Reframing Suffering

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Today, I have mostly wiped the schedule.  So much planned, including a badly needed haircut, but my throat is scratchy and my head is achy.  I am staying put, taking vitamins and letting my body rest.

There is an idea that we must forge on when our bodies are not well, or when we are lagging behind.  Shake it off.  Push through it.  It’s just a cold etc.

We’ve been told from various pulpits that we must override the weaknesses of the body and not give in. In some religious circles, suffering is recognized as a kind of badge of honour.  Maybe this is a nod to St Paul who complained about his unnamed affliction, but continued his missions into foreign and often hostile territories.  I have friend who offers her suffering to assist those in Purgatory.

I find all of this confounding, this dislike of the flesh, this denial of our unique beauty.  We are made in the image of the Creator.  We are all sparks of the Divine.  God delights in us and wants us to be joyful and creative.  God wants us to be like Christ.

Oh. And Jesus suffered.  Jesus went to the cross for us.  So we must suffer too?  Cue the record scratch.

Let’s be clear.  God does not throw down thunderbolts at us.  God does not cause us to be ill.  God does not wish for us to bear heavy emotional burdens.  God does not want our pain.  Jesus took that on for us.  Willingly.  He did it to free us so that we know the LOVE that God showers upon us every minute of our lives.

That got twisted along the way.  christianity1

Today, let us celebrate the love that God brings to us to embrace and to share.  Here is my little podcast that talks about all this.

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/17253213

Blessings,
+Deb

Ash Wednesday

aw

Today, the wheel of the Church year turns once more and we find ourselves beginning a new season: the season of Lent.  On this Ask Wednesday, I invite you to listen in to our online service, live at 9:30 a.m. but available at the link whenever you wish to hear it.
http://tobtr.com/s/11232279

I am sharing my homily here because it tells us about Ash Wednesday and what lent is about.  You can read along when you listen to the service. 🙂  Have a holy and blessed day, everyone.

Ash Wednesday Homily
Well, the pancakes have been consumed, Mardi Gras has wrapped up, the noisemakers and perhaps the treats have been shelved as we greet this new day. This first day of the season of lent.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our 40 day journey through Lent leading to Holy Week, Good Friday and ultimately, the empty tomb of Easter.  As we begin the season of Lent, we are invited to take some time for self-examination, to really look at our lives and how we spend the time we have been given.

This is a good exercise any time of the year, but as we prepare our hearts for the events of Good Friday and Easter, it is a deeply spiritual thing to do, one that can help us grow in our faith and our self-understanding.

Over the next 40 days, we choose make time in our day to think about the people in our lives whom we have hurt or who may have hurt us and to work on moving to a place of peace and forgiveness.  We give this over to God and own up to our own behaviour, knowing that each situation has brought up lessons and insights into our lives. As we let it go, we also forgive ourselves.  And as we consider others that have wounded and hurt us, the point is not to excuse them but to move on in our own lives.  Give them to God, look to the strengths and good things that have come about as the result of the challenges.  There is healing in this for you even if resolution cannot be found.

During Lent,  take time each day to connect more fully with divinity – by reading inspirational books, by meditating, and by praying for ourselves and others.We can also to think of ways to reach out and give of our time, talent and resources.

Many people choose to test their discipline and willpower and decide to give up something that they enjoy.  This mirrors the sacrifices that Jesus made for us as he went to the cross and gave up his life for us.

I have learned over the years, with the ups and downs and stress of life that it isn’t always easy to give up something I like – such as chocolate.  When I cave in a and eat some it tends to cause more stress and even guilt, so I have changed that practise.

Now I use the weeks of Lent to get out my journal and think about the things that have a negative impact on me and release them from my life.  If something is not contributing to my self-esteem and confidence or making me feel good, then I choose to let it go.  I try very hard to shake the dust, even if it means letting go of a friendship.  If I am not being honoured or respected, then that person or circumstance has no resonance in my life.

During Lent, I use my “God Can” a lot more.  If I am worried about something, I write it down and put it into the “God can”, a special jar appointed as the receptacle of my fears, concerns, worries and negative thoughts.  I give it over to God and then as much as I can, choose to spend my day being happy, trusting that things will resolve for good with the angels and God working on it.  And, I try and do one act of kindness for someone in the course of the day.

Lent reminds us to live by faith, to deepen our connection to God and to all the people on this earth.  I do not believe that God wants us to sacrifice something I like or to suffer through a bad situation.  Jesus already did that for us!  God wants us to see ourselves as I we are regarded by our Creator – beautiful, perfect, joyful, prosperous and beloved. Forgiven and free, called to do the loving work of Jesus in the world.

So, I do turn Lent on its ear.

Instead of wearing sackcloth and wearing ashes, I profess my faith in a God who loves me so much he sent Jesus to tell me about that love and to show that love even beyond death.  I give thanks for Jesus who told me to reach out and help my brother and sister, to embrace everyone as a child of god.

I try to live each day connecting to God, writing down my worries and putting them in the God can, working to squeeze the most out of each beautiful moment in the day.  And, you know, living like this for the next 40 days as best we can, will make Easter a much richer experience as we proclaim the mystery and the wonder of our faith – that Jesus not only died for us but came back to tell us that we need not far anything in this life or the next because we are so completely loved by a all-accepting creator who is with us each and every day and into the life after this one too.

I pray that you have a wonderful and holy Lent, however you choose to observe it.  Let us have a prayer to set us on our journey.

Gracious God, be with us this day as we search our hearts.  In the things that we have said and done that have separated us from your love, forgive us.  May we be aware of you loving presence walking with us, holding our hand in the dark, bringing to us people who will love and uplift us, bringing us blessings and good things.

Be with all whom we love this day bringing peace to those who are under any duress, healing to those who are ill in body, mind or spirit, joy to those who are without hope, and love to all who are tired in spirit.

We ask your angels to fill this whole earth with your divine light and grace, melting every hardened heart, clearing the scales from the eyes of those whose hearts and minds are consumed by anger, greed, avarice and lack of compassion.  May we be instruments of your peace, your truth, your holy love and by our faith in you shine your light everywhere we go.  Amen.

Blessings,
Deb

 

Hello again

perfectsm

Feb 10, 2019

Yes. I know. It has been about 6 weeks since I posted.  In that time I sprained my ankle pretty severely and the whole family came down with a horrible respiratory virus.  And I lost my keys.  Not the nicest beginning to 2019.

It is clear that I was being told to slow down and stay put for a while, and it has been a time of quiet and self-reflection.  And a lot of tylenol and tissues.

Now that I am feeling better, I have to put it all in perspective.  In the grand scheme of things, I really have nothing to complain about.  I have a warm, cozy house.  I have a loving and supportive family and group of friends.  In that horrible bitter cold snap, we had heat, lights and food.  I am so grateful.

Yes, I got upset and depressed at times. It is normal to throw a pity party every once in a while.  But then I turn on the tv and see what others are dealing with – homelessness in deadly temperatures, families hitting food banks in record numbers, threats to social safety nets, natural disasters…  I have nothing to complain about.  Really.

I am grateful.  I am strong.  God is good.

It is important to count our blessings each and every day, several times in the day.  Truly, most of us have much for which to give thanks.  In the challenges, in the tough times, in the moments when we feel lost and afraid we need only to look for that one good thing that we can hang onto like an anchor in the storm.  What –or who– is that anchor for you?

As people of faith, we do have an anchor and we do have the understanding that we are safe even in the storms of our life.  We reach out to Creator.  We remember Jesus in the boat, sleeping and awakening to stretch out his hands to calm the raging storm.  He will calm the storms of our life too.

Yeah, the past few weeks have been really miserable at times.  But Jesus has been in the boat with me.  He’s in the boat with you too.

You are safe.  You are surrounded by holy angels.  You are upheld by our loving and compassionate God.

It helps me to know that even in the midst of the storm, I am not alone. Neither are you.

You are a beloved child of God.

Things will happen.  Storms will stir up.  It will pass, you will move forward, and hopefully, you will do so with the understanding that in every moment, Jesus is there with you.  He will stretch out his arms to still the storm.  He will stretch out his arms to embrace you.  He will stretch out his arms to show you the way forward.

A friend says “All was well, and all is well and all will be well.”  May we know this truth today.

Need some inspiration? Here is a link to today’s worship service on blogtalkradio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/spiritofloveradio/2019/02/10/sunday-worship-with-the-community-catholic-church–feb-10

Have a great day, everyone.
Peace
Deb

The last day of 2018

love

December 31, 2018.  Here we are on the cusp of another new year.  I know several people who are happy to say goodbye to this year, having encountered some difficult challenges and hardships. Maybe you can relate.

As we go through each year, there are ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, good days and not so good days. It is true that some years are worse than others.  For me, this has been a year punctuated by great blessings, but there have been times when my mantra has been “this too will pass.”

There will always be challenges in our lives.  Sometimes we may shake our fist at heaven and demand answers.  Sometimes things can happen that overwhelm us.  This too will pass, I promise.  The pain of the moment will shift eventually and balance returns.  Sometimes the biggest difficulty we face can be the key that transforms us for good.

When we ride out a life challenge like a rodeo rider on a wild bucking bull, we can find out many things about ourselves.  We may get thrown off and hit the ground hard, but when we stand up, dust ourselves off, there is much we can take away from the experience. We discover that we are stronger than we thought. We discover who is truly there when we have a need.  We realize that we understand what others go through at a whole new level.  And, we count our blessings a whole lot more.

The hardest thing for me is to hear folks blaming God for the hardship.   This is the result of bad theology and wrong understandings and keeps many people separated from Creator and the blessings that are available to them.

As people who follow Jesus, we should know better.  Jesus came to show us the way back to God by his teachings and his actions.  He healed the sick, embraced the outcast, forgave sinners, and promoted compassion, kindness, justice, mercy and above all, LOVE.

When hardships befall us, we want to look for a culprit.  We need to point a finger.  We want to know why this has happened to me?!  We think, “Who can erase it all?  God.  “Who isn’t making it go away yet? God.” We turn up the volume. “Where the heck is God, anyway?  Hello?  A little help here, please?” We look to almighty Creator and (wrongly) come to the conclusions that we are being punished or somehow targeted.

No no no no no.

God does not visit terrible things upon us.  Just the opposite.  God is with us on the bull, sometimes holding us and breaking our fall.  It is through our faith in God that we come to understand grace and healing.  It is through reading Scripture and seeing how Jesus stretches out his hand and heals people from all walks and stations of life, that we can understand he is stretching out his hand to us too.  He says to the people,”do not be afraid.”  He says,”Your faith has made you well.”  He says this to each one of us too.

As we move into this new year, this is an important truth to take to heart.  God loves you.
God has your back and is there when you are in need.  God does not cause the accident or the illness or the job loss or the misfortune.  God sees you as a beloved child and extends love, blessing, healing and good things to you.  What is required on our part?  Trust, patience, prayer, meditation, and an understanding that answers do not always come in the way we think.

If we start each day with a prayer of thanksgiving, counting our blessings and offering God our grateful hearts, then our day will bring ways for us to be grateful.  As we focus on the positive aspects of our lives, the obstacles and challenges that pop up are dealt with more easily.  Knowing that Creator is with us -not against us- means that we can give thanks that the situation is already being handled, for our highest and best.

I believe that 2019 will be outstanding.  May we remember to walk each day prayerfully and gratefully.  This attitude will affect everyone around you, reaping great benefits and transforming hearts to be filled with more kindness, compassion and caring,

Also! Your prayer journal is an invaluable tool.  New year, new fresh page. Write down the needs and concerns of your heart and those of others, and watch how each gets crossed off as you review each week.  Our God is an awesome God and you will see prayers being answered and things being resolved.  You will come to understand how very much you are loved and cherished.

Here is a little prayer I found on the Loyola website:

God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.

As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.

Happy New Year, everyone.
Blessings,
Deb

 

 

 

 

Friday after Christmas

Hi everyone!

I hope that you are enjoying this time between the celebrations.  Just three more days left in this year.  Many are very happy to see the end of 2018.  It has brought challenges and hardships, but also lessons.

I try to keep the perspective that as bad as it may seem sometimes, there is always someone who has it a whole lot worse. I pray for those folks, who are likely thinking that as bad as it is for them, someone has it worse.  It is really important to count our blessings and muster up gratitude for all that we have in our life.  It really does keep us grounded and in that place of trust.

Bishop Jean deals with challenges by adding the word “yet.”  When we are facing a stressful situation, it is often hard to see past it.  By adding that little word so much can change.  “I have no money to pay this bill… yet.”  “My health is not improving… yet.”  “My soul mate hasn’t arrived in my life… yet.”  See?  It changes a rather grim statement into an affirmation of hope.

Affirmations are a great way to keep us focused on the possibilities of life.  Sometimes it sounds as though we are making it up, but as we repeat these gutsy little sayings, things do shift and change.  “All is well in my life.”  “I have everything I need in this moment and I am blessed!” “Life is good and getting better!”  “I am loved and beloved.”  Try it for a few days and see what good comes to you.

Here is a little prayer I wrote a few years ago to capture hopes for my life and all who share this planet.  I believe that as we pray and send out these intentions, lives will improve, including our own.  Every blessing to you and your loved ones.
+Deb

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‘Tis the night before Christmas!

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Yes.  I know.  My valiant attempts to do a daily blog have been hijacked by the busyness of the season.  I finally got some Christmas groceries in, many of which are still in the car because I have to make space in the kitchen.  Homily and service are done for tonight.

We have a very special Christmas Eve service airing on Blogtalk at 4 p.m.  Please join us!
Just click this link: http://tobtr.com/s/11126509 

Al the very best to you at this holy night.  May the wonder of Christmas shine in your heart and peace and joy be with you.

Blessings,
+Deb

Third Thursday in Advent

Good morning!

Waking up to a chilly day with rain in the forecast.  A white Christmas is not on the horizon this year according to the weather network.  While snow does set the scene for that traditional christmassy feeling, I am a little relieved.  On Christmas Eve, I travel about an hour away to lead a church service and clear roads are a very good thing.

I remember a particular Christmas Eve many years ago driving home in a blizzard, whiteknuckling it all the way.  Another year, I had a flat tire in a fairly deserted place with very little juice left in my phone.  A cheery tow truck driver and his dog came to my rescue, offering to change it for free.  That was a Christmas miracle.  Most years, it is a quiet drive and I am serenaded by Christmas music and coloured light shows along the way.  A beautiful beginning to Christmas celebrations.

This ritual of going to this little church year after year has been a wonderful blessing in my life.  Not only do I get to be with the people whom I have come to love, but the solo time in the car gives me a chance to reflect on the mystery of what God has done in our lives.  And, when I return home, my sons have prepared treats and delights to enjoy (with Jean’s guidance) and we watch old Christmas movies into the wee hours of the morning.  I am so grateful and so blessed.

What is it that you give thanks for at this time of the year?  In what ways are you blessed?  What the rituals that hold great meaning for you?

As we count down to Christmas, may you be filled with the mystery and wonder of this sacred time and know that you are blessed and loved by the One who sent angels to sing your birth too.  God celebrates each one of us.  Come, let us adore him.

Deb

Today’s morning prayer service:

An Order for Morning Prayer – Third Thursday in Advent
We greet the Day

O Lord, open our lips:
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;*
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever.
Amen.

Hear, O Israel

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

This is the first and the great commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.

There is no commandment greater than these.

Kyrie
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Collect
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Song of Mary  Luke 1.46–55
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; *
for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;*
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever.
Amen.

Reading:  Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Psalm 97

1 The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
7 All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods!
8 Zion hears and rejoices
and the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments, Lord.
9 For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.

Reflective Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
— St. Therese of Liseux

 Intercessory Prayers
We  offer to God the prayers of our hearts-

Gracious God source of all love and fount of all blessing, your Son Jesus Christ promised that you will hear us when we ask in faith.  Confident in his word, we offer you our prayers.

We pray for our world, for the leaders of nations and all in authority, that everyone may live in peace and mutual trust, sharing with justice the resources of the earth. May your love guide each heart.
(offer personal prayers for the world, leaders, the planet)

We give thanks for our church and every faith community across the world. Encourage clergy and religious leaders to lead with compassion, mirroring your love and grace by their lives and teaching.

We offer to your care, merciful God, all who are in sorrow, sickness, discouragement or any other trouble. Give them patience and a firm trust in your goodness. Change lives today through your mighty healing touch and bring to know your loving presence at work in their lives.

We pray for our own needs and concerns, giving thanks that answers and resolution are already on their way to us.  Especially, we offer these concerns to you…….

We give thanks for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing. May they find comfort and hope in the joy of your promise that you will greet us at the last and take us to your Father’s house.

Hear us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory,
now and for ever.
Amen.

Concluding prayers
Mother Mary, as you carried your dear Son in your immaculate womb, you also carried him in your heart. Pray for me, this Advent, that I may surrender myself to the will of the Father in imitation of you. You said “Yes” to all that God asked of you and never hesitated to fully embrace His divine will. Pray that I may imitate your perfect example so as to share a deeper union with you and your divine Son.  Amen

May the God of peace enable me to do his will in every kind of goodness, working in us what pleases him, through Jesus  Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God!

 

 

 

Third Wednesday in Advent

loveWell, dear peeps.  By this time next week, all the presents will be unwrapped, canned Christmas hits will be silenced, brave souls will be lining up for boxing day bargains and festivities will be on hiatus for a few days.

But, for us as Christians it will be the Feast of St Stephen and the first day of Christmas.. . or is it the second?  Christmas is a SEASON.  Twelve days.  Ending at Epiphany, when the Magi really found Jesus, having followed the light to where he was.  This is Christmas for me. This is the time that we have been preparing for, and waiting for!  When a child arrives it isn’t a one-day thing.  It is a life-time together.  Celebrating continues right into the New Year and beyond.

Emmanuel.  God with us.  Not just on Dec 25.  It is an eternal connection.  Once we meet that babe in the manger we discover a love unlike anything we’ve known before.  A love that nurtures us and treasures us.  A love that empowers us and transforms us.  A love that inspires us to become a part of the story and follow this Newborn King in this life and the next.  O Come, make your hearts ready to receive him.  O Come, let us adore him.

Blessings,
Deb

Today’s prayer service:
Wednesday in Advent

We greet the Day

O Lord, open our lips:
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;*
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever.
Amen.

Hear, O Israel

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

This is the first and the great commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.

There is no commandment greater than these.

Kyrie
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Collect
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen

Bendicite

1    Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

2    Bless the Lord you heavens:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

3    Bless the Lord you angels of the Lord:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

4    Bless the Lord all people on earth:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

5    O people of God bless the Lord:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

6    Bless the Lord you priests of the Lord:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

7    Bless the Lord you servants of the Lord:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

8    Bless the Lord all you of upright spirit:

bless the Lord you that are holy and humble in heart;

bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

The Song of the Three 35–37, 60–65

Reading:  John 3:16-21

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

 

Reflective Prayer
Gracious God, gifts without measure flow from your goodness to give us your peace. Our life is your gift. Guide our life’s journey, for only your love makes us whole. Keep us strong in your love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Intercessory Prayers
We  offer to God the prayers of our hearts-

Gracious God source of all love and fount of all blessing, your Son Jesus Christ promised that you will hear us when we ask in faith.  Confident in his word, we offer you our prayers.

We pray for our world, for the leaders of nations and all in authority, that everyone may live in peace and mutual trust, sharing with justice the resources of the earth. May your love guide each heart.
(offer personal prayers for the world, leaders, the planet)

We give thanks for our church and every faith community across the world. Encourage clergy and religious leaders to lead with compassion, mirroring your love and grace by their lives and teaching.

We offer to your care, merciful God, all who are in sorrow, sickness, discouragement or any other trouble. Give them patience and a firm trust in your goodness. Change lives today through your mighty healing touch and bring to know your loving presence at work in their lives.

We pray for our own needs and concerns, giving thanks that answers and resolution are already on their way to us.  Especially, we offer these concerns to you…….

We give thanks for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing. May they find comfort and hope in the joy of your promise that you will greet us at the last and take us to your Father’s house.

Hear us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory,
now and for ever.
Amen.

O Emmanuel, most gracious and loving Lord Jesus, I choose you, this Advent, as my Saviour and my God. I offer my heart to you and seek to put all my trust in your tender care. Draw me close to you and free me from my sin so that I may love you with a pure and holy heart. Amen

May the God of peace enable me to do His will in every kind of goodness, working in us what pleases Him, through Jesus  Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God!

 

 

Third Monday in Advent

A week tonight is Christmas Eve.  All December I have felt like a person in the midst of a crowd  being carried forward with group momentum.  I search for a way out, but there are too many bodies to push past.  Do you know that feeling?  That longing to jump to the side and watch everyone else pass by for awhile.

This holy season, this time of Advent is so special to me.  I need the time to prepare. To think about the story.  To call back the wonder and magic.  To go to Bethlehem and search the skies for singing angels,  look for excited Shepherds and seek out the stable.  I want to be with that tiny babe.  I want to see his parents.  I want to offer my gift to this God-child.

This year, more than others, I think it is more of a need to find Jesus.  In the midst of this ever-hardening world that casts out the poor, that cuts care for those in need, that slashes budgets for education and health care, that tramples on hope and peace and twists our God into a vengeful hateful reflection of the worst in humanity, I NEED to find Jesus.

I need to find that sweet child, that gift of love from an all-loving God and place my focus there.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son…. John 3:16.  We know these words. Why do we not “get it.”  Why do we not show this good news by our lives and by our actions? Why do we not uphold the teaching and the new commandment given to us by the Son of God himself.  Love one another, Jesus told us.   Seriously.  LOVE each other.

What the heck is wrong with us?  Twitter shots.  Flaming on social media.  Meanness. Bullying.  Racism.  Sexism.  Ageism.  Homophobia.  Inequality.

Jesus, the one who Christians worship promoted love, tolerance, acceptance, welcome, compassion, openness, hospitality, friendship, joy….  That’s what we are called to do.

Jesus was not a blue-eyed white guy.  He was a swarthy middle-easterner.  He spoke a language very different from English.  He grew up in a world of great political turmoil and religious extremism.  He walked with those who were hungry, poor, lonely, destitute and oppressed.  He reached out to them and offered comfort, healing and peace.  He gave his life for all of us – so that we would “get it” – that death has no sting, that we are forgiven and loved, that God knows each of us deeply and loves us.  God sees our perfection, even if we cannot.

Jesus came to us.  To live and die like us.  To know our struggle and challenges.  To point us to truths and a way of life that is a pathway to happiness and joy.  He came to save us from our sins.  To bring us to a new understanding of our connectedness.  That message has really been hi-jacked, even by those who would call themselves Christian.

I need to meet that baby this year at Bethlehem.  We all do.  Darkness cannot stand in the light of His presence.  We need that light.  We need to share it.  We need to be beacons with the Christ light shining within us.

In this last week before Christmas, I invite you to set aside some time and in the quiet, let that light come to you.  Let it fill you.  Let it shine in you.  Let it speak to you of your worth, your value, the gift you are to this world.

Love came to us at Christmas.  Love comes to us each moment of our day.  Oh, how we need that Divine Love at work in our lives and in this world.

Come, let us adore him.

Here is today’s morning prayer service.

Third Sunday in Advent

Yes, I know.  Life has been crazy the past few days.  Mea Culpa.  However, today I can post three things for you to listen to and reflect upon.

My goal from now until Christmas is to do a deep dive into the quiet and beautiful rhythm of Advent.  My schedule is more clear and I plan to do some spiritual reading, work on some interesting projects and prepare my heart for the gift that comes at Christmas – Emmanuel.

What are you doing to make ready?  Are you feeling that joy and wonder that comes as we reflect on the story of the Nativity of Christ?  What do you need to do to get there?

I am so grateful to God.  That is my beginning point.  I pray that love and blessings touch your lives this day.  O come, let us adore that beautiful babe.

+Deb

For your listening pleasure – yesterday’s Prayer on the Go
https://www.spreaker.com/episode/16484334

Today’s Sunday Blogtalk Prayer Service:
http://tobtr.com/s/11116495

The Prayer Service for the Third Sunday in Advent
https://journeyingwithgodcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/7SunMorningAdvent.mp3

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.

Trisagion (repeat three times)
Holy God,
holy and mighty,
holy immortal one,
have mercy upon us.

Collect
O God, who makes us glad with the yearly expectation of your coming: grant that we, who with joy receive your only begotten Son as our Redeemer, may without fear behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, even your Son our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Reading:   Luke 2:8-20

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The “O” Antiphons

O Wisdom (O Sapienta) O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

O Lord and Ruler (O Adonai) O Lord and Ruler of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and on Mount Sinai gave him your Law. Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

O Root of Jesse (O Radix Jesse) O Root of Jesse, you stand for the ensign of all mankind; before you kings shall keep silence and to you all nations shall have recourse. Come, save us, and do not delay.

O Key of David (O Clavis David) O Key of David, Scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens. Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

O Rising Dawn (O Oriens) O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice; Come, enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

O King of the Nations (O Rex Gentium) O King of the Gentiles, Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save poor man whom you fashion out of clay.

O Emmanuel O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of the nations and their Savior: Come, and save us, O Lord our God.

Reflective Prayer
Break forth, O beautiful morning light, and let the heaven dawn! Be not afraid, O shepherd folk, for the angel is telling you that this helpless little boy will be our comfort and joy, here for to conquer Satan and bring us peace at last!  – Johann von Rist (1607–67)

Intercessory Prayers
O Wisdom, from the mouth of the Most High, you reign over all things to the ends of the earth: come and teach us how to live. Lord Jesus, come soon!

O Lord, and head of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and you gave the law on Sinai: come with outstretched arm and ransom us. Lord Jesus, come soon!

O Branch of Jesse, standing as a sign among the nations, all kings will keep silence before you and all peoples will summon you to their aid: come, set us free and delay no more. Lord Jesus, come soon!

O Key of David and sceptre of the house of Israel, you open and none can shut; you shut and none can open: come and free the captives from prison. Lord Jesus, come soon!

O Morning Star, splendour of the light eternal and bright Sun of righteousness: come and enlighten all who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death. Lord Jesus, come soon!

O King of the nations, you alone can fulfil their desires: Cornerstone, you make opposing nations one: come and save the creature you fashioned from clay. Lord Jesus, come soon!

O Emmanuel, hope of the nations and their Saviour: come and save us, Lord our God. Lord Jesus, come soon!

For yours is the majesty, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory,
now and for ever.
Amen.

O Lord. You are the light that guides my feet. You are the map that gives me direction.
You are the peace that makes me strong. You are the leader whom I faithfully follow.

May your light illuminate my life and your guidance bring direction.
May I find inspiration in your word and peace in my heart as I follow you. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and  the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God!