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.

Continue reading

the birth

image
 
When waves of pain contort Mary’s body
her face is cramped and pale
Her eyes scuttle apart like crabs
The waves pull, recede again
 
and attack more violently
She clings to the wagon wheel,
grits her teeth, and her screams
terrify the beasts in the stable
 
Joseph, pacing nervously,
stumbles and falls
At last, seated, he strokes her back,
grasps her hand; his strength flows into her
 
Then a tremendous power moves within Mary
Like the sun emerging from a mountain ravine
the infant’s head appears slowly, deliberately
Joseph grips it in both hands
 
Now the baby’s cry flies out, rends the night
Joseph’s doubts dissolve
On the straw bed
Mary peacefully shuts her eyes
 
Yorifumi Yaguchi, born 1935, Japanese Mennonite poet and pastor
 
________________________
 
 
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

my merciful Redeemer

image / falco / pixabay
 
O Lord, I am you clay. You are my potter and skilled master.  Because you pronounce me a sinner, I accept your word.  I sincerely acknowledge and confess the godless condition which shows itself in my flesh and my entire nature.  I do so that you may be glorified and I humiliated.  As with all others, I am sin and death; you are life and righteousness.  Together with all people I am the worst evil; you are and remain the highest good.  I acknowledge and confess all this.  I am led to this confession not by my reason, which would rather cover up and disguise this godless condition, but through your law and promises, I want your honor to stay and increase.  
 
Lord, I am your sin; you are my righteousness.  Therefore I am glad and have victory without fear.  For my sin cannot outweigh or overpower your righteousness.  Neither will your righteousness permit me to be or remain a sinner.  Your Spirit, O Lord, must make and keep me alive.  Blessed are you, O faithful God, my merciful Redeemer.  In you alone do I trust.  Amen.
 
Martin Luther, 1483 – 1546, German Reformer
 
______________________________
 
 
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
 

Continue reading

the royal way of humility

image / Wilrooij, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
My dear Lord and Savior, I come to you burdened and oppressed by many worries and slavish work, by an unbearable yoke, which I have imposed on myself because of my lack of humility.
 
It is a burden which I have deserved, but it is also the heavy yoke of a sinful world, of collective pride and arrogance.  We are tied together in this lamentable condition.  I groan and sigh, realizing my plight in this double slavery of mine and the world.  What a relief if I listen to your invitation, “Come to me all whose load is heavy”! Yes, now I dare to come.
 
The more I meditate on the crushing burdens you have carried in your humility, accepting even the most atrocious humiliation from proud and arrogant human beings, the more I am filled with grateful wonder.  In your divine glory and your human humility you are totally Other, so different from the close-minded and high-handedness of man.  You are the wholly Other, the only true God, so unlike man-made gods.  You have come into the valley of tears where misery is constantly multiplied by humankind’s ridiculous pride.  You come with the astonishing remedy, the humility of the Son of God, of the Redeemer, who has freely made himself “one-of-us” in all things except sin: the totally holy and humble One.
 
You come to us whose vanity and pride are odious.  You come on the royal road of humility, showing us that this is the way to you and to the heart of the Father, the way to the hearts of our fellow men and the way of salvation.
 
Humble heart of our Divine Master, I entrust myself to your school.  I want to learn from you, day by day, the royal way of humility.  It is your own love that teaches us.  
 
Lord, transform our hearts, make them mirror images of your own heart.  Make them fountains of healing for many.  Lord, make us humble.
 
Bernard Häring 1912 – 1998, German Catholic moral theologian
 
____________________
 
 
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
 

Continue reading

You, Who Are

Transfiguration / Giovanni Bellini / Wikimedia Commons
 
You, who are over us,
You, who are one of us,
You, who are –
Also within us,
May all see You – in me also,
May I prepare the way for You,
May I thank You for all that shall fall to my lot,
May I also not forget the needs of others,
Keep me in Your love
As You desire that all should be kept in mine.
May everything in this, my being, be directed to Your glory
And may I never despair.
For I am under Your hand,
And in You is all power and goodness.
 
Give me a pure heart – that I may see You,
A humble heart – that I may hear You,
A heart of love – that I may serve You,
A heart of faith – that I may abide in You.
 
Dag Hammarskjöld, 1905 – 1961, Swedish diplomat, UN Secretary General
Markings freely modified
 
___________________
 
 
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
  for he founded it on the seas
     established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob

Continue reading

Jesus, medicine for our souls

Healing of the Lepers at Capernaum, James Tissot, public domain
 
Oh Lord Jesus, you are full of mercy,
    and also the almighty in the world.
Every day with you is better than the day before.
I am aware of your presence inside, always,
    even though my condition is life this.
Only you can share in my sufferings.
Oh, I am convinced that whatever sorrow I feel,
    you certainly feel it too.
My fellowship with you is priceless.
What can we do without you, Jesus?
You never leave your people in trouble;
    our debt is so big.
If we look to the Savior who suffered,
    we receive medicine for our souls.
Amen.
 
a leprosy patient, Indonesia
 
__________________
 
 
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross,
    so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
    “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Continue reading

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

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.
 

Continue reading

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.”
 

Continue reading