Prayers for the Journey

Here is my weekly round up of prayers I have posted on facebook this week.  Enjoy!

God of a thousand names, Merciful, compassionate, faithful

God of infinite love, righteous, holy, trustworthy

God who provides in unexpected ways

You are beyond imagining and we praise you

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May the God who led the people of Israel through the desert

Guard and protect you today

May the Christ who transforms the worst experiences into the best of God

Comfort and embrace you today

May the Spirit who draws close with God’s love in times of need

Reach into your circumstances and fill you with the bread of life.

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Loving God, merciful God, forgiving God

May we today work for peace and justice

Sowing seeds of freedom and compassion

Seeking unity with words not weapons

Bearing rich fruit that reflects your loving image

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Sit quietly in the love of God

Let it seep into your soul

Let it transform your heart

Let it draw you close to the One

Who calls to you every moment of the day

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In response to listening to a seminar on creation care:

God may we see today that all creation is precious to you

From the smallest microbe to the largest whale

You created all to live and flourish together

An awe inspiring interdependent ecological community of your love

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God bless and keep us this night and in the coming day

Let our actions serve you

Let our togetherness represent you

Let our prayers be incense before you

May all that we do give honour and glory to you

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This prayer inspired by John Leech’s sermon this morning:

God may we wait in patience and hope for what is emerging

Willing to walk on paths unknown that God has marked out

May we wait in trust and not fear for what has been promised,

Knowing that the future is in God’s hands

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Returned from retreat feeling refreshed and renewed:

Thank you God for the promise of hope

For the renewal of faith

For the unexpectedness of love

Fake Blueberries in Our Cereal – Try My Homemade Granola instead

Have you ever chosen a breakfast cereal or bagel because it says it has blueberries in it?  I know I have.  And now I find out that those were probably not blueberries at all according to investigative journalist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

The blueberries found in blueberry bagels, cereals, breads and muffins are REAL blueberries right? Wrong! Award-winning investigative journalist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, exposes the deceptive chemical ingredients and dishonest marketing of “blueberry” products from big-name food and cereal companies. The blueberries, it turns out, are made from artificial colors, hydrogenated oils and liquid sugars.

See the video here

I always read labels to see what is in my food – call it obsession from my medical background if you like but I must confess I never thought to question the supposed fruit in what i eat.  Sounds like another great reason to make home made granola rather than buying packaged cereal.  So if you want to give it a go here is my recipe

Ingredients

12 cups Rolled Oats

2 cups Wheat Flakes (I like Khorasan wheat)

2 cups Barley Flakes

2 cups Wheatgerm

3 cups Wheat Bran

1 cup golden flax meal

2 cups oat bran

1 cup dried Cranberries

1 cup Dried apricots, Chopped

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup each Pumpkin Seeds & sunflower seeds

1 – 2 cup almonds, chopped

1 – 2 cup pecans, chopped

1 1/2 cup Apple Sauce

1 – 2 cups Honey

Method

1. I started making granola many years ago because I dsicovered the ones I found in the stores were far too sweet for me.  Over the years I have reduced the fat by eliminating the oil, added a wider variety of grains and generally made the granola more healthy.  You can use any types of grain that you like to give it a flavour that you like.  This is our main breakfast over the summer months.

2. Mix all dry ingredients except fruit in a large bowl.  Heat apple sauce & honey together, add to dry ingredients and mix (with your hands is best) separating any lumps in mixture.  Cook at 350℉ turning every 15 minutes until brown.  Leave in oven until oven is cool. Add dried fruit.


Local churches launch fresh-food market to change the way we eat

Tom and I are busy getting ready for our workshop Saturday at St Mark’s Cathedral here in Seattle entitled Recession II Ready or Not.  There is still time to sign up if you are interested.

It is encouraging to see what churches are doing to help in this challenging economic times and what better place to find out what is happening than in the local newspaper.  Someone just sent me this article Local Churches Launch fresh-food market to change the way we eat by Roberto Daza which highlights one of those creative possibilities.  What is even more attractive from my perspective is that it is also good for health.

Starting this week, a half dozen local churches are doing more than spreading the word of God. They’re trying to change the way we eat.

They’re using fruits and vegetables, and they have the support of local farmers and businesses to do it. Read the entire article

I also enjoyed reading this article – Cultivating Faith in the Master Gardener by Rev Patricia Hunter which I thought some of you would appreciate.  Right up my alley – gardening an act of faith and a great mystery.

Gardening is a giant act of faith. We prepare the soil, use our compost, plant seeds and then wait. We wait for weeks hoping that insects, grubs, birds and raccoons will not benefit from our labor before we do.

The mystery of seeds turning to fruit and veggies is a great wonder. Sure, we could explain the growth process using scientific details of germination, pollination and photosynthesis, but recognizing there is more to growth than just science is spiritually satisfying. Once we get hooked on eating the fruit of our own hands, gardening becomes a sacred ritual.  read the entire article

And here is another interesting and heartwarming story from Mukilteo

The 7-year-old at Olivia Park Elementary recently was asked to write a paper about his favorite childhood experience.
Grant chose the time he has spent in a new community garden taking shape at this school. A 140-by-180-foot square enclosure of thick weeds, thorny briars and stubborn Scotch broom once dominated the landscape that served as a hideout for illegal drug users.  Read the entire article 

Looking for Liturgical Resources – Try Some of These

I am currently working on the program for our annual Celtic retreat.  Feeling a little drained out after a rapid trip to Baltimore so not really able to concentrate.  It is at times like this that I most appreciate the resources that others have put together so I thought that you too might appreciate this list of sites I have found with good litanies, prayers and liturgical resources.  I apologize however for the fact that they are not listed in any particular order.  Since I suspect some of you may like to repost this I have added my own website to the list.

If you have others that you think should be added to the list please let me know

If You Breathe Thank a Tree – Thoughts from Steve Bouma-Prediger

Tom and I have spent the day presenting to administrators from Christian Schools International in Baltimore.  The conference focus for this year is creation care as it relates to their schools.  I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Steven Bouma-Prediger, author of For the Beauty of the Earth.  There are many reasons for us to be concerned about creation care.  Steven talked about the 10 commonest reasons for being concerned about creation, all of which we need to consider as we grapple with our own concerns.

  1. If you breathe thank a tree – the first and most self centred reason for concern about creation is self interest.  If we don’t care for creation Steve said, our existence is imperiled.
  2. Consider the consequences to the seventh generation.  What difference would it make to our decisions if we considered their impact on our children and their children down to the seventh generation?  We not only inherit the earth from our ancestors he reminded us we borrow it from our children
  3. Live simply that others may simply live.  This adage from the seventies is still true today – more is not necessarily better – living with simple elegance is more joyful then living caught in our consumer culture (Bill McKibben).  A simpler way of life liberates us to no longer need to emulate the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
  4. Racial oppression and eco-justice are interwoven.  The racial composition of a community is the single variable that best explains the existence or non-existence of commercial hazardous waste facilities in that area.  We must make the link between environmental pollution and issues of racial and social equity, they are interwoven.
  5. The animal rights argument.    We should care for creation because certain kinds of non-human creatures are entitled to such care.
  6. Creation is valuable for its own sake – God created our world and all that is in it and therefore it has intrinsic value for its own sake
  7. We are all in this together –  All creatures are bound together in such a way that their flourishing is interdependent.  The way to tell if something is right is by whether or not it preserves the entire ecological community.
  8. Our job as humans is to serve and protect God’s creation.  Care of creation is part of our responsibility as Christian disciples.
  9. Care for creation is part of how God rules.  We are made in the image of God and therefore should be concerned about those things that concern God.  God rules by looking after the marginalized, seeking justice, showing compassion and caring for creation and so should we
  10. For the beauty of the earth.  Care for creation is a fitting response of gratitude for creatures like us who experience God’s bountiful and gracious provision.
So why do you care about creation?  How would you encourage others – in church, in your loval community, in your local or state government – to care for God’s creation?
If you would like to learn more about what Steven shares in his classic book For the Beauty of the Earth you may appreciate this video interview
And to finish off it seems appropriate to share this beautiful rendition of the wonderful hymn For the Beauty of the Earth hear sung by the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School

Emerging Communities – Ancient Roots

Brandon and Candice

This weekend we had the delight of having Candice from Canby House and Brandon from the Springwater Community in Portland come for a visit.  It was a great time sharing stories about community.  Brandon is on a bike tour of communities in the Pacific NW and pointed me to this very interesting website that I wanted to share.

Julian Collette is a graduate student studying the Christian monastic tradition at Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota. He is currently on a far more adventurous and arduous 14 month bicycle tour of intentional communities in the US and is keeping a fascinating online journal with podcasts as well.  I highly recommend following what he is doing at Emerging Communities – Ancient Roots

Lectio Divina in New Words – More Thoughts from Christine Valters Paintner

I am currently preparing the programme for our upcoming Celtic retreat.  Love doing this as it enables me to draw aside and meditate on scripture and delve into the practice of lectio divina once more .  In the past I have used this traditional description for lectio divina but after reading Christine Paintner’s inspiring book Lectio Divina – The Sacred Art I am adapting her description instead which I thought you would appreciate.  (see page 10) I love her terms for the different stages of Lectio which I explain below –  Once again thanks Christine for this great book.

Lectio: Settling and Shimmering Settle into your prayer space, let go of distractions and open yourself to an experience of prayer… read the text through slowly and listen for a word or phrase that beckons you – a word or phrase that shimmers for you.

Meditatio: Savouring and Stirring Read the text again and take time to savour the word or phrase that shimmers by allowing it to unfold in your imagination.  Listen for what images, feelings and memories are stirring and welcome into your heart whatever comes.

Oratio: Summoning and Serving Listen for how the things that have been stirring within you connect to some aspect of everyday life.  Prayer arises spontaneously when you allow your heart to be touched by this entering of god into your experience and you are drawn to respond in prayer

Contemplato: Slowing and Stilling Slow yourself down and rest into the still presence of God.  Sit in silence.  Offer gratitude for God’s presence and enjoy what God is doing and saying to you

Prayers for the Journey

Tom and I are away on retreat and I have printed out all my prayers that I have posted on facebook for the last couple of months to take with me and mull over as they come out of my own spiritual journey and the issues I am grappling with.  Here are this week’s prayers.  they seem to have resonated with many that have read them.

Thank you God for the promise of hope

For the renewal of faith

For the unexpectedness of love

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God may I cherish the whisper of each moment

And respond to the holiness of each thought

May your ways echo in my heart

And reveal to me your eternal presence

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God may we attune our ears to your words

And respond in reverence to your quiet whispers

May we wrap our hearts around your presence

And make room to receive your gifts hidden in every moment

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God show me your path

When the way is uncertain and the twists and turns of life obscure

Set my feet on solid ground and point out the road for me to follow

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May God’s words shine through our work today

May we nourish and grow the seeds God has planted

So that all our words reflect God’s message

Of love, justice, mercy and grace

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God fill my mind with your words

Fill my speech with your thoughts

Fill my heart with your love

Turn me each day towards you

______________________________________________

 

Hope For the Future – Super Bees Could Save Us

Bee pollinating squash

Bees at work - not just the honeybees help pollinate

All of us who garden or farm are concerned about the death of honeybees, but many who do not get their hands in the dirt regularly don’t realize how crucial these insects are to our survival.

Viruses and mites have, according to the U.N., killed  85% of bees in the Middle East, 10% to 30% of bees in Europe and nearly a third of American bees each year. This is a big deal–over 70 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees (that’s $83 billion worth of crops).

Fortunately their does seem to be some hope on the horizon according to this article at Fast Company

So researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg have started to ship queen bees from hives that exhibit some resistance to mites across Canada, where they are exposed to “disease pressure.” Each generation of survivors is bred for the next season, the theory being that eventually a mite-resistant brand of bees will emerge.  Read the entire article

Of course as the article suggests this will not solve the problem unless we address issues like pesticide use which many believe also contributes to the widespread death of bees

The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined–electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.  read the rest of this concerning article

Once again I wonder – should bee preservation be a part of our Christian responsibility as we care for God’s good creation?  What do you think?

A moment beside the Willamette River

The posts in my series Worshipping God in the Real World have been few and far between these last couple of weeks – too many people off enjoying a break with no time to write.  However I did receive this from Lynne Baab which makes a great addition to the previous posts.

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Lynne M. Baab is the author of the recently released Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual World, as well as numerous other books including Sabbath Keeping and Reaching Out in a Networked World. Visit her website  for articles she has written and information about her books. Lynne is a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, currently a lecturer in pastoral theology in Dunedin, New Zealand.

river place marina Portland

I’m sitting in front of a battered orange fire hydrant, incongruously placed in a bank of flowers and grasses. Riverplace Marina, on the Willamette River, lies beyond the flowers. High freeway bridges and the low, hundred year old Hawthorne Bridge span the river, while a traffic helicopter whines overhead.

We’re on vacation in Portland, Oregon, and my husband is browsing an art gallery here at the Marina. Usually when we head out to sightsee I bring along a paperback, so I can read while he takes his time in galleries. But today I forgot the novel.

So I sit here on a curved bench, wondering if this is an invitation to worship God in the real world, to draw near to God in this slice of everyday life. Perhaps I could engage with one of the everyday spiritual disciplines I habitually practice. For example, I could sit here and list the many gifts and blessings God has given me recently: successfully winding up teaching and grading for the semester; the recent release of my latest book, Friending; on-time flights to Oregon; the family members and friends we’ll be seeing on this trip. I could list them and thank God for them.

Here’s a second option. I learned a new version of the Jesus prayer a few weeks ago, and I’ve been experimenting with using it as a breath prayer, coordinating the words with my breath. “Jesus . . . Savior . . . help me know your love . . . and make it known.” As I repeat the words, sometimes I think about all the ways God has shown love to me, and I pray that this love would sink deep inside me, that I would “know” it in every sense of the world. Sometimes I pray about the ways I feel called to make God’s love known. That breath prayer would work well in these quiet moments in the light breeze.

I could also simply focus on the data coming to my brain through my senses and try to be present to everything around me. I could study and relish the white flowers with the yellow centers right beside the fire hydrant, the pale green grasses gently swaying, the silk tree giving me shade and the feathery cedar between me and the Hawthorne Bridge. God made them all. I could listen to the traffic on the freeway bridge, trying to tease out specific trucks and busses that I can see as well as hear. God gave me very acute hearing, sometimes a gift and sometimes a challenge, and I could try to be present to the distinct sounds around me in this restful moment.

I’m sure there are other ways to worship God in this real-world, real-life moment as I sit on a curved bench with a fire hydrant, white flowers, grasses, a marina and a cluster of bridges in view. But I’ve thought of enough options. The challenge for me in this moment is two-fold:

(1) to refrain from pulling out my day planner to see if there’s something “productive” I can do with this time, and

(2) to stop listing and analyzing the options.

Just do one of them, I tell myself.