Walking and Breaking Bread with Jesus

Scripture

 Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly….. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11:27-30 MSG)

 Walking and Breaking Bread with Jesus

 “I’m tired, life is stressful” might be a mantra for us as summer arrives. We look forward to get away, slow down and maybe even get some inner stuff sorted when we have some down time.

 Prayers for the Deck & Dock 2017 is our gift to you to encourage this inner reflection. This year’s title is Walking and Breaking Bread with Jesus. It is an invitation to awareness of his presence in our activities, our walks and our meals. Just hit this link …… for the printable pdf for your summer enjoyment.

May you respond to Jesus’ invitation to walk and work with him this summer and may you watch him in creation, family, friends and community. I will be back with a fresh and redesigned look for this little missive on September 11th.

A Prayer for Today

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, your remarkable dance of love has the power to draw us into yourself. Losing ourselves in your love, we find ourselves – fully human and fully loved. May we hear your humble and gentle heartbeat in the midst of the accomplishments and disappointments of life. Keep company with us in all the paths we walk alone and with others  .…. For Jesus’ sake.

 

God’s Problem Child

Scripture

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? …. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-48 NLT)

 God’s Problem Child

Willie Nelson’ new album God’s Problem Child has a wistful quality that may be an expression of his age and stage. The title song ends with the lines;

 

  Darkness may fall / We still got a light / Keeping us all / Safe through the night

  Heaven must love / God’s problem child     Heaven must love / God’s problem child

It is a wonderful combination of realism, hope and confidence in the love heaven expresses for even those of us who fall into the “problem child” category. Certainly I have many days when I know that is the case but I also know that I have been loved even in the darkness.

Jesus promotes a radical kind of heavenly perfection in imitating the Father and it isn’t about rules, it’s about love. It was and is an assumption we all share that if people are ignorant to us it justifies our responding similarly. I can escalate with the best, unfortunately.

But Jesus wants us to express on earth what Willie Nelson believes is expressed from heaven. It’s crazy but a great aspiration, with God’s help. When we want to aspire to perfection the test is the no “quid pro quo” love of God to all and sundry.

 A Prayer for Today

As we continue to exercise our responsibilities

May Jesus, who walked with wounded feet

Walk with us to the end of our road.

May Jesus, who served with wounded hands

Teach us to serve one another.

May Jesus, who loved with a wounded heart

Be our love forever.

May we see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet

May everyone we meet see the face of Jesus in us.

And God will bless us.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Amen

Observant Compassion

June 12, 2017

 Scripture

 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’”  (Mark 12:41-44 NIVUK)

 Observant Compassion

 “FRIEND: What do I do when I don’t like who I am?  ME: Hang out with people who do like who you are.” (Richard Wagamese. Embers One Ojibway’s Meditations p 64)”

I like that. It is always fascinating how self-critical we can be. While I challenge friends when they operate from a self-deprecating place – they often laugh because I share the same vulnerability.

Last week I spent time thinking about Jesus’ capacity for observation. He sat and watched – in this case peoples’ offerings. When we listen to him teach however, we know he is a keen observer of us, of nature, of inner struggle and intensely competitive personalities.

Whether he said, “look at the birds, the lilies” or “look at the donors”, we know he is seeing with compassion and a desire to affirm and help. Yes, he noted the minimal sacrifice of the affluent but he really got excited about one who gives from limited means.

When I am too aware of my limited means I need to hang around with someone who affirms that it is a good place from which to give and serve. When we have good friends and a Good God observing us with compassion we are encouraged to generous service.

 A Prayer for Today

Compassionate God, thank you for observing us closely and kindly. You know my areas of weakness and vulnerability and you enable me to change. I am grateful that you take joy at the humblest acts of courageous generosity – my littlest acts may be most important to you. Let me hang out, conscious you are looking on and actually like us …. for Jesus’ sake.

 

 

 

 

 

I Love Paris in the Springtime

Scripture

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us …. was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, but in him it has always been ‘Yes’. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.  (2 Corinthians 1:19,20 NIVUK)

I Love Paris in the Springtime

“It’s as if God has given up on running the universe and has settled into His new gig writing a planetary sitcom.” (Cathal Kelly,  Globe & Mail, May 29, 2017) You may have noticed that Paris and climate change have been in the news lately. Whatever your views on the issue, I think Kelly’s sardonic comment gets at our puzzlement about the world’s politics.

Housing for our own poor, continuing health and economic adversity in our Indigenous communities, famine in Africa, hundreds dying in areas of the world that don’t get our media attention – the list can continue as we operate in our own comfortable bubble.

Yet our stewardship of the earth and its inhabitants is our highest calling as humans who love and serve the Creator of it all. The poem/prayer for today gets at how central this is connecting us in the earthy and the infinite. It is the infinite “Yes” for us. May God grant us wisdom and passion to do good for Creation.

 A Prayer for Today

i thank You God for most this amazing

day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth

day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay

great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

breathing any–lifted from the no

of all nothing–human merely being

doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and

now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

(e.e. cummings  1894-1962)

 

 

 

 

 

Liberating Dormant Music

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my new turntable and rediscovering old albums that had been on a shelf for 30 years. The sounds had lain dormant in the vinyl tracks for years and came back to life with the drop of a needle – creating wonder and joy for me.

Some days it feels like we need the needle of the Spirit to drop in the grooves of our lives to free us to wonder, joy and obedience.

Chatting with a friend recently, he was very self-critical of his spiritual journey. We explored if the assessment was coming from his own drivenness or from the Spirit who guides us into truth. “Is this the way Jesus would talk to me?”, became the important question.

He has a powerful desire to move toward God in all his life but a negative assessment masked it. There is so much of life that we can lose touch with, that is just below the surface and we need a bit of help in reconnecting there. The crust that accumulates throughout life can dull our capacity for wonder and gratitude. Let the dormant music of wonder and joy be released in our lives today

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A Prayer for Today

God, your three-fold expression of yourself is quite a mystery to me. Thank you for the internal conversations you have that care for us as your beloved children. You come to us not just for our comfort and ease but for courage to live as you lived. May your life of reconciliation, forgiveness and love be expressed in us this day and in the days ahead … For Jesus’ sake

Scripture

“I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth…. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you. …. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. (John14:15-17,26 MSG)