to show the likeness of Jesus

Last dinner / Sieger Koder
 
O Lord God,
You have commanded me to believe in Jesus,
    and that I would flee to no other refuge,
                               wash in no other fountain,
                               build on no other foundation,
                               receive from no other fullness,
                               rest in no other relief.
Hi water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross,
    may they never be separated in my creed and experiences;
May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of my sin,
    feel my need of a prince and savior,
    implore of him repentance as well as forgiveness,
    love holiness, and be pure in heart,
    have the mind of Jesus, and follow in his steps.
Let me not be at my own disposal,
    but rejoice that I am under the care of one
    who is too wise to err,
                   too kind to injure,
                   too tender to crush.
Help me to guide my affections with discretion,
                   to owe no one anything,
                   to be able to give to the one in need,
                   to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and forgiving,
                   to show to the world the likeness of Jesus.
 
 
___________________________
 
 
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords
 

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God of the high and holy places

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
 
God of the high and holy places
where I catch a glimpse of your glory,
above the low levels of life,
above the evil and emptiness which drags me down,
beyond the limits of my senses and imagination,
you lift me up.

In the splendour of a sunset,
in the silence of the stars,
in the grandeur of the mountains,
in the vastness of the sea,
you lift me up.

In the majesty of music,
in the mystery of art,
in the freshness of morning,
in the fragrance of a single flower,
you lift me up.

Awe-inspiring God,
when I am lost in wonder
and lost for words,
receive the homage of my silent worship
but do not let me be content to bear your beauty and be still.
Go with me to the places where I live and work.
Lift the veil of reticence behind which I hide.
Give me the courage to speak of the things which move me,
with simple and unselfconscious delight.
Help me to share my glimpses of glory
until others are drawn to your light.

Rev. Jean Mortimer, Minister in the United Reformed Church, UK
 
______________________________
 
 
The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

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this troubled and divided world

Garden of Eden, Metropolitan Museum of Art , Public Domain
 
Look in compassion, O heavenly Father,
    upon this troubled and divided world.
Though we cannot trace your footsteps 
    or understand your working,
    give us grace to trust you with an undoubting faith;
 and when your own time is come,
    reveal, O Lord, that new heaven and new earth
    wherein dwells righteousness,
    where the Prince of Peace rules,
    your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Charles Vaughan, 1816 – 1897, English scholar and Anglican churchman
 
________________
 
 
For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
    in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
    and her people to be a gladness.

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I weave a silence . . .

Sunrise behind Lindisfarne Castle / © Ian Capper / cc-by-sa/2.0
I weave a silence on my lips
I weave a silence into my mind
I weave a silence within my heart
I close my ears to distractions
I close my eyes to attractions
I close my heart to temptations

Calm me O Lord as you stilled the storm
Still me O Lord, keep me from harm
Let all the tumult within me cease
Enfold me Lord in your peace.
 
David Adam, 1936-2020, English priest, rector of Lindisfarne
The Book of a Thousand Prayers
 
_____________________________
 
 
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
 

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to you I commit my trust

image / Duccio di Buoninsegna / Public domain / Wikimedia Commons
 
Loving and tender providence of my God,
    into your hands I commend my spirit;
 to you I abandon my hopes and fears,
    my desires and repugnancies,
    my temporal and eternal prospects.
To you I commit the wants of my perishable body;
 to you I commit the more precious interests
    of my immortal soul
    for whose lot I have nothing to fear
    as long as I do not leave your care.
Though my faults are many, 
    my misery great,
    my spiritual poverty extreme,
        my hope in you surpasses all.
It is superior to my weakness,
    greater than my difficulties
    stronger than death.
Though temptations should assail me,
    I will hope in you;
 though I break my resolutions,
    I will look to you confidently
        for grace to keep them at last.
Though you should ask me to die,
    even then I will trust in you,
    for you are my Father, my God,
    the support of my salvation.
You are my kind, compassionate and indulgent parent,
    and I am your devoted son,
    who casts myself into your arms and begs your blessing.
I put my trust in you,
    and so trusting, shall not be confounded. Amen.
 
St. Claude de la Colombière, 1641-1682, French Jesuit priest and ascetic
_________________________
 
 
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

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resplendent Jesus, have mercy

 image / pxhere
 
O Lord; O King, resplendent in the citadel of heaven, all hail continually;
    and of your clemency upon your people still have mercy.
Lord, whom the hosts of cherubim in songs and hymns
    with praise continually proclaim, upon us eternally have mercy.
The armies aloft, O Lord, sing praise to you;
    those to whom the seraphim reply, ‘have mercy.’
O Christ, enthroned as king above,
    whom the nine orders of angels in their beauty
    praise without ceasing,
    upon us, your servants, ever have mercy.
O Christ, hymned by your one and only church throughout the world,
    to whom the sun, and moon, and stars, the land and sea,
    ever do service, have mercy.
O Christ, those holy ones, the heirs of the eternal country,
    one and all with utter joy proclaim you in a must worthy strain:
    have mercy upon us.
O Lord, O gentle son of Mary free;
O King of kings, blessed redeemer;
    upon those who have been ransomed from the power of death,
    by your own blood, even have mercy.
O noblest unbegotten, yet begotten Son, having no beginning,
    yet without effort (in the weakness of God) excelling all things,
    upon this your people in your pity, Lord have mercy.
O sun of righteousness, in all unclouded glory,
    supreme dispenser of justice,
    in that great day when you strictly judge all nations,
    we earnestly beseech you, upon this your people,
    who here stand before your presence,
    in your pity, Lord, then have mercy on us.
 
Dunstan, c. 909 – 988, English monastic and bishop
 
_________________________
 
 
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
    so that we may receive mercy 
    and find grace to help us in our time of need.
 

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resting like Jesus

image / James Tissot / Wikimedia Commons / public domain
 
Blessed Savior, I am not good at resting in the hollow of your hand.
Nothing in my experience has taught me this resting.
I have been taught how to take charge.
I have been taught how to be in control.
But how to rest? 
No, I have no models, no paradigms for resting.
 
That is not exactly right.
Jesus, when you walked among Jerusalem crowds and in the Judean hills,
    you pioneered this way of living.
You were always alert and alive.
You lived utterly responsive to the will of the Father.
Manifold demands were placed upon you,
    and you still worked in unhurried peace and power.
 
Help me to walk in your steps.
Teach me to see only what you see,
    to say only what you say,
    to do only what you do.
Help me, Lord, to work resting and to pray resting.
I ask this in your good and strong name. – Amen
 
Richard Foster, 1942- , Quaker theologian and author
 
____________________
 
 
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
    and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you,
    because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
 

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salvation confession

 image / Lawrence OP / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
I don’t remember Who – or what – put the question, I don’t know when it was put.  I don’t even remember answering.  But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self surrender, had a goal.
 
From that moment I had known what it means “not to look back,” and ” to take no thought of the morrow.” 
 
Led by Ariedne’s thread of my answer through the labyrinth of Life, I came to a time and place where I realized that the Way leads to a triumph which is a catastrophe, and to a catastrophe which as triumph, that the price for committing one’s life would be reproach, and that the only elevation possible to man lies in the depths of humiliation.  After that, the word “courage” lost its meaning, since nothing could be taken from me.
 
As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every saying in the Gospels stands one man and one man’s experience.  Also behind the prayer that the cup might pass from him and his promise to drink it.  Also  behind each of the words from the Cross.
 
Dag Hammarskjöld, 1905 – 1961, Swedish diplomat, UN Secretary General
 
__________________________
 
 
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
 
 

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a Deacon’s prayer

image / youtube
 
I thank Thee, Lord, for sparing me to see this morning, the blood running warm in my veins, the activity of my limbs and the use of my tongue.  I thank Thee, Lord, for clothing and for food, and above all, I thank Thee for the gift of your darling Son Jesus, who came all the way from heaven down to this low ground of sorrow, who died upon the cross, that “whosoever believeth upon Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
 
Our Lord, our heavenly Master, we ask Thee to teach us.  Guide us in the way we know not.  Give us more faith and a better understanding and a closer walk to your bleeding side.
 
I have faith to believe you are the same God that was in the days that are past and gone.  You heard Elijah praying in the cleft of the mountain.  You heard Paul and Silas in jail.  You heard the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace.  I have faith to believe that you have once heard me pray, when I was laying and lugging ’round the gates of hell, no eye to pity me, no arm to save me.  You reached down your long arm of protection, snatched my soul from the midst of eternal burning.  You placed me in the rock and placed a new song in my mouth.  You told me to go, and you would go with me; open my mouth, and you would speak for me.
 
For this cause we call upon you at this hour.  And while we call upon you, we ask you please don’t go back to Glory, neither turn a deaf ear to our call.  But turn down the kindness of a listening ear, catch our moans and our groans, and take them home to the High Heavens.  We please boldly one thing more, if it is your glorious will, I pray Thee.
 
Deacon Washington Banks, Gethsemane Baptist Church, 1973
 
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To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

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restoring worship

image / Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions.
Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear to me, 
    if only You are glorified in my life.
Be Thou exalted over my friendships.
I am determined that You shall be above all,
    though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth.
Be Thou exalted above my comforts.
Though it means the loss of bodily comforts 
    and the carrying of heavy crosses,
    I shall keep my vow made this day before You.
Be Thou exalted over my reputation.
Make me ambitious to please You 
    even if as a result I must sink into obscurity
    and my name be forgotten as a dream.
Rise, O Lord, into Your proper place of honor,
    above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, 
    above my family, my health and even my life itself.
Let me decrease that You may increase;
    let me sink that You may rise above.
Ride forth upon me as You rode into Jerusalem 
    mounted on the humble little beast, a colt, the foul of a donkey,
    and let me hear the children cry to You, “Hosanna in the highest.”
 
A. W. Tozer, 1897 – 1963,  American pastor, author and spiritual mentor
The Pursuit of God, slightly modernized
 
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He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. 
We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, 
    but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.

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