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Jun 10, 2009
"He giveth quietness." (Job 34:29).

Quietness amid the dash of the storm. We sail the lake with Him still; and as we reach its middle waters, far from land, under midnight skies, suddenly a great storm sweeps down. Earth and hell seem arrayed against us, and each billow threatens to overwhelm. Then He arises from His sleep, and rebukes the winds and the waves; His hand waves benediction and repose over the rage of the tempestuous elements. His voice is heard above the scream of the wind in the cordage and the conflict of the billows, "Peace, be still!"

Can you not hear it? And there is instantly a great calm. "He giveth quietness." Quietness amid the loss of inward consolations. He sometimes withdraws these, because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joy, our ecstasies, our transports, or our visions, with too great complacency. Then love for love's sake, withdraws them. But, by His grace, He leads us to distinguish between them and Himself. He draws nigh, and whispers the assurance of His presence. Thus an infinite calm comes to keep our heart and mind. "He giveth quietness."

"He giveth quietness"

O Elder Brother,
Whose homeless feet have pressed our path of pain,
Whose hands have borne the burden of our sorrow,
That in our losses we might find our gain.

"Of all Thy gifts and infinite consolings,
I ask but this: in every troubled hour
To hear Thy voice through all the tumults stealing,
And rest serene beneath its tranquil power.

"Cares cannot fret me if my soul be dwelling
In the still air of faith's untroubled day;
Grief cannot shake me if I walk beside thee,
My hand in Thine along the darkening way.

"Content to know there comes a radiant morning
When from all shadows I shall find release,
Serene to wait the rapture of its dawning--
Who can make trouble when Thou sendest peace?"


from Streams in the Desert, compiled by Lettie B. Cowman
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Posted: Jun 10, 2009 9:59pm
Feb 27, 2009

Why fast at Lent?


Lord, my deepest hunger is for you...May you alone be my food, my sustenance; keep me hungry for you...  James Howell

 

I tend to take the Lenten sacrifice as a prompt to prayer: It should be something that one does habitually so that when the urge to do XXX comes about, it serves as a reminder to pray at that moment. For those who don't pray, it can simply be a call to mindfulness and awareness of the automaticity of life.

Don Hosek (in an online comment on an article in the Chicago Tribune)

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Posted: Feb 27, 2009 11:36pm
Jan 25, 2009

 

E.E. Cummings

 

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)

forgetting why, remember how


in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting seem)


in time of roses (who amaze

our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,

remember seek (forgetting find)


and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me, remember me

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Posted: Jan 25, 2009 12:39am
Jan 6, 2009


Through the darkness that covers all the earth, God’s light goes out to all nations. All people will reflect God’s face as they come to the Light and become radiant.

God, the creator of heaven and earth and of all that fills the earth, is a welcoming God. This welcome reaches to the far corners of the earth—beyond cultural, linguistic or other walls built by human hands. The Magi show us the welcoming face of God.

Do you believe there is more than enough of God’s light, grace, and mercy for all people? What would it look like in your life to live out a welcome true to the nature and purpose of Jesus, true to the heart of God’s love for His children? What dark places may there still be in your life that need to become fully radiant by the light of God’s love? How are God’s arms reaching out to you in welcome?

Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 11-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

Restore us, oh Lord; Let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80

[reflections compiled by Rachel Sartori]

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Posted: Jan 6, 2009 8:06pm
Jan 6, 2009

Even as we struggle to hold onto hope, God’s salvation appears in front of us. Our communities reflect the face of God when women and men, young and old together behold and celebrate salvation.

We have waited with eager anticipation for the birth of the Christ Child. Are we now reflecting the face of God to those around us as we celebrate this new baby? How are we letting our face shine with joy? How do we embrace the salvation that we have received through Jesus? Or are there ways in which we dismiss it or have become so comfortable with it that we forget our continued need for restoration?

What does it mean for you to be embraced by God? How do you understand the relationship between the embracing face of God and the gift of Salvation?

Reflect on the story of Simeon and Anna as they reveal the embracing face of God (Luke 2:22-40).

Isaiah 61:10 - 62:3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40

Restore us, oh Lord; Let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80

[reflections compiled by Rachel Sartori]

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Posted: Jan 6, 2009 7:58pm
Jan 6, 2009

 

Although the strong and proud seem to be in control, God lifts up those who are lowly and of humble spirit. Then, like Mary, we open ourselves to God’s face being born within us.

We celebrate the arrival of Immanuel, of God with us! Have we made room for the baby? Are we making room for God to dwell in our lives and hearts? How do you experience the connection between the indwelling of Jesus and Joy? This can be a meaningful contemplation as we light the Candle of Joy this week…

From Caryll Houselander:

We shall not be asked to become extraordinary or set apart or to make a hard and fast rule of life or to compile a manual of mortifications or heroic resolutions…What we shall be asked to give is our flesh and blood, our daily life—our thoughts, our service to one another, our affections and loves, our words, our intellect, our waking, working, sleeping, our ordinary human joys and sorrows—to God. To surrender all that we are, as we are, to the Spirit of Love in order that our lives may bear Christ into the world—that is what we shall be asked.

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalm 84:1-4; Ephesians 3:14-20; Luke 1:26-38, 47-55

Restore us, oh Lord; Let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80

[reflections compiled by Rachel Sartori]

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Posted: Jan 6, 2009 7:42pm
Dec 17, 2008

 

no room for you in the city, Jesus. so many doors were tried and closed to you. so many places did not warm you with welcome.

there is still a coming. there is still a Bethlehem.

it is the city of my heart with no room to give you welcome.

It is the manger of my inner self where your request is made, searching for an entrance to my poor and empty dwelling.

Advent is a time for waiting. I will wait faithfully for slow recognition of the closed doors in my Bethlehem.

Advent is a time of yearning. I will keep on longing for you. I will try to do so patiently.

Advent is a time of hoping. I will seek the strong stirring sureness that is possible to open doors.

Advent is a time of coming. I will pray with all the church: come. come. come, Lord Jesus. Welcome into my home of love.

And Lord, when it is time to say: this is the Christmas day, I pray that you will warmly be welcome in the Bethlehem of my heart, giving birth in my newly opened places.

~by Joyce Rupp, from "Fresh Bread"

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Posted: Dec 17, 2008 9:00am
Dec 16, 2008
Amidst the ruins of our cities and countryside, God offers liberation and restoration. We reflect God's face as we become builders and planters of righteousness.

God is a God of life, of wholeness and of complete love. Although we are called to choose life, we are a broken people and need God to restore us. In fact, as we experience God's restoration through Jesus, we are called to reach out as His Body and extend the good news to others who are broken. This is an act of love, which is fitting as this week, we light the Advent candle of Love.

Where in your life are you experiencing brokenness or a sense of being bound? Where do you long for liberation and restoration? How might God be wanting you to extend the good news to those around you?

Philip Britts writes:
...let us not be deceived by humble gestures. Human love cannot redeem. If it could, there would have been no need for God to be born as a human child on this earth. There is something altogether different from good will that we need. This something was fulfilled in the coming of Christ and in the manner of His coming. This amazing difference is fulfilled in our own lives when the Christ-child is born in our hearts. The birth of Christ is an example both unique and external of how God's will is worked out on earth. It is the birth of love in our hearts that transforms life.

Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; I Thess. 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

La Tenebre~
Our darkness is never darkness in your sight;
the deepest night is clear as the daylight...


"Restore us, O Lord; Let your face shine, that we may be saved!" Psalm 80

[reflections compiled by Rachel Sartori]
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Posted: Dec 16, 2008 9:15am
Dec 7, 2008

When we are most vulnerable, God comes to us through a voice offering comfort and direction.

We reflect God's face as we heed the voice that unites righteousness and peace.

As people of faith, we live in the paradox of God bringing comfort to the brokenhearted while also upsetting those who are comfortable with the status quo. In what ways are you hurting and in need of God's comforting touch? How have you experienced God's comfort in the past? Likewise, where in your life are you content with the status quo? In what ways is God pushing you beyond your "comfort zone"? Can you trust God with yourself?

The second Sunday of Advent is also the Sunday when we light the candle of Peace. Peace is the absence of war, stress, anxiety and other things toxic to the life God desires us to live. Whether speaking about the world-wide condition or the need to have stillness of heart and mind within ourselves, we long for peace. How might God seek to break through places of war, of injustice, of toxic stress, and bring peace this season? How might you be called to receive that peace or be a participant in the bringing of peace?

Isa. 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Calm me, O Lord, as You still the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.

Calm me, O Lord, as You still the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.

Restore us, oh Lord; Let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80

[thoughts for reflection compiled by Rachel Sartori]

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Posted: Dec 7, 2008 7:06pm
Dec 7, 2008

 

"Restore us, oh Lord; Let your face shine, that we may be saved!" Psalm 80

When we wander in darkness and despair, God's face seems hidden from us.We cry out to God to restore us, keeping us alert and watching for God's face to shine among us.

As we begin Advent season, we are invited to repentance, to turn, to take a posture of yielded openness to God. In what ways does God feel hidden from you? How might you remain hidden from God? How do you yearn to live in God's truth?

The first Sunday in Advent is also the Sunday we light the candle of Hope. Hear these words from author Doris Donnelly:

Hope does not disappoint because GOD is our hope and it is the nature of God to honor commitments, to lead us through the valley of darkness. Christian hope, quite simply, is based on the undeviating reliability of God...Hope then becomes the impulse to change the world in light of God's promises, even when those promises seem remote, veiled, or untenable. In fact, hope keeps faith from identifying the hiddenness of God as absence. 

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Mark 13:24-37; I Corinthians 1:3-9

 

Christ, Be Our Light

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

© 1993, Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP.

[these advent contemplations compiled by Rachel Sartori]

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Posted: Dec 7, 2008 6:00pm

 

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