Friday, December 21, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

December 23, 2012 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

"I Believe Even When..." Worship Series

"I Believe, Even When..."

This Sunday marks the last of our Advent worship series, which was inspired by Marcia McFee’s “Worship Design Studio” and by the words of a beautiful anthem by Mark Miller. (You can listen to it here.) Each week we've looked at a different gospel's version of the story of Jesus' birth through the lens of Miller's anthem. This week we're using the opening verses of John's gospel

John describes Jesus as the "light that shines in the darkness", which the darkness can't overcome. As Christmas approaches, that light is becoming brighter.  (If you're observant, you've probably noticed that the light in the sanctuary has been increasing as we've moved through the season of Advent - symbolizing the approaching arrival of the Light of the World.)  In this last week of Advent, our anticipation, our yearning for the light is almost palpable.  We affirm that even when the sun is hidden from sight - even when love feels remote - even when we’re not certain of God’s presence, we sense that the light is coming, love is near, and the holy is born yet again in the midst of the pain of life. There is hope. There is light.

Join us as we celebrate the good news that - in the words of the gospel writer - "What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

See you on Sunday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

December 16, 2012 - Third Sunday of Advent

"I Believe Even When..." Worship Series

"I Believe in God"

We continue our Advent worship series, inspired by Marcia McFee’s “Worship Design Studio” and by the words of a beautiful anthem by Mark Miller.  (You can listen to it here.)  This Sunday we'll be using the third verse of Miller's anthem ("I believe in God, even when God is silent") to look at the story of John the Baptizer in the Gospel of Mark.   

Like the Jews in the Baptizer's day, we often look around at the world as it is and wonder when God will come and address the injustice and suffering.  When will God fulfill the promise of lions laying down with lambs and swords being beaten into plowshares?  Where is God when senseless and violent tragedy occurs - like the school shooting in Newtown, CT? Where is God when we are in pain?

There are moments or seasons in our lives, individually and collectively, when God seems to be remote, removed, inaccessible – Deus Absconditus.  Where do we find the hope to believe in God, even when God is silent?  Join us as we explore the answer to that question.

See you on Sunday.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

December 9, 2012 - Second Sunday of Advent

"I Believe Even When..."  Worship Series

"I Believe In Love"

We continue our Advent worship series, inspired by Marcia McFee’s “Worship Design Studio” and by the words of a beautiful anthem by Mark Miller.  (You can listen to it here.)  This Sunday we'll be using the second verse of Miller's anthem ("I believe in love, even when I don't feel it") to look at the story of the angelic visitation to Joseph in the Gospel of Matthew.   

Joseph has discovered that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant.  He's feeling rejected and hurt, and has decided to call off their impending marriage.  But an angel appears to him in a dream and tells him, "Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife."  Joseph puts aside his fear of being further wounded, betrayed, and publicly humiliated,  He decides to love Mary fearlessly.

We've all experienced difficulties in our relationships with others - not only in romantic relationships, but with family, friends, acquaintances.  It's easy to let our fear of being hurt interfere with loving others completely.  What if we were to heed the angel's words, "Do not be afraid"?  What difference might it make to love more fearlessly?  Can we let go into God's possibilities for all of our relationships?  Can we believe in love, even when...? 

Join us on Sunday!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

December 2, 2012 - First Sunday of Advent

"I Believe Even When..." Worship Series

"I Believe In the Sun"

This year’s Advent worship series is inspired by Marcia McFee’s “Worship Design Studio” and by the words of a haunting anthem by Mark Miller.  (You can listen to it here.)  Miller set to music a poem written by an anonymous Jew during the Holocaust: 

I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when God is silent.

It is a powerful affirmation of hope in spite of what seems like the absence of light, of love – and sometimes even what feels like the absence of God. 

The story of the birth of Jesus is filled with common themes of human drama – unknowing, doubt, disgrace, fear, oppression, journey, hardship.  Each Sunday during Advent we'll use a different verse from the poem as a lens to examine the story of Jesus' birth.  By exploring the first chapter of each of the Gospels, we will acknowledge the presence of hope through Christ, “even when…” 

This week we begin with the Gospel of Luke and the angel's visit to Mary announcing that she had been chosen to give birth to Jesus -- to bear a child out of wedlock.  In Mary's culture that was a situation that could have doomed her circumstances for life. 

When things that seem irreparable happen in our own lives, how can our perceived doom be transformed into an opportunity for rebirth?   Where do we find the hope to "believe, even when..."?  Join us as we reflect on those questions, and on the power of Advent hope.

See you on Sunday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

November 24 2012 - Christ the King Sunday 

"Hanging of the Greens"

This is the last Sunday of the Christian year (which in the Church starts with the first Sunday of Advent, not on January 1).  This year Sunday, December 2 marks the beginning of the season of Advent - a hopeful season of preparation that anticipates both Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and the consummation of human history for which "all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption".  

The word "Advent" comes from the Latin verb advenire, which means "to come toward, to draw near, to approach."  This is the time when we remember and celebrate God drawing near to us in Jesus Christ in the past, in the present, and in the age to come. 

This Sunday we will prepare our sanctuary - as well as our hearts - for the season of Advent by celebrating the tradition of the "Hanging of the Greens".  This interactive worship service includes hymns, scripture, and prayer to guide us as we hang greenery and other decorations symbolizing the birth of Jesus and everlasting life.  

Join us for this festive reminder of "the reason for the season"!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

October 14, 2012 - Twentieth Sunday in Pentecost 

"Monkey Traps"

Our scripture reading for Sunday comes from the Gospel of Mark. (You can read the lesson here.Jesus and his disciples are about to leave on a journey when a wealthy man runs up and kneels before Jesus, asking, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  This man has kept all the commandments faithfully, yet he knows there's something missing.  Jesus knows it too. And what he instructs the rich man to do shocks both the man and Jesus' disciples.  Sell everything you have, give the money to the poor, and then follow me. The man walks away filled with sorrow because he's unable to do as Jesus asks.

Jesus could see that the man was gripping his wealth so tightly that he couldn't open his hands to receive the fullness of God's kingdom.  The man was held captive by his own unwillingness to let go of the obstacle that kept him from God.

Perhaps you've heard of the technique that African bushmen use to trap monkeys.  Here's a video that shows how it's done.  (Don't worry - the monkey isn't harmed!) 

The tighter we grasp the things that keep us stuck spiritually, the more like that monkey we become. Until we let go, we're trapped right where we are.

What are the "melon seeds" that you're grasping so tightly?  What is it that you need to let go of in order to be set free for authentic discipleship - for kingdom living - for abundant, joyful, eternal life in Christ?  Join us as we consider our "monkey traps".

See you on Sunday!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

September 2, 2012 - Fourteenth Sunday in Pentecost 

"Inside Out"

Our scripture reading for Sunday comes from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus is confronted by some Pharisees and scribes about his disciples' failure to perform the expected ritual hand-washing before meals.  (You can read the lesson here.)  Jesus' strong reaction includes a criticism of his own about the Pharisees' religous practices.

Jesus accuses the Pharisees of being hypokrites (the Greek from which we get our word "hypocrites") - meaning "actors".  According to Jesus, they believe they are pure are righteous and faithful because they act pure and righteous and faithful.  But, Jesus says, in reality their hearts are far from God.  Jesus then tells his listeners that purity is something that’s found on the inside, not something that’s created by outward rituals - that clean hearts matter more than clean hands.

Jesus reminds us that we’re to be faithful from the inside out rather than attempting to be faithful from the outside in - that we can't truly "honor God with our lips" unless our "hearts are near to God".  If this week's reading is any indication, Jesus is much less concerned about what we do or avoid doing or pretend to do than what’s genuinely in our hearts - it's less about the motions than the motivation.  

So, what might your Christianity look like if you genuinely practiced it from the inside out?   

See you on Sunday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

August 12, 2012 - "Cleaning House" Sermon Series
Week 4 - Cleaning Out Our Calendar

"Breathing Space"

This Sunday is the final installment in our "Cleaning House" sermon series.  This week we're going to be thinking about our calendar (or day planner or Blackberry or whatever it is you use to keep your daily agenda) and pondering whether there are a few things that need to be cleaned out.  

Our scripture readings for the day are Genesis 2:1-3 (the Creation story, where God finishes the job and takes a day off) and Deuteronomy 5:13-15 (that pesky fourth commandment that says we need to take the day off too). You can read the Genesis passage here and you can read the Deuteronomy passage here. We'll be thinking about how well we've made room for sabbath - time that's set aside for rest, reflection, restoration, and recreation as modeled by none other than God's own self.

Chances are your calendar is a bit fuller than you'd like it to be - possibly a lot fuller.  What would it be like to obey the commandment to observe sabbath?  What if you could open up that kind of breathing space in your life?  What would it mean to your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being?  How would your relationship with God be different?  With friends and family?  With yourself?  Join us as we imagine what it might be like to obey all ten of those Ten Commandments.

See you on Sunday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

August 5, 2012 - "Cleaning House" Sermon Series
Week 3 - Cleaning Out Our Material House

"The Simple Life"

Our summer sermon series entitled "Cleaning House" continues this week. The last two Sundays we reflected on the emotional and spiritual "stuff" in our lives that may need to be sorted through, boxed up, and swept out. This week we'll take a look at all the literal, material "stuff" we accumulate and consider whether it makes our lives more satisfying - or less so.

The scripture lesson for the day is Jesus' parable of The Rich Fool and Jesus' subsequent warnings about materialism. (You can read it here.)  He has some harsh criticism for those who "store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God." (Luke 12:21)

Jesus challenges us to ask ourselves where our is wealth invested - in earthly treasures or in God's kingdom? Have we become caught up in our culture's endless cycle of desiring, acquiring, and consuming? Could divesting ourselves of some of our excess stuff and choosing a simpler life bring us more contentment? Join us as we ponder what a good "housecleaning" might mean for our quality of life.

See you on Sunday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

July 29, 2012 - "Cleaning House" Sermon Series
Week 2 - Cleaning Out Our Spiritual House

"Making Room"

This Sunday we continue a sermon series called "Cleaning House" that asks us to consider a bit of spiritual, emotional, and material “housecleaning”.  What unwanted, broken, outdated, or harmful stuff have we been accumulating that would best be given a good clean sweep?  

This week we'll focus on cleaning out our spiritual house.  Our scripture reading for the day is Mark 2:18-28.  (You can read it here.)  It's Jesus' response to the religious leaders' criticism that he and his disciples aren't observing religious conventions. Jesus compares the Pharisees' insistence about following prescribed religious practices to putting new wine in old wineskins. Old wineskins lack the elasticity to accommodate the fermentation and expansion of new wine. Likewise, the Pharisees' can't or won't stretch old ways of practicing their faith to accommodate Jesus' new way.

Are there places in our spiritual lives where holding onto old ways, old ideas, or old practices keep us from new awareness, deeper spiritual formation, and a more profound experience of the Divine? Perhaps routine spiritual practices have become stale and ineffective for growth. Perhaps the comfort of familiar hymns, prayers, and ways of worshiping has caused resistance to encountering God in a new way. Perhaps our understanding of God has become too static or rigid to allow for fresh insight and understanding. Join us as we explore what "old wineskins" may need to be discarded in order to make room for the "new wine" of a more dynamic, intimate, and transformative relationship with God. 

See you on Sunday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

July 22, 2012 - "Cleaning House" Sermon Series
Week 1 - Cleaning Out Our Emotional House

"Getting Rid of the Junk"

Get out the boxes and the broom!  This Sunday we begin a 4-week sermon series called "Cleaning House" that asks us to consider whether our lives could benefit from a little spiritual, emotional, and material “housecleaning”.  

This week we'll focus on what needs to be cleaned out of our emotional house.  Our scripture reading for the day is Ephesians 4:17-32 - Paul's exhortation to get rid of toxic emotions like bitterness, anger, malice, and unforgiveness.  (You can read it here.)  We'll talk about the damage such feelings can cause, as well as the good that can come from taking a push broom to those negative emotions.

What feelings are you carrying around that you no longer want or need?  What emotions are causing harm to yourself or to those around you?  What’s the junk that’s shoved into the back of your emotional closet that really needs to get packed up and put out to the curb?  Join us as we start making out our "must go" list.

See you on Sunday!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

July 15, 2012 - Seventh Sunday in Pentecost 

"True Identity"

Our scripture reading for Sunday comes from Paul's letter to the Ephesians (verses 1:3-14). This week we'll be using Eugene Peterson's paraphrased Bible entitled The Message. (You can read the lesson here.)  In the letter's opening lines, Paul reminds the Christians at Ephesus what a blessing it is to be "in Christ" - to have been loved and claimed and adopted by God - to be "made whole and holy by his love".  Paul reminds the Ephesians who and whose they are - the beloved children of God.

We, too are God's beloved – a truth that is affirmed in the waters of baptism.  It is in our baptism that we are reminded of who we are – that we are God’s daughters and sons – that we are God’s beloved – that in us, God is well pleased.  That is our real identity.  

The story is told that in moments of despair, the great 16th century Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, would touch his forehead and say the only words that would help him to grasp hope: "Remember, you are baptized".  What if, like Luther, we could continually claim our baptismal identity instead of developing amnesia about who and whose we really are?  How might our lives be different if we were to define ourselves not by the names and labels that others place on us, but by our truest identity as the beloved of God?   

It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it, found yourselves home free – signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.  (Eph. 1:13)
See you on Sunday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

June 17, 2012 - Third Sunday in Pentecost 

"Scattering Seeds, Spreading Weeds"

Our scripture reading for Sunday is a couple of "kingdom" parables from the Gospel of Mark. (You can read the lesson here.)  In both of the stories Jesus compares the kingdom of God to seeds being planted.  

In the first parable, a farmer sows seed for his crop.  He doesn't understand exactly how it happens, but he knows that the planted seeds will eventually produce wheat.  In the second parable, a tiny little mustard seed becomes a shrub, so thick and full that it attracts birds to its shade. 

The mustard seed metaphor is familiar.  In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed, they can move a mountain.  In Luke, Jesus says the same thing about a mulberry tree.  As we listen to this story from Mark's gospel, most of us assume that here the mustard seed carries the same meaning as in Matthew and Luke.  So, we regard this as a "faith starts small and grows big" kind of lesson.  

But if we pay careful attention to what Jesus is actually saying, and we listen with the ears of Jesus' first-century, agrarian audience, we may just hear a very different meaning - a message not about the size of our faith, but the nature of God's kingdom.  Perhaps Jesus' point is that - like those mustard plants (which are notoriously fast-growing and prolific) - the kingdom of God isn't something we can control.  Could it be that this story is a promise (or a warning) that once the kingdom of God takes root, it will spread like an invasive, tenacious, unstoppable...weed? 

Join us on Sunday as we explore that possibility.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Today's Moment for Reflection

Born from Above
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

No one can see the Realm of God without being born from above. (John 3:3)

With every breath
you come from God.

Your life is a gift,
everything is a gift,
and so you see.

You are not born long ago,
but right now,
seeing everything
with the wondering eyes
of the newborn.

Look up into those eyes.
Fall, as if dead, into those arms.
Let her birth you into this
other world, eyes open.

Take that first breath, bewildered,
as one about to be born.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Today's Moment for Reflection

Behind the Impossible
by Luis Espinal

Train us, Lord,
to fling ourselves
upon the impossible,
for behind the impossible
is your grace and your presence;
we cannot fall into emptiness.

The future is an enigma,
our road is covered by mist,
but we want to go on giving ourselves,
because you continue hoping
amid the night
and weeping tears
through a thousand human eyes.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Today's Moment for Reflection

Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles.  Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.  Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk.  Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed.  And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.”
(From the Mishkan T'Filah)

Looking Toward Sunday

June 3, 2012 - First Sunday in Pentecost 

"God Loves You - Like It or Not"

This week we look at the story of Jesus' late-night discussion with Nicodemus the Pharisee. (You can read it here.) It's a rather long conversation, but we'll be focusing on only the last two verses. 

The first of those two verses is surely the most loved, most memorized, most often quoted verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." (John 3:16)  They're wonderful words that proclaim God's essential quality (love) and God's primary purpose (to save).  God demonstrated the depth of God's love for us by sending Jesus to save us.

It's a verse that should bring great comfort, but it's been used by some Christians to cause great anxiety - a means of judging and condemning those who haven't received God's gift of Jesus. Their assertion is that there are people to whom God's love does not extend. 

Is that really what Jesus meant?  What does John 3:16-17 tell us about God's motive and purpose in sending Jesus?  What does this passage suggest about the scope and reach of God's love?  And who exactly is "the world" that God so loved?  Join us as we explore those questions and reflect on the meaning of the most popular verse in scripture.

See you Sunday!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today's Moment for Reflection

The love of God, unutterable and perfect,
      flows into a pure soul the way that light
      rushes into a transparent object.
The more love it finds, the more it gives itself; 

      so that, as we grow clear and open,
      the more complete the joy of heaven is.
And the more souls who resonate together,
      the greater the intensity of their love,
      and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.

Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today's Moment for Reflection

Deep Embrace
by Denise Levertov

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

May 13, 2012 - Sixth Sunday of Easter 

"Beautiful Feet"

This Sunday's sermon is the third in a 4-week series about "Holy Conversations". Holy conversation is simply engaging in friendly, no-pressure, give-and-take talk about our faith, about our experience of God, about why Jesus is so important to us.

Our scripture reading for the day will be Romans 10:12-15  (click here to read the passage). The apostle Paul reminds the church in Rome that the love and grace of Jesus are available to all people, without distinction. Paul promises that Jesus will be present to all who call on him.  But, he asks, how are people to call on Jesus if they've never heard of him?  And who will tell them if they've never heard?

Do you know people who need to hear?  People who are looking for what you have found in Jesus?  Perhaps someone who's struggling with a sense of emptiness or who longs to know what the purpose of life is.  Maybe someone who feels a need for inner peace. Perhaps someone who wants desperately to believe they are loved and lovable.  Those who are painfully aware of the "God-shaped hole" in their lives.   

Will you be the "beautiful feet" that bring the good news to them? 

See you on Sunday! 

(PS - Don't forget - you can drop into the "Holy Conversation" study in the parlor on Wednesday at 6 PM or on Sunday at 9:15 AM.  You can also join us for the sermon talk-back during fellowship time after the 10:30 worship service.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

May 6, 2012 - Fifth Sunday of Easter 

"Table Talk"

This Sunday's sermon is the second in a 4-week series about "Holy Conversations". Holy conversations are those opportunities we have for telling our stories, sharing our faith journeys, and swapping "God talk" in a casual, friendly, conversational way. 

Our scripture reading for the day will be Acts 22:6-16 (click here to read the passage). As he has done before, the apostle Paul tells the powerful story of his conversion experience.  Even now, in the face of danger among those who oppose him, Paul is compelled to share his experience of Jesus - not his carefully constructed theology, but his own, deeply personal experience of the risen Christ.  

That's the starting point for our "holy conversations" - the sharing of our own personal stories.  Not theological treatises or intellectual arguments or biblical proofs or the "plan of salvation".  What people want to hear - the faith talk that they find most compelling - are our own personal stories of how God is real and active in our lives.   

We all have stories to tell.  And while few of them are as dramatic as Paul's conversion experience, they have just as much impact (arguably more so) on our conversation partners.  Have you thought about your own faith narrative?  What are the experiences, the occurrences, the "God moments" that you would share?  What are the stories someone is just waiting for you to tell? 

See you on Sunday! 

(PS - Don't forget - you can drop into the "Holy Conversation" study in the parlor on Wednesdays at 6 PM or on Sundays at 9:15 AM.  You can also join us for the sermon talk-back during fellowship time after the 10:30 worship service.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

April 29, 2012 - Fourth Sunday of Easter 

"Holy Conversations"

This week we begin a 4-week sermon series about "Holy Conversations". Holy conversations are those opportunities we have for telling our stories, sharing our faith journeys, swapping "God talk". 

Our scripture reading for the day will be Acts 3:1-11 (click here to read the passage). In this story, Peter and John are passing through the gate of the temple when a beggar asks them for alms. Peter responds by saying, "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you."  What Peter gives the beggar is Jesus, and it changes the man's life forever.

Do we recognize opportunities to say to others, "What I have I give to you"?  What would we say if we did recognize those opportunities?  Do people really want to hear about it?  And what exactly is it that we have  found in Jesus that we could share with others?  Join us as we begin to explore those questions and think about what having "holy conversations" might be like.

See you on Sunday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

April 22, 2012 - Third Sunday of Easter 

"Seeing with Heart"

This Sunday Pleasant Street United Methodist Church's Reconciling Ministries group will be leading worship, with Sharon Saunders preaching.  The reading for the day will be the story of the travelers' encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24: 13-35 (you can read the scripture lesson here).  

The two travelers did not immediately recognize the stranger as Jesus because they were only thinking with their head and looking with their eyes instead of also seeing with their heart. But in the sharing of hospitality and the breaking of bread together, they experienced the risen Christ.

What difference might it make for the life of our congregation if we could remember to open our eyes and our hearts to see Jesus walking along with us? Who are the "strangers" we let pass by rather than extend a gracious invitation to join us around the table?

See you on Sunday!

Devotion for April 19

The Lap of God
by Martha Popson 

She was shelling peas,
apron-covered knees
spread wide to catch
each pea/each pod

I, shaky, needy
wandered near

Her ancient swollen hands
pushed back the hair
that hid my face

She set down the pan and,
patting her knee,

oh, child
come on up here
and let me have a look at you.

Her voice was safe and so was I
sitting in the lap of God.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Devotion for April 18

If You Knew
by Ellen Bass

What if you knew you'd be the last to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example, at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs, you might take care to touch that palm
or press your fingertips into the crease of a life line.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase too slowly through the
airport, when the car in front of me doesn't signal, when the clerk at
the pharmacy won't say thank you, I don't remember they're going to die.

A friend told me she'd been with her aunt. They'd just had lunch and
the waiter, a young gay man with plum black eyes joked as he served
the coffee, kissed her aunt's powdered cheek when they left. Then
they walked half a block and her aunt dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume have to come? How wide does
the crack in heaven have to split? What would people look like if we
could see them as they are, soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Devotion for April 17

A Twelfth Century Prayer
by Guigo the Carthusian (d. 1188)

Lord, how much juice you can squeeze from a single grape.
How much water you can draw from a single well.
How great a fire you can kindle from a tiny spark.
How great a tree you can grow from a tiny seed.
My soul is so dry that by itself it cannot pray;
Yet you can squeeze from it the juice of a thousand prayers.
My soul is so parched that by itself it cannot love;
Yet you can draw from it boundless love for you and for my neighbor.
My soul is so cold that by itself it has no joy;
Yet you can light the fire of heavenly joy within me.
My soul is so feeble that by itself it has no faith;
Yet by your power my faith grows to a great height.
Thank you for prayer, for love, for joy, for faith;
Let me always be prayerful, loving, joyful, faithful.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Devotion for April 16

My Confession: I Deny the Resurrection
by Peter Rollins

Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…

I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.