Your prescient eyes saw me

photo by Jason Hogan   on Unsplash
 
There was a time when I did not exist,
    and you have created me;
I did not implore you for a wish,
    and you have fulfilled it;
I had not come into the light,
    and you have seen me;
I had not yet appeared,
    and you have taken pity on me;
I had not called for you,
    and you have taken care of me;
I did not raise my hand,
    and you have looked at me;
I had not prayed to you,
    and you were merciful to me;
I had not uttered a sound,
    and you have heard me;
I had not groaned,
    and you have lent an ear;
 
With prescient eyes you saw
    the crimes of my guilty self,
    and yet, you have formed me.
And now, I who have been created by you,
    and saved by you,
    and have been tended with such care,
Let me not completely perish by the blow of sin –
    that is but the slanderer’s invention;
Let not the fog of my stubbornness
    triumph over the light of your forgiveness;
Nor the hardness of my heart
    over your forbearing goodness;
Nor my mortal carnal being
    over your most perfect fullness;
Nor my material weakness
    over your unconquerable grandeur.
 
Gregory of Narek, c.950 – c.1003, Armenian mystic and theologian
 
_________________________
 
 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
    who has blessed us in the heavenly realms 
    with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world 
    to be holy and blameless in his sight. 
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, 
    in accordance with his pleasure and will
    to the praise of his glorious grace, 
    which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
 

Continue reading

have mercy on me, O God

image / Graham C99 from London, UK, CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Lord our God, how excellent is your name in all the World!
Your glorious majesty is excellent, but that brings me nothing;
    your justice is excellent, but that brings me nothing.
It is your mercy that must do me good,
    and therefore your other excellencies I adore,
    but this I invocate.
To invoke your justice, I dare not;
    your glory, I cannot,
    but your mercy, I both dare and can.
 
For why should I not dare, when fear gives me boldness?
How should I not be able when weakness gives me strength?
Why should I not dare, when you invite me to it?
How should I not be able when you draw me to it?
 
Do you invite me, and I shall not come?
Do you draw me, and I shall draw back?
Can there be a patron so powerful as you?
Can there be a beggar so dejected as myself?
 
Whom, then, is it more fit to ask for mercy than you, O God,
    who are the God of mercy?
And for whom is it more fit to ask for mercy than for me
    who am a creature of misery?
 
Richard Baxter, 1615 – 1691, English Puritan
 
_________________________
 
 
Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
  according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

Continue reading

How we need your compassion!

Jesus and the woman taken in adultery / public domain

God, why do I call impossible what You call possible?
Why do I call unforgivable what You call forgiven?
Why do I compromise with what You call sin?
How I need to know Your heart,
    and reach out in Your love and wisdom to others.
It’s easy to love the people who are standing hard and fast,
    pressing on to meet that higher calling.
But the ones who might be struggling, 
    we tend to judge too harshly
    and refuse to try to catch them when they’re falling.
We put people into boxes and we draw our hard conclusions
     when they do things we know they should not do.
We sometimes write them off as hopeless 
    and we throw them to the dogs.
Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem in short supply.
We can love them and forgive them when their sin does not exceed our own,
    for we too have been down bumpy roads before.
But when they commit offences outside the boundaries we have set,
    we judge them in a word and we turn them out,
    and we close the door.
 
Chuck Girard, Celtic author
 
___________________________
 
 
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, 
    for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, 
    because you who pass judgment do the same things. 
Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 
So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, 
    do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, 
    not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
 

Continue reading

as we follow you down the Road to Calvary

Old Jerusalem Ramparts / Utilisateur:Djampa, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Christ, as we walk through the land that you loved,
    in the country where you lived and taught,
    grant us the grace and wisdom to see clearly
          and understand deeply
    that all you suffered was for the sake of redeeming humanity.
Through your life, death, and resurrection,
    you have made it possible for us to have life,
    and have it more abundantly.

O Christ, as we follow you down the Road to Calvary,
   Guide us to become active participants, not curious bystanders.
O Christ, as we stand with the mourners at the Cross,
   Give us the love that can forgive those who trespass against us.
O Christ, as we witness the new life given to us
        through your Resurrection,
   Empower us with faith to act and spread the Good News.

Palestinian women of Jerusalem 
Prayers Encircling the World

_______________________________

Luke 23:26-27

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, 
    who was on his way in from the country, 
    and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 
A large number of people followed him, 
    including women who mourned and wailed for him.

Continue reading

Forgive them all, O Lord

image / pxfuel
 
Forgive them all, O Lord:
our sins of omission and our sins of commission;
the sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;
the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;
our secret and our more open sins;
our sins of ignorance and surprise,
and our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;
the sins we have done to please ourselves
and the sins we have done to please others;
the sins we know and remember,
and the sins we have forgotten;
the sins we have striven to hide from others
and the sins by which we have made others offend;
forgive them, O Lord, forgive them all for his sake,
who died for our sins and rose for our justification,
and now stands at thy right hand to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
John Wesley, 1703-1791, English churchman and founder of Methodism
 
__________________________
 
 
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father
—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
 

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
 

Continue reading

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!”

Continue reading

the scene of Christ’s suffering

image / wallpaperuse
 
Great God, our Father:
As we call to mind the scene of Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane,
    our hearts are filled with penitence and shame
    that we foolishly waste our time in idleness
    and that we make no progress in the Christian life day to day. . . 
We are ashamed that war and lust flourish and grow more rampant every day.
Forgive us for our cruel indifference to the Cross,
    and pardon us that, like the bystanders of old,
    we merely stand and gaze in idle curiosity
    upon the pitious scene.
O teach us, we beseech thee, the good news of thy forgiveness.
Cause humanity, degenerate as it is, to live anew,
    and hasten the day when the whole world shall be born anew.
 
Toyohiko Kagawa, 1888-1960 Japanese Christian pacifist, reformer, and labour activist
 
__________________________
 
 
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, 
and he said to them, 
    “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, 
and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 
Then he said to them, 
    “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. 
    Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Continue reading

You justify the humble

Publican & Pharisee Icon
Publican & Pharisee Icon / Ted / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
 
Humility once exalted the tax collector,
    who bewailed his sin
    and cried: ‘Be merciful,’
    and was justified.
Let him be our example,
    for we have all fallen into the abyss of evil.
Let us cry to the Savior
    from the bottom of our heart:
  we have sinned, be merciful,
    for you alone love us.
 
Lord, you condemned the Pharisee
    who, boasting of his works,
    justified himself.
You justified the tax collector
    who, humbling himself,
    with sorrowful sighing asked for mercy.
For you reject proud hearts.
    but do not reject contrite hearts.
So in humility we prostrate ourselves
    before you, who suffered for us.
Grant us forgiveness
    and generous mercy.
 
From Orthodox Lent. Holy Week, Easter
 
_______________________
 
 
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Continue reading

Praise to you, saving sacrifice

Twelfth Station / Tango7174 / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus Christ,
I approach your banquet table
    in fear and trembling,
    for I am a sinner,
    and dare not rely on my own worth
    but only on your goodness and mercy. . . .
Praise to you, saving sacrifice,
    offered on the wood of the cross for me and for all mankind.
Praise to the noble and precious blood,
    flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ
    and washing away the sins of the whole world.
Remember, Lord, your creature,
    whom you have redeemed with your blood.
 
John of Fecamp, 1028-1078, Benedictine spiritual writer
 
_______________________
 
 
And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, 
    he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son 
    while we were still his enemies, 
    we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

Continue reading