Psalm 25: God’s Will?

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 27, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 25, set perfectly in the midst of a few readings that speak to us about, among other things , “the Father’s Will”.

I think there is no greater spiritual mystery than the meaning of  “God’s Will”, (and not wanting to show up Thomas Aquinas, I’ll resist explaining it here. 😂🧐)

But we’ve all heard attempts at explaining it, haven’t we, especially as it relates to suffering— as in:

  • everything that happens is God’s Will, so we must accept it
  • God wills our suffering to test us
  • if God wills that we suffer, He will give us the strength to endure it

I just don’t think so … not the God I love and Who loves me.

But these attempts to explain suffering are understandable because we want to rationalize the things we fear. Most of us, I think, struggle with the problem of evil and suffering in the world. We want to know what to do when, as Rabbi Kushner wrote, “… Bad Things Happen to Good People”.


Our first reading from Ezekiel shows us that even the ancient peoples met this struggle. The prophet seems to suggest that if you’re bad, you’ll suffer. If you repent, you won’t. Well, we all know that’s not quite the reality! But nice try, Ezekiel.

Our psalm gently leads to another way of facing suffering as the psalmist prays for wisdom, compassion and divine guidance. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus himself prayed like this as he confronted his impending suffering.


In our second reading, Paul places before us the example of Jesus who, in the face of suffering, was transformed by love:

Praying with these readings, each one of us must come to our own peace with the mystery of suffering. What we can be sure of is this: God’s Will is always for our wholeness and joy as so simply taught to us when we were little children:

God made me to know, love, and serve God, 
and to be happy with God in this world and forever.

Our Gospel tells us that such happiness comes through faith and loving service, through responding to “the Father’s Will”.  May we have the insight, the love and the courage!


Poetry: Of Being by Denise Levertov 

I know this happiness
is provisional:

       the looming presences—
       great suffering, great fear—

       withdraw only
       into peripheral vision:

but ineluctable this shimmering
of wind in the blue leaves:

this flood of stillness
widening the lake of sky:

this need to dance,
this need to kneel:

       this mystery:

Music: To You, O Lord (Psalm 25) Graham Kendrick

Psalm 145: Always Mercy

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 20, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145 which, with our Sunday readings, ties together the themes of call and commitment.

In our first reading, Isaiah proclaims a repentant urgency to that call:

Seek the LORD 
while he may be found,
call him 
while he is still near.


In our second reading, Paul confirms his own ultimate commitment to that call and urges his followers to imitate him:

Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death….

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel.


But our Gospel reveals that not everyone responds immediately to God’s voice in their lives. Some of us come late to the call of grace. Nevertheless, our generous God seeks us, time and again, and embraces us fully no matter how close to the evening.

The early hires chafe against this system, imagining themselves somehow deprived by the Master’s abundance. Perhaps we heard attitudes like theirs expressed in self-sufficient phrases like:

  • but I’ve worked hard for everything I have
  • you need to earn your way in life
  • it’s not a free ride
  • if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Walter Brueggemann writes that the Psalms refute such an attitude:

The counter-world of the Psalms
contradicts our closely held world of self-sufficiency
by mediating to us a world confident in God’s preferential option
for those who call on him in their ultimate dependence.


Psalm 145 lifts us beyond our selfish imaginations. It expresses the grateful praise of one who, swaddled in God’s lavish blessing, recognizes that Divine Justice looks like Mercy not calculation.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.


Poem: by Rumi

By the mercy of God,
Paradise has eight doors.
One of those is the door of repentance, child. 
All the others are sometimes open, 
sometimes shut, 
but the door of repentance is never closed. 
Come seize the opportunity: 
the door is open; 
carry your baggage there at once.

Music: I Will Praise Your Name – Marty Haugen, David Haas

Psalm 51: Begin Again

Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

August 20, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 51 in which God promises refreshment to our parched and hardened hearts.


Let’s talk about “parched”. Early in the pandemic, a dear friend gifted us with a vigorous basil plant. A practical culinary addition to our meager garden, it really was so much more. It became a symbol of hope over these pandemic days that can be cloudy in more than meteorological terms!

I have taken good care of the plant. But last week! I got distracted by something., something so important I have forgotten what it was! In my distraction, my little basil became parched.


Our souls become parched too, often because we let ourselves become distracted from their care. Like beautiful plants, our spirits have to be tended daily, nurtured with prayer, silence, gratitude and charity.

Psalm 51 reminds me that God is patient with our “distractions”. God will refresh and renew even the most neglected garden.

Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.


Our first reading from Ezekiel offers a further encouragement that anything gnarled or hardened in our hearts can be resurrected by God’s Mercy.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts


Poetry: Houseplants in Winter by Eamon Grennan

Their survival seems an open question:
I make a mess of watering, prune
without discretion, grieve over the leaf
whose borders burn and curl. Their
fresh petals a perpetual surprise – 
minute coral hearts, magnesium stars. 

I've lined them up on the table
I work and eat at, facing the small window
that faces almost south, placing myself
under the pale sway of their silence.
They play their deaths and resurrections out
in our cramped common quarters.

I gave the rose-geranium too much water:
its roots grew bog-black, sodden, and
nothing could keep its sweetness
in our lives. The jade, for all its
early promise and parakeet-green shoots,
won't root: it bows its leathery heads. 

The rest seem busy getting by. Removed
to the margins of our noisy mealtimes
when my children visit, they grow used
to the smell of bread frying in goosefat
for breakfast, small talk, the after-
dinner pungency of a peeled tangerine.

The speechless life they lead is Greek
to me: when live flowers rise
out of dead heads, I reckon it's as much,
for the moment, as I need to know.
The light that falls on them
strikes me too, till I feel as rooted

as I'll ever be in this home
from home. Look at us, they seem to say,
flourishing under straitened circumstances:
you see we make do with your handfuls
of earth, your cups of water, these daily
visitations of winter light that cast our
impeccable shadows on your razed page.

Music: Psalm 51 – Shuv Creative
from their website: This worship video sung in Biblical Hebrew directly from the Scriptures is a powerful tool to open the heart for repentance.

Psalm 78: It’s Harsh

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

August 13, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 78, one of the twelve “Psalms of Asaph”. These psalms have a common theme of God’s judgement relative to Israel’s faithlessness to the Law.

Psalm 78 is the second longest psalm, the whole of which reads a lot like a history lesson. It recounts God’s enduring faithfulness even in the face of Israel’s fickleness.

They tempted and rebelled against God the Most High,
and kept not his decrees.
They turned back and were faithless like their fathers;
they recoiled like a treacherous bow.


The psalm fits well with today’s readings. Poor Ezekiel is commanded by God to act out the impending Assyrian devastation of the kingdom. He has to pack up, dig through a wall, hide his face, and escape into the night — just as Israel will have to do when the conquerors besiege them. All this, because God is passing judgement on Israel’s infidelities and God wants them to recognize it.

They angered him with their high places
and with their idols roused his jealousy.
God heard and was enraged
and utterly rejected Israel.


Psalm 78 remembers this history and retells it for the instruction of the generations. It is a reminiscence not unlike one that we all practice, I think.

Sometimes, especially in prayer or retreat, don’t we look back over our lives to rediscover how God was with us even in difficulty and darkness? Even in our poorest choices and most stupid sins? Aren’t we gratefully surprised that God’s Mercy was the ultimate fruit of such trials? When we face new challenges, don’t we remind ourselves of these things for the sake of our future courage and hope?

That’s what Psalm 78 is doing. Israel messed up, suffered judgement, and was made new in Mercy. The psalmist wants future generations never to forget.


Each of us, both as individuals and within our communities, experience such cycles of sin and redemption. Each turn should make us stronger, grateful, more faithful. Our witness to God’s abiding mercy should be shared for the sake of the generations… our personal Psalm 78 – written not in words, but in the fidelity of our lives.

Psalm 78 is not pretty or easy. Life isn’t always that way either. In our Gospel, Jesus assures us that God is a generous Creator who wants to redeem us in Mercy. But we have to do our part too, or we could wind up like the unfaithful servant – defeated by our own selfish choices.


Poetry: Mercy by David Baker

Small flames afloat in blue duskfall, beneath trees
anonymous and hooded, the solemn trees—by ones
and twos and threes we go down to the water's level edge
with our candles cupped and melted into little pie-tins
to set our newest loss free. Everyone is here.

Everyone is wholly quiet in the river's hush and appropriate dark.
The tenuous fires slip from our palms and seem to settle
in the stilling water, but then float, ever so slowly,
in a loose string like a necklace's pearls spilled,
down the river barely as wide as a dusty road.

No one is singing, and no one leaves—we stand back
beneath the grieving trees on both banks, bowed but watching,
as our tiny boats pass like a long history of moons
reflected, or like notes in an elder's hymn, or like us,
death after death, around the far, awakening bend.

Music:  Mercy – Amanda Cook

Deuteronomy 32: Moses’ Psalm

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Deuteronomy 32, commonly referred to as the Song of Moses. Most biblical scholars agree that the selection was composed long after Moses died and inserted in Deuteronomy perhaps at the time of the prophet Samuel.

As literature, the poem shows Moses prophesying the troubles that will come upon the people because of their faithlessness. As history, these troubles have already occurred and are referenced as a lesson for the future.


The verses highlighted today are unhappy ones. With exaggerated anthropomorphism, God is characterized as really mad and passive-aggressive with Israel. It’s not a nice picture of how God relates to us. It’s not real either.

Still, the writer was a human being searching for some rational way to understand the trauma Israel was experiencing at the hands of their enemies. The logic, or illogic, goes something like this:

  • things are a mess
  • it must be our fault
  • we did bad things
  • so God’s mad and did bad things back
  • we better straighten up
  • then God might relent

We are all tempted to reason like this when we experience misfortune, pain, and trauma. We think evil should make sense. It doesn’t. The interplay of good and evil is a mystery we will never understand in this life.


What we can understand is faithfulness – God’s to us, and ours to God.

God, you are my Rock—how faultless are your deeds,
how right all your ways!
You are faithful God, without deceit,
You are Justice, Righteousness, and Mercy

This is the true message of the Song of Moses: Our merciful God is always faithful. When we experience suffering in life, – even the kind we bring on ourselves and one another – let our sorrow draw us ever closer to God’s Mercy which abides with us in all our troubles. Within the sacred mystery of grace, that Mercy seeks to transform us into Mercy ourselves.


Poetry:  Possible Answers to Prayer by Scott Cairns
The poem gives a wake up call about self-absorption in our prayers, and – with its own touch of anthropomorphism – images how God might perceive narrow prayers. The poem encourages us to accompany others in their greater sufferings.

Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant,

relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value—nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent concern for the sick,
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes
recognizable to me, if not to them.

Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
righteous indignation toward the many
whose habits and sympathies offend you— 
      
these must burn away before you’ll apprehend
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.

Music: Audite Caeli – Michel Richard Delalande

This motet captures the opening words of the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32.

Audite, caeli, quae loquor: audiat terra verba oris mei.
Concrescat ut pluvia doctrina mea, fluat ut ros eloquium meum,
quasi imber super herbam, et quasi stillae super gramina.
Quia nomen Domini invocabo: date magnificentiam Deo nostro.
Dei perfecta sunt opera, et omnes viae ejus judicia.

Hear, O ye heavens, the things I speak,
let the earth give ear to the words of my mouth.Let my doctrine gather as the rain, let my speech distil as the dew,
as a shower upon the herb, and as drops upon the grass.
Because I will invoke the name of the Lord: give ye magnificence to our God.
The works of God are perfect, and all his ways are judgments.

Isaiah’s Psalm

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 17, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Isaiah 38 as our Responsorial Psalm.

Although the verses are under Isaiah, they are actually the words of Hezekiah, a king of Israel during Isaiah’s time. Our first reading relates the story of Hezekiah’s mortal illness and the prophetic role Isaiah plays in his recovery.

Our psalm reemphasizes the power and mercy of God who delivers Hezekiah from death. Hezekiah’s vibrant images reveal the depth of his desperation:

Once I said,
“In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years.”


We all know what the prayer for deliverance feels like. It rises from the depths of our souls and repeats itself in a constant, “Please…”. We can think of nothing else but the favor we are praying for. We linger in our begging, sometimes for years.

Hezekiah stretches into the full extent of his pain with these striking metaphors:

My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.


Deliverance is that condition in which we, having lost all personal power to effect change, must be carried by another hand to life and well-being. If we can do that in faith, our prayer will be answered.

When it is, by either a merciful “Yes” or “No”, we will understand. It will be as if we have fallen from hanging by our fingernails into the enveloping caress of a feathered bed.

Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me healing and life.


Poetry: For Deliverance from a Fever by Anne Bradstreet (1612 – 1672),  the most prominent of early English poets of North America and first writer in England’s North American colonies to be published. She is the first Puritan figure in American Literature.

When sorrows had begirt me round, 
And pains within and out, 
When in my flesh no part was found, 
Then didst Thou rid me out.

My burning flesh in sweat did boil, 
My aching head did break, 
From side to side for ease I toil, 
So faint I could not speak.

Beclouded was my soul with fear 
Of Thy displeasure sore, 
Nor could I read my evidence 
Which oft I read before.

“Hide not Thy face from me!" I cried, 
"From burnings keep my soul. 
Thou know'st my heart, and hast me tried; 
I on Thy mercies roll." 

“O heal my soul," Thou know'st I said, 
"Though flesh consume to nought, 
What though in dust it shall be laid, 
To glory t' shall be brought." 

Thou heard'st, Thy rod Thou didst remove 
And spared my body frail 
Thou show'st to me Thy tender love, 
My heart no more might quail.

O, praises to my mighty God, 
Praise to my Lord, I say, 
Who hath redeemed my soul from pit, 
Praises to Him for aye. 

Music: You Will Redeem It All – Travis Cottrell

You were there at the 
loss of all the innocence
You were there at the 
dawn of all the shame 
You were there, felt the
weight of all the helplessness 
put Yourself into the agony and pain


Nothing is hidden from Your eyes 
You flood the darkness with Your light 
I have this hope
as an anchor for my soul
You will redeem it all, redeem it all
Out of the dust into something glorious
You will redeem it all, redeem it all


You are here in the middle of my circumstance
You are here bringing purpose out of pain 
You are here restoring every broken path
Speaking life, You raise me once again
Nothing is hidden from Your eyes 
Out of the ashes I will rise  
 
Hallelujah in the waiting
Hallelujah even then  
Hallelujah for the healing
You will make a way again 


Hallelujah in the waiting
Hallelujah even then  
Hallelujah for the healing
You will make a way again 


Hallelujah my Redeemer
You redeem me by Your blood
Hallelujah! What a Savior
You turn evil back for good 
 Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! My Redeemer!
My Redeemer!     

Psalm 51: Secret Heart

Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 10, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 51, a deeply moving plea for a pure heart and a right spirit. Psalm 51 is a penitential psalm known by its Latin name, Miserere (Have Mercy). You, dear readers, may remember a reflection on this beautiful psalm from just about a month ago.


As I prayed with Psalm 51 today, I asked myself how my spirit has been doing in the intervening month. May I challenge you all with the same question?

Corona time is not easy on the Spirit. Confinement, uncertainty, suffering and loss have impacted all of us in some way. Restrictions away from friends, family, and community deplete us. Social unrest and political lunacy unsettle us.

On the other hand, some of us have been able to embrace this time as a long retreat from “the way things were”. It has been a time of washing our hearts down to their bare muscle. We have sat in the quiet with questions like “What is it that I most love,  most trust, most need, most believe in, most hope for?”.


It is such an appropriate time to pray Psalm 51, to be with God in our “secret heart” – that place where no one else ever hears our rawest thoughts and purest prayers:

  • to acknowledge any sin or guilt we carry
  • to name our desire for healing and clarity
  • to listen to the whispering of Wisdom within us
  • to find our strength by finding our rootedness in God
  • to reclaim joy even in the midst of difficulty
  • to make our heart at home in praise
  • to be righted by Mercy

Let’s pray with and for one another as we cherish this Psalm.


Poetry: The Place Where We Are Right – Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.
The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.
But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.

Music: Wisdom in the Secret Heart – Shane and Shane

Psalm 60: Punch Drunk with Troubles

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

June 22, 2020


It has been suggested that I make it easier to find previous reflections on the readings for the day, just in case you would like to pray with the First Reading or Gospel. I’ll try to remember to do that.


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 60, and it’s a doozy. It is a hard Psalm to pray with because it contains many layers of meaning. But, in the end, I think it is worth the effort.

The Psalm emerges from a time filled with violence. David struggles to keep control both within and outside his kingdom. His own son and nephew turn against him. His nephew wreaks unspeakable mayhem in Israel’s name. Everything in David’s world is in violent disarray. He actually whines to God about the mess:

  • O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses …
  • You have rocked the country and split it open …
  • You have made your people feel hardships …
  • You have given us stupefying wine…

Like many of you, I read these verses in the wake of another divisive political rally, in a country riven by fearful hatred, racism, biased brutality, political corruption, and poisonous propaganda. I am so tempted to immediately tie Psalm 60 to these current realities.

But I think that, when we pray the psalms, we must let them first teach us about ourselves. Once that conversion or enlightenment occurs, it may then be possible to apply their wisdom to our world.


King David by Matthias Stom

What is it that makes Psalm 60 a prayer and not a political manifesto? We find the answer in verse 7:

Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.

David realizes that he is completely out of whack. He has just put all the responsibility for his chaos in God’s lap when it is really David’s own self-serving choices that have caused the problem. 

David’s selfish, short-sighted, and sinful decisions have blinded him like “stupefying wine”. One might say he has drunk his own kool-aid. He needs God’s justice to detoxify him … that divine “right hand” which created a perfectly balanced world.

Each of David’s previously mentioned “whines” is completed with a sincere and contrite plea:

  • rally us!
  • repair the cracks in the country
  • give us aid against the foe

Once we realize, like David:

  • that the “country” is our own heart,
  • that the “foe” is any residue there of injustice, 
  • and that the “rally” must be of our own merciful love,

… only then might we be ready to pray for our fractured country and our broken, weeping world.


Poetry: Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front – Wendell Berry’s inspired poem about conversion and recovery of the soul in a soul-killing culture.

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready-made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head. 
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
 
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you 
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something 
that won't compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor. 
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. 
Say that your main crop is the forest 
that you did not plant, 
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. 
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees 
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear 
close, and hear the faint chattering 
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful 
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child? 
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 

Go with your love to the fields. 
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn't go.

Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction. 
Practice resurrection.

Music: Be Still My Soul – Exultate Singers

Asking for a Friend…

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 23, 2020

Click here for readings

john6_29 Ask

Today, in Mercy, Jesus once again instructs his disciples to pray “in my Name”.

Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

What does Jesus really mean by,:

“Ask in My Name”.


There is an idiomatic phrase popular in culture today, “just asking for a friend”. It is used when the questioner feels embarrassed or unsure about the question, or unworthy of posing it oneself, for example: Can you really go to jail for not paying your taxes, just asking for a friend?


What might happen if we prayed like this, taking Jesus seriously in his offer to intervene for us, to stand in the place of our fear, hesitation, confusion, or unworthiness:

  • Dear God, please forgive me for this sinful choice I made. I ask you in the Name of Jesus, my friend.
  • Dear God, will you please comfort my dear one who is suffering. I ask you in the Name of Jesus, my friend.
  • Dear God, will you please intervene to stop the suffering in the world. I ask you in the Name of Jesus, my friend.

How would the addition of this little phrase change my prayer?


magic

The words are not a magic formula for working miracles. They won’t allow us to cure the sick or raise the dead in visible ways. But they will allow us to heal ourselves and others in ways beyond human calculation.

I think the words are a key to unlock our understanding that when we pray in the Name of Jesus, the miracle happens in us, not in our surroundings.


150 cross

We realize that Jesus, in whose Name we pray, changed the world not by magic but by sacrificial love. Becoming his friend and praying in his name demands that we too live our experiences with that kind of unquestioning love.

Such love unveils the glorious mystery of the Cross to us. Even under its shadow, we see through to the triumph of the Resurrection as Jesus did. 

Certainly, suffering was not removed from Jesus’ life nor from that of his followers.

But what was given was abiding faith, hope, love, and the trustworthy promise of eternal life.

Let’s ask for these precious gifts, in the Name of Jesus.

Music: In Jesus’ Name I Pray – Charley Pride
(Lyrics below)

In Jesus’ Name I Pray

Father give me strength, to do what I must do.
Father give me courage, to say what I must say.
Let that spirit move me.
I’m nothing on my own.
Father stand by me, I can not stand alone, in Jesus name I pray.

Father open up my eyes to your wonders all around.
Father let me see the good and beauty of this day.
Fill my heart with love, for my fellow man.
And if I’m tempted Father.

Father take my hand, in Jesus name I pray.
Father help me through the troubled days that lie ahead.
Let your life stand before me, that I may find a way.
So let me stumble Father, or fall beneath my load.

Father guide my footsteps.
Hold me to the road, in Jesus name I pray.
Let not hunger be my guide, nor fear be my master.
Father let not envy, be a part of me in any way.

Father search my soul, take away my fear and doubt.
Any moment that you find this,
Father cast it out, in Jesus name I pray.
Ah ah ah Amen.

 

 

Paul’s Great Sermon

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 20, 2020

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, Paul gives a magnificent oration at the Areopagus in Athens. It was a big deal billing!

V&A_-_Raphael,_St_Paul_Preaching_in_Athens_(1515)
St. Paul at the Areopagus by Raphael (c.1515)

Areopagus, earliest aristocratic council of ancient Athens. The name was taken from the Areopagus (“Ares’ Hill”), a low hill northwest of the Acropolis, which was its meeting place.

In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership was restricted to those who had held high public office.

The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was from this location, drawing from the potential significance of the Athenian altar to the Unknown God that Paul is said to have delivered the famous speech, “Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (Wikipedia)


diamonds
The sermon has so many beautiful lines, like glorious diamonds that can be turned over and over in prayer. Here are a few that glistened for me:


God … does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands
(Instead, God dwells within us)


God is not served by human hands because God needs nothing.
(Instead, our everything comes from God)


God made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth.
(We are all connected in the One Creation)


God fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
(We do grope, sometimes in darkness.)


God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent…
(Without Christ, we were in shadows of unknowing. With Christ, we are in Light.)


And my favorite:

Acts17_24 everything

What is the “everything” that God is giving you today? What is the abundance of grace, or hope, or longing in your heart as you pray today? Let God’s fullness embrace any emptiness as you offer God your silence and waiting.

Music: Everything – Lauren Daigle