A Christmas Carol–Christina Rosetti

December 31, 2011

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there.
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part, –
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart

Civil servants

December 31, 2011

Psalm 90:16-17 (NKJV)
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Father, we claim this scripture for all civil servants who look to You, whether in federal, state, or local governments. Bless them in every branch of our government, executive, judicial, and legislative. Guard and protect them in the military; keep them from harm’s way. Amen.

James 5:7-11

December 31, 2011

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. (James 5:7)
      A word received 9/24/11: Look to me for strength to endure.
      Holy Father, pour down that latter rain of your Holy Spirit so that we may produce a fruitful crop.

You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:8 )
      A word received 6/15/11: Just keep praying.
      Jesus, establish our hearts for the day of your coming.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9)
      Jesus, shut the lions mouths as you did for Daniel. Stop the “strife of tongues” and the backbiting that tears people apart. Hide us in your pavilion. (See Psalm 31:20)

My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. (James 5:10)
      A word received 4/9/11: Pray for my work among you. Pray for my will to be accomplished among you.
      Holy Spirit, help us resolve to immerse ourselves in the whole of the Bible this coming year so that we can learn from your prophets.

Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11)
      A word received 9/20/09: Ask for my strength to endure. Pray for my little ones who do not understand what is happening. Pray for my strength daily.
      LORD, as you restored Job after all his suffering, restore those who are in affliction now. Thank you.

      God of Glory, give us strength to endure the cold while doing the prayer table this winter, knowing that your little ones, the lost and the least, are also out there in the cold. Thank you.

A word received: I AM with you.

Dec. 31: 46, 48 * –; 1 Kings 3:5-14: James 4:13-17;5:7-11: John 5:1-15
Eve of Holy Name: –: * 90; Isa. 65:15b-25: Rev. 21:1-6
Holy Name: 103 * 148; Isa. 62:1-5,10-12: Rev. 19:11-16: Matt. 1:18-25
First Sunday after Christmas: 93, 96 * 34; 1 Samuel 1:1-2,7b-28: Col. 1:9-20: Luke 2:22-40
HC: First Sunday after Christmas: 147 or 147:13-21; Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7; John 1:1-18
HC: Holy Name January 1: 8; Exodus 34:1-8; Romans 1:1-7; Luke 2:15-21

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 07:02:21 -0500
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      Read the Ancient News… It’s good for you! May the meditations and the medications contained therein heal and restore you, now and forever… Amen.

***** Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      The end and the beginning are here. He is here in the Alpha and the Omega. May Gods “favor” (Luke 61:2) be upon you you this coming year with power, and love, and with signs following… (Mark 16:20). Enjoy you life and all that the Lord has given us… Happy Omega… Happy Alpha. Happy ending, happy beginning.

***** Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011
From: Diocese of Albany
Subject: Community of Saint Mary Courses & Retreats – 2012
The Sisters of St. Mary announce the Winter/Spring 2012 Schedule of Classes for St. Mary’s Institute of Christian Studies.
How to Be Good: The Virtues and the Formation of Christian Character
      Taught by the Venerable Dr. Christopher Brown. This ongoing course presents our rich Christian tradition regarding the cultivation of virtue, providing practical guidance to help us live in conformity with Christ. New Students are welcome! Tuesdays (monthly) from 4-5:30 p.m.: January 17, February 28, March 27, April 17, May 29. Material Fee (5 sessions): $50.

Spiritual Passages: A Course in Christian Spiritual Development
Taught by the Rev’d Ellen Neufeld
      An exploration of the development of the Christian’s relationship with God through stages of human experience, learning to recognize the way God communicates with us and with souls seeking spiritual guidance; based on the book, Spiritual Passages, by Benedict Groschel. This class is intended for spiritual directors and persons receiving direction over a period of several years. Tuesdays (bi-monthly) from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: February 7, 21; March 6, 27; April 17, 24; May 8, 22. Materials Fee (8 sessions): $80.

Church History: The Early Church and Ecumenical Councils
Taught by Sister Mary Jean, CSM
The development of the church from the close of Acts to about 500 A.D., concentrating on the formation of Christian theology in the Patristic era through the work of the Ecumenical Councils. Thursdays from 1:30-3 p.m.: March 1, 15, 29; April 26; May 10, 24 Materials Fee (6 sessions): $60.

Register by calling St. Mary’s Convent at (518 ) 692-3028

2012 Retreats
A Pre-Lenten Silent Retreat with Bishop Dan Herzog
“Preparing Our Souls to Keep a Holy Lent”
February 17-19, 2012 — Presidents’ Weekend (from Friday Vespers through Sunday lunch) Suggested Donation: $250 (2-day silent retreat with meditations, accommodations & meals) Commuter Rate: $175 (meals only) If you are unable to join in the full 2-day retreat, join us on Saturday, February 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for A Pre-Lenten Quiet Day with Bishop Dan
      Registration and Coffee at 9 a.m.
      Mediation (joining the ongoing retreat) followed by silence and private prayer.
      Holy Eucharist at 11 a.m.
      Silent lunch with reading.
      Conclusion with Benediction at 2:30 p.m.
Suggested donation for Quiet Day: $25

Paschaltide Retreat
“Recovering Simplicity in a Complex World”
Led by the Rev’d Dr. Steven Peay of Nashotah House Seminary and the Diocese of Albany
April 13-15, 2012 ? Low Sunday Weekend (From Friday Vespers to Sunday lunch) Suggested donation: $250 (2-day silent retreat with meditations, accommodations & meals) Commuter Rate: $175 (2-day retreat with meditations and meals only)

Labor Day Weekend Retreat
with Dr. Philip Turner
August 31-September 3, 2012
(Details to come!)

Albany Intercessor

For the president and civic leaders–BCP

December 30, 2011

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world:
We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Angel praise

December 30, 2011

Luke 2:14 and Revelation 5:13

Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne,
Glory to God in the highest,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

John 4:46-54

December 30, 2011

So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where he had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him and implored him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. (John 4:4650-)
      Holy Spirit, help us, as you did this man, take Jesus at his word. Give us ears to hear and hearts to believe everything Jesus says to us and act upon it.

And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” (John 4:51)
      Jesus, let your new life come into our families.

Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. This again is the second sign Jesus did when he had come out of Judea into Galilee. (John 4:52-54)
      Father, please let our encounter with Jesus result in faith in Jesus permeating our families as it did with this man’s family. Thank you.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1a)
      Oh holy Child of Bethlehem!
      Descend to us, we pray;
      Cast out our sin and enter in,
      Be born in us today.
      We hear the Christmas angels
      The great glad tidings tell;
      Oh come to us, abide with us,
      Our Lord Immanuel.

The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1b
      Jesus, thank you for being the strength of my life.

A word received: Come to me; leave your burdens at my feet.

Dec. 30: 20, 21:1-7(8-14) * 23, 27; 1 Kings 17:17-24: 3 John 1-15: John 4:46-54
Dec. 31: 46, 48 * –; 1 Kings 3:5-14: James 4:13-17;5:7-11: John 5:1-15
Eve of Holy Name: –: * 90; Isa. 65:15b-25: Rev. 21:1-6

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      Jesus; the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Great Physician, and the Lover of souls. Did you know your soul is loved by God, what a thought.

Albany Intercessor

Soles–A haiku

December 29, 2011

Joshua 1:3a (NKJV)
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you

In high praise
With two-edged sword
Treading on serpents’ heads

Obama and Biden

December 29, 2011

Our Father in heaven,
You are good, a refuge in times of trouble. You care for those who trust in You.
The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. You have blessed our nation in more ways than we can know.
We pray that President Obama and Vice President Biden will turn to You and place their trust in You. Care for them and protect them from all assaults of the enemy as they lead our nation. Amen.
Nahum 1:7

While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night

December 29, 2011

The carol While Shepherds Watched dates back to 1703. The words were written by Nahum Tate, who was the Poet Laureate in the reign of Queen Anne.

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around

“Fear not,” he said,
For mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind,
To you and all mankind.”

“To you in David’s
Town this day
Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign.”

“The heavenly Babe
You there shall find
To human view displayed
And meanly wrapped
In swathing bands
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph,
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song
Addressed their joyful song

“All glory be to
God on high
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth
From heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease!”

Psalm 18:25-30

December 29, 2011

With the merciful you will show yourself merciful; (Psalm 18:25a)
      Holy Spirit, help us do works of mercy and be merciful to others.

With a blameless man you will show yourself blameless; (Psalm 18:25b)
      Jesus, let the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit wash away every sin from our hearts so that we may be blameless before our God and Father.

With the pure you will show yourself pure; (Psalm 18:26a)
      Father, bring us to purity of heart so that we may see you.

And with the devious you will show yourself shrewd. (Psalm 18:26b)
      Lord, defeat the schemes of the devious.

For you will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. (Psalm 18:27)
      Lord, your mercy is on those that fear you; show forth the strength of your arm and scatter the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

For you will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. (Psalm 18:28 )
      LORD God, so many have walked in great darkness; let your light shine on them. Help us to take each step by your light.

For by you I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. (Psalm 18:29)
      Jesus, help us leap over those walls that divide us from one another in your body the Church.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; he is a shield to all who trust in him. (Psalm 18:30)
      Father, please put on all of us the shoes of the preparation to share the gospel of peace; gird our loins with your truth; put on us the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation. Place on our arm the shield of faith with which to quench every fiery dart of the evil one; and place in our hand the sword of your Spirit which is your word; that having stood all, we might yet stand. Finally, help us to be strong in Jesus and in the power of his might, and cast off from us the chains of apathy that keep us from speaking boldly as we ought to speak. Thank you. (See Ephesians 6:10-20)

A word received: I have kept you in the palm of my hand.

Dec. 29: 18:1-20 * 18:21-50*; 2 Samuel 23:13-17b: 2 John 1-13: John 2:1-11
Dec. 30: 20, 21:1-7(8-14) * 23, 27; 1 Kings 17:17-24: 3 John 1-15: John 4:46-54

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily quote…
      Practice being a human being today, not a human doing!

Albany Intercessor

President Obama and Vice-President Biden

December 28, 2011

May the blessings of the Christ-child rest upon President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joseph Biden this Christmas. Amen.

Worship–A haiku

December 28, 2011

Revelation 19:10c KJV
. . . worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Penitent kneeling
Arms raised high
Buoyed by holy words

The Burning Babe–Robert Southwell

December 28, 2011

FROM St. Peter’s Complaint, 1595
By Robert Southwell

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.

Revelation 21:3-5

December 28, 2011

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, (Revelation 21:3a)
      LORD, help hear your voice from heaven.

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” (Revelation 21:3b)
      Jesus, thank you for being “God with us.”

“and he will dwell with them,” (Revelation 21:3c)
      Father, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit into our hearts.

“and they shall be his people.” (Revelation 21:3d)
      Holy Spirit, thank you for making us a people who were not a people — for helping us find our identity in Jesus.

“God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3e)
      Father, thank you for giving us your Spirit of adoption.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;” (Revelation 21:4a)
      Jesus, thank you for sending your Comforter — the Holy Spirit.

“there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” (Revelation 21:4b)
      Holy Spirit, thank you that you enable us to live in the hope of the resurrection.

“There shall be no more pain,” (Revelation 21:4c)
      Thank you, Father, that we shall be raised up with a body free from pain.

“for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4d)
      Holy Spirit, give us daily the freedom to leave all behind and follow Jesus.

Then he who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And he said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:5)
      Jesus, you are faithful and true and you will make all things new. Thank you for the hope you give us daily. Jesus, let the river flow!

A word received: Don’t be afraid. Keep coming to me.

Holy Innocents, December 28: 124; Jeremiah 31:15-17; Revelation 21:1-7; Matthew 2:13-18
Dec. 29: 18:1-20 * 18:21-50*; 2 Samuel 23:13-17b: 2 John 1-13: John 2:1-11

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Prayer requests from Willowfield parish in Belfast, Northern Ireland:
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2011
From: Ronnie O’Neill
Subject: Prayer Request
      Mark Featherstonhaugh has asked us to pray for 9 friends who were told on the Tuesday before Christmas that the business they work in is closing at the end of January and that they will be out of work.
      I don’t have any details but this is not good news anytime of year and it could be nine families losing their main income!
[Note from Torre: please pray for all those in economic adversity.]

***** Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2011
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      Allow the healing balm of Gilead to wash over you this day…

Albany Intercessor

President Obama and civic leaders

December 27, 2011

Today is eighth day of Hannukah and the first of the Hebrew month Tevet. Tevet is the tenth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar. Ten is the number of godly authority.

Father in heaven,
We thank You for so richly blessing our land and our government. We confess that in our many blessings, we have allowed ourselves to be distracted and taken our eyes off of You. Forgive us, Lord. Help us to keep our eyes on You in our daily disciplines.
We pray for our national leaders, President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joseph Biden, the Cabinet, leaders in Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, and our military leaders. Protect them from all assaults of the enemy, spiritual and physical.
Stir the intercessors across our nation to continue in prayer for our leaders that we may live quiet, peaceful lives with all reverence toward You. Amen.

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