Who do you work for?


Cooking/social event with my work colleagues  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
This November I celebrate ten years as a Church of Scotland minister of word and sacrament. It’s a significant part of my life, but so is my work as a software developer.

I’m following in the footsteps of the apostle Paul who supported himself and his team by earning his keep as a tentmaker.

Not only did tentmaking provide an income, it also gave Paul a unique opportunity to interact with people at all levels of society: customers like the well-to-do and the military, his suppliers, other market stallholders as well as the general public. During his lunch break Paul would preach to whoever was willing to listen. Moving from city to city, marketplace to marketplace, the seeds of the gospel were sown and the church grew.
 


For reflection

In one of his letters Paul gives us a clue to his motivation when he writes, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Col 3:23-24)

How might God use us, with our gifts and connections, to serve him in the workplace? Or, to quote Nick Abraham, how do we “grace” our workplace and “represent the gospel well”?
 


Digging deeper: God’s perspective on work

Website: https://www.theologyofwork.org
Biblical reflections on work: Labor Day is …
Blog post by Nick Abraham: 5 Ways to Grace Your Workplace
 


23rd Psalm for the Workplace

The Lord is my boss, and I shall not want.

He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray
and do all things without murmuring and complaining.
He reminds me that he is my source and not my job.

He restores my sanity every day and guides my decisions,
that I might honour him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of emails,
system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks,
gossiping co-workers, discriminating supervisors,
and an aging body that doesn’t cooperate every morning,
I still will not stop…..for He is with me!
His presence, His peace, and His power will see me through.

He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me.
He claims me as His own,
even when the company threatens to let me go.
His faithfulness and love are better than any bonus check.
His retirement plan beats every 401K* there is!

And, when it’s all said and done,
I’ll be working for Him a whole lot longer…..
and for that, I BLESS HIS NAME!!!

from re-worship.blogspot.com

* 401K: U.S. retirement savings plan


From the blog || Psalm 23 in different guises
Theme: Spurred on by prayer (PRAYER SHEET)
Quiet near a little stream

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

HW18 #2: He suffered criticism


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

 
Mark 14:3-9
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

 

 
Psalm 22:7
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.

 
Romans 8:1
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,


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 #1: He suffered scheming


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

 
Mark 14:1-2
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

 
Psalm 22:6
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.

 
1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.


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
 

Wild hope #2


Shaped by the wind  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I wonder: What is the relationship between hope and waiting? Maybe Psalm 130 can give us some clues.

Psalm 130 features on a CD called Send us a Friend that I made with Friends and Neighbours in 2013. The song is called “My soul waits for the Lord”. It’s in English and in Dutch. I’ve included a link below.

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

1  Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2  Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3  If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5  I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6  I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7  Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8  He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.


My soul waits for the Lord

My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning
Watchmen for the morning
My soul waits for the Lord.
For with Him there is mercy.
Hope in Him.

Mijn ziel wacht op de Heer
meer dan wachters op de morgen
Wachters op de morgen
Mijn ziel wacht op de Heer
Want bij Hem is genade
Altijd weer.

 
Backstory

The Dutch verse came first. It was surprisingly easy to translate into English – all except for the last line, “Altijd weer”.

“Altijd weer” means “every time again – when and as you need God’s mercy”. There’s no 3-syllable way of saying that in English, so eventually I chose “Hope in Him.”


See also Wild hope #1

 

Wild animal praise


Sebastião Salgado exhibit, Rotterdam 2017 (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

This post combines a contemporary take on Psalm 148, written for a “blessing of the animals” service, and the work of Sebastião Salgado, the world-renowned Brazilian photographer, whose exhibition I visited last summer.


Circle of Praise

(inspired by Psalm 148)

All dogs and cats, large and small:
Praise the Lord!
All rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs:
Praise the Lord!
All goldfish, guppies, and swimming creatures:
Praise the Lord!
All robins, wrens, and singing birds:
Praise the Lord!
All racoons, squirrels, and deer:
Praise the Lord!
All horses, cows, and sheep:
Praise the Lord!
All lizards, snakes and creeping things:
Praise the Lord!
Every animal in the sky, the sea, and the forest:
Praise the Lord!

~ from “Blessing of the Animals” on the Web of Creation website and sourced from https://re-worship.blogspot.com/


Extra

1. The Story of Creation for Child-Like Hearts, an intergenerational story of creation (Genesis 1-2) told in gestures and words, from the Kairos Canada website.

2. More about the Sebastião Salgado Genesis exhibition (15 June to 22 October 2017 in Rotterdam).

3. The trailer for the film “The Salt of the Earth” that filmmaker Wim Wenders made with Salgado. It’s a beautiful testimony to how reconnecting with nature can restore our souls.

4. TED-talk, ‘The Silent Drama of Photography’, given by Salgado in 2013.

From a grateful heart


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

A Prayer

based on Psalm 103:1-5

Come!
Come praise the eternal God!
Let all that is within us —
body, emotions, mind, and will —
praise God’s holy name!

Despite our failures, He forgives and releases us.
More than any doctor, He heals our diseases.
When we are famished and weak,
He fills us with good and beautiful things,
satisfying our needs,
and restoring our strength.

So come!
Come, praise the eternal God!
Sing songs from a grateful heart,
and remember all that He has done for us.

source: https://re-worship.blogspot.nl


What songs of praise and thanksgiving is your heart dying to sing today? Sing away.


See also Forgiven and forgotten