Saturday, January 28, 2012

Morning Prayer - Mark 1, Psalm 111

Mark 1:21-28 from The Message

Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.
Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, "What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to! You're the Holy One of God, and you've come to destroy us!"
Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!" The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out.
Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. "What's going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!" News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.

Leader: Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
People: Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
Leader: The Lord has gained renown by his wonderful deeds. He is gracious and merciful.
People: He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
Leader:  He sent redemption to his people. He has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.
People: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All those who practice it have a good understanding.

God over all, You have filled our world with wondrous things. You have given us a church family and friends that give us some understanding of the glories of heaven with You and all Your people. We thank You as well for being our Father in heaven, a Father who gives us daily guidance and protection. Help us to honor and glorify You as we follow the example of Your Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray: “Our Father. . .”


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Morning Prayer: Make My Life a Prayer to You

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light You gave
Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You're really there

Well I wanna thank You now
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what You say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free

I wanna tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head
You're God the Son and You've risen from the dead


I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Morning Prayer - St. Augustine from Confessions 13, 9

Give Thyself unto me, O my God, restore Thyself unto me: behold I love, and if it be too little, I would love more strongly...

In Thy Gift we rest; there we enjoy Thee. Our rest is our place. Love lifts us up thither, and Thy good Spirit lifts up our lowliness from the gates of death. In Thy good pleasure is our peace.

The body by its own weight strives towards its own place. Weight makes not downward only, but to his own place. Fire tends upward, a stone downward. They are urged by their own weight, they seek their own places. Oil poured below water, is raised above the water; water poured upon oil, sinks below the oil. They are urged by their own weights to seek their own places. When out of their order, they are restless; restored to order, they are at rest.

My weight, is my love; thereby am I borne, whithersoever I am borne. We are inflamed, by Thy Gift we are kindled; and are carried upwards; we glow inwardly, and go forwards. We ascend Thy ways that be in our heart, and sing a song of degrees; we glow inwardly with Thy fire, with Thy good fire, and we go; because we go upwards to the peace of Jerusalem: for gladdened was I in those who said unto me, We will go up to the house of the Lord. There hath Thy good pleasure placed us, that we may desire nothing else, but to abide there for ever.

-- Augustine

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Morning Prayer - Psalm 80 and "Teach me the measure of my Days"

Teach me the measure of my days,
Thou Maker of my frame;
I would survey life’s narrow space,
And learn how frail I am.

A span is all that we can boast,
An inch or two of time;
Man is but vanity and dust
In all his flower and prime.

See the vain race of mortals move
Like shadows o’er the plain;
They rage and strive, desire and love,
But all the noise is vain.

Words: Isaac Watts, The Psalms of Da­vid, 1719.

Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;
behold and tend this vine;
preserve what your right hand has planted.
Let your hand be upon the person of your right hand,
and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
From Psalm 80

Dearest Lord, I am always worrying about things beyond my control. Make me not to anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly. Life is ephemeral and even now, while I am placed among things which are passing away, help me to discern that which is really important -- my faith, my family, my friends -- and help me to hold fast to those that shall endure. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Morning Prayer - John 1

Hear us, O God, in your dear love,
Let our prayers rise to you above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live as truly as we pray.

Words: John Keble, (19thC) adapted
Music: Elisheva Barsabe (21stC)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Lord, I thank you for the faithfulness of your servants. I thank you for their committment and the grace and love that come from you through them. I thank you for that great cloud of witnesses that surround us -- the saints who are dwelling with us and those who have gone on before us. Thank you for friends, for those I know in real life and those I have met via the internet who minister to myself and each other, mostly unaware. I pray for those today who are sick and ill and suffering -- in spirit and in the body.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold them, now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name for ever.
Lord, keep us from all sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Morning Prayer -- Psalm 142, Micah 3:9-4:5, Featuring John Wesley

Psalm 142
I cry to the LORD with my voice; *
to the LORD I make loud supplication.
I pour out my complaint before him *
and tell him all my trouble.
When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path; *
in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me; *
I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for me.
I cry out to you, O LORD; *
I say, "You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."
Listen to my cry for help, for I have been brought very low; *
save me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your Name; *
when you have dealt bountifully with me,
the righteous will gather around me.

Micah 3:9-4:5 (NRSV)
9Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, 10who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with wrong! 11Its rulers give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for a price, its prophets give oracles for money; yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Surely the LORD is with us! No harm shall come upon us." 12Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, 2and many nations shall come and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; 4but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. 5For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.

O Lord my God, I bless thy holy name for this mercy, which I have now received from thy bounty and goodness. Feed now my soul with thy grace, that I may make it my meat and drink to do thy gracious will, through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

- John Wesley

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Morning Prayer - Thoughts in Solitude By Thomas Merton

I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think
that I am following your will
does not mean that
I am actually doing so.

But I believe that
the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have
that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this
you will lead me
by the right road
though I may know nothing
about it.

Therefore I will trust you
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

-- Thoughts in Solitude By Thomas Merton

Monday, January 09, 2012

Morning Prayer - Precious is the Heart of Love

Precious is the heart of love; 
may, at length, such hearts be ours; 
God, please send down from above 
your love and truth divine. 
And may they cleanse our willing souls 
of earthly ills and make them whole; 
for Christ did come to share our toil 
and will not spurn our prayers.

Thankful for the Morning Light
Words: James Reed (adapted)
Music: James Reed

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Help us to discern your will -- help us to find our way in this broken and hurting world.

Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care the children and adults who died this week in automobile accidents. Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into the hearts of the relatives and into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Morning Prayer - Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.

Hither, page, and stand by me. If thou know it telling:
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence by Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine. Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine when we bear them thither
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.

Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how. I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps my good page, tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing

Friday, January 06, 2012

Morning Prayer - Bonhoeffer's Christmas Day Prayer 1943

O Heavenly Father,
I praise and thank you
For the peace of the night;
I praise and thank you for this new day;
I praise and thank you for all your goodness and
faithfulness throughout my life.
You have granted me many blessings;
Now let me also accept what is hard
from your hand.
You will lay on me no more
than I can bear.
You make all things work together for good
for your children ....

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Morning Prayer - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christmas in Prison

Christmas, 1943
God, to you I call early in the morning.
Help me pray
And gather my thoughts to yourself
I cannot do it alone.
In me it is dark,
But with you is the light;
I am lonely, but you forsake me not;
I am faint-hearted, but with you is help;
I am restless, but with you is peace;
In me is bitterness, but with you is patience;
I do not understand my way, but
You know the way for me.
Father in Heaven,
Praise and thanks
Be yours for the night’s rest.
Praise and thanks be your for the new day.
Praise and thanks be yours for all your kindness
And faithfulness in my past life.
You have shown me much good,
Let me now receive from your hand
What is hard.
You will not lay upon me
More than I can bear.
For your children you let all things
Serve for the best.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You were poor
And miserable, captive and forsaken as I am.
You know every need of humans,
You remain with me
When no man stands by me,
You forget me not and seek me,
You will that I recognize you
And turn to you.
Lord, I hear your call and follow,
Help me!
Holy Spirit,
Give me the faith that rescues me from
Despair, addictions, and vice,
Give me the love for God and humans,
That destroys all hate and bitterness,
Give me the hope that frees me from
Fear and despondency.
Holy, merciful God,
My Creator and my Savior,
My Judge and my Deliverer,
You know me and everything I do.
You hate and punish evil in this world
And in the next with no respect of persons;
You forgive sins for the one
Who asks sincerely;
You love good and reward it on this
Earth with a good conscience
And in the world to come
With the crown of righteousness.
Before you I think of all my loved ones,
And of my fellow prisoners, and of all those
Who do their hard service in this house.
Lord, have mercy!
Grant me freedom again,
And let me so live in the present
That I can live responsibly
Before humans.
Lord, whatever else this day brings—
May your name be praised!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Project Order from Chaos, Take 2, Day 3.

The desk today. This is all photographs and I think it's going to take a while to sort. I'm throwing away packaging after I get the date clues off of it and all overexposed/underexposed/foggy/horrible pictures. I'm also putting on the back of the photo the who, what, when and where (if I know it.) The stuff I keep will be placed in acid safe boxes or in an album. I hope to reduce the bulk by 8 tenths.

As I cleaned out two boxes, I found multiple copies of the DeLay coat of arms. Some 8 by 10, some 11 by 17. I have no idea what to do with them.

Captain Kirk is contemplating becoming a denser form of matter.

Found in the second box I cleaned out - a caricature of my father done in 1955 or so. It really captures who he was.

Give away stuff for today. 4 mini plaques, two BB loaders, two boxes of cards, a luggage take, a 4 by 4 mini canvas, a suncatcher, a box of dollar store jewlery, 4 bookmarks, a stick of sidewalk chalk in the wrapper and a velvet bag. 18 items today - bringing the total for the year to 26.

Morning Prayer - Psalm 34

Awake, awake to love and work!
The lark is in the sky
the fields are wet with diamond dew
The worlds awake to cry
their praises to the Fount of Life
Christ Jesus passes by.
Come, let your voice be one with theirs
shout with the shout of praise
See how the giant sun soars up
God's gift for all your days!
So let the love of Jesus come
and set your soul ablaze.
To give and give, and give again,
as God's own grace is free
To spend yourself nor count the cost
To serve most gloriously
the God who gave all worlds that are
and all that are to be.
Music: Morning Song Kentucky Harmony (19thC)
Words: Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy (20thC)

Psalm 34
1 I will always give thanks unto the Lord *
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord *
the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O praise the Lord with me *
and let us magnify his Name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me *
yea, he delivered me out of all my fear.
5 They had an eye unto him, and were lightened *
and their faces were not ashamed.
6 Lo, the poor crieth, and the Lord heareth him *
yea, and saveth him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord tarrieth round about them that fear him *
and delivereth them.
O taste, and see, how gracious the Lord is *
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the Lord, ye that are his saints *
for they that fear him lack nothing.

Pro 24:13 
My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. 

Psa 119:103 
How sweet are thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 

Exd 16:31 
Now the house of Israel called its name manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 

Thank you for the taste of the Kingdom you have given me Lord.
The flakes of manna that have fallen into my life.
Thank you for the honey of the Word
That sweetens all that I do or say.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, 
who brings forth the sweetness from the earth.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, 
who made creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, 
who has kept us alive
and preserved us and enabled us to reach this season.

In the Newness of this Year
Form me into what You will -- 
Shape me into a servant, a mother, a disicple.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Project Order from Chaos, Day 2.

Day 2.  This is the desk that is being sorted through at the moment,

One drawer at a time.  

The only thing found in the drawer that went back in.  It was my grandfather's and I kept it only after some internal debate.

Minnie P makes sure the bed is used.

Old maps from the desk.  I sorted through them and kept about half - placed them in a box to be used as crafts or memory books pages.

The process.  The pile on the left is trash.  The pile on the right is to keep.

Written Three Years Ago

On December 30, 2008
The central thesis for my "Theology of Space" is indeed this -- Unless the exterior life reflects the interior and the interior live reflects the exterior, you live in a cognitive dissonance; you are living in conflict. I have absolutely no problem spending an hour or two a day in contemplation and prayer, attending to my interior life. However, I don't spend that time working on the total exterior life; my physical shape, my grooming habits, my living spaces and my creative nature. So that will be my goal this year -- either to become a complete intellectual, spiritual and emotional slob or to get my exterior life in line with my interior.

How well am I doing? Much the same as I did last year, I have made progress, but I'm still in progress - I'm not finished yet. And I am more convinced that it's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge - a continual process and by the time you reach "the end" it's time to go back to the beginning and start all over.

As I preached yesterday - I did pretty well on "Project Order from Chaos" for quite a while. I gave away dozens and dozens of items. I am sure by the end of the year, it was way over the 1460 items I had hoped for however I lost track by the time we moved in June.

This year, I resolve to do much the same: to take better care of my physical being and my exterior life so that it is in line with my inner life. So Project Order from Chaos begins again - transformed to "do" 4 random things a day that create order from chaos: cleaning, sorting, repurposing, recycling, disposing of , throwing away, burning or giving away 4 things a day. With God's help, I will attempt to make Order from Chaos!

Morning Prayer - Wesley Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

See also this complete Facsimile of Wesley's "Our Covenant With God."

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Day Casserole

OK, a recipe from Lenore.
Take some ham and chop it up. Maybe 2 cups, maybe 3.
Small onion, chopped.
Small red pepper, chopped.
A pound and a half of frozen collard or turnip greens.
One or two (or three) cans of black eyed peas (depending on how you feel at the time)
Jiffy Cornbread mix all mixed and ready to go according to package instructions.

Saute ham, onion and peppers in some oil until onions are transparent. Maybe some fatback or bacon grease or even olive oil if you have it. Thaw and squeeze out the collards (or turnip greens). Mix them into the ham and onions. Add the peas, drained. Moisten it all with chicken or ham broth until it looks good. Place in a rectangular baking dish and top with the cornbread batter. Bake in a 350 to 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it looks done. All your New Year's Day foods in one dish! And it's delicious, too.

From Brian Wren, 1978

This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that's gone.

For by the life and death of Jesus,
love's mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference
as faith and hope are born again.

Then let us, with the Spirit's daring,
step from the past, and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.

Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.