Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Devotional Theme from April 11 Saturday Evening Prayer Service


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. 

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