Morning Prayer: October 31st

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Psalm: 56, 57
Old Testament: Nehemiah 6:1-14
New Testament: Revelation 10:1-11

Every now and again, I find myself taken aback and intrigued by the Biblical images and mottos that remain part of our popular culture. So imagine my geeky pleasure when finding this one:

in God I trust; I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56:4)

Seems like a pretty general quote, non? But what if I showed you this picture instead???

That’s right, a partial psalm verse is paraphrased on American currency…..Incidentally, it’s also the piece of evidence used to prove that Santa Claus could exist after all πŸ™‚

Also I can’t help but reflect on the irony of this happenstance, given the financial crash of ’08 and the ongoing Occupy movements. It seems that for too long, America (and Canada too btw) as a nation has started to place it’s trust in the wrong thing.

The emphasis is on trusting our stuff…..our status…..the goods that we can produce and purchase in the wider market.

Today’s reading reminds us that sometimes we have to re-evaluate where our trust is. Is it on a rock that is apt to crumble beneath our feet? Or on the cornerstone which gives us stability and quenches our thirst with living water????

Evening Prayer: July 29th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 69, 73
Old Testament: 2 Sam 5:1-12
New Testament: Acts 17:1-15
Gospel: Mark 7:24-37
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Letter of St. Ignatius to Polycarp (Chapters I-IV)

Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,
O Lord God of hosts;
do not let those who seek you be dishonoured because of me,
O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

This blog has been very ego-centric lately…..although I suppose that’s somewhat to be expected with a personal blog :P.

However, I just wanted to make a short comment on the above quote from the Psalms….

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I have no problem in telling you I am one lazy pup. :S

Because I know of my own propensity to procrastinate, to rush through projects, and sometimes get frustrated with people who are more organized than me….I am always worried that some people will be attracted to or turned off of the Church by my bad habits rather than to God…..

Whether the people I serve know it or not, I am definitely one of those people that has to hope like hell that the Holy Spirit will do its thing even in spite of my own personality traits lol πŸ™‚ +

Evening Prayer: June 13th

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Psalm: 77
Gospel: Luke 9:9-20
Patristic Reading: N/A couldn’t find a copy online 😦

You keep my eyelids from closing;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
and remember the years of long ago.
I commune with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:
β€˜Will the Lord spurn for ever,
and never again be favourable? (Psalm 77:4-7)

Huh. Maybe one of the Psalmists was an insomniac after all :P.

This particular passage of Scripture pretty much sums up my life. Not in terms of outright pessimism…..but definitely in terms of worrying and being heart-sick.

By nature, I’m an over-thinker….I’m one of those people who at 2 and 3am think about life, the universe and everything.

During the time when sane people are sleeping, I lie awake and wonder what will happen next. If the things I have done during the day were good, bad or indifferent.

This is one of the points in the Bible for me that doesn’t so much talk about the nature of God….but of the nature of human beings….or put differently, a time when–instead of us reading Scripture….Scripture reads us.

Our relationship with God is not meant to be static, and it’s not all going to be rose petals. It is in verses like these that I take comfort in the knowledge that people have struggled in the same way that I have…..and that they too have come out on the other side into God’s marvelous Light. +

Morning Prayer: Friday in Easter Week

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Psalm: 136
Old Testament: Daniel 12:1-4;13
New Testament: Acts 4:1-12

This Jesus is
β€œthe stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.”
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12)

Well after a brief stint of computer problems, compounded by my own laziness, I am back on track with the blog :). I hope all of you have had a wonderful Easter season thus far filled with chocolate, friends, family, and liturgy that has moved you. πŸ™‚

In today’s reading from Acts, Peter gives this response to the question: from where do you get your authority?

The answer he gives harkens back to Psalm 118, which is a song which looks forward to the Messiah.

In using this as a proof-text, Peter is spreading the gospel, the new and radical message that a crucified and risen criminal was indeed the one Israel had been waiting for so long.

More than that, he insists that the miracles he and the other apostles are performing have nothing to do with them, and everything to do with the power of God.

I wonder how often we take credit for our own ministries and talents without giving credit to the source?!?

I don’t mean to say that it is wrong to have a sense of self-worth or accomplishment in what we do every day and the positive ways in which we touch the life of the world and those inside it……but at what point does the line get crossed between self-reliance and salvation, and being redeemed through God’s Grace alone?

It is a slippery line to be sure….and I hope that I continue to walk in the knowledge that I am nothing, but for God’s love that has been shown to me in Christ. +

Evening Prayer: Feb. 18th

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Psalm: 107:1-32
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a treatise on First John by St. Augustine

Some wandered in desert wastes ,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress (Ps. 107:4-6)

Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons
,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labour;
they fell down, with no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress; (Ps. 107:10b-13)

Some were sick* through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
They loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress; (Ps. 107:17-19)

If we read Psalm 107 too quickly we tend to miss some of the subtleties here. While the Psalm as a whole is directed to the congregation of Israel. We actually have God showing up and reaching out to three different groups of people: the lost, the captive, and the sick. Hmmm where have I seen this before?????????

The thing with this passage is that God shows up to His people in spite of our bad behaviour and our tendency to stray away from the Father. The Father shows up anyway…. but why???

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Let us take Luther’s mantra to heart….to believe the Word of God that tells of Jesus Christ our Saviour…..who came to make us whole through pure Grace and and to take comfort in the faith that all our sins are forgiven and that we have been made new. Alleluia!+

Morning Prayer: Feb. 11th

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Psalm: 88
Old Testament: Isaiah 61:1-9
New Testament: 2 Tim 3

O Lord, God of my salvation,
when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
I am like those who have no help,
like those forsaken among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave, (Psalm 88:1-5)

Psalm 88 is what I call the “doom and gloom Psalm”. This poem stands alone in that it refuses to extol God for His wonderful deeds or hold out any hope for God showing up and delivering the Psalmist from his/her oppressor.

Virtually every other Psalm or song in the Bible is decidedly more optimistic about God’s presence and his willingness to intervene on behalf of his faithful ones. Here we get none of that. This is straight out despair.

This brutal emotional honesty is one of the reasons why I still read the Bible with integrity. Just as the letter to Timothy says….all scripture is inspired by God for our learning…not just in terms of the Divine….but in coming to grips with our own humanity.

In the Psalms we have a multitude of voices coming together, united in a common experience of God. Some of those experiences are joyful, some sorrowful, others confusing. The Psalms are a place of honesty and expression. To give voice to the many emotions within the human heart.

If you know me at all, you know that I sometimes have beef with the Psalms. Some are too lofty and “pie in the sky”-ish for me. And yet…I keep reading them…..knowing that life is more than my own experiences and convictions. I read them to open my mind to other points of view, and to hear different expressions of faith.

By the grace of God and the movement of the Spirit, may we all find something in these Scriptures that move and resonate with us…..that open doors to new ways of thinking….all the while being honest to the plethora of emotion that comes with the endeavour.+

Evening Prayer: Feb. 5th

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Psalms: 23, 27
Gospel: Mark 9:14-29
I couldn’t find the specific excerpt for the Patristic Reading for tonight online

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:5)

OK so this verse right here is why I’ve always been confused as to why people love Psalm 23. I have never had the feeling of dining on a banquet right in front of my enemies. Has anyone else struggled with this????

Sorry I would have more…but I’m really curious as to what you think about this verse. It just sounds so cheesy! :S

Morning Prayer: Jan. 29th

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Psalm: 55
Old Testament: Isaiah 51:1-8
New Testament: Galatians 3:23-29

Apologies for the late post today……this time it was unintentional :P……But anyways…….on to my reflection….

I can’t help but read Psalm 55 and think that this is a guy who knows a train wreck is coming.

He realizes that strife in the city is rampant and that the watchmen are on high alert. I know there have been times in my life when I’ve had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach of anticipation and dread.

So what do we do in that situation???

Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you Psalm 55:22

This is not always an easy thing to do since it means giving up control. It means putting our trust in something other than our own skill-sets and intelligence; which can be a scary prospect indeed!

I pray that as we go through today, and this week….any time we come up against trouble, we will have the faith to look not only to ourselves..but to God through whom all things live, and with whom all things are possible. +

Morning Prayer: 1st Sunday after Epiphany (Jan. 9th)

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My congregation observed the Feast of the Epiphany today and so the Baptism of the Lord will be celebrated next week on this blog. πŸ˜€

Psalms: 121, 122, 123
Old Testament: Isaiah 65:1-9
New Testament: Revelation 2:18-28

So I didn’t get up in time to observe MP before Eucharist….so this turns into a mid-day reflection lol πŸ™‚

I think for today….I’m gonna let the text(s) stand for themselves….particularly Psalm 121. Every time I read it, I am struck by the message it conveys and the beauty with which it is written. I encourage you to just take the words in and see what they stir up in you :D……Feel free to share some of your insights/feelings in the comments section.

I lift up my eyes to the hillsβ€”
from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore. (Psalm 121)

May God bless you today and always + πŸ˜€

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