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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Come Alongside…

While the word paraclesis may be a new one for us, the concept has been with us for all our days as Christians. Jesus certainly shares enough examples himself (Zaccheus, woman at the well, etc.) and stories of those who come alongside others.

Here’s a little background on the word from the Paraclesis.org.uk website 

‘Paraclesis’ is inspired by and built around the Greek word ‘Paraklesis’: PARAKLESIS: ‘one who comes alongside’
In its various forms this word can be found over 140 times in the New Testament.

Wow. Over 140 times – guess we probably have seen/heard this.  🙂

In our lives today we have those same “walking alongside others” opportunities. In fact, our Sunday paper had this article about a way to accomplish this for virtually all of us.

Let us go out this day, walking alongside others as we work, enjoy and pray…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • Check out Paraclesis.org.uk website for ideas. Sadly for those of us in other areas, that program is only for those in the UK and Ireland, but we can still get some great ideas there!
  • consider having the “neighbors over,” whether your geographic neighbors, church community or a person you meet on the street?

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 10, 2019:

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For All the Saints…

The saints in our lives are numerous: those who have passed, those still with us and those we never knew except through writings, word of mouth and …

Here is the Shepherds-focused prayer from the Daily Prayer Audio webpage. Part of the focus for this 6 minute audio is to remember people in your early Christian development. Who were your important saints growing up?

ACTION: On this All Saints Day, pray for those saints in your life today, that they might feel strengthened and supported for efforts with you and so many others that their lives touch.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Lectionary Texts for All Saints Day, November 1, 2019:

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“Faith Fridays” – concluding remarks…

“Faith Fridays” in October have illuminated 4 faith definitions/commentary from Marcus Borg’s book Heart of Christianity: mental assent, commitment, buoyancy and seeing ‘what is.’

On the relational beliefs he says

“Seeing, living, trusting and centering are all related in complex ways. They are all matters of the heart, and not primarily of the head. And in our deaths, dying means trusting in the buoyancy of God, that the one who has carried us in this life is the one into whom we die.”

~ Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity, p. 37

In his book, Borg shares the head and heart approaches to belief in wonderful ways. May this help us all as we continue our belief journeys!

In the context of all this belief commentary and thinking, this quote showed itself and seemed worth sharing here

“What would become of us if we did not obstinately cling to hope, and if our minds did not hasten along the paths lit up for us by God’s Word and Spirit right through the darkness, beyond this world?” ~ John Calvin as quoted in At the End, the Beginning, p. 90

Calvin’s quote could take us clinging to a life preserver – buoyancy. To life-giving lightness. To obstinate commitment. To minds hastening to understand.

May our hope be as “faith on tiptoe.” (attributed to C. F. D. Moule)


Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


ACTIVITY: Did one type of belief resonate more than another? Care to share thoughts with the CP community? If so, email salong_now@yahoo.com…


NOTE: these quotes and comments are ‘just a shaving of taste from the major fruit’ that Borg shares in the book. If you’d like more on this, please consider buying the book… 🙂

This focus on the book The Heart of Christianity is inspired by our friend, Dean, one of the “hole-in-the-wall gang” (leftmost in picture)

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 3, 2019:

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Life-giving and nourishing opportunities on this “Faith Friday”…

“Faith Fridays” with commentary from Marcus Borg’s book Heart of Christianity, continues this week with another “relational belief,” Faith as Visio.

“In particular, this is faith as a way of seeing the whole, a way of seeing ‘what is.’ “

~ Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity, p. 34

Borg credits H. Richard Niebuhr for the germ of this understanding and the importance of shaping how we respond to life based on how we see “what is.”

Borg describes three ways of seeing the whole: 1) hostile and threatening, 2) indifferent and 3) life-giving and nourishing. He goes on to describe benefits for those with life-giving and nourishing “what is” perspectives including this line

“It generates a ‘willingness to spend and be spent’ for the sake of a vision that goes beyond ourselves.”  ~ Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity, p. 35

Borg mentions that fiducia and visio are closely related: “What it (visio) adds, though, is that how we see reality and our ability to trust are connected to each other.”

A MINUTE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: On this day, how do you see the whole? Hostile and threatening? Indifferent? Life-giving and nourishing?

God, on this day, help us to shape our vision of “what is” based on praise for your Creation in the midst of some mighty challenges to our faith at times. Amen.


Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


NOTE: these quotes and comments are ‘just a shaving of taste from the major fruit’ that Borg shares in the book. If you’d like more on this, please consider buying the book… 🙂

This focus on the book The Heart of Christianity is inspired by our friend, Dean, one of the “hole-in-the-wall gang” (leftmost in picture)

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 27, 2019:

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Walking backward…

Walking backward. Hmmm… Brings Michael Jackson to mind with the Moonwalk (HERE.) And Abraham Lincoln as a young man walking back about half a mile (though probably not backwards) to help a pig.

This story from Our Daily Bread highlights another famous person with a different type of walking backward. The full article is well worth the read. This quote from the article

“A life that runs counter to the norm is inevitable for those who would truly imitate Jesus.”

is a good reminder for those of us who sometimes feel compelled to act just like everyone else when deep-down it just doesn’t feel right.

Sometimes it is just plain necessary to do some walking backwards…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

The “Jesus Christ lizard” appears to walk on water (but, alas, not backwards…)


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 27, 2019:

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Will You Come And Follow Me…

Commitment. We read about it on Faith Friday and the song “Will You Come and Follow Me” does a nice job of expressing in Celtic style what is involved. A version of the song is HERE.

The Summons is another naming of this song and to learn more about the song’s roots, click HERE. Heeding these words from the song allows some of the justice and radical centeredness in God to come through in our lives.

POSSIBLE ACTION: experience the song using the YouTube link above. While doing so, notice the various ways the song moves you in lyrics, melody, voices, daffodils, ‘strolling the lane’ and more. Allow yourself a few moments afterwards to let it soak in fully.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 20, 2019:

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Commitment on this “Faith Friday”…

We continue “Faith Fridays” using commentary from Marcus Borg’s book Heart of Christianity. We continue “relational beliefs” this week with fidelitas.

“Faith as fidelity means loyalty, allegiance, the commitment of the self at its deepest level, the commitment of the ‘heart.’ ”

~ Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity, p. 32

This commitment and allegiance seems mighty hard at times. A few years back a small group of us started work on centering prayer. The idea of spending 30 minutes in prayer on a daily basis is a mighty big commitment. Still seems that way, though it’s nice to have goals…  🙂

Attentiveness. That’s where Borg takes us on this faithfulness journey. Now THAT most of us can handle! 🙂 He says

“We are attentive through the simple means of worship, prayer, practice and a life of compassion and justice. To be faithful to God means not only to love God, but to love that which God loves – namely, the neighbor, and indeed the whole of creation.” ~ Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity, p. 33-34

ACTIVITY: What are ways you can show fidelity faith on this day? Time to do it !!?!!


Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


NOTE: these quotes and comments are ‘just a shaving of taste from the major fruit’ that Borg shares in the book. If you’d like more on this, please consider buying the book… 🙂

This focus on the book The Heart of Christianity is inspired by our friend, Dean, one of the “hole-in-the-wall gang” (leftmost in picture)

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 20, 2019:

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