A Journey of Sea and Stone

How Holy Places Guide and Renew Us

A Journey of Sea and Stone

How Holy Places Guide and Renew Us

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Available June 8, 2021

Over the last twenty years spiritual director, teacher, and pilgrim Tracy Balzer has made more than a dozen transatlantic visits to Scotland's Isle of Iona, welcoming the hallowed spaces of the island to sculpt, bend, and sustain her spiritually. "It might be said that Iona has been my spiritual director," says Balzer, for with each visit she is freshly confronted by key questions of faith: Who am I? Who is God? What am I to do with my life?

Set against the backdrop of Iona's deep Christian history and exquisite natural beauty, A Journey of Sea and Stone explores these questions, prompting each of us to reach for meaning in our daily lives and to consider the myriad ways God might be inviting us into something new. Tapping our innate desire to seek and find, to encounter God in creation and in the history of faithful people, Balzer guides us in our own journeys to cultivate and find sustenance and connection in sacred spaces.

Deep passages of reflection are complemented by rich illustrations reflecting the island's stunning terrain and Celtic heritage, providing spiritual seekers and armchair travelers a fresh entrée into the world of the sacred, wherever they may be.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A skilled spiritual director asks the directee questions that will help them listen for the voice of God in their life.  Those questions are all rooted in three that are essential:
Who is God?  
Who am I?  
What am I to do with my life? 
 
WHO IS GOD?  
Columba's Bay: What are you searching for?  
Jesus tells his followers that "the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls" (Matthew 13:45).  What is the deepest longing of our hearts that can only be satisfied in something "other," in something transcendent and of eternal value?  
 
St Martin's Cross:  Who is Jesus? 
One of the great curiosities of the Gospels is that Jesus' own followers seem to have a hard time getting a grip on who Jesus really is.  And Jesus asks them, point blank: Who do you say I am?  He asks us the same question. 
 
Dun I:  What do you see?  
The contemplative tradition of Christianity has a singular objective: to teach us to pay attention.  
This chapter reflects on the what it means to pay attention, and to do it from a different vantage point. 
 
WHO ARE YOU? 
Hostel: What’s your story?  
One of the gifts of spiritual direction is that it gives space for honest engagement with what is true about ourselves -- where we've come from, what has shaped us, where have we seen the hand of God at work.  
 
Pilgrims: What are the spiritual knots that need untying?  
In a spiritual direction relationship, this question emerges quickly.  For often, the presence of a "spiritual knot" is what brought the directee in the first place. Where are the places in life when what I 
Sacred places provide space for the reflection that our typical, frantic lives do not.  Space where, if we listen, we will hear the voice of God.
 
Staffa: What brings you delight? 
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:26-27
This is a serious challenge in our fear-filled world.  
 
WHAT ARE YOU TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE? 
 
White Strand: What are you afraid of? 
This chapter seeks not only to help the reader be honest about their own fears, but to also provide a word of encouragement through a profoundly instructive experience on Iona's White Strand of the Martyr's. 
 
The Bothy:  Where do you want to live?
This chapter explores the concept of "home" in depth, calling us to affirm that God himself is our truest home.
 
Val's Farm: What gift can you give to the world?  
What is my role in the world?  What was I created for?  What is my purpose?  These are questions that a good spiritual director will help to process.  And while answers to the questions are certainly helpful, it's the processing that is perhaps most formative.

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • ISBN 9781506464596
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5 x 7
  • Pages 208
  • Publication Date June 8, 2021
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