Friday, August 31, 2012

naked, day 5

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
O Lord my God, how I long to recapture the purity and joy of the Garden—when I was able to stand before you (and others) naked and unashamed. That, indeed, is what I was made for. But this side of heaven that is not my reality. My reality is filled with fear and shame; hiding and covering—terrified that I will be exposed, found out, not enough. How I genuinely long for true communion with you; total vulnerability; deep trust—to be fully known and fully loved. Have mercy on me! Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 30

Scripture for the Day: Ezekiel 16:1-14

Reading for Reflection:

     Rabbi Abraham Heschel said at the Liturgical Conference in Milwaukee that what we needed, what the world needed, was prayer.
     And now I pick up Thomas Merton’s book, Contemplative Prayer, which I am starting to read, and the foreword by our good Quaker friend Douglas Steere brought back to my memory a strange incident in my life.  He quotes William Blake: “We are put on earth for a little space that we may learn to bear the beams of love.”  And he goes on to say that to escape these beams, to protect ourselves from these beams, even devout men hasten to devise protective clothing.  We do not want to be irradiated by love (By Little and By Little—The Selected Writings of Dorothy Day edited by Robert Ellsberg)


It is jarring to learn that what He went through in His passion and death is meant for us too; that the invitation He extends is Don’t weep for me!  Join me!  The life He has planned for Christians is a life much like He lived.  He was not poor that we might be rich.  He was not mocked that we might be honored.  He was not laughed at so that we would be lauded.  On the contrary, He revealed a picture meant to include you and me.

                      It makes me happy to be suffering
                      for you now, and in my own body
                      to make up all the hardships that
          still have to be undergone by Christ
          for the sake of His body, the Church.
                  Colossians 1:24 NJB)

     By extinguishing the spirit that burns in the gospel, we scarcely feel the glow anymore.  We have gotten so used to the ultimate Christian fact—Jesus naked, stripped, and crucified—that we no longer see it for what it actually is.  We are to strip ourselves of earthly cares and worldly wisdom, all desire for human praise, greediness for any kind of comfort, spiritual consolations included.  The gospel is a summons to be stripped of those fine pretenses by which we manage to paint a portrait of ourselves for the admiration of friends. (The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Just As I Am

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot.
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am poor, wretched, blind—
Sight, riches, healings of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
O yes Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.


Closing Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the grace and the strength and the courage to take off that which I use to cover myself; and to clothe myself only and always in you alone. Amen. (JLB)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

naked, day 4

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
O Lord my God, how I long to recapture the purity and joy of the Garden—when I was able to stand before you (and others) naked and unashamed. That, indeed, is what I was made for. But this side of heaven that is not my reality. My reality is filled with fear and shame; hiding and covering—terrified that I will be exposed, found out, not enough. How I genuinely long for true communion with you; total vulnerability; deep trust—to be fully known and fully loved. Have mercy on me! Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 30

Scripture for the Day: Hebrews 4:13-16

Reading for Reflection:

In the presence of God one is vividly aware that he is not what he should be, has not what he needs in order to become a real man, knows not what he must know about himself and life.  He feels like a pauper as far as true wealth is concerned.  He has no boast to make—rather does he bewail his state of soul.  He is not morbid about it.  But he is real.  There is no pretense, no face-saving.  How can there be?  He is dealing with God now—and God knows all about him.  His own concern is to see in himself what God sees.  He does perceive in part—and so is very humble.  He wants a fuller perception—and so is very teachable.  No matter how good he is, he knows that he is not good enough.  No matter how bad he is, he knows there is mercy.  God is so much wiser, holier, more loving than he is that it is foolish to try to make a case for himself.  His folly is as evident to God as a wrong answer on an examination paper.  His sins are as apparent to God as an inkstain upon a wall.  His unlovingness is as visible to God as a broken bone in an X ray photograph.  “All things are naked and open to the eye of Him with whom we have to do.”  All he can do is fling himself upon God’s mercy.  His need is his only defense and his only argument. (An Autobiography of Prayer by Albert E. Day)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written


Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself


Song for the Week: Just As I Am

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot.
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am poor, wretched, blind—
Sight, riches, healings of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
O yes Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.


Closing Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the grace and the strength and the courage to take off that which I use to cover myself; and to clothe myself only and always in you alone. Amen. (JLB)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

naked, day 3

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
O Lord my God, how I long to recapture the purity and joy of the Garden—when I was able to stand before you (and others) naked and unashamed. That, indeed, is what I was made for. But this side of heaven that is not my reality. My reality is filled with fear and shame; hiding and covering—terrified that I will be exposed, found out, not enough. How I genuinely long for true communion with you; total vulnerability; deep trust—to be fully known and fully loved. Have mercy on me! Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 30

Scripture for the Day: 2 Corinthians 5:2-5

Reading for Reflection:

In the stripping of the dark night we encounter God in a deeper way than we may ever have allowed ourselves before…The outward elements of our life which used to bring a sense of fulfillment are often gone or drained of meaning.  The techniques of prayer which used to be so meaningful are no longer so.  We cannot control God’s presence.  In fact, our “self” has no material with which to work.  As a result we feel as if the self has been broken.
     In a deep sense, this is just what has happened.  The old self cracks open, we discover not the annihilation we had feared but a deeper “I.”  This deeper “I” is not a possession that can be remade through all our efforts at self-improvement.  This deepest self is a gift from God. (Dark Night by Sandra Cronk, Weavings, Volume XXIV, Number I, January/February 2009, p. 15-19)
 
Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Just As I Am

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot.
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am poor, wretched, blind—
Sight, riches, healings of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
O yes Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

 
Closing Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the grace and the strength and the courage to take off that which I use to cover myself; and to clothe myself only and always in you alone. Amen. (JLB)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

naked, day 2

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
O Lord my God, how I long to recapture the purity and joy of the Garden—when I was able to stand before you (and others) naked and unashamed. That, indeed, is what I was made for. But this side of heaven that is not my reality. My reality is filled with fear and shame; hiding and covering—terrified that I will be exposed, found out, not enough. How I genuinely long for true communion with you; total vulnerability; deep trust—to be fully known and fully loved. Have mercy on me! Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 30

Scripture for the Day: Genesis 3:6-13

Reading for Reflection:

Lord, I am stripped bare of all things, as you alone can strip us bare, whose fearful care nothing escapes, nor your terrible love. (A Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos)

 
To God obscenity is not uncovered flesh.  It is exposed intention.  Nakedness is just a state of heart.  Was Adam any more unclothed when he discovered shame?  Yes. (The Singer by Calvin Miller)

 
bare  by Jim Branch
 
the covering is gone
shed its leaves
all that is left is what is
the true essence
of the thing itself
in all of its twistedness
and all of its beauty
like a tree in winter
this heart
laid bare

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Just As I Am

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot.
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am poor, wretched, blind—
Sight, riches, healings of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
O yes Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.


Closing Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the grace and the strength and the courage to take off that which I use to cover myself; and to clothe myself only and always in you alone. Amen. (JLB)

Monday, August 27, 2012

naked, day 1

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
O Lord my God, how I long to recapture the purity and joy of the Garden—when I was able to stand before you (and others) naked and unashamed.  That, indeed, is what I was made for.  But this side of heaven that is not my reality.  My reality is filled with fear and shame; hiding and covering—terrified that I will be exposed, found out, not enough.  How I genuinely long for true communion with you; total vulnerability; deep trust—to be fully known and fully loved.  Have mercy on me!  Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 30

Scripture for the Day: Genesis 2:18-25

Reading for Reflection:

Naked.  How does that word make you feel?  What is the first response that comes up from within you?  Terror?  Embarrassment?  Anxiety?  Shame?  Or does it bring about more positive feelings?  Freedom?  Intimacy?  Delight?  I have to admit that my first response is closer to terror than anything else.  Even the mention of the word makes me want to grab for cover.  Because at my fearful core being naked means being exposed and uncovered—which seems so unsafe.  It means being seen for who and what I really am, not just who I project myself to be.  And surely if anyone were ever to see me completely naked it would most certainly lead to rejection.  Thus the very idea of being naked leads to overwhelming amounts of fear and insecurity.
     But there is another side to this story.  Because somewhere deep within me (and really within all of us I believe) there is a longing for nakedness—a nakedness that we were created both in and for.  It is the kind of nakedness mentioned in Genesis where we are told that the man and woman were both naked and unashamed.  They were totally known and yet totally loved.  What a beautiful picture of our deepest hopes and wildest dreams: total vulnerability and total acceptance.  This is the kind of nakedness we were made for.  This is the kind of nakedness that gives us a hint of the type of relationship God longs for with each of us; and the type of relationship God longs for each of us to offer one another.

                                                                                    ~Jim Branch
                                                                                     January 2010              
 
 
I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough
to make each hour holy.
I’m too small in the world, yet not small enough
to be simply in your presence, like a thing—
just as it is.
 
I want to know my own will
and move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
to be among the wise ones—
or alone.
 
I want to mirror your immensity.
I want never to be too weak or too old
to bear the heavy, lurching image of you.
 
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false
I want to stay clear in your sight.
 
I would describe myself
like a landscape I’ve studied
at length, in detail;
like a word I’m coming to understand;
like a pitcher I pour from at mealtime;
like my mother’s face;
like a ship that carried me
when the waters raged.
(The Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Just As I Am

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot.
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.

Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.

Just as I am poor, wretched, blind—
Sight, riches, healings of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
O yes Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.


Closing Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the grace and the strength and the courage to take off that which I use to cover myself; and to clothe myself only and always in you alone.  Amen. (JLB)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

holiness, day 7

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to open to your transforming presence in this time. Lord, have mercy. (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 99

Scripture for the Day: Revelation 4:1-11

Reading for Reflection:

So be open to the ministry of Jesus, and allow Him to strip self-love of every adornment, until it stands barren and exposed.  Then you may renounce self and receive the robe whitened by the blood of the Lamb, which is the purity of Jesus.  And happy is the soul that no longer possesses anything of its own, not even anything borrowed, and abandons itself to Jesus, desiring no glory but His.  A soul, purified in this manner, is like a bride about to be married.  How beautiful she is when she lays everything aside, and comes to the marriage alter bringing nothing but herself.  And, oh, Holy Bride, how beautiful are you when you come to Jesus with nothing of your own.  The Bridegroom will be more than pleased with you when he sees you clothed in His beauty.  There will be no limit to His love for you, because you are clothed in His holiness. (Let Go—The Spiritual Letters by Francois Fenelon)

Holiness only appears to be abnormal.  The truth is, holiness is normal, to be anything else is to be abnormal.  Being a saint is simply being the person God made me to be. (Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs by James C. Howell)
 
Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.


Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God
in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Closing Prayer:
Thank you Lord, that you see me as holy because of the gift of your Son. Help me to celebrate the holiness you have given me by being wholly yours this day. Amen. (JLB)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

holiness, day 6

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to open to your transforming presence in this time. Lord, have mercy. (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 99

Scripture for the Day: Hebrews 10:1-14, 12:14

Reading for Reflection:

If we are called by God to holiness of life, and if holiness is beyond our natural power to achieve (which it certainly is) then it follows that God himself must give us the light, the strength, and the courage to fulfill the task he requires of us.  He will certainly give us the grace we need.  If we do not become saints it is because we do not avail ourselves of his gift. (Life and Holiness by Thomas Merton)

 
     The way of holiness is a way of confidence and love.  The true Christian lives “in the Spirit” and drinks from the hidden fountains of divine grace, without being obsessed with any special need for complicated and marginal practices.  He is concerned above all with essentials—with frequent moments of simple prayer and faith; attention to the presence of God; loving submission to the divine will in all things, especially in his duties of state; and above all the love of his neighbor and brother in Christ. (Life and Holiness by Thomas Merton)
 
 
Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.


Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God
in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Closing Prayer:
Thank you Lord, that you see me as holy because of the gift of your Son. Help me to celebrate the holiness you have given me by being wholly yours this day. Amen. (JLB)

Friday, August 24, 2012

holiness, day 5

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to open to your transforming presence in this time. Lord, have mercy. (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 99

Scripture for the Day: I Peter 1:13-16

Reading for Reflection:


The purpose of salvation is to make whole that which is broken.  The Christian spiritual journey settles for nothing less than such wholeness.  But genuine wholeness cannot occur apart from holiness.  In The Holiness of God R. C. Sproul notes that the pattern of God’s transforming encounters with humans is always the same.  God appears; humans respond in fear because of their sin; God forgives our sins and heals us (holiness and wholeness); God then sends us out to serve him.  This means that holiness and wholeness are the interrelated goals of the Christian spiritual journey.  Holiness is the goal of the spiritual journey because God is holy and commands that we be holy (Leviticus 11:44).
     Holiness involves taking on the life and character of a holy God by means of a restored relationship to him.  This relationship heals our most fundamental disease—our separation from our Source, our Redeemer, the Great Lover of our soul.  The relationship is therefore simultaneously the source of our holiness and of our wholeness.
     Human beings were designed for intimate relationship with God and cannot find fulfillment of their true and deepest self apart from that relationship.  Holiness does not involve the annihilation of our identity with a simple transplant of God’s identity.  Rather, it involves the transformation of our self, made possible by the work of God’s Spirit within us.  Holiness is becoming like the God with whom we live in intimate relationship.  It is acquiring his Spirit and allowing spirit to be transformed by Spirit.  It is finding and living our life in Christ, then discovering that Christ’s life and Spirit are our life and spirit.  This is the journey of Christian spiritual transformation.  This is the process of becoming whole and holy. (Sacred Companions by David G. Benner)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.


Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God
in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Closing Prayer:
Thank you Lord, that you see me as holy because of the gift of your Son. Help me to celebrate the holiness you have given me by being wholly yours this day. Amen. (JLB)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

holiness, day 4

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to open to your transforming presence in this time. Lord, have mercy. (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 99

Scripture for the Day: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Reading for Reflection:

So when God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16) he is not giving us an imperative.  He is making us a promise.  In Jesus Christ, we shall be holy.  We do not become holy by trying to obey Jesus’ teachings.  Instead, we are made holy by allowing the Holy Spirit to draw us so close to Jesus that his love begins to flow through our veins, changing our hearts, renewing our minds, and making us holy in every aspect of life. (Sacred Thirst by Craig Barnes)


Holiness has been defined, at times, as meaning “set apart.”  No!  Holiness means wholeness.  Holy persons have achieved (through Christ) a certain integrity.  In them there is consonance between who they are, as images of God, and the way they hold themselves.  Always true to their inner reality, they need not be apart.  They can be in the midst without fear.  Where there is not love, they bring love.  Where there is not innocence, they bring innocence.  They are instruments of peace. (Breaking Bread by Basil Pennington)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.


Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God
in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Closing Prayer:
Thank you Lord, that you see me as holy because of the gift of your Son. Help me to celebrate the holiness you have given me by being wholly yours this day. Amen. (JLB)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

holiness, day 3

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to open to your transforming presence in this time. Lord, have mercy. (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 99

Scripture for the Day: Colossians 1:19-23

Reading for Reflection:

We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by (Exodus 33:21-23).  We must take refuge from God in God.  Above all we must believe that God sees us as perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness. (Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer)


Holiness in human life is a reflection of the holiness of God and, therefore, has always been associated with the religious experience.  Holiness is a special word that suggests not so much a particular quality of the divine, as the essence of the transcendent mystery which for the believer stands at the center of human existence.  The word holiness carries with it connotations of the numinous, and therefore includes the experience of awe and wonder and power—all of which cannot be clearly defined.  Holiness always implies something more— pointing to that mystery which can never be contained.  More than any other word in the history of the language, it speaks of the essence of religious experience. (Invitation to Holiness by James Fenhagen)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.


Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God
in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Closing Prayer:
Thank you Lord, that you see me as holy because of the gift of your Son. Help me to celebrate the holiness you have given me by being wholly yours this day. Amen. (JLB)