A Caring Uncle…

Many of us have been blessed with a fine example(s) of Christian love and discipleship. On this anniversary of his birth it seems fitting to mention our Uncle Fred…

While seeing one another only a couple times a year, Uncle Fred let us know he loved us and was interested in our lives by connecting in other ways. He was a little like Paul with the Romans and Corinthians: he’d send us notes of encouragement – – a card at our birthday (enclosing 2 one dollar bills) and in later years would send us Valentine’s Day notes, sometimes with those little candy hearts in the envelope.

Few, if any, in my experience have been more generous. Whether he had it to give or not, our uncle could be counted on to contribute in some way to causes he considered worthy.

In our formative years we would come back to our Mom’s hometown and region for the Christmas holidays. Usually that time included a visit to Uncle Fred and Aunt Louise’s home for Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner it was on to worship at their church, complete with seeing Uncle Fred singing with The Men of Note and participating with the community. Uncle Fred lived his Christian faith for all to see; he didn’t need to tell us about the importance of church in life [though he’d willingly do that too! **:-) ]

PRAYER: Thank you, dear God, for the “Uncle Freds” in each of our lives. Help us to use their fine examples to shape our lives for more caring, loving, forgiving experiences… Amen

POSSIBLE ACTIONS: As you go about your day…

  • reflect on the “Uncle Freds” in your life and how they’ve shaped your faith
  • consider who in your “relationship sphere” (niece/nephew, cousin, sibling, parent, friend or ???) might appreciate your expression of caring. Jot a note, a card and send it along (maybe including some candy hearts?)   <3
  • is there a worthy cause you were considering giving to with your time, treasure and/or talents?  Maybe today is the day? 

Enjoy the day, energized by the Spirit !


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, February 7, 2021:


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A Mighty Stream…

In this Our Daily Bread devotional entitled “A Mighty Stream” (HERE), the author does a nice job of contextualizing the words in Amos with our lives today. Listening to the audio version (HERE) makes it more compelling for some of us.

Do we pontificate and “show off” or do we act for justice? Are we examining possible “blind spots” on justice or just talking about things we already think we know? Using the words of Dr. King, drawn from the OT book of Amos:

“We are determined . . . to work and fight until justice rains down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

POSSIBLE ACTION(S):

  • Carve out 15-45 minutes of quiet time or time with a friend or friends
  • Discuss ways we can heed these words from Amos and Dr. King in the week ahead. How can we work and fight (through non-violence) for justice in ways unique to us and our surroundings?

Enjoy the day, energized by the Spirit !

P.S. In case you want to see it, a picture of the Contemplative Court mentioned in the article is HERE. Without even being there physically we can feel the power.


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 31, 2021:


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Benefits of Fasting…

The article HERE by Lynne M. Babb about fasting is fabulous. She describes benefits of fasting, including freeing us to be more mindful of those on our prayer lists (and those without food, for instance, when we’re doing a food fast.) Lynne mentions

“A Christian fast is set apart by its spiritual purpose. Anyone might spend a weekend without electronic devices, and of course, such a fast is a wonderful exercise. Most Christians who fast, however, desire to draw near to God in new ways, pray for particular needs or pray more intensely, read the Bible more deliberately, and ponder the pattern and fabric of their lives during the time freed up by fasting.”

While considering energizing efforts to “take on” for our faith, may we find opportunities to conduct mini-fasts and thus open up time for fueling our faith all the more…

ACTIONS: Maybe during this first month of the year you’ll want to try

  • a traditional fasting from food for the day?
  • a one-day (or half-day?) fast from news media, a favorite electronic device, or ???

Enjoy the day, energized by the Spirit !


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 31, 2021:


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Can You Come to the Banquet?

The next of our Singing Sister Songs is “The Wedding Banquet” (listen HERE.) The song contrasts a playfulness of the tune (and performance) with the message. Would you agree?

The chorus includes the line

Pray hold me excused, I cannot come

Let us all be prepared to attend the great and glorious banquets in daily life, energized by the Spirit for just that set of unique, individual activities…


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 31, 2021:


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When the Song of the Angels is Stilled…

This poem HERE is a nice reminder that Christ-followers have plenty of activity available after the Christmas season including

“…To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.”

POTENTIAL ACTION:  The poem includes several possible actions. Does one or more resonate that can be added to your 2021 resolutions?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 24, 2021:


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Come Down, Lord…

Musical focus for the upcoming weeks will be on the “Singing Sister” – Sister Miriam Therese Winter – and the Medical Mission Sisters. They share powerful songs from the ’60s/’70s with good messages.

Selected lyrics from the song Come Down, Lord (listen HERE) include

…Come Down, Lord, the World is here…

…If you but stay…

…Lord, You Show the Way!..

…When Your Word is Spoken, We Shall be Healed…

The lyrics and harmonies provide a bright way to experience these messages. Song themes of healing, anguish/sorrow and illness are part of our experiences, especially during these pandemic days.

May we utter the Lord’s words, showing consistent actions as we enjoy the brightest of days in the healing !

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 24, 2021:


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Challenges to “organized religion”…

We re-visit a post from 2020 about Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In a note about the CP post on MLK Jr. Day, brother Andy referenced “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (link to the letter in its entirety HERE and audio of Dr. King reading it HERE.) It’s a compelling response to the regional clergy’s letter, where among other things they suggest to Dr. King:

We further strongly urge our own Negro community to withdraw support from these demonstrations, and to unite locally in working peacefully for a better Birmingham. When rights are consistently denied, a cause should be pressed in the courts and in negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets. We appeal to both our white and Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and common sense.

Among his responses, Dr. King mentions

Maybe again, I have been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to status-quo to save our nation and the world? Maybe I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ecclesia and the hope of the world.

What injustices come to mind in your community or a specific geography with relevance to you? May we continue working with organized religion where possible, and with our human community-at-large to “demonstrate” in ways consistent with justice.

We close with this prayerful/hopeful commentary from Dr. King’s letter:

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

Amen!

Enjoy the day, filled with the sacrificial Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 24, 2021:


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Wherever there’s a shadow, light is near…

In the post “In the Valley of the Shadow, Look to the Light” Rick Warren talks about shadow times in life. As we continue to endure this pandemic, this comment caught my attention:

“So the key when you’re going through the valley of the shadow is to turn your back on the shadow and look at the light. Because as long as you keep your eyes on the light—Jesus, the light of the world—the shadow won’t scare you.” ~ Rick Warren

Look to the light. We can find that reference biblically and in so many wonderful people here on earth, those who can help us out of the shadows.

PRAYER: Creator God, when I find myself amidst the shadows, help me to look for that light source – – the Son shining through scripture, the sun shining above or another of the wonderful ways we experience you!

May you enjoy this day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. Rick’s words stir memories of the song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Want to listen to that one? HERE is a version by Alan Jackson complete with some nice shadow/sun pictures

P.S.S. Click HERE For a great Maya Angelou quote, picture and scripture passage


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 17, 2021:


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Dig It Up…

The story of Naomi’s bitterness in the book of Ruth is the subject of the ODB devotional HERE. Aren’t there some times in life when you just need to name an issue to begin addressing it?

The fact that Naomi has people call her “Mara” – bitter – perhaps helps them in relationship practices. When a person shares with others how they are feeling, it allows for discussion directly, and in Naomi’s case can lead to efforts of digging up the bitterness and replacing it with joy!

PRAYER: God, help me unearth the challenges in my life and share them with you  (and with others when so moved.) In so doing, may I allow myself the amazing grace you so willingly provide. Amen.

May you enjoy this day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. And speaking of digging it up, if you’re looking for possible charities for 2021, check out DIGDEEP. Millions in the U.S. are still without easy access to clean drinking water and this organization is making a difference!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 17, 2021:


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We Are Called…

The song We Are Called, written in the late 1980s, has been an inspiring part of worship services ever since. Chris D. shared the version HERE, seemingly showing the vibrancy that David Haas may have envisioned when writing it?

The background of We Are Called is HERE, including this commentary:

“Folk songs, especially those growing out of the 1960s and 1970s, urge us to action. The action here is inspired by Micah 6:8: “. . . what the Lord really wants from you: He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God” (NET).**

For those enjoying history, the Vatican II discussion with the resulting folk songs may remind you of Singing Sister songs. More on those in the upcoming weeks…

PRAYER: Creator God, help us to live in the light, acting for justice, being faithful and living obediently. Amen

May you enjoy this day, filled with song and the Spirit!

P.S. To see a COVID-19 era version with a virtual choir, check out the version HERE. Features include being able to focus on the instrumentalists and director as well as the singers [and lyrics so you can sing along should you choose 🙂 ]


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, January 17, 2021:


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