in contact with the Spirit

image / Hans / Pixabay
 
Lord, I see what the Holy Spirit is like
  as I gather the garbage to burn in the fire.
I try to keep the fire burning continually;
  nevertheless there are times when it seems
  that the fire has gone out completely,
  but I know that underneath, a few embers continue to burn.
I think humanity is like the garbage and the Holy Spirit is like the fire.
Just as I gather the garbage to burn in the fire
  so may your church gather together humanity
  and put it in contact with the Spirit
  to purify it until it is no longer garbage.
May the church never lose hope,
  even when the fire cannot be seen
  and the garbage is plentiful.
May we be convinced that the fire continues to burn below
  and that it will never go out.

after words shared by a Garbage man in South America
A Procession of Prayers, edited by John Carden
 
_____________________________
 
 
John answered their questions by saying, 
“I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

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to confess what the Lord has done for us

Jarena Lee, By Lithograph by P.S. Duval, from life by A. Huffy, Wikimedia Commons
 
God, you know the secrets of all hearts.
Favor us with your presence, O God.
Display your power by a general outpouring of the spirit.
May sinners cry for mercy, while others shout for joy.
May we be faithful stewards of the manifold gifts of God
    and never be ashamed to confess what the Lord has done for us.
May we never lose the witness out of the heart
    by withholding our testimony from our friends and neighbors 
    of your power to save.
May we not just run well for a season,
    and yield to the temptation of the tempter’s whisper
    saying “not now” 
    and by and by the soul becomes barren and unfruitful.
May we “watch” and tell around what a dear Savior we have found.
 
Jarena Lee, 1783-1864, African American minister
 
______________________
 
 
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. 
It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes
    —the Jew first and also the Gentile. 
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. 
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. 
As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

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Our Good Shepherd

image / Hans Schäufelein 15th century / Metropolitan Museum of Art
 
Show me, O Lord, your mercy, and delight my heart with it.
Let me find you whom I so longingly seek.
See, here is the man whom the robbers seized, mishandled,
    and left half dead on the road to Jericho.
O kind hearted Samaritan, come to my aid!
I am the sheep who wandered into the wilderness – seek after me,
    and bring me home again to your fold.
Do with me what you will, that I may stay by you all the days of my life,
    and praise you with all those who are with you in heaven for all eternity.
 

St Jerome, c.347-420, translator of the Latin Vulgate

Seasons of Devotion

 
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I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 

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Guide us to your will

Photo by Paul Zoetemeijer on Unsplash
 
Almighty Lord God,
    your glory cannot be approached,
    your compassion knows no bounds,
    and your love for all mankind
    is beyond human expression;
    in your mercy look on us and all your people:
do not leave us to our sins
    but deal with us according to your goodness.
Guide us to the haven of your will
    and make us truly obedient to your commands,
    that we many not feel ashamed
    when we come before your Messiah’s
        dread judgement seat.
 
For you, O God,
    are good and ever-loving,
    and we glorify you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
    now and for ever,
    to the ages of ages.    Amen.
 
from The Barberini Codex, 8th Century document of Byzantine prayers
 
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By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. 
We have received all of this by coming to know him, 
    the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.  
And because of his glory and excellence, 
    he has given us great and precious promises. 
These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature 
    and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

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to see the human predicament

Jesus and the poor / 1857 / Library of Congress / public domain
 
O God, our Father,
the fountain of love, power and justice,
the God who cares, 
    particularly for the least,
    the most suffering and the poorest among us.
O God, Lord of creation, grant us today your guidance and wisdom
    so that we may see the human predicament for what it is.
Give us courage and obedience 
    so that we may follow you completely.
Help us, Lord, to bear witness to the cross of your Son,
    our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is the reason for hope,
    and in whose name we pray. Amen.
 
Koson Srisang, Thailand
 
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This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

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Compassionate heart of Jesus

The Crucifixion 1360’s / Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain
 
Compassionate heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.
Even before I offended you, my Redeemer, I did not deserve
    the great graces you have given me.
You created me, gave me so many inspirations 
    and all totally undeserved on my part.
But having offended you, not only did I not deserve your favors,
    I certainly deserved to be abandoned by you for all eternity.
But you, in your great mercy, have waited for me
    and preserved my life even when I was at enmity with you.
Your mercy allowed me to see my misery and you called me to conversion;
    you gave me sorrow for my sins and a desire to love you.
Now, I hope that, with your grace,
    I am in your friendship once again.
 
Alphonsus Liquori, 1696-1787, Italian Catholic bishop and theologian
 
____________________
 
 
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

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Glory to the Trinity

Trinity image / Metropolitan Museum of Art / public domain
 
Grant, O God, of your mercy, that we may come to everlasting life,
    and there beholding your glory as it is, may equally say:
Glory to the Father who created us,
Glory to the Son who redeemed us,
Glory to the Holy Spirit who sanctified us.
Glory to the most high and undivided Trinity, 
    whose works are inseparable,
    whose kingdom without end abides,
    from age to age forever.
Amen.
 
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354 – 430 
 
__________________________
 
 
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
    and the love of God, 
    and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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Pentecost prayer

Pentecost mosaic / Pete Unseth, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Holy Spirit, almighty God,
  proceeding from the Father and the Son;
Jesus the eternal Son, our Redeemer,
  has promised that you will kindle in us the true knowledge and love of God.
Stir up in our hearts, we pray true fear, true faith,
  that we may acknowledge the mercy
  which the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hast promised
  unto us for his sake.
Be our comforter in all difficulties and dangers,
  and kindle divine love in our hearts,
  so that by true obedience,
  we may offer perpetual praise to you
  and to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  and to his blessed Son, our Saviour and Redeemer.
Amen.

Philipp Melanchthon, 1497 – 1560, German reformer with Martin Luther
 
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But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 
    will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
 

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preparing to be bearers of reconciliation

image / Nick Thompson / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
 
 
O Risen Christ,
    you breathe your Holy Spirit upon us
    like a gentle breeze
    and tell us: ” Peace be yours.”
Opening ourselves to your peace,
    letting it penetrate the harsh and rocky ground
        of our hearts,
    means preparing ourselves to be bearers 
    of reconciliation wherever you may place us.
But you know that at times we are at a loss.
So come and lead us to wait in silence,
    to let a ray of hope shine through in our world.
 
Brother Roger, 1915 – 2005, Swiss monastic, founded the Taizé Community
 
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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

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you ascended into the heavens

Rabula Gospels / 6th Century Dsmdgold / Wikimedia Commons
 
To complete your seamless robe, 
    and so to complete our faith,
you ascended through the air into the heavens,
    before the very eyes of the apostles.
In this way you showed that you are Lord of all,
    and are the fulfillment of all creation.
Thus from that moment every human and every living creature
    should bow at your name.
And, in the eyes of faith,
    we can see that all creation proclaims your greatness.
 
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, French abbot and Cistercian mystic
 
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After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

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