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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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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to listen to others

image / Thomas Hawk / flickr
 
Lord Jesus, 
    you were ever ready to listen to those who cried out to you.
You gave us ears to hear:
    help us to hear.
May we listen to all we meet, 
    and to those who come to us in trouble.
Remind us daily that there is a time for silence and a time for speaking,
    and show us when to speak and when to hold our peace.
Never let us miss a cry for help, 
    because we are too busy talking about ourselves.
Make us ready to listen to others, 
    because we listen each day in silence to you,
O Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
 
Michael Counsell, 1935-2015, retired Anglican priest
 
________________________________
 
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. 
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 
    not looking to your own interests 
    but each of you to the interests of the others.
 

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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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united in one holy bond

image via pixy.org
 
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
      our only Savior, the Prince of Peace:
  give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in
      by our unhappy divisions.
Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us 
      from godly union and concord:
 that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling,
      one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all,
      so may we henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul,
      united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity,
  and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
prayer from the Ascension Service of King George I (1714)
 
___________________________
 
 
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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Great God Almighty, We Are Free at Last!

 Martin Luther King, 1964 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
 
God grant that right here in America and all over the world,
    we will choose the high way:
a way in which men will live together as brothers.
A way in which the nations of the world will beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
A way in which every man will respect 
    the dignity and worth of all human personality.
A way in which every nation will allow justice to flow down like waters,
    and righteousness like a mighty stream.
A way in which men will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
A way in which men will be able to stand up, 
    and in the midst of oppression, in the midst of darkness and agony,
    they will be able to stand there and love their enemies,
        bless those persons that curse them,
        pray for those individuals that despitefully use them.
And this is the way that will bring us once more into that society
    which we think of as the brotherhood of man.
This will be that day when white people, colored people,
    whether they are brown or whether they are yellow  or whether they are black,
    will join together and stretch out with their arms and be able to cry out:
“Free at last! Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last!”
 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 -1968, American pastor and civil rights activist
 
_____________________________
 
 
And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
    nor any ravenous beast;
    they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
    and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

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Cusp of midnight

 imagegamagapix / pixabay
 
What Mary wants now
God says soon

What Joseph needs now
God says not long

What the peacemakers seek now
God says hold your breath a little longer

What the hungry long for now
God says hush but a moment

What the poor yearn for now
God says, wait a little more

What the lonely hunger for now
God says shortly

What the forgotten thirst for now
God says presently

What the world aches for now
God says soon and very soon

Time is moving towards incarnation
justice is slipping into skin
peace is labouring
truth is taking human shape
this night
this hour
this moment
soon
 
Roddy Hamilton, Scottish Pastor
 
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And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

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prayer at the shortest day

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash  
 
From the rising of the midwinter sun to its setting.
    scatter the darkness with the light of your love, O shining One.
Make me short on mean thoughts,
    long on offering words of comfort.
Make me short on being driven,
    long on paying attention.
Make me short on focusing only on my own,
    long on looking beyond.
Make me short on obsessive lists,
    long on spontaneous acts of kindness.
Make me short on mindless activity,
    long on time to reflect.
Make me short on tradition as habit,
    long on re-discovery and re-owning.
Make me short on rushing and tiring,
    long on walking and wondering.
Make me short on false festive jollity,
    long on stilling and rooted joy.
Make me short on guilt,
    long on being merciful to myself.
Make me short on being overwhelmed,
    long on peaceableness as I set forth this day.
 
Tess Ward, Retreat leader and writing in the UK
 
_________________________
 
 
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; 
    then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, 
    full of mercy and good fruit, 
    impartial and sincere. 
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

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unite us by your peace

Photo by Daniel Curran on Unsplash  
O God of peace, unite our hearts by your bond of peace,
    that we may live with one another in gentleness and humility,
    in peace and unity.
O God of patience, give us patience in times of trial
    and steadfastness to endure to the end.
O Spirit of prayer, awaken our hearts,
    that we may lift up holy hands to God
    and cry unto him in all our distresses.
Be our defence and shade in time of need, our help in trial,
    our consolation when all things are against us.
Come, eternal light, salvation and comfort,
    be our light in darkness, salvation in life, comfort in death,
    and lead us in the straight way to everlasting life,
    that we may praise you forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Bernard Albrecht, 1569-1636
 
________________________
 
 
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

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