January 26, 2015

God of Love,

The foundations of the earth reverberate
with your creative acts.

The words that filled the void echo
in the four corners of the earth.

Let us remember the firmament beneath
our feet is the footstool of the Lord.

Let us remember the waters
from country creek to ocean depths
are signs of cleansing.

Let us remember the mountains sing praises,
the forests sway in adoration
and the plants clap for joy.

Lift your voice and join the world in adoration.

Amen

January 5, 2015

God of Wonder,

My eyes have seen your salvation,
my ears have heard the Word of the Lord,
my tongue has tasted the resurrection,
my hands have lifted up your praise…

Yet I am downcast and besmirched
by the pressure of my own desires…

To see, to hear,
to taste, to touch
for my own gain.

My soul quickens to selfishness.

Lift my spirit up and renew my mind, that the Holy Spirit bind my worship to your presence.

Amen

December 19, 2014

Christmas is really two holidays. The Christmas we see in stores and on TV, the Christmas of our culture, and the Christmas that Christ followers participate in. The lines get blurred sometimes, and they have the same name, but they really are two separate things.

As someone who has grown up with both Christmases, so to speak, it was important for me to understand how the Church has participated in the seasons of Advent and Christmas so that I could follow the Christmas of the church more and the Christmas of the North Pole, Elf and Rudolph less.

I shared some of my thoughts on this in an article published yesterday on Relevant entitled “The Important Things Church History Taught Me About Christmas.” An excerpt:

Having grown up in the midst of the grand march of commercial and materialistic Christmas to become a three month binge on lights, presents and sweets, it would be easy to accept this as the new normal. There are a few options here: you can embrace it and become that person who plays Christmas music starting right after Halloween, you can act as a crusader against the watered-down Christmas you see around you and display your “Jesus is the Reason” bumper sticker proudly, or, well, you can just kind of go with the flow.

There is another way though. We could go back to celebrating and thinking about Christmas the way so many Christians did before us. And if we start to celebrate Christmas the way it was celebrated hundreds of years ago, we will begin to have a more well-rounded picture of what exactly it means to celebrate a holy God who came in the flesh as a poor, crying baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in Bethlehem so many years ago.

Read the rest of the article on Relevant today. And to help you celebrate Christmas the way it has been throughout Church history, you can download my eBook: O Antiphons: Prayers for the Advent Season.

December 17, 2014

Have you ever tried to do something without preparing? Could you imagine going on a weekend backpack without planning the route or packing a backpack? Going out on in a boat on a lake all day without charging the electric motor? Leaving for a road trip without filling up your car’s tank with gas?

Preparing is a normal part of our daily lives. It is routine and ordinary. Yet, we do not often take the time to prepare in our spiritual lives like we do in our everyday lives. We make notes to remind ourselves to not forget the carton of milk, but do we take the time to remind ourselves to prepare to enter into the presence of God?

Advent is a season of preparation,and today, December 17th, marks the traditional time to begin praying toward the Church’s celebration of the Incarnation on Christmas Day. It is the day that the O Antiphons begin, and I have written a prayer book to help guide us during the next week of Advent as Christians prepare to celebrate our Lord’s birth.

O Antiphons: Prayers for the Advent Season is a prayer book to prepare our bodies and souls to worship on Christmas day. The “O Antiphons” are one way that Christians for over 1500 years have been preparing their hearts, souls, minds and bodies to celebrate the coming of Christ at the first Advent, Christmas. In this book, A fresh reading of the O Antiphons, along with an Old and New Testament scripture reading and a meditation with discussion questions to guide you during the last week of Advent. From December 17th to December 23rd, you can use this prayer book to prayerfully come into the presence of the baby Jesus, born of a virgin, fully God and fully human in form, who is Wisdom in the flesh, our Lord, the Savior promised from David’s line, our Eternal Light, the King who unites all peoples and our Emmanuel, the God-who-is-with-us.

Please consider downloading the eBook today from Noisetrade. Tips on Noisetrade will go to International Justice Mission and their fight against everyday violence.

November 10, 2014

Gracious God,

The sun rises above the horizon to warm the earth,
and the sky reflects the heat of our world,
yet you alone warm our souls—
you alone heat the fire of our spirit.

Flames of justice are kindled by your presence—
for wickedness cannot stand before the Creator God,
the one who openly forgives but will not stand for injustice.
Evil flees from the Lord
and darkness dissipates
at the first sight of the Eternal Light of Christ.

May it always be so, now and forevermore.

Amen

November 3, 2014

Ever-Resilient God,

Who teaches us the way of the Kingdom,
who shows us the narrow path and leads us
beside still waters, the One who fortifies our souls
and strengthens our spirits—we stand in your presence
because of your call.

None can stand before you
save for Christ and the Holy Spirit,
in whose work the blessings of God
are made manifest in us and through us,
that the world would be put to rights and the
captives be set free, and that evil would cease in
a world without end, under the triumphant reign of Christ.

Amen

October 27, 2014

God-Who-Provides,

Be our source of every need,
be our foundation and rock,
because nothing is done, nothing
is made, nothing is created without
the spark of your creative act;
the whole world from the void
into a world alive, but a world that slipped
into a cracked and broken state…
For it was us who broke it.

Undo the sin and darkness,
the vainglory and despair,
for we are weighed down by
the patterns of the world,
the evil in our midst,
the evil in ourselves.

Pick us up and provide,
that we may enjoy your Kingdom forever.

Amen

October 20, 2014

God of Joy,

You are the holy One,
the One who wipes away our tears
and gives us every good gift,
who sanctifies us by your mercy
and renews our strength daily,
who baptizes us with your Spirit
so that we may be
doers of good deeds,
pursuers of peace,
messengers of mercy,
givers of grace,
champions of charity,
gardeners of generosity.

Why would we not dance?
Why would we not sing?
Why would we not glorify
the One who created all good
things, and searches for the lost?

Is not this the reason for our joy?
Is this this the praise that unites us with the coming King?

Let us rejoice
in the reason for our abounding joy,
for God is the beginning
and the end of all good,
for Christ is the beginning
and the end of eternal life,
for the Holy Spirit is the beginning
and the end of all faith and works.

Amen

October 13, 2014

God of solace,
A refuge from the hard times
and crushing pressures,
a fountain of forgiveness in
times of sin,
a stream of unending salvation
when the ways of the world
are unrelentingly cruel:

Be our pulse,
keeping the work of our hands
moving forward, building your kingdom, for you alone energize us
to do your will and push us
to endure with the work you have called us
to pursue.

Take heart, O God’s people,
for he will not rest or stay silent
until the world is new again
and the morning sun shines its unending love
and grace upon us,
the people of his kingdom.

Amen

October 6, 2014

God of the Covenant,

Who stays true to the vow between a god
and those who believe:
the faithful ones who are so often unfaithful,
the sanctified ones who so often sin,
the glad ones who are so often downcast.

Remind us of the path we have chosen.
Let us be faithful to your good news.
Let us be transformed by your new covenant,
a people that is unbound by border or culture,
undeterred by hardship or strife,
unflinching in the face of evil,
unceasing in prayer and worship,
for we are reborn in your baptism
and renewed daily
by the bread that fills our souls
and the cup that never leaves us thirsty.

It is your mercy then that we expand your covenant,
to shelter those who are lost in a foretaste
of your triumphant kingdom.

Amen