Sunday, August 31, 2014

soil of the soul, sunday

Sunday, August 31

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

Opening Prayer: Father, allow the soil of my soul to be a place that is fertile and receptive to all that you desire to plant in my heart.  Tend it carefully and nurture all that has sprung up in me that is of you; that I may be a garden of your delight. Through Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: Mark 1:20
 
Reading for Reflection:
 
A seed only flourishes by staying in the ground in which it is sown.  When you keep digging the seed up to check whether it is growing, it will never bear fruit.  Think about yourself as a little seed planted in rich soil.  All you have to do is stay there and trust that the soil contains everything you need to grow.  This growth takes place even when you do not feel it.  Be quiet, acknowledge your powerlessness, and have faith that one day you will know how much you have received. (The Inner Voice of Love by Henri J. M. Nouwen)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Grow your good grace in me, O God.  Make me receptive to the ways that you water and tend this garden of my heart.  Prune me where I need pruning, nurture me where I need nurturing, weed me where I need weeding, and care for me tenderly where I need your tender care.  I love you, O Gardner of my soul.  In the tenderness of Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

balance, saturday

Saturday, August 30

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Philippians 3:7-14

Reading for Reflection:
 
     One thing.  It seems to be a recurring theme in Scripture.  In fact, we’ve seen it all week long and here it is again.  Paul says that all of the things he thought were so important in this life are actually just rubbish compared to the one thing, the high privilege of knowing Jesus.  And his choice of vocabulary underscores the point he is trying to make.  The word rubbish is definitely a tame version of what he really says.  In fact, Eugene Peterson in The Message might be far more accurate when he translates it dog dung.  The Greek word used here is skubalon, which means refuse or excrement, particularly of animals.  In other words, something really detestable.  Paul is saying that all things, even the things he has spent a good portion of his life pursuing, are just refuse compared to the one thing—knowing Jesus.   

 
The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.  Philippians 3:7-9 (The Message)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, be more than just an attachment to my life, be the main thing—the one thing.  Forgive me when I put you on the periphery rather than in the center where you belong.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

Friday, August 29, 2014

balance, friday

Friday, August 29

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Hebrews 10:19-26

Reading for Reflection:
 
Only by taking our life apart from time to time and examining it carefully, and then putting it back together thoughtfully and prayerfully, only then can we have some measure of confidence that we are living the life that we were meant to lead.

     “Only he who obeys a rhythm that is superior to his own,” wrote Kazantzakis, “is free.”

     The superior rhythm is the one that was made by God and whispered into us at the time that we were whispered into being.  It is a rhythm that is based on the light and darkness of the day itself.  It is a rhythm that supports all of our lives—prayer, rest, community and work. (A Good Life by Robert Benson)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: O Christ my Lord, who for my sake and my brethren’s didst forgo all earthly comfort and fullness, forbid that I should ever again live unto myself. Amen. (A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

balance, thursday

Thursday, August 28

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Matthew 6:25-34

Reading for Reflection:
 
     Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realizing them as parts of a one whole.  If our practical life is centered on our own interests, cluttered up by possessions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, beset by a sense of our own rights and importance, or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success, we need not expect that our spiritual life will be a contrast to all this.  The soul’s house is not built on such a convenient plan: there are few soundproof partitions in it.  Only when the conviction—not merely the idea—that the demand of the Spirit, however inconvenient, comes first and IS first, rules the whole of it, will those objectionable noises die down which have a way of penetrating into the nicely furnished oratory, and drowning all the quieter voices by their din. (The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me.  I leave myself with you.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

balance, wednesday

Wednesday, August 27

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Luke 10:38-42

Reading for Reflection:
 
     I don’t know why, but for some reason I always find myself defending Martha whenever I read this story.  Maybe it is because I feel sorry for the criticism she endures from various religious circles.  Maybe it is because I believe, or hope, she is simply misunderstood.  Probably it is because I am really trying to defend, and feel okay about, my own Martha-like tendencies. 
     It is understandable, we live in a culture that values and applauds performance, productivity, and busyness.  We live in a world that is all about getting things done.  That is probably the reason why something always seems to rise up in me whenever this discussion rears its head.  "Martha can't really help it,” I tell myself, “that's just the way she's made, it's her personality."   Through the years I have definitely adopted this line of thinking from time to time, but after reading and rereading this story—as well as others about these two sisters—I'm not so sure that's the case. 
     I wonder if Martha’s behavior was more of a pattern, more a result of her paradigm than her personality.  I wonder if Martha was really convinced of what Jesus was saying.  I wonder if she really believed that what Mary was doing was better.  Did she really believe that being with Jesus was the one thing that mattered?  Or had she somehow convinced herself that the many things—how well she kept house, her reputation as a hostess, what people thought of her, getting things done, her own worries, fears and concerns—were somehow more important? 
     I really do not know, but I do want to at least ask the question.  In fact, I need to ask the question.  I need to ask the question not so much for Martha, but for myself.  What do I believe is better?  What do I believe is the one thing that really matters?  The reason this is important is because I long to live a life of depth and quality.  I want so much more in my life than simply running around like a chicken with my head cut off, reacting to whoever and whatever seems to be most urgent at the moment.  I want a life focused on what is important instead of what is merely urgent.  And I’ll bet you do too.
     Mary understood this.  Instead of being consumed with all the things that had to get done, she was consumed with the one thing—Jesus.  In the midst of all the chaos and the busyness and the distractions, her deepest desire was simply to sit at his feet and listen to what he said.  That was what convinced her of his great love and affection.  That was what completely captured her heart.  That was the thing that was better than anyone or anything else.  When he was around nothing else mattered, nothing else was important—only him.  Listening to his voice is why her belief in him ran so deep, she knew his heart and therefore knew how deeply she was loved.
     May it be the same for each of us.  May we be like Mary.  May we constantly find ourselves at his feet, looking into his eyes, and listening to his soft and tender voice. (Becoming by Jim Branch)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to always choose the good portion—you.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

balance, tuesday

Tuesday, August 26

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Matthew 11:28-30

Reading for Reflection:
 
     The action of those whose lives are given to the Spirit has in it something of the leisure of Eternity; and because of this, they achieve far more than those whose lives are enslaved by the rush and hurry, the unceasing tick-tick of the world.  In the spiritual life it is very important to get our timing right.  Otherwise we tend to forget that God, Who is greater than our heart, is greater than our job too.  It is only when we have learnt all that this means that we possess the key to the Kingdom of Heaven. (The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill)

 
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30 - The Message)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Jesus, be the center, be my source, be my light, Jesus.  Jesus, be the center, be my hope, be my song, Jesus.  Be the fire in my heart, be the wind in these sails.  Be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus.  Jesus, be my vision, be my path, be my guide, Jesus.  Be the fire in my heart, be the wind in these sails.  Be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus. (Be the Center by Michael Frye)

Monday, August 25, 2014

balance, monday

Monday, August 25

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Psalm 62:1-12

Reading for Reflection:
 
     Here the deeper meaning of any rule in the spiritual life becomes visible.  Instead of giving us methods to control and direct and determine our own life, a spiritual rule wants to offer an open and free space within and among us where God can touch us with God’s loving presence.  It wants to make it possible for us not so much to find God as to be found by God, not so much to direct our life towards God, as to be directed by God, not so much to love God, as to be loved by God.
     This might sound quite passive.  But the contrary is true.  It requires active spiritual work to keep space for God.  Why?  Our ever-present fears keep trying to fill up every bit of free space with countless thoughts, words and actions that can give us the illusion that after all we are in control.  Even though we have learned the hard way how little in control we really are, and even though we continue to suffer from the consequences of a life built on illusion, it remains very difficult to let God be the director and guide of our lives.  ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen (from the Foreword to Rule for a New Brother)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
         
Closing Prayer: My soul finds rest in you alone, O God, my hope comes from you.  You alone are my rock and my salvation; you are my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on you; you are my mighty rock, my refuge, in you alone I will trust.  Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

balance, sunday

Sunday, August 24

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

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     During this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do.  In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.
     Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day.  Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.
     I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.  In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of “to do.” (Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson)

Scripture Reading for the Day: Psalm 127:1-2

Reading for Reflection:
 
     When most of us think of the word balance, we think of a life with equal amounts (or right amounts) of everything—a life in which our work and play and family and friendships and faith all receive comparable amounts of attention and energy.  In the spiritual life, however, the word balance must be defined differently.  As a matter of fact the word balance might not be the most appropriate word to use at all—the word centered might be more accurate.  Because in the life of faith, balance means having Christ as the center around which everything else revolves.  Thus, life is only balanced when everything is centered on Christ.  Christ is the hub of the wheel; the focal point of our lives that allows life to function the way it was created to function.  So the question becomes not “Do I have enough of God in my life?” but “Is Christ the center of my life?  What does my life revolve around?”  The answer to these questions will tell me a lot about whether my life is truly balanced or not.

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I spend all of my time and all of my energy building my “house” instead of yours.  Help me to realize that when I do this I toil in vain.  Help my life and my work and all of my efforts to always be centered in you.  For the sake of your Son Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

time, saturday

Saturday, August 23

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

Opening Prayer: Lord, help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it.  Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment.  Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities.  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: Psalm 103:13-19

Reading for Reflection:
 
     When I imagine my own life simple and uncomplicated, I picture my room and desk tidy, everything in its place.  I myself am moving gracefully and graciously from one task to the next with precision, on schedule but with no strain or pressure.  The schedule and the tasks are perfectly synchronized.  It could all be so simple, I say to myself, if everything were only in its place.
     But it isn’t.  It’s complicated.  It’s complicated because people don’t stay in place.  They aren’t predictable, they foul up my schedule, they interfere with my agenda, they make demands I hadn’t programmed.  It’s complicated because there is too much to do, too many tasks, too many needs, too much going on.  I can’t keep up with it all; I’m always at least a step or two behind.  I can’t do everything that needs to be done; I feel burdened, sometimes even guilty, for being so limited.  And I think maybe I’m doing it wrong, and if I could just figure out how to do it right I’d be able to meet everyone’s needs.  It’s complicated because there’s never enough time.  In my anxiety to conquer time by controlling its dispensation, I feel myself victimized by it.  I am unable to find time, take time, get time: all control words.
     Mostly what I find is frustration.  My life is out of control.  I feel a need to be in control of my life and all the factors, situations, and people that complicate it.  I set myself over-against them and need to dominate them, to subject them to my agenda, fit them into my program.  I do have an agenda, and I don’t want it interrupted.  I set up my day and I offer it to God.
     But there’s something wrong in the picture.  When I imagine—or when I experience—the simple way, everything moves in a rhythm.  There is an Agenda, and I’m in tune with it, but it’s not my creation.  I don’t need to worry about controlling; I don’t need to be anxious that it won’t all work out.  I’m not in command and don’t need to be….  The interruptions are as integral to the scene as anything I had planned.  I only receive the day and the program that comes to me during the day from God.  And that’s what makes the difference. (Reflections on Simplicity by Elaine M. Prevallet)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord God, help me to invest my time in the things that are eternal, not in the things that are temporary, transient, and fleeting.  For your glory.  Amen.

 

Friday, August 22, 2014

time, friday

Friday, August 22

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

Opening Prayer: Lord, help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it.  Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment.  Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities.  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: Hebrews 3:7-15

Reading for Reflection:
 
     Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction.  I described the pace at which things tend to move in my current setting.  I told him about the rhythms of our family life and about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it.  What did I need to do, I asked him, to be spiritually healthy?
     Long pause.
     You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,” he said at last.  Another long pause.
     “Okay, I’ve written that one down,” I told him, a little impatiently.  “That’s a good one.  Now what else is there?”  I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance conversation, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.
     Another long pause.
     “There is nothing else,” he said.
     He was the wisest spiritual mentor I have known.  And while he doesn’t know every detail about every grain of sin in my life, he knows quite a bit.  And from an immense quiver of spiritual sagacity, he drew only one arrow.  “There is nothing else,” he said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
     Imagine for a moment that someone gave you this prescription, with the warning that your life depends on it.  Consider the possibility that perhaps your life does depend on it.  Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.  Hurry can destroy our souls.  Hurry can keep us from living well.  As Carl Jung wrote, “Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.”
     Again and again, as we pursue spiritual life, we must do battle with hurry.  For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith.  It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.  We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them. (The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord, let me hear your voice…today.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

getting to know you

Hello there.  I am constantly amazed, and a little overwhelmed, at how God seems to be using this blog all over the world.  I can see where the page views are coming from, but I can never be sure of who you are or what God is up to in you.  I would love to actually hear from you.  I'd love to hear who you are, and what you do, and how this blog might be helpful to you as live out God's calling on your life in whatever place he has you.  So hit that Comment button and let me know what God is up to in your life and world.

Blessings,
Jim

time, thursday

Thursday, August 21

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

Opening Prayer: Lord, help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it.  Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment.  Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities.  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: John 2:1-12

Reading for Reflection:
 
“My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).  Jesus lived with a keen sense of the opportune time.  He recognized the deep rhythms of God’s purpose flowing through his days, and sensed when they would coalesce into the weighty hour.  There would be the hour of the final table fellowship (Luke 22:14), abandonment (John 16:32), glorification (John 17:1), departure (John 13:1), and unexpected return (Luke 12:40).  There would be episodes of healing (John 4:52), seasons of true worship (John 4:23), and moments of remembrance (John 16:4).  So conscious was Jesus of the steadfast love of God enduring throughout the meandering course of human history that he could give himself freely and fully to the current events surrounding him.  Far from being swept along by time’s rush and tumble, Jesus lived life purposefully and therefore patiently. (Weavings, July/August 2003, John Mogabgab, p. 2)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that your sense of timing is always perfect, even if it doesn’t always agree with my own.  Forgive my impatience and my lack of trust.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

time, wednesday

Wednesday, August 20

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

Opening Prayer: Lord, help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it.  Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment.  Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities.  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Reading for Reflection:
 
     Hope that grows out of trust puts us in a different relationship to the hours and days of our lives.  We are constantly tempted to look at time as chronology, as chronos, as a series of disconnected incidents and accidents.  This one way we think we can manage time or subdue tasks.  Or a way that we feel the victims of our schedules.  For this approach also means that time becomes burdensome.  We divide our time into minutes and hours and weeks and let its compartments dominate us.
     As still not completely converted people we immerse ourselves in clock time.  Time becomes a means to an end, not moments in which to enjoy God or pay attention to others.  And we end up believing that the real thing is always still to come.  Time for celebrating or praying or dreaming gets squeezed out.  No wonder we get fatigued and deflated!  No wonder we sometimes feel helpless or impoverished in our experience of time.
     But the gospel speaks of “full” time.  What we are seeking is already here.  The contemplative Thomas Merton once wrote, “The Bible is concerned with time’s fullness, the time for an event to happen, the time for an emotion to be felt, the time for a harvest or for the celebration of a harvest” (The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton).  We begin to see history not as a collection of events interrupting what we “must” get done.  We see time in light of faith in the God of history.  We see how the events of this year are not just a series of incidents and accidents, happy or unhappy, but the molding hands of God, who wants us to grow and mature.
     Time has to be converted, then, from chronos, mere chronological time, to kairos, a New Testament Greek word that has to do with opportunity, with moments that seems ripe for their intended purpose.  Then, even while life continues to seem harried, while it continues to have hard moments, we say, “Something good is happening amid all this.”  We get glimpses of how God might be working out his purposes in our days.  Time becomes not just something to get through or manipulate or manage, but the arena of God’s work with us.  Whatever happens—good things or bad, pleasant or problematic—we look and ask, “What might God be doing here?” We see the events of the day as continuing occasions to change the heart.  Time points to Another and begins to speak to us of God. (Turn My Mourning Into Dancing by Henri J. M. Nouwen)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: Lord, help us to be more concerned with kairos than chronos; with your time—and timing—rather than our own.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

time, tuesday

Tuesday, August 19

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

Opening Prayer: Lord, help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it.  Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment.  Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities.  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture Reading for the Day: Isaiah 58:13-14

Reading for Reflection:
 
     We redeem time (Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV) when we allow a moment or a series of moments to become for us a vehicle of God’s presence.  To redeem time is to make time transparent so that we experience it not as pressure (“Hurry up, hurry up, we haven’t enough time”), but as a sign of the holy.  Obviously, we can’t always live this way, but we can live in such a way that the redemption of time becomes an ongoing and consistent possibility.  I call this living in a Sabbath rhythm, and I am more and more convinced that the development of such a rhythm is at the heart of the recovery of authentic spirituality. 
     We can begin living in a Sabbath rhythm by deliberately setting aside one day in the week that will be lived differently from the rest.  For some people Sunday becomes this kind of day.  It seems to me, however, that this tends to confuse the issue.  For the Christian, the Sabbath is not the same as Sunday; it is a preparation for Sunday.  The idea is to take a day a week and deliberately slow it down.  Our Sabbath can be Saturday or a regular workday, but it is a day that is planned.
     We begin the day with a prayer of simple awareness, which of course can take many forms.  One way is to let your mind, at the point of awakening, focus on all that surrounds you, without analyzing or judging.  Simply take note of what you see and hear—the room, the light, the sounds.  Be aware of yourself and of the life that has been given to you and, at this moment of awareness, place the day in God’s keeping. (Ministry and Solitude by James C. Fenhagen)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
          
Closing Prayer: O Lord of the Sabbath, thank you that you have woven rest into the very fabric of creation, and that when I am not making space for Sabbath rest, I am actually going against the very image I was created in.  Give me the wisdom and the courage to stop my frantic running around and enter into the rest for which I was made.  Amen.