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????

Morning Prayer: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14th)

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Psalm: 66
Old Testament: Numbers 21:4-9
New Testament: John 3:11-17

So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. (Numbers 21:9)

Does this symbol look familiar???? Yep. you guessed it…it’s the medical symbol…..the one you see on ambulances, prescription pads, medi-braclets and even on some EMS uniforms.

The serpent and pole is only one of a whole slew of religious symbols that our secular society has gradually (and conveniently) forgotten the origin of.

The story from Numbers also happens to be one of my favourite in the OT…..God is sick and tired of hearing the Israelites bitch and complain……so he decides to do what gods do best….smiting! πŸ˜›

But the story doesn’t end there. Unlike other stories in ancient culture–where a sacrifice is required to appease the deity–YHWH decides to listen to the prophet of his people, and to have compassion. He doesn’t even require a sin-offering of a young bull…..he just instructs Moses to make a simple statue which everyone may look at to be saved from death.

Aside from the obvious allusion to Jesus hanging on a pole/tree (which I will cover in this evening’s post)….I think we can take this story from the Hebrew Bible on its own merit.

The lesson for today’s reading has to do with keeping our focus. So long as we keep our eye on God and what he is doing in the world….as long as we don’t let our gaze become distracted by the crazy pace of this world, and the temptation to satisfy our selfish desires…..As long as the Holy Trinity is the centre of our lives….we will have eternal life.

Notice that the reading doesn’t say that the snakes stopped biting, or that there was no pain……only that those who were afflicted by the snake-bites had to look at the bronze pole and trust in the LORD’s saving power…which admittedly is a trust that I have been lacking in the past week. πŸ˜›

May we all on this Feast of the Holy Cross…..turn our eyes to the LORD to see his glory and to feel his love. +

Evening Prayer: July 13th (Combo Post)

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Psalm: 38, 119:25-48
Old Testament: 1 Sam 20:1-23
New Testament: Acts 12:20-25
Gospel: Mark 2:13-22
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a Treatise on the Mysteries by St. Ambrose

But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I pray, β€˜Only do not let them rejoice over me,
those who boast against me when my foot slips.’ (Psalm 38:15)

Something in my brain tells me that I’ve probably done a post on this verse before….so if I am inadvertently repeating myself, I apologize…anyway it is definitely a sentiment that really rings true for me right now.

I totally confess that I do not do well with the whole waiting thing. I’d even go so far as to say that I am one of the most impatient people on the planet. This doesn’t mean that I can’t do the laid-back thing and let things develop…..a lot of the time that’s what I have to do in my job(s)….but that doesn’t mean I particularly enjoy the process itself. πŸ˜›

That discomfort has been heightened for me of late…since–in two weeks time–one of my bishops is coming to check out the ministry that I do here in London.

I honestly have no idea how it’s going to pan out….and part of me thinks that I will probably fall flat on my ass.

That being said, I have since started meeting with my Spiritual Director and he and I have discussed something very important over the last few weeks…. Letting the Third Person into the conversation

It’s not about me trying to convince the Bishop that I should be ordained, or to show him that I am doing good work….or even about trying to achieve results.

I have to work hard yes…..but more than that…..I have to leave room for God in there somewhere πŸ˜›

The point is not to put my trust in my own abilities…but in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will show up when She is needed most. Not only to give me strength and ability….but to give light to the darkness…and to allow a bishop and a lay leader to meet as brothers in Christ…..not as superior and inferior….

Let’s just hope I can keep my sanity until the visit! πŸ˜› +

Morning Prayer: March 5th

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Psalms: 20, 21
Old Testament: Deut 5:21-32
New Testament: 2 Cor 13

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright. (Psalm 20:7-8)

When I went to go visit my family last weekend, I attended Mass at our home parish and heard this hymn:

    Lyrics

Refrain:

All that we have and all that we offer
Comes from our hearts both frightened and free
Take what we bring now and give what we need
All done in His name

Some men rely on their power
Others put trust in their gold
Some men have only their Saviour
Whose faithfulness never grow old

(Repeat Refrain)

Sometimes the road may be lonesome
Often we may lose our way
Take courage and always remember
Love isn’t just for a day

(Repeat Refrain)

Sometimes when troubles are many
Life can seem empty it’s true
But look at the life of the Master
Who lovingly suffered for you

Trust is a crucial component to every relationship, whether human or Divine.Β  Make no mistake……there will be times that we feel that trust has been breeched between the Creator and ourselves….When we feel abandoned and betrayed.

But here’s the thing: So did Jesus.

On the Cross we don’t have a confident Saviour…..but one who cries out “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?”Β  In Christ’s death we have an apparent breaking of covenant and law.Β  The righteous man is not supposed to die, nor the innocent man condemned…..God is supposed to protect the innocent……..and yet we find the Son of God suffering, dead, and laid in a tomb.

3 days later…….the story takes a dramatic turn.Β  Jesus is raised, and trust is restored.Β  What felt like abandonment only a few short hours ago is now the joy of reunion……and what seemed like a gross injustice is now revealed as the most loving justice for all that could ever be dreamed of. πŸ™‚

The next time you feel your trust waining…..know that a) it is completely normal and b) that our Heavenly Father will restore it so that we can live more fully into His presence.+

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. +

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