Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Spirit moved the disciples out of the locked upper room, where they were hiding, and into the streets where they encountered the needs of the people. So too, the Spirit gives us the ability to minister to the needs of those around us, the hungry, the poor, those left out of the American dream as well as those caught up in the relentless pursuit of that dream. The Spirit opens our eyes and hearts as well as our ears, and calls us to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Without that we are only preaching, and of that the world already has too much. from Christ Our Savior Lutheran Grace Notes

The Day of Pentecost, marking the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus fifty days after Easter, was celebrated yesterday. We continue that celebration in today's prayer time.

A Word from Scripture
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

A Prayer
Spirit of the living God,
visit us again as on the day of Pentecost.
With rushing wind that sweeps away all barriers,
With tongues of fire that set our hearts aflame,
With speech that unites the Babel of our tongues,
With love that overleaps the boundaries of race and nation,
With power from above to make our weakness strong,
Come, Holy Spirit,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Spirit of God be our bridge over troubled waters
and the step that moves our feet;
And be ahead of us, among us and behind us
until our journey's end.

sources: Spirit of the Living God - From Ashes to Fire, Supplemental Resource 8, Abingdon Press, `1979
May the Spirit of God - Litanies and Other Prayers, Year B, Phyllis Cole and Everett Tilson
Abingdon Press, 1990

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jane Kenyon, born in 1947, married her poetry professor at the University of Michigan in 1972. They moved to Eagle Farm Pond, Hall's ancestral home in Wilmot, New Hampshire, where they shared a deep love for each other and pursued their careers in poetry. Kenyon's poems are often filled with images of the rural and domestic life she was living. At other times they reflect her ongoing struggle with depression. Kenyon was New Hampshire's Poet Laureate when she died in 1995 from leukemia.

Meditating with Poetry

Poetry is often the bearer of spiritual truth, as witnessed to by the Psalms. That truth is rarely expressed directly, but rather through the use of images, metaphors, and allusions. In this way poetry honors the mystery of spiritual truth which finally eludes our logical reasoning.

Praying with poetry is similar to praying with Scripture, or lectio divina. Its purpose is simply to assist us to attend to God's presence. A background in poetic literature is unnecessary, as is knowledge of the poet's life and writings, though that knowledge has its own value. By grace, as we meditate with poetry, we may also hear the voice of truth and wisdom, challenge and call.

One Way of Doing It

1. After selecting a poem, center yourself in the quiet of your inner self. Notice the breath of life moving in and out of your body. Let yourself become open to and aware of God's presence.

2. Silently read the poem.

3. After a few moments or minutes, read the poem aloud.

4.When you are ready, read the poem again silently, lingering over the words and phrases, the rhythms and movement, the tone and images.

5. In your journal or other paper, record - the images that drew your attention as you read the poem . . . your feelings after reading the poem . . . the reality or insight, "the wisdom of God," that has been unearthed for you by reading this poem.

6. Sit with the images, the feelings, the realities and insights. Meditate on them unhurriedly. Then record what God seems to be saying to you, as well as any other insights.

7. Read the poem aloud again - this time as a prayer to God.

(Additional suggestions and resources for Praying with Poetry will be posted on the companion website - Resources for Daily Prayer.)

Take time today to try this discipleship practice with Jane Kenyon's poem, "Otherwise."

I got out of bed

on two strong legs.

It might have been

otherwise. I ate

cereal, sweet

milk, ripe, flawless

peach. It might

have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill

to the birchwood.

All morning I did

the work I love.

At noon I lay down

with my mate. It might

have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together

at a table with silver

candlesticks. It might

have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed

in a room with paintings

on the walls, and

planned another day

just like this day.

But one day, I know,

it will be otherwise.

from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems, Graywolf Press, 1996

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thursday, May 28,2009

A fundamental problem with human beings is that they do not like boundaries. They do not like anyone, even God, setting limits on what they can do. The tendency is to aspire to "become like God." Isn't it true? Unwilling to acknowledge God as God, we replace God with gods of our own making, or with ourselves as our own god.

Opening Prayer
Beloved God, be near as I begin this new day of life. The work of this spring day knocks at my door, anxious for me to begin. But let this present moment be as still as a stone as I rest my heart in you. In the peace of this springtime morning, quiet my anxiety, fear, and restlessness so that I may live today fully for you. Amen.

A Word from Scripture
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:1-9

Prayer of Confession
O God, we have built cities for ourselves. We have sought fame and fortune for our own self-interest. We have rushed through our days with unseeing eyes, unhearing ears, and emotions that are dulled or frazzled. We do not acknowledge your gifts and we ignore the work of your hands, because we insist on being in charge. Have mercy on us and free us from ourselves. Amen

In our journeys to and fro
God direct us;
In our happiness and pleasure
God bless us;
In care, anxiety, or trouble
God sustain us;
In peril and in danger
God protect us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Holy Spirit and they shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth.

A Word from Scripture

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1-6

Reflection Questions

What would it mean for you to be "in a valley of dry bones?" Have you ever had an experience that felt that way? Recall the circumstances, the emotions, and your response.

Remember a time when the wind blew upon you in a most refreshing and renewing way. Again, what were the circumstances . . . your emotions . . . your response?

A Prayer for the Day

Creator God and Giver of life, make the dry, bleached bones of our lives live and breath and grow again as you did of old. Pour out your Spirit upon the whole of creation. Come in rushing wind and flashing fire to turn the sin and sorrow within us into faith, power, and delight. Amen

source: Creator God and Giver of Life - Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, The Consultation on Common Texts

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Call to Prayer
The earth is at the same time mother,
She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human.
The earth of humankind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power.
It is in so many ways fruitful.
All creation comes from it. Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind,
but also the substance of the incarnation of God's Son.
Hildegard of Bingen

A Word from Scripture
As long as earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.
Deuteronomy 14:22

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
Psalm 126:6

A Prayer for Farmers and Agricultural Workers
God of abundant grace, around your world there are fields, some ready for planting, some for harvesting, and others lying fallow. We thank you for those who farm the land, and for workers who prepare or distribute food. Give them joy in the miracle of growth, and trust in your provision. May no one starve because of greed, but let us hunger for righteousness alone. Amen.

Whatever we do to the web of creation we do to ourselves.
Every part of the earth is sacred for all belongs to our Creator.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, so long as ever you can. John Wesley

When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me. John Wesley

Opening Prayer
O God, seeing as there is in Christ Jesus an infinite fullness of all that we can want or desire, may we all receive from him, grace upon grace; grace to pardon our sins, and subdue our iniquities; to justify our persons and to sanctify our souls; and to complete that holy change, that renewal of our hearts, which will enable us to be transformed into the blessed image in which you created us. O make us all acceptable to be partakers of the inheritance of your saints in light. Amen.

Praying Our History
On May 24, 1738, John Wesley experienced an inner heartwarming conversion that propelled him to begin a revival throughout England. He formed converts into societies for "experimental religion" (a religion of personal experience). Smaller classes were developed for more intense training in the faith.

Wesley's ministry among the working classes led eventually to the formation of new denominations in the United States and Great Britain.

Closing Prayer
O Jesus, poor and abject, unknown and despised, have mercy upon me, and let me not be ashamed to follow thee.
O Jesus, clothed with a habit of reproach and shame, have mercy upon me, and let me not seek my own glory.
O Jesus, crowned with thorns and hailed in derision;
O Jesus, burdened with our sins and the curses of the people;
O Jesus, affronted, outraged, buffeted, overwhelmed with injuries, griefs and humiliations;
O Jesus, hanging on the accursed tree, bowing the head, giving up the ghost, have mercy upon me, and conform my whole soul to thy holy, humble, suffering Spirit.

source of both prayers: John Wesley

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Friday, May 22. 2009

In March, 2006, the Jesuits of Great Britain launched a daily prayer site that can be played directly on your computer or downloaded in MP3 format to be prayed at any time during the day.

Pray-as-you-go uses some of the world's most beautiful spiritual music, a reading from Scriptures and some questions for personal reflection, gently guiding you through 10-12 minutes of meditation each day. By making this a regular habit, you will become more aware of God's presence in your life.

Just click on the link below, then click on today's date to play the session on your computer. To save for use on the computer or an MP3 player at another time, right-click on the date, then choose "Save Target As . . ." on the drop down menu.

The web page also provides links to several other helpful spiritual practices.

To begin, click this link: Pray- As - You - Go

Have a blessed weekend. See you Monday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today is The Ascension of Our Lord
The risen Lord enters the invisible presence of God in order to be present in all times and in all places to the church and to the world. Where shall we find the risen and ascended Lord today? In his word and his bread, in his people and his washing with water and the Spirit, and in all who cry for mercy.

Opening Prayer
O God, your promises are trustworthy. We pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit to renew our lives and empower our ministries. Fill us with the joy of serving in Christ's name, that we might become faithful witnesses, offering forgiveness and healing to all your children. Grant us the joy that accompanies obedience to your word and will; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Word from Scripture
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11)

Praying the Scriptures (Lectio Divina)
Lectio Divina is a way of encountering God in the Scriptures that stands in contrast to our accustomed methods of Bible study. Rather than seeking more information through study, we seek simply to be open to God's presence and the particular word that God might have for us this day. We have to unlearn some old habits and incorporate some new ones.

Use these abbreviated Guidelines with the passage above from Acts: 1.

After a few minutes of becoming relaxed and centered -
1.Read the passage slowly, attentively, listening for a word or phrase that is God's word for us this day. (Lectio - reading/listening)

2.Meditate on that word or phrase, allowing it to engage you fully. Let it interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Allow this inner pondering to invite you into dialogue with God. (meditatio - meditation)

3. Respond to God. And give to God what you have discovered during your period of meditation. Your heart may call out in thanks or praise or joy. If the Word has been painful, your response may be one of remorse, anger, or supplication. (Oratio - prayer)

4. Rest in God's presence, content with whatever your"experience has been." Once again we practice silence, letting go of our own words, rejoicing in the awareness of God's loving presence. (Contemplatio - contemplation)

When the time is right close with the Lord's Prayer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Call your opinions your creeds and
you will change them every week.
Phillips Brooks

Light half-believers of our casual creeds, who never deeply felt, nor clearly willed, whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, whose vague resolves never have been fulfilled. Matthew Arnold

To know that in the Philippines this morning this was the creed that was recited and to know that the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century and Thomas Aquinas in the 13th and my father and my grandfather all affirmed this creed -- it's we, all of us together. Jaroslav Pelikan

Praying Our History
On this day in 325 the first Council of Nicea convened in Constantinople. Most of the discussion was a critique of Arianism, a view that denied that Jesus was fully human. The wording of the church's first ecumenical creed was the battleground. In the end only two bishops refused to sign the document which became the first version of the Nicene Creed. Today it is the most widely accepted creed in the Christian faith.

Are creeds important in the 21st century church, or are they antiquated opinions that make little difference in our living of the faith? In forming and maintaining Christian community and making disciples of Christ, the creed is useful in several ways:

1. The Creed is a public statement of faith, a uniform way in which new Christians can confess their faith in Jesus Christ and the church can establish its identity in the public sphere.
2. The Creed anchors our faith to a tradition, making it easier for us to remember who we are and more difficult for us to be led astray by strange doctrines.
3. The Creed is a preaching and teaching tool, giving an outline for further growth in discipleship.
4. The Creed provides a doctrinal basis for different churches to accept one another, a touchstone of true Christian belief.

The Nicene Creed continued to be debated, amended, expanded, and subject to contemporary translation. The United Methodist Church uses a 1988 version drafted by the English Language Liturgical Consultation.

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten not made,
of one being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer
Lord, we are a people full of words,
hoping that the right words will secure our knowledge of you, once and for all.

Yet our words are inadequate to your reality.
The best vocabulary we have is silence
where we know nothing beyond your loving presence.

And so we shall recite our creeds, bearing witness to you
through the wisdom of the years.
Then we shall fall silent, releasing our firmest convictions
in order to know you more truely. Amen

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Always forgive your enemies - -nothing annoys them so much. Oscar Wilde

When we forgive evil we do not excuse it, we do not tolerate it, we do not smother it. We look the evil full in the face, call it what it is, let its horror shock and stun and enrage us, and only then do we forgive it. Lewis B. Swede

Prayer of Confession
O God be gracious to us, for we have sinned against you. In our busyness we have failed to call on you. In our self-centeredness we have ignored your hurting people. We have uttered empty words and wearied you with empty deeds. We have been unwilling to see our own sinfulness and brokenness and have dared not believe that you can heal us. Come now to forgive and make new. Amen.

A Word from Scripture
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48

A Reflection
The prescription to love our enemies is often thought of as impractical and unwise. In fact, this teaching is widely held in all religions as a fundamental principle for pursuing relationships with others. Revenge, which repays evil with evil, only multiplies evil in the world, while love, by which we strive to overcome evil with good, spreads goodness in the world.

True love is unconditional and impartial -- thus the reminder that the sun shines down on all of us, friend, stranger, enemy alike. It is tested and proven by encounters with those who are difficult to love.

A Prayer for Those We Call "Enemy"
God of all mercy,
who loved us when we were your sinful enemies,
who saved us by your immeasurable grace,
who gave us a gift we did not deserve:
Let us imitate you by loving those who are yet our enemies.

Teach us to wish them the best of the life you intend each human to have,
and then pray and act so those wishes come true.
Teach us hope, so we know that with your blessing,
impossible dreams become reality.
Teach us faith, so we know that only the strength to stop hating
will halt cycles of suspicion, hatred, and violence.
Teach us forgiveness, which is a way of sharing your suffering love.

When the world looks at us and our congregations,
hearing our words and seeing our deeds,
may they know that you live among us,
and that they can come to learn the impossible and impractical -
loving those whom we call our "enemies."

A reflection on the forgiveness extended by the Amish of Nickle Mines, PA, to the family of Charles Roberts, who had killed five local school children, can be found by clicking here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

There is a place in God's sun for the youth "farthest down"
who has the vision, the determination, and the courage to reach it. Mary McLeod Bethune

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being. Goethe

The whole world opened to me when I learned to read. Mary McLeod Bethune

Opening Prayer
O Son of God, change my heart.
Your Spirit compasses the songs of the birds
and the buzz of the bees.
Your creation is a million wondrous miracles,
beautiful to look upon.
I ask of you just one more miracle,
Beautify my soul.

Praying Our History
Mary McLeod Bethune died on this day in 1955. In 1904 she took $1.50 and five little girls and began the school which later became Bethune-Cookman College. Today the school enrolls 3,ooo students from 35 countries and has an endowment of $26 million.

Bethune also founded the National Council of Negro Women and served as Director of Negro Affairs in FDR's National Youth Administration. She was part of Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet." Eventually she became advisor to four Presidents. Ebony magazine named her one of the "50 Most Important Figures in Black U.S. History."

Mary McLeod Bethune joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1924. She was elected a delegate to the 1928 General Conference and was reelected every four years until her death.

She was not reluctant to voice her opinion about her church: "The voice of the Church has not been heard, clearly. A strong, unequivocal acceptance of the truth that there is no second class citizenship in God's world has been lacking. The church has trailed social advances. Many times the great old hymns have been sung off key."

A Prayer for Teachers
O God, you are the fullness of Wisdom.
Through prophets, poets, and sages
you have called us and taught us
to follow your way daily.
In Jesus Christ your Wisdom became flesh,
teaching by word and example.
We have not yet fully comprehended or accepted
all that he taught, all that he did, all that he still is today.

We thank you for those who seek to teach
children, youth, and adults --
in family and church settings
and in schools, colleges, and universities.
We thank you for those teachers
whose Wisdom most influenced our own lives.

May the spirit of Mary McLeod Bethune
fill all whom we call "teacher"
until we attain the fullness of your desire for us.

A Blessing
In her final Will and Testament, Mary McLeod Bethune expressed the legacy which she desired to leave with others. (This selection has been adapted.)

"I leave you Love ... Hope . . . the Challenge of developing confidence in one another . . . a Thirst for education . . . Respect for the uses of power . . . Faith . . .Racial dignity . . . a Desire to live harmoniously with all people . . . and, finally a Responsibility to our young people. The Freedom-Gates are half-ajar. We must pry them fully open.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Friday, May, 15, 2009

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Ephesians 2:19

The International Day of Families recognizes that the
family is the basic unit of society. It seeks to promote the
fundamental human rights and freedoms which should be accorded to all individuals and families. IDF also recognizes that families around the world are under tremendous stress. Economic and political transformations, disease, war, poverty and many other realities are taxing families, often beyond their ability to cope. As witnessed to by the impact of the current economic crisis in this country, such pressures are not confined to the developing world.

Yet today's observance also seeks to promote the inherent strength of families, including their great capacity for self-reliance.

For Reflection and Family Discussion

For traits of emotionally healthy families, click here

For characteristics of spiritually healthy families, click here

A Prayer for Families
Gracious God, you created all of humankind to live in relationship with you and with one another. We commend to your care all the families of our congregations, communities, and the world. May love be deep and authentic in each home. We pray for homes where there is suffering, abuse, or indifference. We pray for children, youth, and adults, recognizing the gift of each age. We pray for parents, stepparents, and foster parents. We pray for those who are single and for those in loving relationships. May your grace be present for all. May the commandments of love for you and love for others be the goal of our life together. And may we never fail to claim the gift of forgiveness, for ourselves and for those with whom we share life. Amen.

I will not be blogging over the weekend. Have a good one, and see you on Monday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thursday, May 14,2009

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
Eleanor Roosevelt

An Affirmation

Today I purpose to live

My life will shine
As the morning sings
I walk in liberty
Bound in true dreams
Manifested promises
Chase my forward motion
A covered path before me
The fruits of my hoping
The fruits of my living

Today I purpose to love

My love will speak
With the sound of grace
Merciful within mercy
The works of my faith
Smiles of overflowing
Inspire my giving
Abundance of joy as rain
The fruits of my living

A Blessing
In the busy and in the hushed moments of your life, or when you feel yourself filled with fear, or loneliness looms all around; or when hopelessness beckons your heart and you are exultant in joy, may you know the unconditional and eternal love of God washing over you with the greatest gentleness as loving balm; and may the blessing of God be with you now and always. Amen

Today I purpose my life - Michael John Faciane
In the busy - Renee Miller

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All shall be well
all shall be well
all manner of things shall be well.

Today we shall include a commemoration of Julian of Norwich (1342-1413?) in our prayer. Julian was an anchorite. Anchorites took vows of isolation to devote themselves to prayer. They lived in cells on the outside walls of the church. Each cell had a window looking into the church to enable the anchorites to participate in worship and the sacraments and a window facing out onto the main street of the town. Anyone seeking spiritual guidance could speak to the anchorites in their cells.

A Reading
God showed me a hazelnut, in the palm of my hand, and it was round as a ball. In this little thing I saw three characteristics. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, and the third, that God keeps or cares for it. But what does this mean to me, that God is Maker, Keeper, Lover? Until I am united with God, I will never understand the bliss of God as my maker, keeper, or lover. Or, to put it another way, I want to be so united with God that there is nothing between my God and me.

A Word from Scripture
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Psalm 139: 1-3,6

A Reflection Question

How have you experienced God as Maker . . . Lover . . . Keeper?

Ring out, the bells of Norwich, and let the winter come and go.
All shall be well again, I know.

Love like the yellow daffodil is coming through the snow.
Ring for the yellow daffodil, and tell them what I know,

All shall be well again, I'm telling you, let the winter come and go.
All shall be well again, I know.

God showed me a hazelnut - Julian, Revelations of Divine Love
Ring out the bells of Norwich - Sydney Carter, lyrics, Julian of Norwich

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.
Psalm 104: 33-34

Breathing Meditation

Find a comfortable sitting position and become aware of your breathing. It should not be forced, but gentle and relaxed. Don't try to control or alter it, just breathe. In and out. In and out.

Focus on the passage of air into and out of your nostrils.

Eventually your thoughts will wander. That is to be expected, and there is no reason to be upset or discouraged. When you become aware of other thoughts, gently bring your focus back to your breath. In and out.

Begin with a five minute period. Without rushing, move to the next section of prayer.

Blessing for the Wonder of Wind
Father of Ten Thousand Gifts,
we are grateful for the invisible wonder of wind,
for that playful spirit of nature
that drives kites heavenward,
carries away balloons on invisible fingers
and twirls windmills joyfully.

We rejoice in this marvel, the wind,
bearer of seeds, waver of flags and banners,
carrier of clouds and sea-spray
and messenger of God: as holy wind, the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice in that Holy Spirit
who surrounded Mount Sinai with wind, smoke, and fire
when holy Moses met You face to face.

For the breeze which held the voice of God
that called Elijah from his cave of hiding,
for the wind upon which rode the tongues of fire
that came upon Jesus’ friends after His ascension to You,
we are grateful.

For all these gifts of the wind,
the dance master of yellow leaves
and bringer of spring rains,
for the wind itself which we feel upon our bodies,
we are thankful;
and we praise You, Spirit Supreme,
by enjoying on this day
Your holy creature and sacred singing sign,
the wind.

Blessed are You, Lord our God,
who delights us with the wonder of wind.

An Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Additional instructions and resources for Breathing Meditation can be found on my other blog, Resources for Daily Prayer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

You who alone know the secrets of hearts, look with love upon my feeble attempts at prayer. As springtime life quickens upon this planet, may this prayer express my thanksgiving and devotion to you.

Praying Our History
Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, was born on this day in 1946. The first recipient of the Jarvik 7, Barney Clark, lived 112 days. The Jarvk model left the patient with limited mobility, and often caused blood clots to form.

On May 11, 1997, IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue, made chess history by defeating Gary Kasparov, regarded as the greatest chess player who ever lived. It was the first defeat of a reigning world champion by a machine in tournament play.

A Word from Scripture

Don't put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don't have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!
Psalm 146:3-5

Reflection Question
Where do I place my ultimate trust or seek my greatest security?

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

"You who alone knows" - Edward Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim
"May you have a mind" - John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space between Us