May we encounter You today

image / Harold Copping / Wikimedia Commons
 
Loving God, our faithful father, you who created us in your image and likeness, and are willing to meet with us here, as market vendors, barbers, mothers and fathers.
 
We confess that in our sweat and toil, we often forget your presence.  In our struggles and weariness and frustration we are often lukewarm.  Forgive us.
 
Tabernacle with us.
We need you now more than ever.  Drained of strength and energy we come, that we might be re-energized and filled.
 
So come Lord. Come as the wind, blow your breath gently over us, blow the dust off our lives. Come as the fire, burn out all the hate and anger we feel towards those who oppress us and treat us unfairly.  Come as the water, wash the dirt of poverty off our stalls, the marketplace, and our lives.
 
Come as the dove – settle all matters concerning us.  Let peace reign.
 
May we encounter you today.  Ignite our hearts to worship and serve you.  Take your place and rule and reign in Jesus’s name as we leave our struggle at the foot of the cross and liberate us to worship you. Amen.
 
complied by Claudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship in New York City
 
_________________________
 
 
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.

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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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Let hope be my hunch, Lord

 Rubem Alves
Lord, I’m so easily weighed down
by my struggles, my burdens
and the harsh realities of daily life…

Sometimes, I think I’ll lose hope in you
    in tomorrow,
    in others,
    and in myself
so I need you to help me trust,
to help me hope
that the peace I imagine,
the peace I pray for,
the peace you promise
is stronger and greater
than any of my problems…
 
Let hope be my hunch, Lord:
    that my future’s not limited
        by my present trials;
    that the troubles of the moment
        won’t have the last word;
    that my burdens are truly
        a prelude to joy…
 
Give me hope
    in the midst of suffering, Lord:
I know that’s the path of your love,
    I know it’s the way to peace…

Help me see, Lord,
how my troubles prepare me today
    for your coming, the advent of peace,
for the gift of your presence,
    the harvest of hope,
        my hunch proved right by your grace…
 
Protect me, Lord, while I’m awake
and watch over me while I asleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace…
Amen.
 
Fr. Austin Fleming, Roman Catholic Priest serving near Boston, MA  
Concord Pastor
 
______________________________
 
 
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.

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Eye of God, look not away

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
 
All-Seeing One,
above me, around me, within me,
Be my seeing as I read these sacred words.
Look down upon me
Look out from within me
Look all around me
See through my eyes
Hear through my ears
Feel through my heart
Touch me where I need to be touched;
    and when my heart is touched,
    give me the grace to lay down this Holy Book
    and ask significant questions:
Why has my heart been touched?
How am I to be changed through this touch?
All-Seeing One,
I need to change
I need to look a little more like You
May these sacred words change and transform me.
Then I can meet You face to face
    without dying
    because I’ve finally died enough.
To die is to be healed a little more each death,
    until that final death
    when I’ll be healed forever.
It will be a healing that will last.
Your Words are healing
    although they bring about my death.
 
Macrina Wiederkehr, 1939-2020, Benedictine sister and spiritual director
 
_____________________________
 
 
For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
    it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
    it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare
    before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
 

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I want to stop running

image / pxfuel
 
Eternal God, you are a song amid silence,
    a voice out of quietness,
    a light out of darkness,
    a Presence in the emptiness,
    a coming out of the void.
You are all of these things and more.
You are mystery that encompasses meaning,
    meaning that penetrates mystery.
You are God,
    I am man.
I strut and brag.
I put down my fellows
    and bluster out assortments of my achievements.
And then something happens:
    I wonder who I am,
        and if I matter.
Night falls,
    I am alone in the dark and afraid.
Someone dies,
    I feel so powerless.
A child is born,
    I feel touched by the miracle of new life.
At such moments I pause . . .
    to listen for a song amid the silence,
    a voice out of stillness,
    to look for a light out of darkness.
I want to feel a Presence in the emptiness.
I find myself reaching for a hand. 
 
Oftentimes, the feeling passes quickly,
    and I am on the run again:
        success to achieve,
        money to make.
O Lord, you have to catch me on the run
    most of the time.
I am too busy to stop,
    too important to pause for contemplation.
I hold up too big a section of the sky
    to sit down and meditate.
But even on the run,
    an occasional flicker of doubt assails me,
And I suspect I may not be as important 
        to the world
     as I think I am.
Jesus said each of us is important to you.
It is as if every hair of our heads were numbered.
How can that be?
But in the hope that is is so,
I would stop running,
        stop shouting,
    and be myself.
 
Let me be still now.
Let me be calm.
Let me rest upon the faith that you are, God,
    and I need not be afraid. Amen.
 
Kenneth G. Phifer, Presbyterian minister and author
 
__________________________________
 
 
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

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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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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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Lament in Times of Sorrow

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay 

God, we call out to you!
From the depths of our hearts, we cry,
“Lord, hear our prayer!”

We are consumed by grief.
The events of the past few days have overwhelmed us—
it’s hard to sleep,
it’s hard to eat,
it’s even hard to pray.

Where are you, God?

Deep down, we know that you love us—
we’ve experienced your mercy and your faithfulness in the past,
and it has sustained us through many difficult times.
We refuse to believe that you have deserted us,
or that you are unaware of the pain that we’re feeling.
And so we turn to you again,
longing for your presence,
looking for your comfort and peace.

Surround us with your unfailing love.
Remind us that you alone are God,
and that you hold us in the palm of your hand.
Give us courage and strength to face the days ahead,
and strengthen us in the knowledge that we do not face them alone.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, we pray.

Amen.

 

Christine Longhurst, Worship Professor, Canadian Mennonite University

 re-worship.blogspot.com

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Psalm 77:1-2

I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted. Continue reading

remove anything that separates us

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash
 
I beg of you, my Lord,
  to remove anything which separates
  me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that makes me unworthy
  of your sight, your control, your discipline;
  of your speech and conversation,
  of your benevolence and love.
Cast from me every evil
  that stands in the way of my seeing you,
  hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
  fearing and being mindful of you;
  knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
  being conscious of your presence
  and, as far as may be, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself
  and earnestly desire from you. Amen.

Peter Faber, 1506-1546, Jesuit Priest and co-founder of the Society of Jesus
Hearts in Fire Praying with Jesuits

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Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

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hope in times of pain

image / pixabay
 
Dear Jesus,
Whether it comes from betrayal, neglect, abandonment, or from a broken bone or failing health – the result is some kind of emotional or physical pain.  When I look back on my life, I remember the physical tension of my aching body or the chest-tightening ache that came from a broken heart.  My greatest hope in times of pain is that you will bring me healing.  Thank you that I never have to worry you haven’t noticed my pain.  How compassionate you are to comfort me in my hurts.  On the other hand, there are times when I hurt so badly that I forget about you, Jesus.  I become completely focused on how to stop the pain.  But you never abandon me.  When I feel alone in my hurt, it is often because I am concentrating so much on easing the pain of my problems that I have forgotten you have promised to help me in my difficulties.  Thank you that you never leave me.  I find comfort in your promise to be with me and give me hope and purpose in the midst of my aching body and soul.
 
Ron A. Beers 
 
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And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  We were given this hope when we were saved.

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