Proclaim the wondrous


Garden at Colomba Le Roc Retreat, France  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

But you are a chosen people,
set aside to be
      a royal order of priests,
a holy nation, God’s own;
so that you may proclaim
the wondrous acts
of the One who called you
out of inky darkness
into shimmering light.

 

(1 Peter 2:9, The Voice)

 


Literally part of “a royal order of priests”

Pentecost weekend I had the privilege of representing our Presbytery at the dedication service of Colomba Le Roc Retreat – a truly ecumenical celebration.

 
As part of the “Blessing of Colomba le Roc and all present” at the end of the service, I used this benediction by David Adam:

Benediction

The Father of many resting places grant you rest;
The Christ who stilled the storm grant you calm;
The Spirit who fills all things grant you peace.
God’s light be your light,
God’s love be your love,
God’s way be your way.

The eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit
shield you on every side.
Amen.

 
from The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually
by David Adam, p.112
 


 
From the blog
Body talk
Prayer sheet: Called into community
Show me the way

 

The wonder of Pentecost


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Wishing you a blessed Pentecost, and much fruit on all our prayers as Thy Kingdom Come season draws to a close.


Pentecost Prayer

(inspired by Acts 2)

Breath of God,
Spirit who appeared like a driving wind,
blow away our prejudice
and teach us to value all people.

Spirit of God,
who appeared like tongues of flame,
burn in us as a passion for justice
and a commitment to change.

Spirit of life,
who caused the disciples to speak in tongues,
speak through us,
and fill us with the courage to proclaim your love.

Spirit of truth,
who fills us with wonder and awe,
inspire us to work for a better world
and a future where injustice is swept away.
Amen

written by Catherine Gorman and posted on the CAFOD website.


From the blog

The Gift booklet
12-part series of readings and prayer poems on the Holy Spirit

Pray: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ (2019)


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

We’re in ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ season, from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost.

What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.
 

“After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.

Through the centuries Christians have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition.”

(https://www.thykingdomcome.global/about-us)
 


A prayer

On Ascension Day a number of people from my church attended a service in the local Anglican Church. To mark the start of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ season, the minister selected the following prayer from ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ online resources for the close of the service.
 

God of our salvation,
hope of all the ends of the earth, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the world may know Jesus Christ
as the Prince of Peace, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That all who are estranged and without hope
may be brought near in the blood of Christ, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the Church may be one in serving
and proclaiming the gospel, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That we may be bold to speak the word of God
while you stretch out your hand to save, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the Church may be generous in giving,
faithful in serving, bold in proclaiming, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the Church may welcome and support
all whom God calls to faith, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That all who serve the gospel may be kept in safety
while your word accomplishes its purpose, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That all who suffer for the gospel
may know the comfort and glory of Christ, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the day may come when every knee shall bow
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

 
from www.thykingdomcome.global
 


EXTRA

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer ideas (including resources for families) from engageworship.org

In the school of prayer with St Francis of Assisi

 

St Francis of Assisi (1181?–1226): Who better to help us explore the joyful in life and prayer?

 
First, some notes on Franciscan-style prayer, based on an article by Stefan Walser.

Next, 3 prayers written by St Francis (or connected with him) for you to try on and adapt. Indoors or outdoors. Alone or together.

Finally, a ‘Digging deeper’ section with a video and some links.

 

Enjoy.


Characteristics of Franciscan prayer

1. Individual.  Francis of Assisi developed a personal and individual way of praying, based on his unique personality and life story, and he encourages us to do the same.

2. Responsorial.  Prayer is always a dialogue, a response, a ‘re-action’. Bringing one’s life to God, one gives back what one received from God. Therefore, Franciscan prayer always includes thanksgiving.

3. Affirmative.  In affirming the gift of life and God as the Creator of life, we develop an affirmative attitude in general.

4. Universal.  There is nothing that does not relate to God, and so there is nothing that cannot be part of prayer.

5. Connected to actions and work.  Francis prays, even in the most seclusive moments of his life, that his prayers might have some “output” and that he may fulfil “God’s commands”.

6. Integral part of communal life.  By centring communal life around prayer, a certain “contemplative” attitude in all things is maintained.

adapted from an MDPI article by Stefan Walser

 


Canticle of the Sun

Most High, all-powerful sweet Lord,
yours is the praise, the glory,
and the honour & every blessing.

Be praised, My Lord, for all your creatures,
and first for brother sun,
who makes the day bright and luminous.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour.
He is the image of you, Most High.

Be praised, My Lord, for sister moon
and the stars, in the sky.
You have made them brilliant & precious & beautiful.

Be praised, My Lord, for brother wind
and for the air both cloudy and serene
and every kind of weather,
through which you give nourishment to your creatures.

Be praised, My Lord, for sister water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Be praised, My Lord, for brother fire,
through whom you illuminate the night.
And he is beautiful and joyous and robust and strong.

Be praised, My Lord, for our sister, mother earth,
who nourishes us and watches over us
and brings forth various fruits with coloured flowers & herbs.

Be praised, My Lord,
for those who forgive through your love,
and bear sickness & tribulation;
blessed are those who endure in peace,
for they will be crowned by you, Most High.

Be praised, My Lord, for our sister, bodily death,
from whom no living thing can escape.
Blessed are those whom she finds
doing your most holy will,
for the second death cannot harm them.

Praise and bless My Lord
and give thanks to him
and serve him with great humility.

 

St Francis’ prayer inspired by the “Our Father”

O our most holy Father:
Our Creator, Redeemer, Consoler, and Savior,

You are in heaven:
And in the angels and saints,
Inflaming us to love, because You, Lord, are love,
And filling us with happiness as our Supreme and Eternal Good.

Glorious is Your name:
May our knowledge of You become ever clearer
That we may know Your blessings and Your majesty.

Your Kingdom come:
Give us unclouded vision to let you rule in us through Your grace,
And so we enjoy a blessed companionship with You forever.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
That we may love You with our whole heart,
Desire You with our whole soul,
Always think of You with affection,
Spend all our energies in serving You,
And that we may love our neighbours with Your love.

Give us this day our daily Bread:
Which is our Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

And forgive us our trespasses:
Through Your indescribable mercy to us in Christ,
Which we see in the faith and prayers of the blessed virgin Mary.

Help us to forgive those who trespass against us:
You, Lord, enable us to forgive to the full
So that we may truly love our enemies and intercede for them.

Lead us not into temptation:
Keep us from all sin, hidden or obvious.

Deliver us from evil:
Keep us from all that’s bad in the past, present, and to come.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, it is now, and will be forever.
Amen.

 

“Peace Prayer of Saint Francis”

First printed in France in 1912, this much-loved prayer may not have been written by St Francis, but it certainly embodies what he stood for.

 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console,
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

source: The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #45

 


Digging deeper

Video: St. Francis from the series, “Who Cares About The Saints?”

Article: The Spirituality of St Francis of Assisi
Article: 7 Life lessons from St Francis of Assisi
Article: Francis of Assisi: A gospel way of life
Book review: When St Francis saved the church by Jon Sweeney
 


From the blog

Consolation joy


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

(Psalm 94:19, NIVUK)

 


A prayer

How can I tell of such love to me?
You made me in your image
and hold me in the palm of your hand,
your cords of love, strong and fragile as silk,
      bind me and hold me.
Rich cords, to family and friends,
music and laughter echoing in memories,
light dancing on the water, hills rejoicing.
Cords that found me hiding behind carefully built walls
      and led me out,
love that heard my heart break and despair and rescued me,
love that overcame my fears and doubts and released me.
The questions and burdens I carry you take,
to leave my hands free – to hold yours, and others,
free to follow your cords as they move
and swirl in the breeze,
free to be caught up in the dance of your love,
finding myself in surrendering to you.
How can I tell of such love?
How can I give to such love?
I am, here am I.

 
by Catherine Hooper
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #177
 


 
Recommendation
 
I’m thoroughly enjoying Ingrid Fettell Lee’s book, Joyful.
Check out her website, Aesthetics of Joy, for details and additional resources.
 

Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always

 

This prayer sheet is inspired by a recurring theme in Scripture: the phrase, “Rejoice in the Lord”.

 
For personal use or to share.


Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.
S.D. Gordon

Continue reading “Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always”

God of solid joys


Mural in a side street close to the Scots International Church Rottedam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Did you know?  
Last Sunday – the first Sunday after Easter – was celebrated in some churches as Holy Humour Sunday (also known as Bright Sunday, or Laughter Sunday).

 

Here is a prayer to the God of merriment by Bruce Prewer to launch the theme for May:

JOYFUL!


Prayer

God of merriment,
for whom the morning stars sing together
and all the children of God shout for joy,
help us keep our sense of humour.

When those around us get hyped-up
about the latest scientific discovery or technological wizardry,
help us to see the comical side of human self importance.

When we take ourselves too seriously,
as if the church were built on our devout efforts,
enable us to chuckle at our folly.

When evil parades itself in finery and thinks it owns the world,
or when untimely death appears to cut off saints in their prime,
fill us with the robust joy of Easter.

God of ‘solid joys and lasting pleasures’,
because of all your victories in Christ Jesus,
liberate us to share in the song of the morning stars
and the joyful shouts of the children of God.
Today and forever more. Amen!

— written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on http://www.bruceprewer.com/
 


 
From the blog
The Gift #9 : Joy
Nature bringing joy

Thank you. For dust


(Photo: Albert Goedkoop)

 

Easter blessings to you all.

In light of the resurrection, here’s a different take on the word, “dust”.
 


A poem: Dusting

by Marilyn Nelson, 1946

 
Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.

For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
spreading their
inseparable lives
from equator to pole.

My hand, my arm,
make sweeping circles.
Dust climbs the ladder of light.
For this infernal, endless chore,
for these eternal seeds of rain:
Thank you. For dust.
 

source: www.poets.org
 


Extras
Article: The Science of dust, Picasso’s favourite phenomenon

 

Dust and transformation


(Photo: Albert Goedkoop)

 

Ash Wednesday was weeks ago, I know.

Still, you might derive some spiritual nourishment from this Ash Wednesday benediction, even now in Holy Week, as Jesus’ death looms large and his victory over sin and death is imminent.


Ash Wednesday Benediction

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Let the memory of your incomplete humanity
awaken you to the wonders, joys, sorrows, and pain of life.

Let the ashes you wear be the ashes of transformation;
of awakening to the beauty and love of seizing the moment
and living it to the fullest.

Let it be said of you that here in this little part of eternity
that you lived fully, loved extravagantly
and helped humanity evolve into all that God dreamed we can be!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made
In the image of the ONE who is was and ever more shall be
Creator, Christ and Spirit ONE, Amen.

by Pastor Dawn, posted on pastordawn.
 


 
Extra
The Dust Storm in Prayer (on Ignatian prayer)
 


 
From the blog
Holy Week posts from 2017
 

On dust and glory


(Photo: Albert Goedkoop)
 

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust dust dust

 
(Ps 103:13-14)
 


From Ash Wednesday to Easter and beyond

A reflection
 
 
Remember
that you are made of dust
and you will return to dust.
Remember too
that we are made in the image of God –
male and female,
old and young,
white and all persons of color
and geniuses
and people with attention deficit disorder.

It’s a strange and confusing combination,
this dustiness
and this freedom to love
and to be selfish
and to be afraid
and to know hope
and joy
and wonder.

I don’t need to know all the answers,
but I’d appreciate help remembering
that the Cross and the Resurrection
add a new dimension
and a new promise.
I remember this:
When we “Do this” in remembrance of Him
the dustiness
and God’s image
and my history
walk together,
led by His hand into life.
My life.

It’s a strange business,
this combining of
dust
and
glory.

 
by William Maxwell. Posted on www.inthecourtyard.com
 


 
From the blog

5 earlier references to Psalm 103:
From generation to generation
Forget not
From a grateful heart
Theme: The greatest is love
Forgiven and forgotten