to wage peace instead of war

image / Scott Akerman / CC by 2.0
 
Dear Lord, awaken the people of the earth and their leaders 
    to the realization of the madness of the nuclear arms race.  
Today we mourn the dead of past wars, 
    but will there be anyone to mourn the dead of the next one?  
O Lord, turn us away from our foolish race to self-destruction; 
    let us see that more and more weaponry indeed 
    means more of a chance to use it.  
Please, Lord, let the great talents you have given to your creatures 
    not fall into the hands of the powers and principalities 
    for whom death is the means as well as the goal.  
Let us see that the resources hidden in your earth 
    are for feeding each other, healing each other, offering shelter to each other, 
    making this world a place where men, women, and children of all races 
    and nations can live together in peace.
 
Give us new prophets who can speak 
    openly, directly, convincingly, and lovingly 
    to kings, presidents, senators, church leaders, 
    and all men and women of good will, 
  prophets who can make us wage peace instead of war.    
Lord, make haste to help us.  
Do not come too late!
 
Henri J.M. Nouwen, 1932 – 1996, Dutch-born Catholic priest and author 
 
_________________________
 
 
He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore.

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Let me be like the Calm Sea

photo from Pxhere
 
Lord, I saw the sea attacking the rocks, sombre and raging.
From afar the waves gained momentum.
High and proud, they leapt, jostling one another 
    to be the first to strike.
When the white foam drew back, leaving the rock clear,
    they gathered themselves together to rush forward again.
 
The other day I saw the sea, calm and serene.
The waves came from afar, creeping, not to draw attention.
Quietly holding hands, they slipped noiselessly
    and stretched at full length on the sand,
    to touch the shore with the tips of their beautiful soft fingers.
The sea gently caressed them,
    and they generously returned streams of light.
 
Lord, grant that I may avoid useless quarrels 
    that tire and wound without achieving results.
Keep me from these angry outbursts that draw attention
    but leave one uselessly weakened.
Keep me from wanting always to outstrip others in my conceit,
    crushing those in my way.
Wipe from my face the look of dark, dominating anger.
 
Rather, Lord, grant that I may live my days calmly and fully,
    as the sea slowly covers the whole shore.
Make me humble like the sea, as silently and gently, 
    it spreads out unnoticed.
May I wait for my brothers and match my pace to theirs,
    that I may move upward with them.
Grant me the triumphant perseverance of the waters.
May each of my retreats turn into an advance.
Give my face the light of clear waters.
Give my soul the whiteness of foam.
Illumine my life that it may sing like sunbeams
    on the surface of the sea.
But above all, Lord, may I not keep this light for myself,
    and may all those who come near me return home 
    eager to bathe in your eternal grace.
 
Michel Quoist,1918 – 1997, French Catholic priest and writer
 
_________________________
 
 
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
    but a wise man quietly holds it back.

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important and unimportant

image / geralt / pixabay
 
O God, our Father, forgive us that we so often give our best to the wrong things.
 
Sometimes we put far more enthusiasm and thought and effort into our pleasures and our games and our amusement than we do into our work.
 
Sometimes we keep our best behavior for strangers and our worst behavior for our own homes; and we treat our nearest and dearest with a discourtesy and disregard we would never show to strangers.
 
Sometimes we get irritated and annoyed and angry about things which in our calmer moments we know do not matter.
 
Sometimes we lose our temper in an argument about trifles.
 
Sometimes we allow very little things to cause a quarrel with a friend.
 
Help us to see what is important and what is unimportant, so that we may never forget the things that matter, and so that we may never forget the things that matter, and so that we may never allow the things which do not matter to matter too much.
 
William Barclay, 1907-1978, minister in the Church of Scotland
 
________________________________
 
 
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
    and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
 

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Be Thou My Vision

image / Donatas Dabravolskas / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

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

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
 
Dallán Forgaillc. 560 – 640,  translated by Eleanor Hull 1912
 
_______________________
 
 
 
I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
    there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
    and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
    and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
    that shall not be destroyed.

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bring healing in thy wings

image by Sharon Tate Soberon / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Lord Jesus Christ, 
Thou Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, 
    be born into our world.  
Wherever there is war in this world, 
    wherever there is pain, 
    wherever there is loneliness, 
    wherever there is no hope, 
come, thou long-expected one, 
    with healing in thy wings.
 
Holy Child, 
whom the shepherds and the kings and the dumb beasts adored,
    be born again.  
Wherever there is boredom,
    wherever there is fear of failure,
    wherever there is temptation too strong to resist,
    wherever there is bitterness of heart, 
come, though blessed one,
    with healing in thy wings.
 
Frederick Buechner, 1926 – , American writer and theologian
 
______________________
 
 
Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
    I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.

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Send your Word, O Lord

Church of the Light / Bergmann, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Send your Word, O Lord, like the rain,
Falling down upon the earth.
Send your Word.
We seek your endless grace,
With souls that hunger and thirst,
Sorrow and agonize.
We would all be lost in the dark
Without your guiding light.
 
Send your Word, O Lord, like the wind,
Blowing down upon the earth.
Send your Word.
We seek your wondrous power,
Pureness that rejects all sins,
Though they persist and cling.
Bring us to complete victory;
Set us free indeed.
 
Send your Word, O Lord, like the dew,
Coming gently upon the hills.
Send your Word.
We seek your endless love.
For life that suffers in strife
With adversaries and hurts,
Send your healing power of love;
We long for your new world.
 
Yasushige Imakoha, translated by Nobuaki Hanaoka, Japan
 
__________________________
 
 
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”

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Labor for one another

Photo by Caleb Gregory on Unsplash
 
Grant, Almighty God,
    as You invite us so kindly and graciously to Yourself,
  that we may not be resistant,
    but with every evil affection subdued,
    offer ourselves to Your service.
 
  And since You require nothing else from us
    but to observe what is right toward one another,
O grant that we may be mindful of the brotherhood 
    that Your only begotten Son by His own blood has consecrated,
    and call on You as our father,
    and prove by our whole conduct that we are Your children.
 
And may every one of us so labor for one another that,
    being united in heart and affection,
    we may with one sentiment aspire towards that blessed life,
    where we shall enjoy the inheritance 
    that has been prepared and obtained by the blood of Your son,
    and through Him prepared for us in heaven. Amen.
 
John Calvin, 1509-1564, Swiss Reformer
Lifting Up Our Hearts, freely modified
 
__________________________
 
 
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

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prayer for teachers and students

image / flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
 
Grant, O Lord, to all teachers and students,
    to know what is worth knowing,
    to love what is worth loving,
    to praise what pleases you most,
    and to dislike whatsoever is evil in your sight.
Grant us with judgment to distinguish things that differ,
and above all to search out and do what is well-pleasing to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Thomas à Kempis, 1379-1471, German monk
 
______________________________
 
 
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
    turning a person from the snares of death.
Good judgment wins favor,
    but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.

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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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that all mothers may bear your love

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash
 
O God, the mother of all living beings,
    the creator of the universe and the giver of all good things.
We thank you for our home on earth 
    and for the joy of living.
By your divine wisdom you have made mothers 
    the bearers of new life on earth.
As we worship, O Lord, call to our minds 
    the magnificent and gracious gifts that you have bestowed upon mothers.
We thank you for their love, their forbearance, 
    their patience and their unselfishness.
And we pray that all mothers may be bearers 
    of the love that you have so graciously shared 
    in the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
Amen.
 
Thomas Kilgore, Jr., 1913-1988, pastor and human rights advocate
    
_______________________
 
 
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 

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