In the light of His coming


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Here are Paul’s words of encouragement and exhortation to his friend and partner in the gospel, Timothy, taken from the Amplified Bible:

 

I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom:

Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favourable or unfavourable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (Amplified Bible, Classic edition)

 

Of course, our calling might be very different from Timothy’s. What words of personal encouragement and exhortation might Paul write to us in the light of who we are and God’s call on our lives?


Commission & Benediction

Go now like those prepared for the Lord to return.
Cease to do evil, learn to do good;
seek justice, rescue the oppressed.
Give freely to those in need
and let your treasure be in the things of heaven

And may God not be ashamed to be called your God;
May Christ Jesus find you attentive and well prepared;
And may the Holy Spirit give you the assurance
     of all that has been promised to you.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.

 
by Nathan Nettleton, posted on LaughingBird.net


Note:

Sorry you haven’t heard from me in more than a week. I was away on holiday in Edinburgh. Since my return I’ve been working intensively on the 40-page anniversary booklet for the 375th Anniversary of the Scots International Church Rotterdam, getting it ready for printing in time for the commemoration service on 16 September 2018. I’ve entitled the booklet “Looking Forward Looking Back”.


 

The blessing of light


“Shine like diamonds”  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
This is the first post in the new series, “Light”, a recurring theme in the Bible, from the first chapter to the last.

A prayer

In his book, The Open Gate, David Adam has a section entitled “Candle prayers”. Here is one that works both as a morning prayer and an evening prayer.

Creator of light,
the blessing of light be upon us –
the blessing of daylight,
the blessing of sunlight,
the blessing of Christ light.
Scatter the darkness from before us
that we may walk as children of light.

 
from The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually
by David Adam, p.28


See also:
Morning prayer #1
Evening prayer #1
Evening prayer #2
Theme for April 2018: Shine
 

Interpreting the times


Eccl 3:3b: ‘a time to tear down and a time to build’
  

[Jesus] said to the crowd: 'When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, "It’s going to rain," and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, "It’s going to be hot," and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?'
 
(Luke 12:54-56, NIVUK)
 

How do we avoid being overly confident, too complacent or simply overwhelmed by the present time – including uncommon weather patterns? Here is a call to worship that might be helpful in finding our way:


Call to worship

Called to be branches in Christ’s body,
we yearn to be connected to the vine.
Called to be mustard bushes offering shade to God’s creatures,
we search for places to plant the seeds of faith.
Called to be growing with God
in the midst of this world’s painful questions,
we seek God’s nurturing presence.

written by Katherine Hawker for the Union Church UCC of Tekonsha. Posted on Liturgy Outside.
 


This the last post in the present series, SUMMER.

If you have any suggestions for future monthly themes, let me know.

(The theme, WORK, is currently in the pipeline, for sometime after the holidays, including “In the school of prayer with Brother Lawrence”.)
 

Summer-friendly spiritual practices


‘Strangers you meet on the street can turn into good neighbours’  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Have you considered activities like meeting people, gardening, swimming and journaling as a spiritual practice?

 

Incidentally, this is the 150th Prayer Matters blog post. Thank you for sharing in the spiritual practice that is this blog.

 

Gretchen Champoux … on gardening

Gardening connects us to life’s natural rhythms, the gifts of each season, the wonder of creation and the natural world. For me, gardening and gratitude go hand in hand … I can’t help but experience the garden. When I do, I am pulled to the present moment so much so that I can paradoxically lose sense of time — especially if I’m digging away!

https://www.asacredjourney.net/
 

Sharon Salzberg … on swimming

I thought of meditation when Willow described her experience (swimming laps). When she slowed down and focused only on the movement and the effects it had on her body, she was able to let go of the doubts, fears, and comparisons in order to experience what the body presented to her at that moment. The experience of being buoyed along in the water, of her muscles moving through it, was a pure sensation of being alive, once she got her comparing mind out of the way.

https://onbeing.org
 

Austin Kleon … on journaling

When I write in my diary, I often try to start with Nicholson Baker’s advice:

If you ask yourself, ‘What’s the best thing that happened today?’ it actually forces a certain kind of cheerful retrospection that pulls up from the recent past things to write about that you wouldn’t otherwise think about. If you ask yourself, ‘What happened today?’ it’s very likely that you’re going to remember the worst thing, because you’ve had to deal with it – you’ve had to rush somewhere or somebody said something mean to you – that’s what you’re going to remember. But if you ask what the best thing is, it’s going to be some particular slant of light, or some wonderful expression somebody had, or some particularly delicious salad. I mean, you never know …

 
https://austinkleon.com
 


From the blog
Up to us – on the joys of a walking holiday
 

3 Prayers for Summer


A hot summer evening, Manchester inner city  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Another post in the “3 Prayers” series.

May these prayers prompt you to pray and help you remain vitally connected to God and his purposes for you this summer. And if 3 prayers are not enough, I’ve included links to more prayers on a summer theme below.

Note
I’m using the prayer, “Simple Gifts”, in the service this Sunday, with projected images to further enhance the impact of Bruce Prewer’s visual language.


Prayer for a summer day

Long warm days…
The pace of life slows…
A time for picnics and rest in the shade…

Lord,
help me to rest a while
in the cooling shade of your presence.

Slow down my restless heart
and fill me with gentle compassion
for all your people.

Amen.

From www.beliefnet.com – author unknown


Summer Heat

God, as the heat of summer intensifies, we pray for those without air conditioning or electricity, clean water, and health care.

For all of our neighbours in “survival mode”, give them the communities and resources to not only survive, but to thrive this summer.

And Lord, remind us to give you a drink when we see you thirsty.

Amen

from Sojourners website


Simple Gifts

The smell of the bush after some rain,
the desert in flower on a red plain,
the coming of sleep after much pain;
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The sound of waves along the shore,
the children’s laugher as they explore,
the promise of love for evermore:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The sight of black swans on a calm lake,
the taste of summer in a fruit cake,
travelling by faith after a mistake:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The scent of green grass from the cut lawn,
the pure-white blossom on a rough thorn,
the return of hope with a new dawn:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The fragrance of bread just freshly made,
the brimming cup sipped in the shade,
the pardon of debts never repaid:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

written by Bruce Prewer, in More Australian Psalms.
Copyright ©B.D. Prewer & Open Book Publishers.
Posted on Bruce Prewer’s website


 
XTRA XTRA XTRA

 

When hot and bothered


After a warm spell dried out curly willow leaves litter the grass  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

I was searching for something to share on a summer theme. The word “hot” led me to this prayer poem by Anita Munro.


Teach us where the bucket is

O God, we gather at your waters,
as a hot and bothered crowd gathers on the beach
on a sweltering, summer day.
O God, we drink at your fountain,
as a parched dog laps at the fresh,
running water of a bush creek.
O God, we await your refreshment,
as a tired worker watches for the change of shift.
Quench our thirst, satisfy our longings.
May we be refreshed and restored in you;
and teach us where to find the bucket and how to carry it
so that we might draw that water for those who most need it.

— written by Anita Monro and posted on the MAD-e-Lena blog.


Tip
Read Anita’s blog post for the story behind this prayer poem.


From the blog
Water world news
 

A prayer to the God of summer


A local cat, in a summer mood  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

When Nancy L. Agneberg mentioned A summer prayer by Joyce Rupp in a recent Monk in the World guest post on ‘Summer Spirituality’, I was intrigued. I managed to find the prayer in full on Nancy’s own blog, in a post dating back to 2015.

I commend both Joyce Rupp’s prayer and Nancy’s reflections, as you give God space and opportunity to minister to you through summer’s unique gifts and challenges.

 

A Summer Prayer

by Joyce Rupp

May you breathe in the beauty of summer
    with its power of transformation.
May this beauty permeate all that feels un-beautiful in you.

May the God of summer give us beauty.

May you seek and find spaces of repose
    during these summer months.
May these moments refresh and restore
    the tired places within you.

May the God of summer give us rest.

May you be open to times of celebration and recreation
    that are so much a part of summer.
May you find happiness in these times of play and leisure.

May the God of summer give us joy.

May your eyes see the wonders of summer’s colors.
May these colors delight you
    and entice you into contemplation and joy.

May the God of summer give us inner light.

May you feel energy of summer rains penetrating thirsty gardens,
    golf courses, lawns and farmlands.
May these rains remind you that your inner thirst needs quenching.
May your inner self be refreshed, restored, and renewed.

May the God of summer give us what we need for healing.

May you savor fresh produce that comes to your table
    and enjoy the fruits of summer’s bounty.

May the God of summer give us a sense of satisfaction
    in the works of our hands.

May you find shelter
    when the stormy skies of summer threaten your safety.

May the God of summer give us shelter
    when inner storms threaten our peace of mind and heart.

May you enjoy the unexpected and find surprises of beauty and
    happiness as you travel the roads on summer vacation.

May the God of summer lead us to amazing discoveries
    as we travel the inner roads of our soul as well.

 
from The Circle of Life, The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr

***

To learn more about Joyce Rupp, visit her website.
 


From the blog
The wells of salvation
From parched to satisfied

Singing creation’s song


Spring in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I’m currently embarked on a 100-day project to declutter my house, every nook and cranny. In one of the boxes I found some lyrics by Cara Taylor, then aged 14 (now all grown up and a mother of two). Cara’s song is entitled, Creation’s song, and is loosely based on Genesis 1.

The chorus is particularly evocative, depicting God singing creation into being:

I am singing, singing creation’s song
Breathing life upon this new-born world,
I’m shaping flowers and trees,
making rivers and seas,
I’m singing creation’s song

 


 
To accompany Cara’s lyrics, here is a “Liturgy of Creation” that picks up on this theme, and expands it to include more of God’s creative expressions.

Liturgy of Creation

(based on Genesis 1)

In the beginning, all was darkness
and God said, “let there be light,
and because God had said it,
there was light.

In the beginning, all was silence
and God sang the song of creation,
and because God sang,
all the stars and spheres vibrated to the music of God.

In the beginning, all was still
and God laughed,
and because God laughed,
the waters took up the roar and the ripple of it;
and ebbed and flowed and seeped and swirled
and delighted in the ways of its being.

In the beginning, all was dull
and God painted,
and because God painted,
the sky became blue, and purple, and pink,
and rainbows hung there.
The grass became green
and flowers and butterflies danced in the drips
and settled like jewels on the earth.

In the beginning, all was unconscious
and God breathed,
and because God breathed,
men and women woke up from their sleeping,
they breathed of the very life of God
and stood in wonder before the work of God’s hands.
They beheld the glory of God in all that God had made
and they saw that it was very good.

 
posted on the Third Space website.
 


Nature tales

While visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh in early spring, I had the privilege of having a robin perch on my knee.

I also spent a delightful few minutes watching a tiny bird with hardly any tail dart in and out of a tree with dangling fronds (a Betula Pendula ‘Tristis’), as it foraged, collecting titbits (animal? vegetable?), hopping, skipping, dangling and fluttering to keep its balance. Magnificent!
 

Flowers fall, but …


Camouflaged in tree pollen  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“For you have been born again,
not of perishable seed,
but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God.

For,

‘All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’

And this is the word that was preached to you.”

1 Peter 1:23-25 (NIVUK)
 


Affirmation of Faith

ALL: We believe in a word
that forms on the lips of the creator
and echoes in our souls:
a word that is LOVE.
MEN: We believe in a word
that breaks the silence of evil
and disturbs the noise of ignorance:
a word that is LOVE.
WOMEN: We believe in a word
that brings life out of death
and laughter with the morning:
a word that is LOVE.
MEN: We believe in a word
that tears up the darkness
flooding it with light:
a word that is LOVE.
WOMEN: We believe in a word
that speaks to all loneliness
with self-giving compassion and care:
a word that is LOVE.
ALL: We believe in a word
that speaks to our futures
calling us by name,
to trust anew,
and believe once more
in a word
called LOVE.

written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Jonny Baker Worship Tricks.
 


 
See also
To Emmaus and back
Hot-hearted in serving thee
 

Theme: Part of creation


A walk in nature with friends  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“Be always looking to God with thankfulness and worship for having placed you in such a beautiful corner of the universe as the planet Earth.”

(Jesse Brand)

 
This prayer sheet is inspired by the June 2018 theme of the month: Nature.

In these prayers we look to God to help us to be better stewards of this good and beautiful corner of his creation.

For personal use or to share.

Continue reading “Theme: Part of creation”