Into Your Hands

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Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.”

“Every highest human act is just a giving back to God of that which he first gave to us,” writes George MacDonald. In Jesus’ last words we see how prayer finds the Father both the source and destination of our prayer; both the subject and the object of our worship.

“Every act of worship is holding up to God of what God has made us… the way to worship God while the daylight lasts is to work; the service of God, the only “divine service,” is the helping of our fellows.

I give myself back to you. Take me, soothe me, refresh me, make me over again. Amy I going out into the business and turmoil of the day, where so many temptations may come to do less honourably, less faithfully, less kindly, less diligently that the Ideal Man would dive me do? Father, into your hands. Am I going to do a good deed? Then, of all times, Father, into your hands, lest the enemy should have me now. Am I going to do a  hard duty, from which I would gladly be turned aside – to refuse a friends request, to urge a neighbour’s conscience? – Father into your hands I commit my spirit.

Am I in pain? Is illness coming upon me to shut out the glad visions of a healthy rain, and bring me such as are troubled and untrue? Take my spirit, Lord, and see that if has no more to bear than it can bear. Am I going to die? Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. For it is your business, no mine. You will know every shade of my suffering; You will care for me with your perfect fatherhood… I care not for the pain, so long as my spirit is strong, and into your hands I commit that spirit. If your love, which is better than life, receive it, then surely your tenderness will make it great.”


Written by George MacDonald from “The Unspoken Sermons” quoted in “Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter.

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Liturgy for the Ritual of Morning Coffee

Liturgy for the Ritual of Morning Coffee – by Doug Mckelvey

Meet me, O Christ

in this stillness of morning.

Move me, O Spirit,

to quiet my heart.

Mend me, O Father,

from yesterday’s harms.

 

From the discords of yesterday,

resurrect my peace.

From the discouragement of yesterday,

resurrect my hope.

From the weariness of yesterday,

resurrect my strenght.

From the doubts of yesterday,

resurrect my faith.

From the wounds of yesterday,

resurrect my love.

 

Let me enter this new day,

aware of my need and awake

to your grace,

O Lord.

Amen


From: Every Moment Holy by Doug Mckelvey, available from Rabbit Room Press.

For more, see the interview with Doug Mckelvey by Anthony Diehl with Convivium.

 

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Touching the Ground

Just before entering on the road of his passion [Jesus] washed the feet of his disciples and offered them his body and blood as food and drink. These two acts belong together. They are both an expression of God’s determination to show us the fullness of his love. Therefore John introduces the story of Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet with the words:

Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

What is even more astonishing is that on both occasions Jesus commands us to do the same. After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus says,

I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (John 13:15).

After giving himself as food and drink, he says,

Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Jesus calls us to continue his mission of revealing the perfect love of God in this world. He calls us to total self-giving. He does not want us to keep anything for ourselves. Rather, he wants our love to be as full, as radical, and as complete as his own.

He wants us to bend ourselves to the ground and touch the places in each other that most need washing. He also wants us to say to each other, “Eat of me and drink of me.” By one body and one spirit, united by the love of God.

Taken from “The Road to Daybreak”, by Henri Nouwen, quoted in “Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter.”

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Prayer: nothing more than the soul’s longing

What is prayer?

Ken Gire answers:

“Prayer is the conversation we have with God.

As in any conversation, sometimes we communicate what’s in our heart with great articulation, even eloquence. Other times we find only a toy box of childish expressions. Still other times we grope for words the way a newborn gropes for its mother’s breast.

But the expression of our longing is not as important as the longing itself.

For prayer is nothing more than the soul’s longing for God – and the words nothing more than a child’s attempt to describe them.”

From, “Between Heaven and Earth: Prayer Reflections that Celebrate an Intimate God“, by Ken Gire.

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Why does He eat with You?

Mark 2:16 “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Sieger Koder

“Sieger Koder is a German priest who has painted some startling folky paintings on various aspects of the ministery of Jesus. One of the features of his work is the child-like simplicty of the depicted characters and the way in some of his works that Jesus is depicted by reflection rather than actual full presence.  This technique has both a hint of resurrection and a respect for the Old Testament notion of not being able to name or see the Lord.” (Credit to Mart the Rev at “Seeing and Believing“).

If you look closely, you will see the hands of Jesus at the bottom of the painting: welcoming, handing bread to those around the table. Look at their faces; what do they see; what do they see in the face of Jesus? They do not appear to waste time on trying to answer the question… they are wasting time taking in the gift of His friendship.

Where would you be sitting at this table?


How would you answer the question asked of Jesus in Mark 2:16? Why does he eat with tax collectors, sinners, and you?

Let this be your prayerful contemplation today.

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Share the Feast of Promised Presence

Image Courtesy: ©Thinkstock/RomoloTavani

Jesus Calls Us by John Bell & Graham Maule

Jesus calls us here to meet him
As, through word and song and prayer,
We affirm God’s promised presence,
Where his people live and care.

Praise the God who keeps his promise,
Praise the Son who calls us friends,
Praise the Spirit who, among us,
To our hopes and fears attends.

Jesus calls us to confess him
Word of Life and Lord of All,
Sharer of our flesh and frailness,
Saving all who fail and fall.

Tell his holy human story,
Tell his tales that all may hear,
Tell the world that Christ in glory
Came to earth to meet us here.

Jesus calls us to each other:
Found in him are no divides.
Race and class and sex and language,
Such are barriers he derides.

Join the hands of friend and stranger,
Join the hands of age and youth,
Join the faithful and the doubter
In their common search for truth.

Jesus calls us to his table,
Rooted firm in time and space,
Where the church in earth and heaven
Finds a common meeting place.

Share the bread and wine, his body,
Share the love of which we sing,
Share the feast for saints and sinners,
Hosted by our Lord and King.

John Bell and Graham Maule
© Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, Glasgow, 1989


These lyrics can be sung to the tune: “Nettleton” – the same melody as that old hymn –  “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing“.

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On being poor in attachment

“It is the Christian’s privilege to be rich in material things,” wrote Francis de Sales, “and poor in attachment to them, thereby having the use of riches in this world and the merit of poverty in the next.”

… No one will ever own themselves to be avaricious; everyone denies this contemptible vice: men excuse themselves on the plea of providing for their children, or plead the duty of prudent forethought: they never have too much, there is always some good reason for accumulating more; and even the most avaricious of men not only do not own to being such, but sincerely believe that they are not; and that because avarice is as a strong fever which is all the less felt as it rages most fiercely.

Moses saw that sacred fire which burnt the bush without consuming it, but the profane fire of avarice acts precisely the other way, – it consumes the miser, but without burning, for, amid its most intense heat, he believes himself to be deliciously cool, and imagines his insatiable thirst to be merely natural and right.

If you long earnestly, anxiously, and persistently after what you do not possess, it is all very well to say that you do not wish to get it unfairly, but you are all the time guilty of avarice. He who longs eagerly and anxiously to drink, though it may be water only, thereby indicates that he is feverish.

St. Francis de Sales

May we be rich in material things and poor in attachment to them.

May we hold on to them like fire – letting things go as is needed for the common good.


St. Francis de Sales was born to a noble family at Chateau de Sales in the Kingdom of Savoy near Geneva, Switzerland on August 21, 1567 – during the same era of the Calvinist movement.

He is best known for his book, Introduction to the Devout Life, written for ordinary lay people in 1608. Originally written as a series of letters, it became an instant success all over Europe — though some clergy rejected the notion that lay men and women could achieve holiness in the experience of their daily life. Some tore it up because Francis encouraged dancing and jokes!

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