I dusted off my Divine Hours this morning and was struck by a thought from the Concluding Prayers:
and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose
This may be obvious, but I have lately noted that God’s purpose is seasonal. True, there are overarching themes, a persistent direction in which God wants his people to head. But the details, the specific tasks and actions are seasonal. They are timed to a person’s individual circumstances and setting.
Over the past two years I have often felt like I wasn’t doing enough when church gathered. I often came empty-handed, bereft of ideas for my brothers and sisters. I had nothing to offer for their edification and encouragement, and I often felt guilt because of that.
It seems that I am finally ready to hear the wise words others, in particular Tom Fisher, shared with me: Relax. There are seasons of giving and seasons of receiving, and for the moment you might be in a season of receiving.
Back when I started this thing years ago, I often used it to process my thoughts and plans. So let’s give that a shot again. Below are some goals for the first several months of 2010. With me in school and doing my teaching internship, things are likely to change very rapidly, so I’m only considering the next four months for now. That’s when I graduate and the salad bowl of life is likely to get tossed again. Come May, I’ll look at these again and renew or make adjustments as necessary.
Where relevant I’ve tried to include deadlines for starting and frequency; the more specific and measurable a goal is, the better it is. Without further ado… Continue reading
Wolfgang Simson’s recent article at House2House strikes me. Good stuff, particularly these words:
God’s word speaks of house churches – we built church-houses. The King speaks of wishing to own us – we discuss whether to satisfy him with a tithe, be it gross or net; God speaks of apostolic and prophetic foundations, and we usually build on anything else.
This is what scares me about praying, that I might hear and be asked to obey. I both fear that and want it. Yet another lovely Paradox of the Kingdom.
Why couldn’t Jesus have said, “The democracy of God,” or even, “The republic of Heaven?” The Greeks and Romans had thought of these things, you know.
I don’t remember the last time i saw a sunrise, but I saw this morning’s. Kerri’s been up walking most weekdays before I go in to the office and last week I decided it was time I got up with her. I’m a believer that we do better when we are on similar schedules. Plus, it seemed like I should take my own advise. I’ve been telling her for a few year’s that her days would be better if she would start them of her own accord, at her own choosing, instead of being “jump started” by the cries of the kiddos. Well, how much different have my day’s been, starting them to the call of the time clock? (Not a literal timeclock, although a screeching dinosaur like on the Flintstone’s might be kinda cool for a while.) So, this morning I saw the sunrise, sipped some coffee, did some homework, and ever wrote this little most… all before 7 am!
Last week I also pulled my Divine Hours off the shelf again, and this was what I prayed while watching the sunrise:
“Let the Name of the Lord be blessed, from this time forth for evermore.
From the rising of the sun to its going down let the Name of the Lord be praised.”
Don’t think I’ve ever prayed those words with the sunrise. Pretty cool.
I’ve been praying a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer pretty regularly the last few weeks. It’s based on the one Dallas Willard offers in The Divine Conspiracy, and tends to go something like this:
Dear Dad who fills all space and time from beyond the farthest galaxy and back to the very air I breathe,
You are unlike anything else in the universe!
Help us figure out how to live our lives like you would live our lives if you were us.
Give us what we need for today,
And have pity on us when we screw up just like we should have pity on others when they make mistakes.
Keep us out of harm’s way, because we are weak and likely to fail,
Ultimately, You are in charge, and You are strong enough and loving enough do all these things for all of us
Today and every day, until there are no more days!
From today’s Morning Office:
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week has me thinking again.
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant me the fullness of your grace, that I, running to obtain your promises, may become a partaker of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Emphasis mine)
I can’t help but recall the verse in Romans: “God’s kindness leads you to repentance.” And also the chorus of “See the World” by Gomez: “And when all’s been said and done/ It’s the things that are given, not won/ Are the things that you earned.”
Power is most truly expressed in kindness, mercy, pity, or put another way power is expressed in love.
Another thought I’ve had recently is this: Something worth fighting for isn’t the same as something worth killing for.
So here is The Prayer Appointed for the Week from The Divine Hours:
Grant that I, Lord, may not be anxious about earthly things, but love things heavenly; and even now, while I am placed among things that are passing away, hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives nd reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [emphasis mine]
I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and I can’t help but draw a connection between this prayer, no doubt inspired by Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John to at least some degree, and the food chains Pollan describes in the first two parts of his book. He contrasts the industrial food chain, which in his words is largely floating on an ocean of oil, with alternative food chains that take their inspiration from the inherent rhythms and interdependence of nature. I’ve not finished the book, but I have a sense of where he is going.
Reading and praying… a dangerous combination, for they inevitably lead me to thinking and change. And change is hard; “ignorance is bliss” in some very real ways.
Yet I continue to read and pray. Passing more than a dozen chain restaraunts on my way to the local super-sized supermarket, I hear the echoes of the prayer reformulated as a question in my head: “Placed among things that are passing away, will I take hold of things that will endure?“
++ Lord, give me ears to hear. ++