Monthly Archives: March 2012

Updates


Hi there, just letting you know that the Sunday hymn page is up to Easter 2.

13 Days Until Easter: The Distracted Blogger


Today we begin with a confession.  I am that distracted blogger referred to in today’s title.  By what have I been distracted? *hears the beep indicating new email and quickly switches tabs to see what it is* It doesn’t seem to take much these days to distract me.  We give my dog a hard time because he will get barking over as little as a leaf blowing by, but I’m afraid I’m more like him that I would like to admit.  I’m hoping that I am not alone in this trait of distraction.

On the up side, as far as I know no traffic accidents are caused by my distraction.  Unlike driving with my cell phone to my ear, there are no immediate effects to my distraction.  People don’t get a notice that I have posted anything for several days, no one’s hurt in this story.  No one but me that is.

For every day that I go without posting I get less and less inclined to even click on the link to wordpress.  I spent most of the weekend on the computer but just left that tab in the corner and ignored it.  I began to feel guilty, even about not doing something no one asked me to do, with no deadline except the expectation I have set up for myself.

With Easter two weeks away, I would like to claim that my distractions have been church related; planning and practicing for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and 6 weeks of Easter Sundays.  This, at least, would feel justified.  No, my distraction has largely been looking at things people have for sale on-line.  I don’t need anything, don’t have any intention of buying most of what I see, and yet there I sit skimming through the latest offerings on etsy.com or ebay.  It can be mesmerizing!

Whatever our distractions may be, and I’m sure there is huge variation in causes, pulling our attention back to the things that really matter to us; our faith, our families etc. can be a tough one.  Everyone else has some idea about what should get your attention.  The Pharisees felt that Jesus was giving all his attention to the wrong people.  They did all they could to distract him and get him back on their religion and the people at the top.  But in the end it was for those of us at the bottom that he suffered humiliation and death, so that we might have eternal life.  

Here’s to our efforts against distraction in these last 13 days before Easter! 

 

 

20 Days Until Easter/ A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession


Father God, you sent your son into the world, not to condemn the world but so that the world may be saved.  We thank you for this good news, the center of our faith.  We thank you for the freedom to meet here to worship you.

Jesus, life of all the world, source and sum of all creation, we give you thanks and praise for your work in this broken world.  Where there is hatred and devastation, even there we see signs of the new world to come.  We see pockets of beauty amidst devastation; hear of miraculous escapes from certain death.  We see people giving of what little they have to help others.  We see people risking their lives to fight against tyranny and even natural disasters as they work to put out fires, hold back floods.  We pray that we may continue to see signs of this hope in all the coverage of despair.  We pray that you strengthen us to be, in some small way, one of those agents of hope to others.

Jesus, living word we give thanks that you who know our every need, give us life.  We give you thanks for all the seemingly ordinary ways in which you bless us every day; for waking up each morning with a whole new day to explore, for our jobs, for an unexpected smile, for chances to get together with friends and loved ones, for the signs of spring after a long winter.  We pray that you may help us to be more aware of what we have than what we lack, and give us the strength we need to hold out that focus of hope to those who may have lost sight of spring.  While despair can be contagious, so can hope be contagious.  Help us to hold on to our hope and spread to those we meet in our daily lives.

We thank you for the freedom, gladness, and truth which allow us to let go of our fears and guilt.  Help us to remember that, through Jesus, we have already been forgiven. Help us to forgive ourselves, to let go of all those feelings of not being worthy, of failure, and bask in the freedom that brings.  Help us also to extend this forgiveness to anyone who has hurt us or wronged us in any way.  Make us open to all people, even those we might normally avoid.

Jesus, life of all the world, you are Lord of every nation; by your Holy Spirit’s power make your Church your incarnation till our lives of truth and grace show our world your human face! Amen

 

this prayer uses parts of Margaret Clarkson’s hymn Jesus, life of all the world which can be found at 776 in the Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

23 Days Until Easter


The days are getting longer, the sun stronger, and the snow is lasting for a shorter time.  These are sure signs of spring, of rebirth of our natural world.  The reawakening of mother earth.  Along with this people’s spirits are lifting and thoughts and dreams are focused more on the short summer (in Canada anyway) which is on the horizon.

This brightening can be seen in the church as well.  Sure, we are still in Lent for our worship services, but at choir practices and planning meetings the focus has moved on the joyous celebration which is coming in a mere 23 days!  We are still practising our hymns for Lenten services but now the end part of practise is focused on the cheering crowd of Palm Sunday and the weeks of celebration which begin on Easter morning.

So, hang in there! Easter, rejoicing, and spring are coming!! 

30 Days Until Easter: Happy International Women’s Day!


Throughout the day today, think about all that the women in your lives have done for you, and think about how you would like your daughters to be treated in the future!

31 Days Until Easter: Have you got your ducks in a row?


OK, I realize that this picture is not one of a line of ducks, as one might have expected from the title of this post.  It is however evocative of spring and Easter and that is my topic for today.

As I look around my living room right now I see a snowman plate set hanging on the wall across from me, the remnants of my Christmas village still sprawled across the railing and top of the bookshelves, an empty vase, and other general clutter.  I did finally take down the last of my nativities earlier this week, although it hasn’t made its way to storage yet.  With only 31 days before Easter, I had better get on the ball or it will be too late for bunnies and chicks and we will be into summer!

I’m not suggesting that the season of Lent is about home decor, nor that there is any need to actually decorate our homes seasonally at all!  For many of us, though, as is our home – so goes our mind.  The most important thing about Lent is getting one’s focus on a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and we can’t do that if we are still stuck in Christmas, or clutter, or unfinished projects, or whatever else may surround us. 

There is, of course, no actual time limit to getting our relationship with God on solid footing.  God accepts us whenever we come to him.  Our church calendar provides these designated periods of each year as a reminder, a way to keep us on track.  So, I’m just putting it out there, you have 31 days left to get those ducks, or bunnies, or flowers lined up! 

Answering The Reflection Questions


We have a book study starting this evening at our church based on God: The Rumours Persist!!by Bishop Bill Hockin.  In preparing  for this I began to read the first chapter.  It began with a pre-reading reflection, “Would you describe yourself as a religious person?  Why or why not?  How would you describe your relationship with God?”

I have a habit of skipping over this type of question whether they be in the header, in the margins, or in the back of the book.  I guess that might seem strange considering that I write about this type of thing all the time, but there you are.  So here’s why…I find it hard to answer the questions without sounding very self-satisfied when in reality I never feel satisfied or worthy.  

Would you describe yourself as a religious person?  Yes

Why? Church, service and God are a big part of my life.

How would you describe your relationship with God? Comfortable, needy, unbalanced (I get lots and give little) 

Are there people out there who find these comfortable to answer?  Should we?  Would the answers be the same every day? Do the people who write them into the books have answers? Oh look…I wrote reflection questions.  On the up side, I’m pretty sure there are no right or wrong answers either to the real questions we find in books, the questions that come into our heads throughout our lives, nor the ones I just wrote.  The idea is just to think and be open to answers as they come.

Hockin, Bishop Bill, God: The Rumours Persist!!Taylor Printing Group Inc. Fredericton:2011.

35 Days Until Easter: One World, One Prayer


This past Friday evening I was at the annual World Day of Prayer service with the theme Let Justice Prevail.  Given all the differences in circumstance around the globe, it is hard to think of everyone praying the same thing at any given time, other than the Lord’s Prayer.  I thought that I would include the prayer for intercession from the service.  This was written by the World Day f Prayer Committee of Malaysia.

Almighty God, we thank you that through Jesus Christ, you have opened a new and living way whereby we can come with confidence in prayer.

Lord we pray for the leaders of our countries.  Grant them wisdom to know and do what is right and just.  Grant them the compassion and willpower to do your will.  Fill them with a love for truth and righteousness and fill them with the fear of God that they may work for the justice of all people.

God from whom all justice flows, hear our prayer.

O Lord, thank you for creating us in your image – uniquely gifted to contribute positively to home, society and church.  While many of us are comfortable in our setting, there are those who are oppressed and abused, isolated and silenced.  We pray for those who are voiceless victims of oppression and violence; victims of inequality and abuse; victims of unjust and biased cultural practices, victims of religious practices of law.

Jesus, who suffered injustice for us, hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord, we pray for migrant workers, the weak, the poor and the marginalized , that their cries for help and elevation from discrimination, deprivation of rights and dignity be heard and be acted upon by those in power over them.

Holy Spirit, empower us to work for justice and peace.

O God, we pray that you will strengthen your church with power and revelation that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.  Let us be rooted and established in love.  Grant us the boldness and wisdom to reach out to the community in a holistic manner.

God from whom all justice flows, hear our prayer.

O God, we ask a vision of your justice and for the strength of the persistent widow to work for it.  You have called us to be instruments of justice in a world of strife and false justice.  We pray that you will make strong our hands and make clear our voices.  Give us humility with firmness and insight with passion, that we may fight not to conquer, but to release.

Jesus, who suffered injustice for us, hear our prayer.  Holy Spirit, empower us to work for justice and peace. Through the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

 

prepared and adapted for use in Canada by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada