Angels From the Realms of Glory…

About two centuries ago, James Montgomery penned the words to the song Angels From the Realms of Glory. You can see much more about this song (and its author) HEREThis YouTube link has King’s College Choir of Cambridge singing this song.

The word “Angel” reminds many of us of that famous angel…. Clarence from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” Here’s the initial meeting of Clarence and George and here’s the wonderful ending, including the lines “Please God, I want to live again” and “Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets His Wings.”

POSSIBLE ACTIONS:

  • Can you enjoy a little ‘wisdom of Clarence’ from someone in your life?  [If you hear a bell ring maybe that person has earned their wings?]
  • Is there an opportunity today for you to be a little angelic by “listening for” someone who may be a little troubled or discombobulated, the way Clarence listened for George in the movie?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, December 8, 2019:


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Music of the Season…

I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world. ~ Norman Vincent Peale, pastor and author

During this Advent season, Christian Playbook will be highlighting a variety of Christmas songs. May each bring some of the joy, happiness and peace that Rev. Peale mentions…

Want a song to review and/or sing today? Check the history and commentary of the song Star-Child HERE  and listen to an arrangement HERE

POSSIBLE ACTIONS:

  • Have time today to listen to some Christmas songs? Check out this Youtube site link – no sign up necessary – to listen to some favorite songs
  • If you have additional songs to suggest, please “comment” below and we’ll consider adding those

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, December 8, 2019:


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The Way of Justice…

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. ~ Isaiah 11:9 

Lectio divina is an effective reading/studying approach at any time of year. This link shares “how to” details. As we enter Advent, Pamela C. Hawkins encourages lectio divina using the Isaiah passage.

What is this text saying to you this day about justice? Are there stirrings in you that this reading prompts?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, December 8, 2019:


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Thanksgiving…

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…” ~ proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, written by William Seward

Worldwide there are varied observances of Thanksgiving, be it for a day, an hour, a season. In the United States, this celebration has been regional early in the union and made national in 1863. THIS ARTICLE describes more detail of the establishment of the U.S. holiday. 

For those in the U.S., we get extra opportunity for celebration with days off, gatherings, etc.. For those in the U.S. and elsewhere, let us praise God for this day and every day, whether we feel like it or not!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, December 1, 2019:


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Way of Peace…

In the book Prepare the Way, Pamela C. Hawkins encourages reading several of the Lectionary passages as though reading them for the first time. We read these words of Isaiah

“nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!” ~ Isaiah 2:4c-5

How do we learn war in these days? Certainly history books provide one source. For that matter, our media today shows “wars” of varying types: psychological warfare, bombings of countries, extremist groups warring, conflicts between people and the list goes on. Children of all ages learn by example.

POSSIBLE ACTIONS

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, December 1, 2019:


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Somebody to Love…

One of “the firsts” that Pastor Roger mentioned from our older son’s wedding was held out for purposes of today’s post. Roger mentioned that this wedding was the first time the bride came down the aisle to the song ‘Somebody to Love’.

The website Songfacts.com says this about the song Somebody to Love:

“Freddie Mercury wrote this. The lyrics reflect a man calling out to God, asking why he works so hard, but can’t find love. At the end of the song, he finds hope and decides he will not accept defeat.” ~ Songfacts.com

Pastor Roger went on to talk about parallels between the song and one or more of the Psalms. I didn’t commit the Psalm reference to memory, but maybe Pastor Roger was referencing this one?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. ~ Psalm 107:1-7

At times, most of us experience feeling as though we’re wandering in the desert. For our family, we are thankful that our son has found somebody who loves him (and he loves,) the way the Psalmist and Freddie Mercury wrote.

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, may each of us become more cognizant of our blessings, including the loves in our lives.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 24, 2019:


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Crutches…

Two years ago, a wonderful daughter came into our family through marriage. It was a blessed day in many ways, including the positive, wise presence of Pastor Roger.

In addition to lightening the mood with several observations – most kilts ever in a wedding he’s done; never a groom with a big brace on his knee; etc. – he brought a wonderful message to the couple (and to all of us.) Using the fact that the groom was using a cane, Pastor Roger shared commentary about using critical “crutches” in life: a significant other, the cloud of witnesses in your community and especially God.

Pastor Roger reminded the happy couple that: 1) God wants to help you and support you as individuals and as a couple and 2) God wants honest conversation with you and from you.

A good message for us all! 🙂

POSSIBLE ACTIONS:

  • enjoy some honest conversation with God in a comfortable setting
  • think of someone who has been a critical crutch for you in the past few months and contact them to thank them via phone, note, text or …

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 24, 2019:

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Welcoming Prayer…

When starting our days, this Welcoming Prayer by Father Thomas Keating can be an effective prayer approach, helping us to loosen our control urges.

Many of the Welcoming Prayer lines resonate, among them “I open to the love and presence of God and God’s action within.” This line spurs thoughts of the Footprints story (and song) and the comfort this visual and music provides. If you haven’t seen this story or heard the song before, or reviewed it in a while, maybe today is the day?

ACTION: On this day, say aloud the Welcoming Prayer. Periodically through the day, utter the word “Welcome” as a reminder to loosen your grip just a little bit. If it helps, visualize the single set of Footprints in the Sand as our God walks with us and stirs within us…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. …  she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought. (Wisdom of Solomon 6:12, 16)

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 17, 2019:

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Veterans – of war and of peace…

On Veteran’s Day, it’s our CP tradition to review pictures of family veterans in uniform…

 

Does one look a little “out of place?”

My brother Andy was stationed in the country of Togo, West Africa in the Peace Corps in the mid/late 1980s. When he went off to do his service I was not sure what he was up to and the value of the experience. Over thirty years later, I GET IT! He and so many other veterans have shared the love of the American people worldwide by “working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation” ~ (taken from the Peace Corps mission statement)

Isaiah 2:4 mentions “beating our swords into plowshares.” In Togo, they did that quite literally by instructing the people to plow with oxen (in addition to teaching them math, English and engaging in many other worthwhile activities!) Whatever the role, it is tough work for the Peace Corps volunteer and the people in-country they work with daily. The result? Even 20 years later, these Peace Corps volunteers are recognized and welcomed with open arms (I had the pleasure of experiencing these greetings first-hand in 2009 – – many Togolese thought I was my brother! )

We are blessed to have people willing to serve in such ways in the Peace Corps.

Could I say a lot about the blessing of what our military personnel have done for us, including my Uncles Fred and Jack (pictured above?) Absolutely, but I’m betting you’ll read a lot more about military folks like them in the popular press today so I’ll leave it here.

ACTION: Let’s honor and remember our veterans today in one or more ways such as

  • trip to a park or cemetery where a veteran’s memorial exists
  • attending area events honoring veterans – men, women and more (animals in K9 corps and others)
  • watching a show in a war setting
  • watching videos of Peace Corps volunteers sharing experiences HERE

PRAYER: God, we are blessed to have military veterans and currently-serving personnel who hopefully ultimately have made and are making our world a more peaceful place. We are equally blessed to have Peace Corps veterans and volunteers working for a more peaceful world. We remember and honor their efforts and sacrifices for such peaceful long-term priorities. Strengthen and support all of them – and us – in our roles of becoming better peace-makers worldwide! Amen.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 17, 2019:

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Busy Advent Season Ahead?… Prepare!

It seems a long ways off, yet Advent 2019 begins just 3 weeks from this Sunday. No, I’m not trying to hurry along to that season – the retail stores will do that for us soon enough!

So why mention it now?

During Advent 2019, the Christian Playbook will be periodically implementing some ideas from Pamela C. Hawkins’ book PREPARE THE WAY: Cultivating a Heart for God in Advent. This little guide includes practices like reflection, prayer, sacred reading, Christian actions and more. Sounds a lot like the Christian Playbook plays, doesn’t it?

No need to purchase this little book to be part of the Christian Playbook experience with the related postings. However, it seemed worth mentioning in case you are interested in spending extra time with her book by making the purchase. My guess is that reading her materials will allow us to experience an even more intensive, joy-filled journey (Michael Card reference here…)

ACTION: This weekend, consider spending a little time with the word “Joy.” Go to a quiet place and reflect on this word, letting it sift through your thoughts and over your experiences to contemplate what meaning it has in your life with God and your life with others [NOTE: this activity is mentioned in another of Hawkins’ books: Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent p.12]

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 10, 2019:

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