Laying Hands on Mother Earth…

With a focus on Mother Earth, we draw attention to a practice by Steven Charleston, a member of the Choctaw Nation and an Episcopal bishop.

In his book Ladder to the Light, Steven offers practices drawn from the meeting point of his Christian faith and Native American spirituality. The CAC posting HERE provides details on the approach including Steven’s plan:

“I am going to intentionally lay my hand on her {Mother Earth} and say, “Thank you, Mother,  for all you have given us. Be healed of all that harms you.”

POSSIBLE ACTION: set aside 5-10 minutes today for a stroll outside. If so inspired, reach to some aspect of Mother Earth and say/think a little healing commentary/prayer. If you’re looking for an example, check out this 1-minute YouTube

PRAYER: Creator God, help us examine the natural beauty wherever we are, with corresponding prayers of WOW, praising our connectedness to you and seeking ways to heal your creations… Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 31, 2021:



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Spiritual Sights in the Natural World…

The visual and discussion from Guideposts HERE about Pando Aspen Grove in Utah is fantastic, including this quote about nearly incomprehensible connectedness:

 “All of the approximately 47,000 trunks that span 106 acres share one root system underground, making it one of the world’s largest living organisms. … Standing within the serene grove can gently remind us that while things may appear separated, they are still connected in ways we cannot see”

PRAYER: Creator God, help us examine the natural beauty wherever we are, with corresponding prayers of WOW, praising our connectedness to you… Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 24, 2021:



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A Franciscan Benediction…

Ever hear a benediction that captivates you?

The Old Monastic Benediction with Franciscan origins shares a wonderful message. HERE is an excellent sharing of this message by Pastor David Montgomery in Bowling Green, Ohio at First Presbyterian Church.

Want to know more about this benediction? Check out the webpage supplied by Pastor David HERE

PRAYER: Dear Creator, May we be blessed this day with discomfort/anger/tears/foolishness and more so we are increasingly motivated to perform your loving works with your children everywhere… Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 17, 2021:



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Facing Social Network Challenges…

Facebook has been in the news for a variety of reasons in the last week including whistle-blower testimony to Congress and service being unavailable to users for many hours. Perhaps you experienced the forced “fast” from one of your favorite apps/websites?

The negativity of social media has been tackled in a 2020 movie, The Social Dilemma. IMDB says this movie “Explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.”

It’s increasingly alarming as we hear and read about problems social media problems can cause, especially for children. As role models for these young ones, is the benefit of social media worth it?

These verses, originally written years ago (and updated in the final section,) share some thoughts:

Prayer tools online,

devotionals too.

Privacy unbound,

are “quiet times” through?

 

God, help us use technology

in ways that are good.

Not idolistic life-support but supporting life;

as most Christian efforts should.

 

May technology make relationships strong,

Holy Spirit ever powerful.

With love like Christ taught;

and child-like energy, hearts full.

 

Help us make effective use

of what technology avails.

Social media, phone and pics;

sharing love, which never fails.

 

And when tech cons overwhelm the pros

May we “stand up,” with actions and prose

Stir us dear God with surpassing praise

As your grateful, healthy children, we raise

Possible Actions:

  • consider watching The Social Dilemma movie
  • examine your own social media usage and impacts on you
  • reflect on how technology is helping feed your faith

PRAYER:

Creator God, we are surrounded by your earthy glory and by untold horrors. Help us; heal us; spur us; remind us. We are yours and you are ours. Amen

May this day find you in the midst of great love, with or without the assistance of technology. Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 10, 2021:



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I Can Only Imagine…

“… Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus
Or in awe of You be still?

I Can Only Imagine…”                 

~ lyrics from song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me’s Bart Millard

What a blessing to have regular contributions and suggestions from Christian Playbook readers, friends and family!

In this case, sharing came from my youngest brother. Thad suggested highlighting the song I Can Only Imagine. Have you heard of it? While a relatively new one to some of us, it’s hardly new to Thad and many others, with almost 95 MILLION views on YouTube (HERE) and a Dove Award in 2002!

Thad and I – joined by our mom – watched the autobiographical movie of the same name. The movie was inspired by the song’s popularity along with Millard’s life and his tumultuous relationship with his earthly father. About this movie, IMDB says: “The inspiring and unknown true story behind MercyMe’s beloved, chart topping song that brings ultimate hope to so many is a gripping reminder of the power of true forgiveness.”  A pretty accurate description from this viewer’s perspective. 🙂

The movie brought various feelings: gratitude for the wonderful earthly fathers so many of us enjoy; sadness for what Bart endured in childhood and early adulthood; joy for the relationship Bart fostered later in life with his dad and his mom; inspiration at the music of Mercy Me; appreciation for Amy Grant’s re-gifting of this song; and more, much more. Such a movie provides reminders of the help, thanks and wow** moments in life. May we take this moment to reflect and share a little prayer time with God …

Creator God, we are surrounded by your earthy glory and by untold horrors. Help us; heal us; spur us; remind us. We are yours and you are ours. Amen

Possible Actions

  • Take a listen to the song (HERE)
  • Watch the movie on DVD, streaming service or ???
  • Spend time in prayer, expressing gratitude for the earthly relationships and sharing forgiveness with those who may need it right now…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


** nod of the head to Anne Lamott



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 10, 2021:



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Mysterious Ways…God’s Trombones…

Young Man Young Man Your arm’s too short to box with God…”                  ~ from God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson

Guideposts magazine has a “His Mysterious Ways” section. A few years back, inspired by a series of events, the CP article (HERE) almost wrote itself. If you have time, consider reading that article as a nice reminder of God working in mysterious ways.

What “mysterious ways” stories do you have? Have you written them down? If so and you’d be willing to share them with CP readers, please email it to salong_now @ yahoo.com**  If you haven’t written it yet, maybe today is the day? 🙂

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

** these stories won’t “go public” immediately, making their way to CP readers “down the road”



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 3, 2021:



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When I Say I Am A Christian…

The words of the poem “When I Say I Am a Christian” were shared during a recent worship service. The pastor’s reading of this prose and how he tied it to the message was compelling.

Have you heard this poem before? You can read the poem by Carol Wimmer at the website HERE. Spending a little time at that website also allows one to learn its history and original inspiration.

The wording is effective, moving the reader away from an image of prideful, powerful, shouting Christians towards a whispering, professing, failing, suffering and contemplative version. In the history of the poem, Carol mentions

“I had begun to sense increasing societal resentment within American culture toward the attitude of self-righteousness that has been adopted by so many Christians. I knew such behavior was, and is, a distortion of Christianity.”

Over the years, many of us can relate to Carol’s feeling. In fact, some have been moving towards adopting terms like “Christ-follower” and others, avoiding the moniker Christian altogether.

Acting as Christians can come with plenty of challenges. Yet, when “the words flowed out of me with such ease” as they do for Carol in this poem, we can use them to better describe the Christians we want to be. Thanks, Carol Wimmer, for sharing your Spirit-led prose!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. for some “be at peace with one another” as Christians commentary, check out Lisa’s sermon HERE (and a nice quartet piece directly afterwards!)



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 3, 2021:



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Let us Build the City of God…

Let us build the city of God
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love
Has turned the night into day!

~ chorus, City of God by Dan Schutte

City of God, a song by Dan Schutte, continues our recent theme of joy. Take a listen HERE.

How long can we stay mournful when we recognize the light? While it can’t always be – and shouldn’t be – a speedy transition, may our tears be turned into joy.

Thanks to music by Schutte and many others, we can sing or listen ourselves into a better place, sharing Christ’s joy with one another!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 3, 2021:



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Joyful Noise…

Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? ~ Luke 5:34

Did Shannon J. Kershner’s commentary about Joy resonate with you? (reminder of that article HERE) Had you seen that picture of Laughing Jesus before?

Shannon’s commentary was a nice reminder of the amount of joy that can come from a group of Christ-followers. One such example is a group we call Joyful Noise Boys. You can see MUCH more about the crew HERE.

One aspect of showing such joy surprises folks. The one sharing joy frequently gets as much or more in return as they give! What a wonderful, renewable resource. 🙂

Give it a try. May we live this day with the joy of Christ in our hearts and in our actions…

PRAYER: God, fill us with joy as though at a wedding celebration with the bride and groom. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 26, 2021:



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How Well Do You “Do Joy?”

Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? ~ Luke 5:34

Expressing joy is the focus of THIS 2016 DEVOTIONAL from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, IL. Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor, it describes a challenge many have experienced on occasion in church. WHERE IS THE JOY?!?  Perhaps the picture HERE is the Laughing Jesus picture Kershner is mentioning?

This picture and devotional reflection is a reminder of two books: Jesus, Man of Joy by Sherwood E. Wirt and The Humor of Christ by Elton Trueblood. Both books provide – as Trueblood’s subtitle suggests – “bold challenge to the traditional stereotype of a somber, gloomy Christ.” If you’re looking for some enjoyable, challenging reading, consider one of these…

May we live this day with the joy of Christ in our hearts and in our actions!

PRAYER: God, fill us with joy as though at a wedding celebration with the bride and groom. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 26, 2021:



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