Monday, April 30, 2012

How can I keep from singing?

 Today I'd simply like to share with you a hymn that has been meaningful to me of late. I hope it is encouraging to you too.

  My Life Flows On 
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation
I catch the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth --
How can I keep from singing?

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul-
How can I keep from singing?
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth --
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth --
How can I keep from singing?

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His--
How can I keep from singing?
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth --
How can I keep from singing?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Daily Office

I don't mean the place where you may happen to work.  No, I'm talking about that ancient practice of daily prayer, in which we pause at specified times of the day to focus our attention on God.  I did a post about these prayers, often called the Divine Hours, a few years ago called Time is our Currency, in which you can read a bit about the history of this tradition.

Recently, while driving a long distance by myself, I listed to a series of conference talks on prayer put on by HTB, called Wisdom of the Ages.  (the one I refer to in this post can be found here.)  One speaker, Roy Seale, talked about his experience in the Northumbria Community and their practice of praying the daily office.

What intrigued me particularly was the noon office.  Many people set their cell phone alarms for noon every day and pray, often something as simple as the Lord's Prayer.  As he pointed out, it is wonderful to think of every hour starting with prayer, as people in every time zone pray this way.  In the Northumbria community, they have their own set of prayers (which always include the Lord's prayer).  The noon office is designed to be prayed in the middle of the day, "in the time it takes the kettle to boil."  The book of common prayer has a simliar short office, but I find the midday prayer of the Northumbrian community particularly helpful and beautiful.

I love the opening sentences:
Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. 
Establish Thou the work of our hands; 
establish Thou the work of our hands.
(The entire office can be found here.)

What a wonderful way to invite God into the midst of our day and remind ourselves that our life in Christ encompasses our entire life!

What do you think?  Will you add your voice to the chorus of voices lifted up in prayer each day at noon?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

grace & housecleaning [of your life]

IThe Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, James Martin writes:
God can [...] meet you at any time, no matter how crazy things may seem.  You don't have to have a perfectly organized daily life to experience God.  Your spiritual house does not need to be tidy for God to enter.
It is a good reminder to me, so I thought I'd share it as some encouragement to you.  It's funny how easy it is understand the concept of God's grace in a literal, definition-sort of way and yet not apply it to our own personal spiritual lives.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed!


This year, one way I'm celebrating Christ's Resurrection is by making an Easter tree.  Let me share it with you:

Decorating and blowing eggs with friends on Palm Sunday:


If you are interested in a more thoughtful post on the significance of Easter I invite you to read this post.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday?

This morning as I got ready for the day, I asked myself, what on earth does "Maundy" mean?  And what does it have to do with the account I read today in the gospels of what happened on this day?  I did some quick research, the results of which, for the sake of those who like me are sadly ignorant in these matters, I will share.

In The Companion to the Book of Common Worship, by Peter Bower (credit to Wikipedia for helping me find this!), the day is explained:
Maundy Thursday (or le mandé; Thursday of the Mandatum, Latin, commandment). The name is taken from the first few words sung at the ceremony of the washing of the feet, "I give you a new commandment" (John 13:34); also from the commandment of Christ that we should imitate His loving humility in the washing of the feet (John 13:14-17). The term mandatum (maundy), therefore, was applied to the rite of foot-washing on this day. 
As we reflect on the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made out of love for us, let us also reflect on him as our "Servant King".  As the song by Graham Kendrick goes:
This is our God, the Servant King
He calls us now to follow him
To bring our lives as daily offering
Of worship to the Servant King
How might we follow his example of loving and sacrificial service to others today?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Week readings

For the past couple years, I have found it helpful to read through the gospel accounts during Holy Week.  Since I found it so useful, I will share with you this reading plan:




El Greco, "Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple"
(This reading plan was sent out to those in the campus ministry of which I am a part)

Shouting Stones

"...the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
  “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
   “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
    “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.(Luke 19:37-40)

This is a strange thing for Jesus to say with such conviction.  What does it mean? As I meditate on it, I see two things and a question:

Christ is glorious and it is fitting to praise him.  His ministry and miracles.  His mercy. His power.  His love.  For all of this and so much more, Christ is worthy of our praise.  He is our Messiah and Lord and the loudest praise is his right and glory.

Christ will be praised.  Regardless of whether we do a good job of giving Christ glory or not, he will be glorified.  It is as if all of creation is longing to speak out in praise of their creator and king, to verbally shout what it silently says each day.  While this does take some of the responsibility off of us, it still leads to the question:

How can I best magnify my king today?