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”.)
 

Wilderness woes


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)
 

While searching for ‘dry wilderness’ on my go-to online prayer resource – the treasure trove, re-worship.blogspot.com – I found this call to worship by Rev. Nathan Decker.

It is inspired by Isaiah 35 and recognizes both the reality and pain of the wilderness experience and our sustaining hope in God for a life beyond the wilderness.

 

Call to Worship

(inspired by Isaiah 35: 1-10)

Too long have we walked this dry desert wilderness
    searching for salvation.
 
We’ve drunk the cup of sorrow,
burned our feet upon the sands of misery,
and watched as our children were devoured
    by jackals, lions, and beasts.

 
“Be Strong! Do not fear! Here is our God!
God will come and save you!”
Today, we walk in the Holy Way,
    the highway of the wise!
 
Where the lame leap as deer!
Where grateful blind eyes see colors!

 
And the speechless sing out to our merciful Lord!
Blessed be the Lord our God!
 
Praise the Lord, O Zion!

 
written by the Rev. Nathan Decker, and posted on the Discipleship Ministries website of the United Methodist Church in the US.


Tips on searching re-worship blog

The search box on the website is very powerful. Type in a string of keywords to find posts that contain all the words you’ve specified. To exclude words like ‘index’ or ‘resource’ (handy lists of posts arranged by type or theme), add -[keyword] to the search box, e.g. -index -resource, and those posts will be filtered out.

Also check out Christine Longhurst’s tips on How to use the re:worship blog.
 


From the Prayer Matters blog:
also see Call of the wild ones and Wild animal praise

A very present help in trouble


“More fear” billboard, Amsterdam (Photo: Irene Bom)

The theme of the month for September is “Refuge”. For the first post in this series I’ve selected a Call to Worship by Joanna Haradar posted on the Spacious Faith website in 2013, inspired by Psalm 46. The words could have been written yesterday.

Call to Worship

inspired by Psalm 46

The earth shakes, the mountains quake
  — tempting our hearts to fear.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Storms rage, winds swirl
  — destroying schools, hospitals, homes.
Still, God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Violence comes to light in our communities
and violence continues around the world
  — causing us to wonder if our prayers for peace are futile.
Yet God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

For those mourning and rebuilding after the storms,
God is their refuge.
For those living in fear of their neighbours,
God is present.
For the distraught and displaced and dismembered
in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere,
God is a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear.
Therefore, we will lay down our weapons
and worship our God.


In case you were curious about the last line, in her blogpost Joanna Haradar writes:

*A note on the last line of the call to worship: Psalm 46:10 is generally translated as, “Be still and know that I am God.” The Hebrew term translated as “be still” (raphah) more accurately means “let drop, let go, abandon.” It is a call for disarmament, not a request for silent meditation.