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”.


 

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”.)
 

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
 

Ask the animals


Pigeon talk in Malta  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

But ask the animals what they think —
     let them teach you;
     let the birds tell you what’s going on.
Put your ear to the earth —
     learn the basics.
Listen —
     the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
     that God is sovereign,
     that he holds all things in his hand —
Every living soul, yes,
     every breathing creature?

 

Job 12:7-10 (The Message)

 


Extras

 

Full of air

 

I’ve had Gunilla Norris’s book, Becoming Bread, on my bookshelf for years. Paging through it – the first time in years – I found this meditation inspired by the rising process where the yeast “breathes out” carbon dioxide that is trapped in the dough, expanding and so transforming it.

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and hid in a large tub of flour until it made all the dough rise.” (Matt 13:33b, NCV)

Rising

Here in the bowl
is warmth and time to rest.
The dough is set apart and covered.

Here in the bowl
the rising starts
and creeps up the sides

reaching into time,
into space … into possibility.
Dreams are like this,

full of air,
going ahead of us,
want to take us

beyond the rim
of our horizon,
wanting to lift us out

of where we are.
Dreams are like this … unfolding
a moment at a time,

expanding us, breathing us,
demanding something new,
wanting to take shape.

This is also dangerous
for there are dark dreams, terrible
dreams. And the ones where

love asks the impossible from us.
Can this be the restlessness
of God? Are we being dreamed?

 
from Becoming Bread by Gunilla Norris, p. 45-46
 

In a new light


Foto Museum, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Prayer

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

As the light from that first Easter sunrise streams from its distant horizon into our own life and time, we feel its touch, its warmth, its glow; and we draw from its energy, and we begin to see the world around us in a new light. In the light of your love.

So help us to walk in this light, in your light … May our actions be in step with our beliefs. May we walk the talk. May we keep no dark secrets, nor hide anything away – especially not the light you now place within our hearts.

Help us, too, to reach out in the light of love to others: to those who still walk in darkness; to those who live in the shadows of poverty and injustice; and to those who need help to see the Way.

Light up our life, Lord,
that we may shine like stars,
in brilliance,
in wonder,
but most of all, in love.
Amen

 
by Brian Draper
posted on the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website.
 

HW18 #6: He suffered abandonment


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

 
Mark 14:50
Then everyone deserted him and fled.

 

 
Psalm 22:11
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

 
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.


Prayer for Holy Week

Jesus said,
“Can you be baptised with the baptism I must be baptised with?”

Lord, we seek to feel your sadness,
we seek to share your tears.

O Christ, help us to become one with you.
In your defenceless love,
    teach us the grace of self-offering.
In your weakness,
    teach us the grace of acceptance.
In your betrayal,
    teach us the grace of forgiveness.
In your testings,
    teach us the grace of believing.

source: Prayer Rhythms: Fourfold patterns for each day (The Celtic Prayer Book, Volume One), by Ray Simpson, p. 288
 

HW18 #5: He suffered treachery


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

 
Mark 14:43-45
Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.

 

 
Psalm 22:12-13
Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.

 
2 Timothy 4:11
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Prayer for Holy Week

Jesus said,
“Can you be baptised with the baptism I must be baptised with?”

Lord, we seek to feel your sadness,
we seek to share your tears.

O Christ, help us to become one with you.
In your defenceless love,
    teach us the grace of self-offering.
In your weakness,
    teach us the grace of acceptance.
In your betrayal,
    teach us the grace of forgiveness.
In your testings,
    teach us the grace of believing.

source: Prayer Rhythms: Fourfold patterns for each day (The Celtic Prayer Book, Volume One), by Ray Simpson, p. 288


From the blog: 2017 Windows on Holy Week
(with photos of the Holy Land by Kate McDonald)

HW18 #4: He suffered anguish


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

 
Mark 14:32-42
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

 

 
Psalm 22:2
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

 
John 16:20-22
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.


Prayer for Holy Week

Jesus said,
“Can you be baptised with the baptism I must be baptised with?”

Lord, we seek to feel your sadness,
we seek to share your tears.

O Christ, help us to become one with you.
In your defenceless love,
    teach us the grace of self-offering.
In your weakness,
    teach us the grace of acceptance.
In your betrayal,
    teach us the grace of forgiveness.
In your testings,
    teach us the grace of believing.

source: Prayer Rhythms: Fourfold patterns for each day (The Celtic Prayer Book, Volume One), by Ray Simpson, p. 288


From the blog: 2017 Windows on Holy Week
(with photos of the Holy Land by Kate McDonald)

HW18 #3: He suffered collusion


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

 
Mark 14:10-11
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

 

 
Psalm 22:16
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.

 
Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers.


Prayer for Holy Week

Jesus said,
“Can you be baptised with the baptism I must be baptised with?”

Lord, we seek to feel your sadness,
we seek to share your tears.

O Christ, help us to become one with you.
In your defenceless love,
    teach us the grace of self-offering.
In your weakness,
    teach us the grace of acceptance.
In your betrayal,
    teach us the grace of forgiveness.
In your testings,
    teach us the grace of believing.

source: Prayer Rhythms: Fourfold patterns for each day (The Celtic Prayer Book, Volume One), by Ray Simpson, p. 288