Thursday, February 18, 2016

remembering to pray (Lent 1, Friday)

What is your prayer today?

A prayer for this day (Lent 1, Thursday)

What a strange world this is, O God.

A world where migrants get a brief Disney cruise before being detained. What deck class were they afforded, I wonder?

A world where air strikes in Syria hit the sick, the dying and the helpers.

Will you forgive us for what we do to each other?

Will you forgive our aggressions - both petty and profound?

Will the time come when there are no strangers or enemies or classes or targets?

God, I hope so.

(written by: Rev. Whitney Wilkinson)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The spacious world of God (Lent 1, Wednesday)

Prayer is the way we work our way out of the comfortable but cramped world of self and into the spacious world of God.
- Eugene Peterson

O God, Give us the courage to live in such a way that our inner space grows and our comfort decreases.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We can not do this alone (Lent 1, Tuesday)

For thousands of years we have gathered in circle - around fires, around bodies, around alters - because we can't do this alone. 
~W. Muller

We meet together week in and week out. We struggle with one another. We bear with one another. We open our spirits to extend grace to one another again and again and again. The community of the people of God is a broken community. (We always have been) But, we are made holy because the Spirit of God is among us. We are made new when we give ourselves to each other...because we were never meant to be alone.

Monday, February 15, 2016

God is already working (Lent 1, Monday)

The people of God are the hands and feet of God in the world. 

We are "little Christs" bringing light into the darkness, bringing hope to the hopeless, bringing healing to the wounded and hurting and the broken. 

True Confessions: Statements like these scare me. When I think about them I begin to feel small and hopeless and powerless. I can even begin to wonder:

How can I be the light of Christ? My candle barely flickers.
How can I bring healing? There are many days when I can not see past my own wounds.
How can I bring hope? I could never admit how often I feel hopeless.

Then, of course, there is the question of where do I even begin.

The response to all of these fears and concerns is always the same. We do not bring God into the world. God is always here. God is always working. God is always healing.

We just have to open our eyes and hearts to see and join in.

A prayer for this day:

May I have vision and Courage to join God in the places [God's] already working rather than feel responsible for bringing [God] with me. 
~ Justin McRoberts

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Beloved: the name is the starting place (Lent 1, Sunday)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the Wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. 
Luke 4:1-2

Over the fall and the winter, Josiah has become enamored with watching football. He delights in clapping at the television saying go go or ohh ball or come on or throwing his hands in the air as he proclaims touchdown. I blame his father.  What my 18 month old son does not realize is that it is all over. Yesterday, he kept looking toward the television and saying  come on even though there was no football to be found.

We ended up turning on the television and watched downhill skiing. Apparently it was just as good because Josiah pulled out all his sports words with and proclaimed them with joy. As we were watching skiing, I remembered Picabo Street, a skier who famously named herself.  As the boys watched sports, I began to wonder what I would have named myself. I am certain I would not have settled on Amy even though I can not imagine another name at this point.

What would you have named yourself? 

As the text above begins, Jesus is entering the wilderness for a 40 day period of fasting and prayer. He contends with the devil - he contends with brokenness and evil and the inner voices which always seek to tear us down. But, he enters the desert still sopping wet with from the waters of baptism. A baptism where he was named by God, Beloved. 

I imagine that knowing who he was, was strength for him in the desert. I imagine that his name, Beloved, rang in his ears again and again and again as he contented with the bareness found in a desert - literal and spiritual. The thing is, Beloved  is not just God's name for Jesus. Beloved is God's name for you and me as well.

Whichever roads you may travel over the next few days and weeks, my prayer is this: that you may know that your name is Beloved.

Beloved Is Where We Begin
If you would enter

into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.
without hearing
who you are:
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.
that on this path
there will be help.
that on this way
there will be rest.
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:
from Circle of Grace

Do not leave
Do not go
I cannot promise
But I can tell you
I can tell you
I can tell you

The Painting and Poem were created by the ever talented Jan Richardson

A Prayer to Welcome the Sabbath (Lent 1, Sunday)

::Prayer to Welcome the Sabbath::

Lord of Creation,
create in us a new rhythm of life
composed of hours that sustain rather than stress,
of days that deliver rather than destroy,
of time that tickles rather than tackles.

Lord of Liberation,
by the rhythm of your truth, set us free
from the bondage and baggage that breaks us,
from the Pharaohs and fellows who fail us,
from the plans and pursuits that prey upon us.

Lord of Resurrection,
may we be raised into rhythms of your new life,
dead to deceitful calendars,
dead to fleeting friend requests,
dead to the empty peace of our accomplishments.

To our packed-full planners, we bid, "Peace!"
To our over-caffeinated consciences, we say, "Cease!"
To our suffocating selves, Lord, grant us release.

Drowning in a sea of deadlines and death chimes,
we rest in you, our lifeline.

By your ever-restful grace,
allow us to enter your Sabbath rest
as your Sabbath rest enters into us.

In the name of our Creator,
our Liberator,
our Resurrection and Life,
we pray.

Taken from: Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne et. all.