A torn curtain

February 19, 2010

Looking at Old Testament scriptures through a Christocentric lens is like opening a treasure chest. JW

Father, when Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
O blessed tear in temple veil, translating the ark into my heart, translating Your life into my spirit!
I bless You, O Lamb that was slain, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills; weaving in and out, over and through time and space. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
O blessed tear in time and space! In adoration Your creature earth did quake! You have split the stony lattice of my heart. You have torn the veil over my ears, and I hear Your Spirit singing,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.


The winter is past indeed.

Song of Solomon 2:8-11, Matthew 27:50-52, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 5:12


What does God do with dust and ash?

February 19, 2010

I found this wonderful Ash Wednesday meditation at the Gospel-Driven Church blog, via a link from Trevin Wax’s blog Kingdom People.  What an awesome reflection – and what an awesome hope we have in a God who can bring forth such beauty and new life from ashes!

What does God do with dust and ash?

He grows things out of them.

He covers them with purple raiments.

He lifts people out of them.

He unfairly accepts them in exchange for beauty.

He writes mysterious things in them.

He spits in them and uses the mud to give sight.

He washes them off your stinky feet.

He breathes into them and creates new life.

He descends into them, submits to their suffocation, and emerges alive and spotless.

When you return to dust, even if your body should be burnt to ashes and scattered over the four winds, he who is the Lord over the earth will be able to collect you, reconstitute you, and resurrect you into a body fit for eternity.

***

I’m reminded in reading this of Steven Curtis Chapman’s new song: “Beauty Will Rise” – written as his testimony of the hope and promise God has given his family in the aftermath of their five year-old daughter’s tragic death.  I cannot recommend this song (or the whole album) highly enough!

Beauty Will Rise

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed until my voice was gone
and watched through the tears
as everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain
as we awake to what remains
and sift through the ashes that are left behind

But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams, we have this hope

Out of these ashes, beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
we will see with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
for we know joy is coming in the morning
in the morning
beauty will rise

So take another breath for now
and let the tears come washing down
if you can’t believe
I will believe for you

‘Cause I have seen
the signs of Spring, just watch and SEE

Out of these ashes, beauty will rise…

I can hear it in the distance
and it’s not too far away
it’s the music and the laughter
from a wedding and a feast
and I can almost feel the hand of God
reaching for my face to wipe the tears away
and say it’s time to make everything new
He’s making all things new

This is our hope
This is the promise
The is the hope
This is the promise

It will take our breath away
to see the beauty that’s been made out of the ashes
out of the ashes
it will take our breath away
to see the beauty that He’s made out of the ashes, out of the ashes

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
we will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness new light will shine
and we’ll know the joy that’s coming in the morning
in the morning, in the morning
beauty will rise

***

Isa 61:1-3 […] He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

art credit


A Lenten prayer based on Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions

February 19, 2010

Baptist pastor and blogger Trevin Wax at Kingdom People adapted Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions into a prayer.  He posted it in January as a new year’s prayer, but I think it works wonderfully as a Lenten prayer.

Lord God Almighty,
I understand that I am unable to do anything without your help,
so I ask you to enable me by your grace to fulfill your will.

Give me grace to do whatever brings most glory and honor to you,
pleasure and profit to me,
and life and love to others.

Help me to number my days,
spending my time wisely,
living my life with all my might while I still have breath.

Humble me in the knowledge that I am chief of sinners;
when I hear of the sins of others,
help me to not look upon them with pride,
but to look upon myself with shame,
confessing my own sins to you.

When I go through difficulties and trials,
remind me of the pains of hell
from which you have already delivered me.

Place people in my path who need my help,
and give me a compassionate and generous spirit.

Fill my heart with such love
that I would never do anything out of a spirit of revenge,
nor lose my temper with those around me.
Hold my tongue when I am tempted to speak evil of others.

Thank you for the gospel and for the hope of glory.
Help me to live in light of these truths every day of my life,
so that when the time of my death arrives,
I will rest assuredly in you,
and you will be most glorified in me.

In Christ’s name…

Trevin Wax (adapted from the first 21 of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions)

Trevin’s post is here. I apologize for copying the full post here, but this is just so good, it deserved posting in full!


Jehovah-Nissi: War with my sin today!

February 19, 2010

A Lenten prayer from Jill W. from our 2007 archives…

Jehovah-nissi

You are Jehovah-nissi, The Lord my banner. You utterly put out the Amalekites from under the heavens. You war with our sins from generation to generation. War with my sin today, Lord. You are my victory. Defeat my iniquity! I am Your child and I am weak. Help me to overcome my weakness. I wish my life to be a sweet, sweet savor of Christ on earth. Amen.
Exodus 17:14-16, 2 Corinthians 2:14-16


Feb 19th Lenten Devotional

February 19, 2010

Update: there is now a Lent category at Anglican Mainstream.  You’ll find the daily Lenten devotionals here.

***

From the Church of the Resurrection in Tampa, also being posted daily at Anglican Mainstream.

Scripture readings:
am:  Psalms 95, 31
pm: Psalm 35
Eccl 4. 20-28 2 Timothy 4. 1-8 John 12. 24-32

Friday After Ash Wednesday – Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop and Martyr of Uganda, 1977 ( transferred from Ash Wednesday)

LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: – On the Fridays of Lent, it is customary (in the Church of the East and West) to abstain from meat as a sign of our common penance.  It represents our efforts to abstain from – do without – so many other patterns that get in the way of our happiness and wholeness. Sacrifice and doing without is a worthy thought to ponder when one considers the life and witness of the saint remembered this week.

On this feast we recall the witness of Archbishop Luwum who exercised exceptional and courageous leadership when he opposed Idi Amins regime of tyranny, gross human rights violations and “islamisation” agenda in Uganda. The vibrant Anglican Church of Uganda under his leadership was on the verge of centennial celebrations of its birth through the seed of the blood of the Ugandan Martyrs. Thus Archbishop Luwum became the first martyr of the second century of Christianity in Uganda.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: What is the implication of this Gospel passage in our lives today? This is an important question when we consider the life and witness of Archbishop Luwum. Are we individuals who are effected and affected by the changing demands of today’s world in relation to our faith and Christian life? IF we understand the way of the world we know the journey will be rocky and rough and we need to be strengthened by Word and Sacrament.

The bread of the Eucharist, made out of grains of wheat, is offered to us as food for the journey so that we have the strength to face what the world may throw our way. Who of us does not need spiritual renewal and nurture?

Archbishop Luwum’s witness reminds us that martyrdom always bear fruit; this is why the Scripture says «Those who love their life», paradoxically, «destroy it». How do we hear that passage in our place and time? Have we been doing what is right and just in relation to our Christian faith?

Christ died to bear, with his blood, fruit; we have to imitate Him to resurrect with Him and bear fruit with Him. Can we join those persecuted Christians who offer their lives silently for the welfare of their brothers and sisters? This is critical as we must learn this Lent that the grain that dies is a pathway to Life.

PRAYER OF THE DAY: God our Redeemer, whose Church was strengthened by the blood of your martyr Janani Luwum: so bind us, in life and death, to Christ’s sacrifice that our lives, broken and offered with his, may carry his death and proclaim his resurrection in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE: “Prodigal sons are forgiven and reconciled with their heavenly Father, could they do other than forgive one another? A fellowship of prodigal sons came into being — the church of Christ. Love begets love. A new power … was let loose upon our suffering world, the power to love those who have not deserved love, the unworthy, the unlovely and unlovable, a man’s enemies, and even his torturers. Christians, in imitation of the Savior, became, as it were, Christ’s to one another and to the world”. – Archbishop Luwum, 1977

LENTEN DISCIPLINE – Abstain from lunch today and make your other meals simple. During that time of lunch, make a commitment to yourself to spend time in reflective prayer on the action of God’s grace in your life. Listen to God so that you may draw closer to God this Lent and at the same time consider making a gift of the monies you would have spent today on meals for the Luwum Trust http://www.jananiluwumtrust.com/help.html

***

You can  download all of the meditations for Lent 1 at the Church of the Resurrection’s website.


Philippians 4:1-7

February 19, 2010

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. (Philippians 4:1)
      Lord, having stood all, help us to stand.

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2)
      Holy Spirit, help your people make peace with one another in the parishes of this diocese. Please help all of us lay aside bitterness and resentment toward one another.

And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. (Philippians 4:3)
      Father, please bless the Daughters of the King, the Sisters of St. Mary, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, the Franciscans of the Holy Cross, and all those men and women who labor for the gospel. Raise up more vocations to dedicated service to your son Jesus.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
      Jesus, help us daily make you our joy and crown. Let our joy in you overcome the difficult circumstances of our lives.

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5)
      Father, bless all the shepherds of the flock: that they will deal gently with the sheep entrusted to their care.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (Philippians 4:6)
      Jesus, please help us cast all our cares on you, for you care for us.

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
      Jesus, please come into my heart today with your peace. Thank you for giving me hope which surpasses my understanding.

      A word received: I AM with you; keep your eyes on me.

Friday: 35; Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 4:1-9; John 17:9-19
Saturday: 42, 43; Ezekiel 39:21-29; Philippians 4:10-20; John 17:20-26

Albany Intercessor


Massachusetts

February 19, 2010

Preamble:
We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Lord God Almighty,
You are indeed the great Legislator of the universe. You are the source of all goodness. We devoutly implore Your direction for the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Establish it in accord with Your holy ordinances. Amen.


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