Advent 2020 Begins…

In Preparing for Christmas, Richard Rohr mentions the Advent mantra “Come Lord Jesus.” In today’s commentary he shares:

“Advent is, above all else, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of consciousness.”

~ Richard Rohr in Preparing for Christmas p. 2

Wow – that is a lofty goal with a mighty high cost. The ‘ol statement – “be careful for what you wish for, you just might get it” comes to mind.

The song “O come, O come, Emmanuel” seems appropriate for this message. Did you realize there are at least 7 verses of that song? As we begin this Advent season, this verse seems to fit today’s theme:

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things, far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go

~ O Come, O Come Emmanuel (verse 7)

ADVENT PRACTICE: Though frequently a Lenten practice, perhaps this Advent season will allow us to increase our consciousness by giving up some usual activity (making time for more consciousness) and/or taking up an Advent practice?  COME, LORD JESUS…

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 29, 2020:


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It Is Well With My Soul…

Our song focus for today is It Is Well With My Soul. The background is effectively told in this 3.5 minute video combining the song and history highlights.

Facing deep losses of family life and finance, Horatio Spafford is still able to pen “it is well with my soul.”  Impressive!

Innovative musical contributions are Silver Linings from online service efforts due to the dark clouds of COVID-19. Check out this “trombone quartet” version (HERE) of It Is Well With My Soul, done by Kirk Kolenbrander. Well done, Kirk!

PRAYER: Creator, we adore you and are astounded by the creativity in spite of loss and other dark clouds. May we, like others before us, look at challenges with an “it is well with my soul” attitude. Stir in us the creativity to share with others the joys of music, understanding, peace and more in these hectic days. Amen

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 29, 2020:


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Love…no exceptions

“Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.”  ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

WOW! Dostoyevsky describes a mighty tall order.

In THIS 2018 “Seeing with God’s Eyes”  devotional, Richard Rohr shares some really nice commentary. Take a little time to savor this article if possible.

St. Timothy’s Episcopal church in Anderson Township (Cincinnati) has an electronic sign. On it they periodically show visuals of all varieties of people with a “No Exceptions” message about God’s love. What a great reminder to us in our daily actions to be sharing God’s love with no exceptions! Who will be the recipient(s) of your loving gestures today in ways you wouldn’t ordinarily think to show that love?

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 22, 2020:


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Wisdom of Solomon …

Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate. To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because 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

WOW – – a second reading of the passage is attention-grabbing. Rise early. Seek freely. Be vigilant. Remain available.

Do you ever remember reading this passage? For many of us, the book Wisdom of Solomon will be foreign – it’s from the Apocrypha, which since the 19th century does not usually show up in Protestant Bibles. A 1-pager on the topic (HERE) includes this commentary:

“Like the “begats” in the Bible, some of the hidden books would put almost anyone to sleep. Others will keep you on the edge of your seat.”     ~ James L. Crenshaw

As you see Wisdom of Solomon and other Apocrypha books show up in the Lectionary listings in the weeks ahead, maybe this will prompt the reading of a few lines? If so, maybe you’ll end up with edge-of-your-seat experience … or a solution for insomnia? 🙂

POSSIBLE ACTIONS: In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, may we rise early; seek freely; be vigilant; remain available.

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 22, 2020:


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When God Made Me…

Recognizing “synchronicity moments” can be a tremendous blessing. My brother, Andy, recently shared one of these times in his life.

He had a soothing dream of a sea turtle and eagle coming together at the sea’s surface – “it was the most peace I’ve had in memory.” That moment came back during his listening to the Neil Young song “When God Made Me” (you can hear Neil backed by the Fisk University Jubilee Singers HERE 😉  Andy specifically mentions appreciating this rendition with Neil’s shaking voice backed by the Jubilee singers.

Good lyrics can be a song’s foundation and its flourishes. Check out these opening lines [full lyrics HERE,] including the “every living thing” line that perhaps was a contribution to the sense of synchronicity?

Was he thinkin’ about my country
Or the color of my skin?
Was he thinkin’ ’bout my religion
And the way I worshiped him?
Did he create just me in his image
Or every living thing?

POSSIBLE ACTION: Give this full tune a listen at your leisure. Close  your eyes. Maybe you’ll see the sea turtle and eagle, or another wonderful visual of our Creator and the wonders of this earth?

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 22, 2020:


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Love Your Enemies…

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.     

~ Matthew 5:43–45

This CAC post (HERE) tackles the difficult subject of Love Your Enemies by taking full advantage of thoughts by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. The challenges with hatred in our world today, over 50 years after his death, are still substantial. We need only look at the recent election campaigns in the United States to see that.

The words Dr. King Jr. used are powerful. The difficulty of living out the Matthew 5:43-45 words is made clear, including this commentary on action:

“When Jesus bids us to love our enemies, … he is speaking of agape, understanding and creative, redemptive goodwill for all people. Only by following this way and responding with this type of love are we able to be children of our Father who is in Heaven.”   ~ Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

ACTION: How would you approach answering this question Richard poses: “What would it mean to seek to embody love as ‘creative, redemptive goodwill’ on behalf of all living things?”   Anything come to your mind as an immediate action you can take along these lines?

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 15, 2020:


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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 15, 2020:


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Hymn of Promise…

Music is a Christian Playbook focus topic. Today’s selection, Hymn of Promise (listen HERE), has a wonderful message for any season. Many find that it is especially meaningful and consider using it in end of life gatherings.

As you listen to the music, find a word or phrase that resonates with you. Focus on that word/phrase during your day ahead, enjoying the message with the music!

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • Think of songs you might want played at your celebration of a lifetime. Have you shared such wishes with loved ones so they know your desires?
  • Have a favorite song you’d recommend CP include in future posts? If so, please comment below

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 8, 2020:


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Preparing for Advent. Really, already?

It seems a long ways off, yet Advent 2020 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!

So why mention it now?

During Advent 2020, the Christian Playbook will be periodically implementing some thoughts from Richard Rohr’s Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent. We have enjoyed many of Rohr’s blog commentaries so this seems appropriate.

No requirement to purchase this little book to be part of the Christian Playbook activities with the related postings. However, it may heighten the experience so letting readers know in advance helps in the preparation.

ACTION: In the days ahead, check your bookshelves for Advent materials you have particularly enjoyed. Or, check out some materials with an internet search in case something seems just right for the upcoming season?

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 8, 2020:


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Election Day Prayer…

Think you’ve already seen this one? You have – it was inadvertently sent ahead of schedule…  [ Maybe that was to honor the early vote?  🙂  ]

On this Election Day, the Book of Common Worship online edition HERE contains this prayer, “At the Time of an Election:”

Under your law we live, great God, and by your will we govern ourselves. Help us as good citizens to respect neighbors whose views differ from ours, so that without partisan anger, we may work out issues that divide us, and elect candidates to serve the common welfare; through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen. 

~ Book of Common Worship:  Prayers for the National Life p. 817

Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit!

P.S. Another pertinent prayer HERE – “During a National Crisis” – is on page 818.


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 8, 2020:


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