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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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
 
______________________
 
 
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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prayer about back surgery

image / James Tissot / Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus, some of my friends have had back surgery 
    and others are soon to have it.
They are hoping for complete healing.
They are like the Paralyzed Man who was brought to Jesus.
 
But things aren’t going as we had hoped
    and we are concerned about their wellbeing.
Lord, they know you and have received your salvation;
    they have enjoyed a transformed life because of their new birth.
They know and believe that you alone have the authority to forgive sins,
    and that it is not harder for you to heal the body than it is to save the soul.
 
Jesus, we want to be like those four companions 
        who brought the Paralyzed Man to you,
    offering up our prayers on the altar of our hearts 
        just as they lowered the man through the hole in the roof
            placing everything at your feet.
 
Lord Jesus, we ask you to demonstrate your authority again;
    we beg you to speak the word of healing upon the bodies of our friends,
  and as they “take up their mats and walk”
    we will all joyously proclaim your amazing grace!
 
EM
 
__________________________
 
 
Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

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send us, come with us, empower us

Great Commission icon / Ted / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

 

God the Sender, send us.
God the Sent, come with us.
God the Strengthener of those who go, empower us,
    that we may go with you
    and find those who will call you
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
Welsh prayer
 
__________________________
 
 
And Jesus came and said to them, 
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, 
    baptizing them 
    in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

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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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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

 
_________________________
 
 
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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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
 
________________________
 
 
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
 
_______________________
 
 
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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sharing in your death

imageMikhail Nesterov Public domain / Wikimedia Commons
 
My Lord and God, I know that I cannot share in your resurrection 
    without also sharing in your death.  
Strengthen me to take up my cross and deny myself daily; 
    that I may crucify the drives within me that lure me away from loving you 
        and loving my neighbor as I ought.  
Silence the voices within me calling me 
    to self-indulgence, to self-service, and to self-advancement, 
 and let me hear only the voice of your Spirit 
    leading me into the ways of love, peace, and obedience.
 
I belong to you, Lord Jesus, 
    for you bought me at the price of your own blood.
Help me to live the rest of my life in this body for you,
    and not for my own desires or pleasures.
Make me a new creature who does your will.
 
David A. de Silva, Methodist professor
 
_____________________
 
 
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

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from solitude to communion

 The Walk to Emmaus / Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib/ CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus,
you alone can reveal to us
the riches of God’s solitude
in the communion of persons.
 
Alone in the desert
and alone in Gethsemane,
alone on your cross,
between men who were alone on theirs,
you assumed everyone’s solitude
within yourself
so that everyone might commune
with God.
 
O God of encounters,
may each of us 
in his desert
detect a sign of your presence.
With you,
may each of us be
for his brothers
a travelling companion
in the fellowship of the Father
and the Spirit.
 
Lord Jesus, 
by taking part
in your death and resurrection,
we pass from solitude to communion.
 
Pierre Talec, 1933- 2016, French priest and author
 
______________________
 
 
So they approached the village where they were going. 
He acted as though he wanted to go farther, but they urged him, 
“Stay with us, because it is getting toward evening and the day is almost done.” 
So he went in to stay with them.

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