This is the day…

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” 

~ Psalm 118:24 (English Standard Version)

Guideposts shares inspiring quotes for Spring HERE along with some wonderful pictures. It’s worth taking a few minutes to enjoy these…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 18, 2021:



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Prayers for those of various faith traditions…

A friend asked how we identify subjects for Christian Playbook posts. The fact is, the Spirit frequently moves in mysterious ways… 

Today’s posting is such an example. While on the journey to another prayer, this one #58 “For Muslims” from the Book of Common Worship (HERE) jumped from the page. It seemed mighty appropriate given what was going on with U.S. immigration at that moment and still to this day:

# 58

For Muslims

Eternal God,

you are the one God to be worshiped by all,

the one called Allah by your Muslim children,

descendants of Abraham as we are.

Give us grace to hear your truth

in the teachings of Mohammed, the prophet,

and to show your love as disciples of Jesus Christ,

that Christians and Muslims together

may serve you in faith and friendship.

Amen.

POSSIBLE ACTIONS: Consider ways you can show friendship and love to those of other faith traditions. Any chance you can make that happen soon?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. If you’re looking for a resource showing lots of parallels between Islam and Christianity, consider the book Spiritual Gems of Islam by Jamal Rahman


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 18, 2021:



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Now the Green Blade Riseth…

The song Now the Green Blade Riseth (lyrics HERE) provides a nice visual especially during this season of resurrection plus spring growth in many portions of our globe. HERE is a choral version with nice musical touches including organ. HERE is one by Smoke Fairies with stringed instruments and vocals, a great complement to the other! 🙂

Enjoy this Eastertide, filled with the Spirit!

 


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 11, 2021:



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Blessings and curses of technology…

Written several years back, the poem Technology: Blessing and Curse (HERE) shares thoughts on blessings and curses that technology provides the faithful. This line seems to resonate in this Easter Octave, especially in the context of the recent movie The Social Dilemma**: “Privacy unbound, are ‘quiet timesthrough?”

As we continue in life today, may God…

Help us make effective use

of what tech avails.

Social media, phone and pix;

sharing love, which never fails.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

** The Netflix movie The Social Dilemma is an excellent one to watch in this context. 

 


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 11, 2021:



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Christ is Risen! Now What?

Happy Easter!  May you have a glorious Easter day of worship and fellowship!

It has become a Christian Playbook tradition to revisit Wendy M. Wright’s book The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter and Pentecost. In that book, Wendy discusses the “Easter Octave” – the 8 days of Easter and after. She tells some stories, including her experience of “putting yourself in Mary Magdalene’s place” in the John 20:1-18 verses.

When you have 10 minutes – maybe even right now? – consider doing the following:

  • close your eyes and put yourself in the role of Mary Magdalene – you’ve experienced the crucifixion and are going to visit the tomb
  • read John 20:1-18 (in your favorite Bible/website or HERE) as though you are living what Mary Magdalene did – with Jesus saying your name
  • pray that you might carry that sense of post-Easter experience in the days ahead

Perhaps you’ll want to listen to a topical SONG? In The Garden, performed by Anne Murray is HERE and an Avett Brothers version is HERE.

May the Spirit move vibrantly through you during this Easter Octave!


Lectionary Texts for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021:


Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen


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Good Friday opportunities…

If you are looking for an experience for Good Friday, The Stations of the Cross may be “just the ticket.”  Some suggested supplies to gather in advance and/or during the experience:

  • A blank piece of paper for writing on
  • A marker or pen
  • A piece of scrap paper or scrap cloth
  • A piece of string or ribbon at least 8″ long (but longer might be helpful)
  • A band-aid
  • A place to wash your hands
  • A bottle of vinegar and a small glass
  • A nail, a toothpick, or a pin
  • A seed and a place to plant it

Maybe your local church will be doing a Good Friday service? If not or if you want to consider other options, check out Streaming Worship options (link below) who are holding Good Friday services.

May this day be filled with meaningful experiences, energized by the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021:


Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen


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Songs of struggles, prevailing …

On this Maundy Thursday, follow-up to the March 7 CP posting (HERE) and LP’s Lenten Prayer 4th paragraph (HERE) seems germane.

Reflection on the struggles and freedom sung in spirituals fits nicely in the context of what LP’s prayer includes here:

We pray for all whose needs and concerns touch our hearts. We pray for those in need whom we cannot or do not see. … We pray for those enduring illness of body, mind, or spirit, and those who struggle to hope. We pray that we will complete our Lenten journey by seeing our brokenness borne by and entombed with Jesus, which will prepare us to hear anew the almost unimaginable proclamation that the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, and life and love prevail. These and all our prayers we offer with confidence, for we bring them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

While impossible to truly imagine what Christ Jesus was feeling on Maundy Thursday, spirituals may provide some of the range of emotion. If you have time, take a listen to spirituals with fabulous lyrics and melodies such as these:

  •  

Enjoy the day, filled with prayer, spirituals and the Spirit!

*** In the early 2010s, Rev. Dr. LP Jones prepared and shared this prayer with the MWPC community as part of his weekly newsletter column. He granted permission for use of this with the Christian Playbook community (* ever-so-slight alterations made by CP so the original Holy Week prayer applies throughout Lent)  It is also available to listen to HERE


Lectionary Texts for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021:


Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen


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Struggles, prevailing and more…

The final paragraph of LP’s prayer*** includes struggles, prevailing and more…

Lenten Prayer – Rev. Dr. L.P. Jones

Guiding God, we are traveling the Lenten road. We are ready for it to end. We prefer celebration to reflection and self-examination. On the table, pulpit, and lectern, we prefer pure white, festive red, hopeful blue, or gentle green to Lent’s pensive purple. We know our sins are many, but why must we confess them so often? Remind us, gracious God, that you call us to confession not to burden us, but to free us. Help us to offer you every fear, failure, and sin, so that your forgiveness can calm and cleanse us and your steadfast love can draw us to new beginnings.

We thank you, God of wonders, for countless blessings. We thank you for those special people whose embrace, friendship, and accepting eyes ease our burdens and heighten our joys. We thank you for the songbirds who greet the dawn with exuberant melody. We thank you for the ability to laugh: to laugh at ourselves when we are mistaken; to laugh with our friends when we take ourselves too seriously; to laugh for the pure pleasure it brings. We thank you for eyes that see familiar friends and a new face in the crowd, savor a peaceful sunrise or sunset, and note a hand in need of our touch and open arms waiting to receive us.

Because we are so blessed, help us to respond faithfully to life and its goodness. Because people and relationships are so important, help us to look beyond ourselves and share our plenty with those in need. Help us to build a community known for the risks it takes to help others experience your loving presence. Because life can be so abundant, help us to be a community as joyous in our celebrations as we are committed to service in Jesus’ name. Because not everyone sees your blessings so readily, help us to comfort the bereaved, accompany the lonely, offer hope to the despairing, and reach for a better world for all.

We pray for all whose needs and concerns touch our hearts. We pray for those in need whom we cannot or do not see. We pray for new members and those preparing to receive baptism. We pray for all making difficult decisions. We pray for those enduring illness of body, mind, or spirit, and those who struggle to hope. We pray that we will complete our Lenten journey by seeing our brokenness borne by and entombed with Jesus, which will prepare us to hear anew the almost unimaginable proclamation that the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, and life and love prevail. These and all our prayers we offer with confidence, for we bring them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • Reflect on the fourth paragraph.
    • Which sentence catches your attention the most? Can you make that a memory phrase for the remainder of Lent?
    • Who among your family could use prayers of support this day?
    • Some report that they pray when hearing ambulance sirens. Maybe that’s worth a try today?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

*** In the early 2010s, Rev. Dr. LP Jones prepared and shared this prayer with the MWPC community as part of his weekly newsletter column. He granted permission for use of this with the Christian Playbook community.* It is also available to listen to HERE

* ever-so-slight alterations made so the original Holy Week prayer applies throughout Lent


Lectionary Texts for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021:


Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen


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Ready with the palms?

This upcoming Sunday, some of us may be waving palms, heralding the entry of our King.

Yet we read prophesy very different from an “entry of a King” from Roman times:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

~ Zechariah 9:9-10

In The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, Wendy M. Wright writes:

“But we do not get the leader we have anticipated. For instead of entering the holy city on a warhorse, this Jesus comes deliberately on an ass’s colt, thereby calling up our collective memory of the prophesy in Zechariah which paints for us a picture of a monarch who bans implements of war, whose rule is gentle and whose reign is peace.” p. 77

Imagine the shock and surprise. Maybe some embarrassment too?

Even in today’s age, as we share our king Jesus with others, may it be with a powerful stance of gentleness and peace!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 28, 2021:


Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen


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Praying for Creation…

Praying for Creation is the title of THIS 2017 Richard Rohr meditation focusing on the Joint Message of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This joint statement highlights the need for concerted efforts to save our earth and society – well worth the read and the prayer if you have time.

The song Fairest Lord Jesus provides some beautiful creation lyrics about the sunshine, moonlight, meadows, etc… (a more contemporary, 3-part harmony version is HERE.) Interestingly, there is very little in that song about human actions to help creation, though there is the line about Jesus: “Who makes the woeful heart to sing.” Maybe this relates a little to what Pope Francis is encouraging?

ACTION: Are there ways this week that you can “hear the cry of the earth, … attend to the needs of the marginalized, … heal … our wounded creation?”

Enjoy the day and all of creation, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 28, 2021:


Lenten Prayer by Rev. Dr. LP Jones: opportunities to read or listen


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