Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 105, a sacred invitation to rest confidently in God.

Glory in God’s holy name;
    rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD’s strength;
    seek to serve God wholeheartedly.

Psalm 105:3-4

Our trust is based on God’s infinite memory, mindful of us with every breath of our lives. We are asked to remember too.

The Lord remembers the covenant for ever.

Psalm 105:8

Jesus reminds us of this covenant in our Alleluia verse from John’s Gospel:

Let’s just be cradled in these holy promises as we pray today.


Poetry: Trust by Thomas R. Smith

It’s like so many other things in life   
to which you must say no or yes.                                    
So you take your car to the new mechanic.   
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.   
The package left with the disreputable-looking   
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,   
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—   
all show up at their intended destinations.   
The theft that could have happened doesn’t.   
Wind finally gets where it was going   
through the snowy trees, and the river, even               
when frozen, arrives at the right place.                        
And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life   
is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.


Music: two songs today. I liked them both a lot and didn’t want to deprive you of either.

Rest in God – Brian Doerksen

Rest – Steve Green

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

April 30, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 2 which, at the beginning of the Psalter, highlights the centrality of King David to Israel’s faith.

For Christians, the archetype of King David serves as point of insight to explore who Jesus Christ is for us. Of course we know that Christ is God, but we have no direct experience of God. So we try to understand God through symbols which, although inadequate, give us a context to form our relationship with God.

Psalm 2 gives us two such archetypal symbols: king and son. For us, that combination signals not only Christ’s power but the fact that it is directly derived from God. Christ’s power is divine, just as the Creator’s power is divine.

Because of that divine intimacy, the “King-Son” may ask and will receive whatever is requested.


Ask of me and I will give you
    the nations for an inheritance
    and the ends of the earth for your possession.

Psalm 2; 8-9

Christ’s whole life – Passion, Death, and Resurrection – was that Messianic “Ask” foretold in David. Through Jesus, we too become daughters and sons of God. This is the Good News the disciples preach in today’s first reading. 

We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
God has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
    “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Acts 13:33

This is the Way, the Truth and the Life that Jesus offers in today’s Gospel.

“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?” 
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14: 5-6

The gender-heavy symbols of king and son don’t speak strongly to me, but the image of Christ as my “Requestor” does. I think this morning of another Gospel assurance that I love:

I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,
and they will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

John 14: 12-14

Dear Jesus, may we learn what it is
to live fully in your Name.



Music: What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong

Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 25, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 118.

 “This psalm is centered on God, in a movement that expresses gratitude, admiration, joy and praise. In the King James Version, the Lord is mentioned in almost every verse.” (Wikipedia)

Give thanks to the LORD who is good,
    whose mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.

Psalm 118: 1, 8-9

Following our first reading today, the psalm focuses me on God’s Name – often “Lord”, as in the psalm – but also so many other Names of God from the riches of scripture and tradition.

… in the Name of Jesus, this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
    which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.

Acts 4: 10-12

The fact that we have so many names for God reminds me of how accommodating God is to my need as I pray. 

One day I need “My Rock”.

Another day I delight in “My Dayspring”.

As I wake up each morning and allow the day to embrace me, I often greet God with a special name, depending on the mood and circumstances of my heart:

  • Good morning, Beautiful Light. Take any darkness from our world this day.
  • I greet You, Sweet Lord. Thank you for the delicious gift of life.
  • Cloudy God, you have been hiding from me. Bring me into your Sunshine today.
  • God, my Strong Shoulder, stand by me today.
  • Chilly God, seeming to ignore my prayer, unfreeze my spirit to hear your answer.

Jesus invites us to pray with images that speak to our hearts. In our Gospel, He names himself a Shepherd, an image so accessible to his agrarian listeners, and which said it all without the need for theology!

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John 10:11

As we pray today, within what image is God coming to us? May we let the Holy One speak a sanctifying and special Name over us in our prayer. May it free us just as it freed the man healed in today’s passage from Acts.


Poetry: Six Recognitions of the Lord – Mary Oliver

1.

I know a lot of fancy words.

I tear them from my heart and my tongue.

Then I pray…..

3
I lounge on the grass, that’s all. So
simple. Then I lie back until I am
inside the cloud that is just above me
but very high, and shaped like a fish.
Or, perhaps not. Then I enter the place
of not-thinking, not-remembering, not-
wanting. When the blue jay cries out his
riddle, in his carping voice, I return.
But I go back, the threshold is always
near. Over and back, over and back. Then
I rise. Maybe I rub my face as though I
have been asleep. But I have not been
asleep. I have been, as I say, inside
the cloud, or, perhaps, the lily floating
on the water. Then I go back to town
to my own house, my own life, which has
now become brighter and simpler, some-where I have never been before….

4.

Of course I have always known you

Are present in the clouds, and the

Black oak I especially adore, and the

Wings of birds. But you are present

Too in the body, listening to the body,

Teaching it to live, instead of all

That touching, with disembodied joy.

We do not do this easily….



6.

Every summer the lilies rise
and open their white hands until they almost
cover the black waters of the pond. And I give
thanks but it does not seem like adequate thanks,
it doesn’t seem
festive enough or constant enough, nor does the
name of the Lord or the words of thanksgiving come
into it often enough Everywhere I go I am
treated like royalty, which I am not. I thirst and
am given water. My eyes thirst and I am given
the white lilies on the black water. My heart
sings but the apparatus of singing doesn’t convey
half what it feels and means. In spring there’s hope,
in fall the exquisite, necessary diminishing, in
winter I am as sleepy as any beast in its
leafy cave, but in summer there is
everywhere the luminous sprawl of gifts,
the hospitality of the Lord and my
inadequate answers as I row my beautiful, temporary body
through this water-lily world.


Music: Two Songs for today

Kyrie – Michael Hoppé

Kyrie Eleison
Lord, have Mercy


For those who might want to take it up a notch:
Kyrie – Mr. Mister

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.