Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Devotional Themes from May 16 Saturday Evening Prayer Service

“Go where your best prayers take you.”

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”


“Joy is a mystery because it can happen anywhere, anytime, even under the most unpromising circumstances, even in the midst of suffering, with tears in its eyes....”


“God himself does not give answers. He gives himself.” F. Buechner


S i n g :   O u r   E y e s   A r e   T u r n e d   t o   t h e   L o r d   J e s u s   C h r i s t 


 S i n g :   I n   G o d   A l o n e


R e a d :   ( P s a l m   1 4 3   a d a p t e d   f r o m   N a n   M e r r i l l   a n d   t h e  
J e r u s a l e m   B i b l e )


O Source of all Joy, awaken my heart;
Pour your love and blessings through all my being.
Free me from my attachment to petty desires,
May I may become a pure reflection of your love for the world.


Sing: In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, in God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest, find its rest and peace.


For my enemies have pursued me, they have crushed my spirit to the ground.
Doubt and despair have veiled your Light so that I often dwell in darkness.
Therefore, I cry out to You, O Great Awakener;
Help me to rise once again like the phoenix of old!


Sing: In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, in God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest, find its rest and peace.


I recall days gone by; I meditate on all that You have done;
I muse on the Covenant of your Grace and open my heart to You;
My soul thirsts for You like thirsty ground on the high desert.
Quick, O Lord, answer me before my spirit fails;


If you hide your face much longer, I shall go down to the Pit like the rest.
Let dawn bring proof of your Love for the one who relies on you;
Let the morning light show the right road,
the path of safety for the one who lifts up his soul to you.


Sing: In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, in God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest, find its rest and peace.


This yearning in my soul is nothing but my inner birthright
to know and live in You.
Let me hear your Voice within the Silence, for in You I put my trust.
I have fled to you for shelter; teach me to obey you,


Since you are my God; may your good Spirit guide me on level ground.
Help me face my fears, O Divine Nurturer, for I call on You for help.
Instruct me in your Divine Precepts, cultivate my soul!


Sing: In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, in God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest, find its rest and peace.


Lead me into deep silence and solitude,
Let your Peace clothe me like a mantle.
Divine Light shines in those whose lives reflect your Grace.
As the river makes its way to the sea, may I surrender to the flow of your
new Life within me!


Then will I trust that all is working together toward wholeness 

and healing for all people.
Then will your Grace rebuild the lives of all in this world,
this planet which you love and have always loved. Hallelujah!


Sing: In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, in God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest, find its rest and peace.


S i n g :   W h e n   M o r n i n g   L i g h t s   t h e   E a s t e r n   S k i e s    # 2 5 0


P r a y   w i t h   H u u b   O o s t e r h u i s   ( c .   1 9 3 3 )


You Wait for Us


You wait for us until we are open to you.
We wait for your word to make us receptive.
Attune us to your voice, to your silence,
Speak and bring your son to us,
Jesus, the word of your peace.
Your word is near, O Lord our God.
Your grace is near. Come to us then with mildness and power.
Do not let us be deaf to you, but make us receptive
And open to Jesus Christ your Son, who will come to look for us
And save us today and every day for ever and ever.


S i n g :   A s   t h e   D e e r                                                                    # 2 0 2 5


You Are No Stranger


How many times, God, have we been told that you are no stranger,
Remote from those who call upon you in prayer!
O let us see, God, and know in our lives now that those words are true.
Give us faith and give us the joy of recognizing your son, Jesus Christ,
our Saviour, in our midst.
Make us receptive and open, and may we accept your kingdom
Like children taking bread from the hands of their father.
Let us live in your peace, at home with you all the days of our lives.


S i n g :   A s   t h e   D e e r                                                                      # 2 0 2 5


We Are Dependent on Your Love


We can expect nothing, God, from ourselves;
Everything that we have comes from you.
We are dependent on your love and your kindness.
Treat us well – do not measure out your grace,
But give us your own power of life, your Son Jesus Christ,
Mercy and faithfulness more than we can imagine
Today and all the days of our lives.
We are the work of your hands, O God.
You, Lord, have made us and love us.
All our life is your gift, all your power was in our creation
And thus you will go on giving to us grace upon grace.
What more need we hope for from you?
This certainty – God – is good enough for us.


S i n g :   A s   t h e   D e e r                                                                   # 2 0 2 5


T i m e   o f   S u p p l i c a t i o n  a n d   L i s t e n i n g   P r a y e r


S c r i p t u r e :   E p h e s i a n s   6 : 1 3 - 1 8


Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.


14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.


17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Prayer: Father, You bless those who put their trust in your name and delight in your commands. In the midst of inner turmoil or outer conflict let me not be shaken for my heart remains steadfast in you. I want to remain firmly grounded in you as I overcome the daily obstacles common to all who live on earth. Keep me grounded also in the love and counsel of the saints you have placed in my life. May we together grasp the width and length and depth and height of your love — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. Sustain me, O Lord, along the way as I press on toward the goal for which You have called me heaven-ward in Christ Jesus. Amen.


G o   i n   P e a c e :   ( f r o m   P s a l m   1 6 )


May your heart be glad, and may you rejoice in the Lord; 

May your flesh also rest in hope 
For God himself will show you the path of life; 
In His presence is fullness of joy; 
At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Devotional Themes from May 9 Saturday Evening Prayer Service

P s a l m   1 2 3

Unto You I lift up my eyes, 

O You who dwell in the heavens. 
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, 
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, 
So our eyes look to the Lord our God until He has mercy on us.

To You I lift up my spirit,
You, who are enthroned in every heart.
For, as the young child holds tightly the hand of its mother,
As those in the throes of disease look to one who brings comfort,
So our spirits seek the Heart of Love,
that we might find mercy and forgiveness.


S i n g :   I   B e l i e v e   i n   G o d   A l m i g h t y                                     # 2 0 4 2

S i n g :   C o m e ,   R e j o i c e   i n   G o d                                               # 2 0 1 7




 R e a d :   ( P s a l m   3 3   a d a p t e d   f r o m   N a n   M e r r i l l )

Rejoice in our Beloved Lord, O you his holy ones!
It is fitting for his holy ones to sing his praises.
Praise the Lord with strings and reeds.
Give praise twirling and dancing before the Lord.
Sing a new song, and shout with joyful heart.
For the word of the Creator is true,
And all creation is full of his unfailing love.


Sing: Come, rejoice in God; praise him all the earth. Serve your God,
serve your God, gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, gladly serve your God.


Justice and mercy we render to the Holy One
the starry hosts fully reflect his Divine Love.
By his Word the heavens and earth were created,
And all who dwell on earth were formed by the Creator's breath of Life.
All creation, from the distant stars to the depth of the seas,
Are held together by the unity of his Love.


Sing: Come, rejoice in God; praise him all the earth. Serve your God,
serve your God, gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, gladly serve your God.


May all the earth reverence the Lord,
May everyone stand in awe our Beloved God.
For when the Lord speaks, it surely comes to pass;
As his Love guides and directs, thus it will stand.
Without Love, the counsel of nations comes to nothing
And the plans of people are futile.
The counsel of the Creator is eternal and are available to every generation.
Blessed are the nations that listen in silence
And make decisions with Wisdom's Counsel.


Sing: Come, rejoice in God; praise him all the earth. Serve your God,
serve your God, gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, gladly serve your God.


Blessed are all people who respond to Love's Way.
For, the Beloved dwells in every heart that is open and receptive;
Into our hands, into our hearts, does the Beloved quietly enter,
That we might live in Love in all we do.
Do we not know, that the nations are not saved by the size of their armies,
Just as generals are not saved by their own strength?
Behold, the Love of the Beloved is stronger than ten thousand men.
And more to be desired than the wealth of the nations.


Sing: Come, rejoice in God; praise him all the earth. Serve your God,
serve your God, gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, gladly serve your God.


Do we not know that to dwell in the heart of the Beloved
Is the promise of every nation, the birthright of all people,
the eternal journey which is our destiny?
My soul yearns God the Beloved, for peace, joy, and assurance.
Then will our hearts be glad and we will sing songs of gratitude,
Praising the name of the Holy One.
May every nation come to live in the steadfast Love and Wisdom of the Spirit of Truth!
May your unfailing Love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.


Sing: Come, rejoice in God; praise him all the earth. Serve your God,
serve your God, gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
gladly serve your God. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, gladly serve your God.


P r a y   w i t h   J o h a n n   F r e y l i n g h a u s e n   ( 1 6 7 0 - 1 7 3 9 )

Who is like You? 
Who is like you, Jesus, sweet Jesus?
You are the light of those who are spiritually lost.
You are the life of those who are spiritually dead.
You are the liberation of those who are imprisoned by guilt
You are the glory of those who hate themselves.
You are the guardian of those who are paralyzed by fear.
You are the guide of those who are bewildered by falsehood
You are the peace of those who are in turmoil.
You are the prince of those who yearn to be led 

You are the priest of those who seek the truth.

S i n g :   O u r   E y e s   A r e   T u r n e d   t o   t h e   L o r d   J e s u s   C h r i s t

 King, Prophet and Priest

Jesus, the mightiest king, I will kiss your sceptre.
Jesus, the lowliest servant, I will work by your side.
Jesus, the wisest prophet, I will hasten to your teachings.
Jesus, the despised fool, I will be reckless in your service
Jesus, the great high priest, I will receive your grace.
Jesus, the common carpenter, I will stand with the poor.


S i n g :   O u r   E y e s   A r e   T u r n e d   t o   t h e   L o r d   J e s u s   C h r i s t


Draw Me into Yourself


Draw me completely into yourself.
So that I might completely melt in your love.
Lay upon me, stamp upon me,
So that my stubborn pride might be destroyed
Embrace me, kiss me,
So that my spiritual ugliness may turn to beauty
Lock me into your chamber,
So that I might never stray from your presence.


S i n g :   O u r   E y e s   A r e   T u r n e d   t o   t h e   L o r d   J e s u s   C h r i s t


Seeing, Knowing and Feeling


May your Spirit guide my mind,
Which is so often dull and empty.
Let my thoughts always be on you,
And let me see you in all things.
May your Spirit quicken my soul,
Which is so often listless and lethargic.
Let my soul be awake to your presence,
And let me know you in all things.
May your Spirit melt my heart,
Which is so often cold and indifferent.
Let my heart be warmed by your love,
And let me feel you in all things.


S i n g :   O u r   E y e s   A r e   T u r n e d   t o   t h e   L o r d    J e s u s   C h r i s t


T i m e   o f  S u p p l i c a t i o n   a n d   L i s t e n i n g   P r a y e r


G o  i n   P e a c e :


Let us not lie down tonight with sin, nor shall sin nor sin’s shadow
lie down with us this night or any other night.
O God of life, this night, O darken not to us Thy light.
O God of life, this night, close not Thy gladness to our sight.
O God of life, this night, Thy door to us, O shut not tight,
O God of life, this night, be our refuge and our comfort.
And be it on Thine own beloved arm, O God of grace,
that we in peace shall waken.
The peace of all peace be ours this night in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Devotional Themes from May 2 Saturday Evening Prayer Service


Resistance and Solidarity 

The sole and basic source of our strength is the solidarity of workers, peasants and academics, the solidarity of the nation, the solidarity of people who seek to live in dignity, truth, and in harmony with their conscience. Lech Walesa 

We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world and the spiritual agents are from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore, we must wear the "whole armor of God" that we may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when we have fought to a stand-still, we may still stand our ground. Corrie ten Boom 


The strength of the good soldier of Jesus Christ appears in nothing more than in steadfastly maintaining the holy calm, meekness, sweet-ness, and benevolence of his mind, amidst all the storms, injuries, strange behavior, and surprising acts and events of this evil and unrea-sonable world. Jonathan Edwards 




R e a d :   ( P s a l m   4 0   f r o m   N a n   M e r r i l l ) 

I waited patiently for my Beloved Lord, who heard my cry and came to me. He raised me from the pits of despair, out of my confusion and fear, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. There is a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to the Lord. May many see and rejoice, may they put their trust in God. 

Blessed are those who make the Lord’s Love their home, who do not turn to the proud, to those who follow false gods. O Beloved, how wondrous are your gifts to us; your thoughts are beyond our comprehension. What joy to live in oneness with you! Were we to proclaim and tell of your beauty and blessed grace, to what could we compare it? 

Sing: Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, 
Those who seek God shall never go wanting. 
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone fills us. 

Sacrifice and offering are not what you desire from us; for you have opened the eyes of our heart. Burnt offerings are not required. My heart yields and surrenders to you; in the Book of Life may it be written: “I abandon myself into your hands, God. I love you and wish only to live with you at the center of my life, O my Beloved, for you are the Life of my soul forever.” 

I tell the glad news of Love's way to all who will listen. Yes, I raise my voice, with praise and acclamation. I tell of Love's saving grace within my heart, I speak of Love's faithfulness and healing power. I desire to reveal your steadfast love and truth through the witness of my life. Do not, O Beloved, withhold your mercy from me. Let your Love, your Light, and Faithfulness ever guide and uphold me. 

Sing: Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, 
Those who seek God shall never go wanting. 
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone fills us. 

In your mercy, O Lord, deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! Let my fears be put to rest, fears that separate me from You; Let all that keeps me from love, from peace and gratitude, be removed from my heart. 

And may all who seek Love rejoice and be glad; may all who desire to live in truth and justice, continually call upon your love. As for me, though often broken and weak, I know that Love dwells within my heart. I give witness to your Peace and Love, O Teacher and Friend to All! 


Sing: Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, 
Those who seek God shall never go wanting. 
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone fills us. 

S i n g :   I n   G o d   A l o n e


L e t   u s   p r a y   t o g e t h e r :   f r o m  H i l d e g a r d  o f   B i n g e n 

Jesus Christ, the love who gives us love. 
You are higher than the highest star. 
You are deeper than the deepest sea. 
You cherish us as your family. 
You embrace us as your own spouse. 
You rule over us as your subjects. 
You welcome us as your dearest friend. 

S i n g :   I n   G o d   A l o n e 

Spirit of God, the life that gives us life. 
You are the cause of all movement in life. 
You are the breath of all creatures. 
You are the medicine that purifies our souls. 
You are the salve that heals our wounds. 
You are the fire that warms our hearts. 
You are the lamp that guides our feet. 
Let all the world praise you. 

S i n g :   I n   G o d   A l o n e 

O Eternal God, turn us into the arms and hands, 
The legs and feet, of your beloved Son, Jesus. 
You dwelt with him in heaven before the creation of the earth. 
You gave birth to us on earth to become his living body. 
Make us able to be his limbs, and worthy to share his eternal bliss. 

S i n g :   I n    G o d   A l o n e 

P r a y :   L e t   u s   s p e n d   f i v e   m i n u t e s   i n   c o n t e m p l a t i v e   
p r a y e r 

S c r i p t u r e :   E p h e s i a n s   6 : 1 1 - 1 8   J e r u s a l e m   B i b l e 

     Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put God's armor on so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Pow-ers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. 
     That is why you must rely on God's armor, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold you ground. So stand your ground, with truth buckled around your waist, and integ-rity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. 
     And then you must accept salvation from God to be your helmet and re-ceive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword. Pray all the time, ask-ing for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. 

S i n g :   L a m b   o f   G o d                                                                      # 2 1 1 3 

S i n g :   I n   t h e   L o r d   I ' l l    B e   E ve r   T h a n k f u l 

In the Lord I'll be ever thankful, 
In the Lord I will rejoice! Look to God, do not be afraid. 
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near, Lift up your voices, the Lord is near. 

G o   i n   P e a c e : 

Let us not lie down tonight with sin, nor shall sin nor sin’s shadow 
lie down with us this night or any other night. 
O God of life, this night, O darken not to us Thy light. 
O God of life, this night, close not Thy gladness to our sight. 
O God of life, this night, Thy door to us, O shut not tight, 
O God of life, this night, be our refuge and our comfort. 
And be it on Thine own beloved arm, O God of grace, 
that we in peace shall waken. 
The peace of all peace be ours this night in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Devotional Themes from April 25 Saturday Evening Prayer Service



God’s Protection 

“If Christ has been given us, if we are called to his discipleship we are given all things, literally all things. He will see to it that they are added unto us. If we follow Jesus and look only to His righteousness, we are in his hands and under the protection of Jesus and His Father. And if we are in communion with the Father, nought can harm us. God will help us in the hour of need, and He knows our needs.” Bonhoeffer 

“He watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.” Saint Patrick (415-c.461) 


“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.” Nahum 1:7 



R e a d :   ( P s a l m    9 1   w i t h   v e r s e s   f ro m   N a n   M e r r i l l ) 

Those who dwell in the shelter of Elyon, the Most High God, 
Who abide in the wings of El Shaddai who is Infinite Love, 
Will raise their voices in praise: 

My refuge and my strength; in You alone will I trust. 
For You deliver me from the webs of fear and illusion, 
From all that separates and divides me from my trust in You; 

Sing: Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, 
Those who seek God shall never go wanting. 
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone fills us. 

You protect me as an eagle shields its young, 
Your faithfulness is sure, like an arrow set upon the mark. 
I will not fear the shadows of the night, nor confusion by day, 
Nor the dreams that awaken me from sleep, 
Nor the daily changes that life brings. 

Though a thousand may deride this radical trust, 
Ten thousand laugh as I seek to do your will, 
Yet will I surrender myself to You, 
Abandon myself into your Hands without reserve. 

Sing: Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, 
Those who seek God shall never go wanting. 
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone fills us. 

For You have sent your angels to watch over me, 
To guide me in all my ways. On their hands, 
They will bear me up lest I dash my foot against a stone. 
Though I walk among those who roar like a lion, 
Or are as stealthy as the adder, in your strength will I endure. 

Our God promises: "I rescue all who cling to me, 
I protect whoever knows my name, 
I answer everyone who invokes me in prayer, 
I am with them when they are in trouble; 
I bring them safety and honor. 
I give them life, long and full, 
and show them how I can save." 

Sing: Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, 
Those who seek God shall never go wanting. 
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone fills us. 

P r a y :   w i t h   J o h n   B a i l l i e 

O God, immortal, eternal, invisible. I remember with gladness and thanksgiving all that you have been to this world of our human existence. You are the companion of the brave, the upholder of the loyal, a light to the wanderer, the joy of the pilgrim, a guide for the pioneer, a help to the laborer, a refuge to the broken-hearted, a deliverer of the oppressed, the succor of the tempted, the strength of the victorious, the ruler of rulers, a friend to the poor, the rescuer of those who perish, and the hope of the dying. I renounce all proud self-dependence and put my trust in you. Amen. 

S i n g :   L o r d   o f   A l l   H o p e f u l n e s s                                         # 2 1 9 7 

L i s t e n :     A n n e   M o r r o w   L i n d b e r g h 

T a k e   5   M i n u t e s   A l o n e   w i t h   G o d   i n   L i s t e n i n g   P r a y e r 

S c r i p t u r e :   E p h e s i a n s   6 : 1 1 - 1 8   J e r u s a l e m   B i b  le 

     Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put God's armor on so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. 
     That is why you must rely on God's armor, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground. So stand your ground, with truth buckled around your waist, and integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. 
     And then you must accept salvation from God to be your helmet and receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword. Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. 

L i s t e n :   L o v e   G e o r g e   H e r b e r t 

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, 
Guilty of dust and sin. 
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack 
From my first entrance in, 
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning 
If I lack'd anything. 

'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:' 
Love said, 'You shall be he.' 
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear, 
I cannot look on Thee.' 
Love took my hand and smiling did reply, 
'Who made the eyes but I?' 

'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame 
Go where it doth deserve.' 
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?’ 
'My dear, then I will serve.' 
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' 
So I did sit and eat. 

S i n g :   S t a y   W i t h   U s                                                                  # 2 1 9 9 

S i n g :   I n   t h e   L o r d   I ’ l l   b e   E v e r   T h a n k f u l 

In the Lord I'll be ever thankful, 
In the Lord I will rejoice! Look to God, do not be afraid. 
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near, Lift up your voices, the Lord is near. 

G o   i n   P e a c e : 

Let us not lie down tonight with sin, nor shall sin nor sin’s shadow 
lie down with us this night or any other night. 
O God of life, this night, O darken not to us Thy light. 
O God of life, this night, close not Thy gladness to our sight. 
O God of life, this night, Thy door to us, O shut not tight, 
O God of life, this night, be our refuge and our comfort. 
And be it on Thine own beloved arm, O God of grace, 
that we in peace shall waken. 
The peace of all peace be ours this night in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Devotional Themes from April 18 Saturday Evening Prayer Service


S i n g :    B l e s s   t h e   L o r d ,   M y   S o u l 


R e a d :    P s a l m   1 0 3

1  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, 
    bless his holy name. 
2  Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
    and do not forget all his benefits— 
3  who forgives all your iniquity, 
    who heals all your diseases, 
4  who redeems your life from the Pit, 
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
5  who satisfies you with good as long as you live 
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 

S i n g :    B l e s s   t h e   L o r d ,   M y   S o u l 

8  The Lord is merciful and gracious, 
     slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 
10  He does not deal with us according to our sins, 
      nor repay us according to our iniquities. 
11  For as the heavens are high above the earth, 
      so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 
12  as far as the east is from the west, 
      so far he removes our transgressions from us. 
13  As a father has compassion for his children, 
      so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. 
14  For he knows how we were made; 
      he remembers that we are dust. 

S i n g :    B l e s s   t h e   L o r d ,   M y   S o u l

15  As for mortals, their days are like grass; 
      they flourish like a flower of the field; 
16  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, 
      and its place knows it no more. 
17  But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting 
      on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 
18  to those who keep his covenant 
      and remember to do his commandments. 
1    Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, 
      bless his holy name. 

S i n g :    B l e s s   t h e   L o r d ,   M y   S o u l

L i s t e n :    D i s c i p l i n e                                           G e o r g e   H e r b e r t

Throw away thy rod, 
Throw away thy wrath; 
O my God, 
Take the gentle path. 

For my heart's desire 
Unto thine is bent; 
I aspire 
To a full consent. 

Not a word or look 
I affect to own. 
But by book, 
And thy book alone. 

Though I fail, I weep; 
Though I halt in pace, 
Yet I creep 
To the throne of grace. 

Then let wrath remove; 
Love will do the deed; 
For with love 
Stony hearts will bleed. 

Love is swift of foot; 
Love's a man of war. 
And can shoot. 
And can hit from far.

Who can 'scape his bow? 
That which wrought on thee, 
Brought thee low, 
Needs must work on me. 

Throw away the rod; 
Though man frailties hath, 
Thou art God. 
Throw away thy wrath. 

S c r i p t u r e :    f r o m   H o s e a   1 1                     J e r u s a l e m   B i b l e 

When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. 
I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms; 
Yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them. 
I led them with reins of kindness, with cords of love. 
I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek; 
stooping down to him I gave him his food. 

L i s t e n :    L  O V E                                                     G e o r g e   H e r b e r t 

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, 
Guilty of dust and sin. 
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack 
From my first entrance in, 
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning 
If I lack'd anything.  

'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:' 
Love said, 'You shall be he.' 
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear, 
I cannot look on Thee.' 
Love took my hand and smiling did reply, 
'Who made the eyes but I?' 

'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame 
Go where it doth deserve.' 
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?’ 
'My dear, then I will serve.' 
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' 
So I did sit and eat. 

S i n g :    C o m e   a n d   F i n d   t h e   Q u i e t   C e n t e r                #2128 

T a k e   5   M i n u t e s   A l o n e   w i t h   G o d   i n   L i s t e n i n g   P r a y e r 

Hospitality: a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.                                       Emerson 

There is no hospitality like understanding.                                                                Vanna Bonta 

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and 
not pain around us. 'Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night's lodging. 'Tis better to 
be hospitable to one's good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We 
must be as courteous to a person as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.                                                                                                      Emerson 

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.                                                                          Heb. 13:2 

S c r i p t u r e :    E p h e s i a n s   6 : 1 - 4 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 

P a r e n t i n g   a s   H o s p i t a l i t y   a d a p t e d   f r o m   H e n r i   N o u w e n 

Parenting means primarily the creation of a free and safe space where children can experience hospitality, safety and nurture. It is not about changing them, but about offering them space where they can make their own changes. It is not to bring them over to our side in all things, but to offer them freedom to choose their own way. It is not a place to intimidate them with all we know and all they don’t know. It is the opening of an opportunity for them to find God in their own way. 

The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where children can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own language, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to a child to adopt their parents’ choices and preferences, but the gift of a chance to find his own way in life, her own journey into the life of God. 

S i n g :    S t a y   W i t h   U s                                                               # 2 1 9 9 

G o   i n   P e a c e : 

The deep peace of the whispering pines be with you 
The deep peace of the shining stars be with you 
The deep peace of the quiet earth be with you 
The deep peace of the doe with her fawn be with you 
The hope and peace of the spring flowers be with you. 
The deep peace, eternal hope and boundless love of the Father 
in the gift of his Son Jesus Christ whom the Spirit raised from the dead 
be and abide with you this week and for all eternity. Amen.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Devotional Theme from April 11 Saturday Evening Prayer Service

Joy

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that 
your joy may be full.     Jesus

The beating heart of the universe is holy joy.     Martin Buber

We have God's joy in our blood.      Frederick Buechner 

The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.      Julian of Norwich   

Joy is an intermezzo of gratitude that interrupts the routine motion 
of life.      Lewis B. Smedes 

Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts... Practice 
resurrection.     Wendell Berry 

Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the 
joy of Christ risen.      Mother Teresa 

Sing:  Christ Has Risen #2115 

Sing:  I Love You, Lord

















Read: (from Psalm 15-16 from Nan Merrill) 

Our Beloved God, You invite us to rest in the abode of your heart, 
to forgive our weaknesses and renew our love. 
Who will respond with hearts opened wide to Love? 
Those who walk with integrity, who are in harmony with your Word, 
and sing the heart's true song; 
Those who are just in all affairs of life 
and do not take advantage of another. 
Whose tongues speak truth judging not others 
and seeking only the good; 
Whose eyes behold not the outer garments of the body, 
but see within to the inward matters of the heart; 

Sing: I love you, Lord... 

Songs of praise well up from my heart 
Love is my chosen food, my cup holding me in its power. 
When I have come home and wherever I shall go, 
Love is my birthright, my true estate. 
Those who dwell in the Heart of Love: who act justly, with integrity, 
will join the Dance of Life, will sing the Songs of Joys 
Their family, friends and, indeed, the world 
will be blessed by their love. 

Sing: I love you, Lord... 

I bless the Counselor who guides my way; 
In the night also does my heart instruct me. 
I walk beside the Spirit of Truth; I celebrate the Light. 
I bask in the Oneness of God and His Love. 
Thus my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; 
I shall not be afraid, nor fall into the pit of despair; 
For in the Lord's presence is fullness of joy. 

Sing: I love you, Lord... 

I look to those who are at one with You 
and learn from them of your ways; 
My delight increases each time I sense your Presence within me. 
Remain ever before me, O Living Presence, for in You am I safe. 
You are my Beloved; in You and through You I can do all things. 
You are my Beloved and, in You I will live forever. 


Sing: I love you, Lord... 

The Miracle of Easter        Gelasian Sacramentary 

The moment we have longed for has come; the night of our desires is here. What greater occupation could there be than for us to proclaim the power of your resurrection! This was the night when you shattered the gates of hell, and you took up the victory banner of heaven. This was the night when you set us among the stars. 

When your mother Mary gave birth to you, she was over-whelmed with joy at your beauty. Now we are overwhelmed with joy at your power. The blood which flowed from your side has washed away our sins. Your body rising from the tomb has promised us eternal life. Eternal are the blessings which in your love you have poured upon us. 

Ponder with Walter Wangerin, Jr. 

“The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sus-taining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can with-stand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope--and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend up on it) disappoint us.” 

Sing: Come and Find the Quiet Center #2128 

Take Time with God in Listening Prayer

Learning with Joyce Rupp 

When I was a young child of eight years old, I lived on a beautiful farm. Like my other siblings, I had chores to do after school. Mine consisted of feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs. I didn't like doing this because my free spirit wanted to be out in the grove playing or down by the creek watching tadpoles and catching minnows. 

But one day all of that changed for me. I learned that I had a secret compan-ion who always kept me company, even when I was doing the daily farm chores. Hidden away deep within my heart was a loving being named God who would always love me and would never leave me. It was at this time that a wise teacher taught me about friendship with God. She assured me that l would never be alone because l was carrying the very life of God within me. I was enthused about this discovery. I could sense that "Someone" was there. L began carrying on endless conversations with this Friend. Walking home from school, doing my chores, playing in the grove — all of these activities became opportunities to be with my "special Someone." This was the beginning of my relationship with God. 

And as l grew older, I recognized this inner presence as a dynamic source of guidance and consolation. I became ever more deeply rooted in the belief that this indwelling God loves me totally and unconditionally. To this day I draw comfort and courage from the belief that l am a container holding the pres-ence of God. This awesome and humbling gift of the Divine indwelling con-stantly enlivens my spiritual path and seeds my transformation. 

(Silent Prayer) 

Sing: In the Lord I’ll be Ever Thankful 

In the Lord I'll be ever thankful, 
In the Lord I will rejoice! 
Look to God, do not be afraid. 
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near, 
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near. 

Go in Peace: 

The deep peace of the whispering pines be with you 
The deep peace of the shining stars be with you 
The deep peace of the quiet earth be with you 
The deep peace of the doe with her fawn be with you 
The hope and peace of the spring flowers be with you. 
The deep peace, eternal hope and boundless love of the Father in the gift of his Son Jesus Christ whom the Spirit raised from the dead be and abide with you this week and for all eternity. Amen. 

Songs are taken from Sing the Faith, Geneva Press, Louisville, Kentucky, a copy of which is available in the church office for members of Elizabeth Presbyterian Church who wish to use a copy at home for devotional purposes. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lenten Questions for 2015


From Jan Johnson, author

How will I repent and return to God with all my heart?

Where in my life have I gotten away from God?

What are the spiritual practices that will enable me to find my way back? (Prayer, fasting, hiddenness, self-examination and repentance, forgiving others, storing up treasures in heaven)

What has distracted me from cultivating my relationship with God more intentionally?


Based on Matthew 6, From The Transforming Center, Ruth Haley Barton

How will I give? (v. 2-3) Lent is a time for "giving things up" balanced by "giving to" those in need.

How will I pray? (v. 5-13) As we "give up" some of our usual distractions, there is more space for prayer. Is there a particular prayer practice (like fixed hour prayer, silent prayer or intercessory prayer) that God is inviting me to?

Who do I need to forgive and from whom do I need to seek forgiveness? (v. 14-15) Forgiveness creates a conduit for God's grace to flow in our lives with others.

How will I fast? (v. 16-18) What distracts me from alert attention to my relationship with God? What do I need to abstain from in order to be more aware of my hunger for God?

What earthly treasures am I attached to and how can I let go? (v. 19-21) Is there any specific earthly treasure I am attached to – time, money, energy, success – that I am being called to steward differently or let go of entirely, at least for this season?