Christ in the Desert

Wilderness. Temptations. Angels.

Christ in the desert by Ivan Kramskoi

Here is a link to our post of Christ in the Desert (Kramkoi) from March 3, 2014 (Lent 1A). The post features commentary by our Forum Member, Hovak Najarian.

 

Songs for Maundy Thursday

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Wind Chimes: 11 Mar 2013

What do you hear in the chimes?A “Going-home” Prayer

Yesterday (3/10/13) was the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C). Jesus, that great storyteller, spoke through the centuries with his story of a man and his two sons. For many years it has been called the story of the Prodigal Son. Within my lifetime the story has also been called: The Story of the Prodigal Father, The Story of the Loving Father, The Story of the Lost Son, and more. In sum, it is an amazing story. See Luke 15:11-32

Some have said that the point of the story is, “You can go home again.” I believe this is at least one of the points contained in this very rich story. As you consider this ‘point’ I offer a prayer for your meditation as you and I journey “home” together.

Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening, into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end. Amen.

John Donne (1571 – 1631) in Pocket Prayers for Pilgrims

DivLine360x12 Come home. Come home. You are beloved, come home. A most welcome song in the chime today. What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

Wind Chimes: 9 Mar 2013

An image of Pope Benedict XVI

What to Look for in a New Pope

Peggy Noonan, George Weigel, James Carroll, Michael Sean Winters, Mary Eberstadt, and Paul Baumann—popular columnists for various enterprises—offer their thoughts about the “new pope.” Their assessments about a new pope are available in The Wall Street Journal online. I encourage you to read the article: What to Look for in a New Pope.

After reading

Do any of these writers tap into your own beliefs about what a new pope needs to bring to the world and, in particular, to Christianity? Which of the images presented—Joyous Anyway, A Culture Warrior, A Catholic Gorbachev, Among the Poor, Ready to Play Offense or A Californian—really gets you excited? Leave a comment.

What do you hear in the chimes?
The chimes sound many possibilities today. It is an exciting sound.
What do you hear?

Image: Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis Pope Benedict XVI in the Wall Street Journal

Wind Chimes: 8 Mar 2013

March 8th is International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day

Here is a prayer—a prayer I am using today—for all woman on International Women’s Day. This prayer offered by the Sisters of St. Francis to you and me and all who will work for the safety and equality of women.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace:

Bless all women who daily strive to bring peace to their communities, their homes and their hearts. Give them strength to continue to turn swords into plowshares.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love:

We pray for all women who face prejudice, inequality and gender disparities. Help us see and to face the discrimination against women in all the many forms it may take.

Where there is injury, pardon:

Comfort all women who suffer from the pain of war, violence, and abuse. Help them to become instruments of their own reconciliation and peace.

Where there is division, unity:

Forgive all women and men who let differences breed hate and discrimination. Let your example of valuing all of creation help us to see that we are equal partners in the stewardship of your world.

Where there is darkness, light; where there is untruth, truth:

Comfort all women who struggle in the darkness of abuse, poverty, and loneliness. May we stand with them in light to acknowledge their suffering and strive to remove the burdens of shame or embarrassment.

Where there is doubt, true faith:

We pray for all women who live in fear of their husbands, fathers, and forces that control their lives. Help them to be empowered to be their true selves through your everlasting love and faith.

Where there is despair, hope:

We pray for all women who live in the despair of poverty, violence, trafficking, slavery, and abuse. May the light of your love bring them hope.

Where there is sadness, new joy:

Help us to see the strength and goodness in all women and men. Transform our hears to celebrate the love and grace of all people.

And may we be blessed with the courage of St. Clare of Assisi to follow our own path of love for you and all sisters and brothers. Amen.

By Deborah Hirt, Intern at Franciscans International

What do you hear in the chimes?
As the wind blows through the chimes today it sounds like praise and hope for women. What do you hear?

Logo: 2013 International Women’s Day – The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum

Resources (print and video) for International Women’s Day past and present

Wind Chimes: 7 Mar 2013

Barely a whisper of wind today. But if you listen carefully, really listen, … what do you hear?

SSJE Praying Our Lives: Listen

Which statement most resembles your current “prayer life”?

  • (A) Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.
  • (B) Listen Lord, for your servant is speaking.

Brother Geoffrey Tristram offers a short meditation on prayer, silence, and listening. Consider it an invitation as you pray this Lenten season.

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Image: Bouquet of the Desert by Алексей Мазницин on LensArt.ru

Wind Chimes: 5 Mar 2013

The wind in kind of different today. It’s a prophetic sound in the chimes today. What do you hear?

“Unless you repent …” a sermon to consider

Pilate, that tyrant, has killed some Galileans at worship, a tower has collapsed in Siloam and killed 18, folks around Jesus at the time asked him to comment, and he did, but it wasn’t what they expected. Jesus’ final words of comment includes this gem, “unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of West Texas, opens up these words of Jesus and gives us much to think about and then, quoting one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, poses a question to us.

A couple of excerpts:

Imagine that one day you call or come by the office to tell me that your son is getting a divorce, that your best friend has just been diagnosed with cancer, that your mom has died, or your husband just lost his job. You would not be happy if my response was, “Unless you repent….” Your next phone call or visit would probably be with Bishop Lillibridge. “Can you believe what he said? How could he say that to me? What are you going to do about this?”

Let’s just be honest about this. Jesus’ words are not all that helpful. They offer no consolation, explanation, or comfort. “Unless you repent…” is not we want to hear. Sometimes, however, it is what we need to hear. Today’s gospel is not about pastoral care. Jesus, to state the obvious, is not acting as a pastor. He is being pure prophet.

Find out what else Michael said. Discover the question being posed by Jesus now coming to us in the poetry of Mary Oliver. I definitely commend Michael’s words as we journey through Lent. PLEASE, read the entire sermon Tyrants Act and Towers Fall, Choose Life (Luke 13:1-9) by  Michael K. Marsh. And, yes, answer Michael’s question for the glory of God and the welfare of God’s people.

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Wind Chimes: 4 Mar 2013

Then the Lord said,
“I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt;
I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters.
Indeed, I know their sufferings, and
I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians,
and to bring them up out of that land
to a good and broad land,
a land flowing with milk and honey…

Exodus 3:7-8 NRSV

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A God who is friend

On Sunday (3/3/13) we heard a lesson from Exodus 3:1-15 and we discussed this further in the Sunday Morning Forum. Believing that the scriptures reveal all that we need to know “for salvation” we focused on the truth of the intimate involvement of God with a whole People and by extension with individuals like you and me. Oscar Romero understood this and opens it further:

This is the beauty of prayer and of Christian life: coming to understand that a God who converses with humans has created them and has lifted them up, with the capacity of saying “I” and “you.” What would we give to have such power as to create a friend to our taste and with a breath of our own life to make that friend able to understand us and be understood by us and converse intimately–to know our friend as truly another self? That is what God has done; human beings are God’s other self. He has lifted us up so that he can talk with us and share his joys, his generosity, his grandeur. He is the God who converses with us.

Source: The violence of love as quoted on inward/outward: a project of the church of the saviour

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Wind Chimes: 2 Mar 2013

Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand
in all your works

I never tire of watching and sharing the work of Louie Schwartzberg.
Every time, with the following prayer in mind, it is new and wonderful.

A song of beauty today. What do you hear?

Open our eyes

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Moving Art a website to delight you by Louie Schwartzberg

Wind Chimes: 1 Mar 2013

Listen. What do you hear?

Be thou my vision

A Friday treat. A different arrangement (different from our Hymnal #488) of one of my favorites, “Be thou my vision.”

The Spirit does amazing and wonderful things with talent, don’t you think?

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Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art
Be Thou my best Thought, in the day or by night,
Both waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art
Be Thou my best Thought, in the day or by night,
Both waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, be Thou my true Word;
Be Thou ever with me, and I with Thee, Lord;
Be Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Be Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou, and Thou only, the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure Thou art;
O Sovereign of heaven, be Thou my Vision;
Be Thou my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Choir: St Mary’s Cathedral Choir
Music: Bob Chilcott
Words: Irish (8thC) versified by Mary Elizabeth Byrne