forms, from changing the annoying songs stuck in one’s head to songs more worshipful or using the song as a lead-in to think about relationships and memories that we can be thankful for or want to pray for.

– While doing mindless tasks, listen to sermons or podcasts. Praying while biking or singing while driving are also examples of turning towards God in the middle of your daily life.

– Other ways include saying the Jesus prayer or intentionally making a cross at different times;

The length of the list is not supposed to be daunting. It is simply to begin to illustrate how many ways we can turn towards God. Yet, in the midst of our busy lives, how do we find time or strength to add something more?!?

This week and the next, we will be talking further about the tension between grad school and living out a Christian life, whether that be rituals we participate in, the calendar that shapes us or even the keeping of time, especially Sabbath.

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