May the Peace of the Lord Christ Go With You…


In her book Prepare the Way, Pamela C. Hawkins encourages reading several of the Lectionary passages as though reading them for the first time. The focus for this first week of Advent is PEACE.

The song May the Peace of the Lord Christ Go With You by the Northumbria Community touches effectively on the PEACE topic for week 1 of Advent. You can hear it shared HERE from Celtic Daily Prayer (with more details on the community and purchasing copies of their materials HERE)

These song lyrics dealing with wilderness moments and rejoicing particularly tie into peace

“… May he guide you through the wilderness protect you through the storm. May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you…” (full lyrics HERE)

PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES

  • What intercessory prayer topics relating to wilderness moments are you and loved ones facing? Consider lighting a candle or some other action-oriented behavior while saying a prayer about such wilderness journeys
  • What gratitude prayer items relating to the wonders God has shown you bubble up in your mind? Is there a way to share that praise in song or other action?

May the experience of this Advent season help each of us towards peace. Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 27, 2022:



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Study War No More…


In her 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

Reading this passage as though for the first time, what “jumps out” at you?

The idea of learning war is eye-catching and thought-provoking. How do we learn war in these days? History books, including the Bible, provide sources. Our media – especially social media – illustrate “wars” of varying types: psychological warfare, bombings of countries, extremist groups warring, nasty conflicts between people (even in church settings!) and the list goes on. Children of all ages learn by example.

Are there actions you can take to “neither shall they learn war any more?” Is this something that can be put into action during this Advent season?

MUSICAL OPPORTUNITY  “Study war no more” is a phrase in the song Down By the Riverside, an early 1800s spiritual. An energizing version of this song is this rendition by The Fisk University Jubilee Singers (HERE) 

May the experience of this Advent season help each of us towards peace. Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 27, 2022:



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Readying for Advent 2022…


Are you ready for Advent?

November 27th is the first Sunday in Advent. Perhaps having the Christmas items out immediately after Thanksgiving this year isn’t so early (though we know virtually EVERY retailer already has them out!) 😮

Advent provides yet another season with opportunities to love as God loves us. Whether using Lectionary verses or another devotional resource, this time of year offers wonderful chances for Christian study and action.

Perhaps this year you’ll want to follow along with some Christian Playbook posts based on the book Prepare the Way by Pamela C. Hawkins? Here’s a sampling from the back cover of that resource:

“Pamela Hawkins invites you to make room in your heart for the coming of Christ. Skillfully and tenderly she  guides you through four weeks of prayer, reflection, and action centered on these themes: peace, justice, fearlessness, and faithfulness.”

No need to read along with the book, but it just may enhance the Advent experience… CP will be starting on those posts beginning next Monday (since that’s the week leading up to the first Sunday in Advent!)

POSSIBLE ACTION: Consider making plans to enjoy regular reading of your Bible, Prepare the Way or another devotional resource during Advent.

May the experience of this Advent season – including the reading, thinking and acting ahead – help each of us towards “peace, justice, fearlessness, and faithfulness.”  Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 20, 2022:



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Welcoming Prayer…


When starting our days, this Welcoming Prayer by Father Thomas Keating (HERE) 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 (HERE) and the comfort this visual and story provides. If you haven’t seen this story 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 carries us and stirs within us…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 20, 2022:



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Veteran’s Day traditional posting…


On Veteran’s Day, it’s a 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 13, 2022:



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Rough Seas_Islands…It Is Well With My Soul…


Did you enjoy the last CP posting?** What a pleasure to think about our own safe harbors and who we might be an island for in the days ahead!

Sticking with that nautical theme, the song It Is Well With My Soul comes to mind, a comforting tune for many. The background of the song and its author is effectively told in this 5 minute video. The lyrics make it quite clear that Horatio Spafford considers Christ Jesus one of his islands.

Want to hear an innovative musical contribution of It Is Well With My Soul? Check out the “trombone quartet” version (HERE), by Kirk Kolenbrander.

GOING FORWARD: Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit, enjoying the islands even while in the midst of the turbulent seas…

** here’s the link to Forward Day By Day’s 11/2 devotional entry (HERE) from the last posting…


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 13, 2022:



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Islands in the Seas…


By his plan he stilled the deep and planted islands in it. Those who sail the sea tell of its dangers, and we marvel at what we hear. In it are strange and marvelous creatures, all kinds of living things, and huge sea-monsters. Because of him each of his messengers succeeds, and by his word all things hold together.  ~ Ecclesiasticus 43:23-26

Forward Day By Day’s 11/2 devotional entry (HERE) is wonderful.That the sea is a metaphor for the unknown in ancient literature seems logical. It still resonates for many of us, including these lines:

“Amidst our journey’s tumult, God has planted islands, places of safety and refuge. These safe harbors appear in the form of people. They’re family, friends, the church, the body of Christ.”

Many of you readers are already important islands in these uncertain seas for me (and I hope I can be the same for you…) Thanks for being there!

Who are the islands in your life?

And to whom do you provide a safe harbor?

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • Spend a few minutes thinking of your safe harbors. Maybe you have a little time today to call, email, text, send a card or ??? to one or more of these folks?
  • Who might need your help as an “emerging island” in the days ahead? Is there an action plan you can devise to start emerging in the week ahead?

GOING FORWARD: Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit, enjoying the islands even while in the midst of the turbulent seas…


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 6, 2022:



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For All the Saints…


Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ~ Luke 6:31

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? What lessons did they teach/show you that you still use and will be using on days to follow?

PRAYER: Creator God, on this All Saints Day, we celebrate the saints who have gone before us and celebrate the saints in our lives today. May those saints continue to inspire, strengthen and support us for more surprising, energetic and effective positive efforts for all creatures in this wonderful world.

GOING FORWARD: Enjoy the day filled with the Spirit, with remembrances of saints in your past plus recognition of saints in your life these days…

**  email salong_now @ yahoo.com if you want the password 🙂


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, November 6, 2022:



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Grief and Praise Walking Together…


Most/all CP readers have likely experienced grief and/or praise in recent days. In his August post HERE, Matthew Fox comments about enhancing such times. One quote he shares:

“humanity will not be saved by more information but by more appreciation” ~ Rabbi Heschel

What are the ways you express appreciation to others and to God?

Yesterday’s sunrise was captured by this picture while saying a little “thank you” to our Creator

Some effective prose and viewing relating to praise is HERE if you’re seeking such opportunities! The link is to “Falling in Love with the Earth”***.

Regarding grief, Fox questions whether we’re good at getting our grief out. Does that describe you?

For those seeking ways to get grief out, one suggestion is a ceremony involving drumming. Taking 15 minutes to bang on a drum** while allowing sounds “out from the gut” may be cathartic for those so inclined.

May this day find you filled with praise and effective ways of expressing grief…

POSSIBLE ACTIONS

  • Listen to “Falling in Love with the Earth” HERE
  • Try a little drumming as described above or using a link from this webpage HERE

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


** alternatively, with hands/wooden spoon/??? on a table top, box, pot/pan, etc.

*** In 2014, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approached Thich Nhat Hanh as an international faith leader, to request a brief statement about climate change and our relationship to one another and to the Earth


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 30, 2022:



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Experiencing the Good Samaritan story in wonderful ways…


 
These technological times bring wonderful ways to experience God’s word and then share it with others.
 
Such is the case with the Good Samaritan story experiences of the past week for the MWPC community. Here are some of the wonderful ways…
  • Youth from MWPC shared this musical skit in worship (HERE)  You’ll be glad you watched this – Lainey did a great job singing and the story is effectively done by all the youth!
  • Two additional “younger church folks” shared their views and encouraging messages (HERE) based on the story. What wonderful perspective they provide, don’t you think?
  • In the days leading up to worship, the congregation was invited to consider watching the effective, animated version of the story HERE that the younger church watched previously

All this viewing to encourage more Good Samaritan moments in our daily lives. Thanks be to God for such wonderful sharing in various ways…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 23, 2022:



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