ever looking for Christ’s return

image, Donatas Dabravolskas, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
 
O SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN,
You were incarnate, suffered, rose, and ascended for my sake;
Your departure was not a token separation
     but a pledge of return.
Your Word, promises, and sacraments proclaim your death
    until you come again.
That day is no horror for me,
    for your death has redeemed me,
        your Spirit fills me,
        your love animates me,
        your Word governs me.
I have trusted you and you have not betrayed my trust;
     I have waited for you, and have not waited in vain.
You will come to raise my body from the dust,
    and re-unite it to my soul,
    by a wonderful work of infinite power and love,
    greater than that which bounds the ocean’s waters,
        ebbs and flows of the tides,
        keeps the stars in their courses,
        and gives life to all creatures.
This corruptible shall put on incorruption,
    this mortal, immortality,
    this natural body, a spiritual body,
    this dishonored body, a glorious body,
    this weak body, a body of power.
I triumph now in your promises,
    as I shall when they are performed,
    for the head cannot live if the members are dead;
Beyond the grave is resurrection, judgment, acquittal, dominion.
Every event and circumstance of my life will be dealt with – 
    the sins of my youth, my secret sins,
    the sins of abusing you, of disobeying your Word,
    the sins of neglecting minister’s admonitions,
    the sins of violating my conscience – 
        all will be judged;
And after judgment, peace and rest, life and service,
    employment and enjoyment, for your elect.
O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.
 
 
_______________________________
 
 
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 
    so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, 
    will appear a second time, not to deal with sin 
    but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

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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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humble thankfulness

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash
 
We thank you, Lord God and Father, Creator of heaven and earth, 
    for all your good gifts which we, O Father of lights, 
    have received from you, and receive daily from your generous hand 
    you who have clothed our bodies with the needed covering
    and satisfied them with the natural bread
    through Jesus Christ, your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, 
We humbly pray, dear beloved Father, that you would look upon us, your children,
     persecuted for the sake of your holy Gospel,
     and earnestly desiring in our weakness to live devoutly in this world.
Be pleased to keep us in your Word, in fatherly fashion,
     in order that to the end of our days we may remain constant in your Gospel,
     revealed by you to the plain and simple
     and hidden to the wise ones in this world.
 
Menno Simons, 1496-1561, Dutch Anabaptist leader & founder of the Mennonites
2000 Years of Prayer freely modified
 
__________________________
 
 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
    coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
    who does not change like shifting shadows. 
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth,
    that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
 

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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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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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prayer for mercy against lying

 image / GDJ / Pixabay
 
Almighty and eternal God, you see how your saints are so few and indeed how rarely and infrequently they seek or promote your honor.  And now, as unfortunately you can see, in churches and worldly governments as well as in common life there is a great sense of  discord and dissension.  Thus, dear Lord, we ask you that you would mercifully turn away, or, even as a father, temper our well-deserved punishments and leave us a true seed, so that we would not become like Sodom and Gomorrah.  
 
Send faithful workers into your vineyard who do not speak of useless matters and made-up fables, who are not hypocrites, who are not proud, arrogant and lazy and self-assured.  Ensure that they teach from unity of heart and that they are united in you; grant them humble hearts.  
 
O Lord God, it is dearly needed! Bring your help, so that we would be consoled and taught rightly and remain in our Christian walk and life, that we would not be a stumbling block for others nor would we continue in sins against conscience.  Protect us from sluggish people who do not observe your Word; sustain us by your Word which is pure, perfect and clear.  Grant us endurance in suffering and crossbearing and rule us with your Holy Spirit, so that we would not fall into error and vice but instead would be and remain your dwelling and temple.  Amen
 
Nikolaus Selnecker, 1530 – 1592, German Protestant Reformer
 
_______________________
 
 
Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

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