Prayers for the Journey

Beautiful prayers this week on Light for the Journey. Thank you to Bonnie Harr and John Birch
Praying with daylilies

You have sown
fertile seed
into our hearts,
Good Gardener,
and we, willingly,
or by neglect
allowed weeds to grow
and spoil the beauty
of this small corner
of your garden.
Keep our hearts free
of that which hides
your love, we pray
and prune away
all that hinders,
that others might see
your beauty
blossom
within.

http://faithandworship.com

Lord Jesus Christ may we never forget
the wonder of your love.
It is new every morning,
Embracing every moment,
Encompassing every person.
Your love never gives up.
It is always forgiving,
Always caring,
Always reaching out.
May we see and give thanks

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

Lord Thank you for your grace

Lord may we rest in your presence,
Trusting in your love,
Embracing your purposes.
Lord may we follow your unconventional ways,
Hungering for justice,
Thirsting for righteousness,
Abounding with compassion.
lord may we live as neighbours,
helping the stranger,
restoring the marginalized,
Belonging to your community of love.

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

You have clothed this world in beauty,
from morning mist dissolving into summer day
to the splendid isolation of a mountain peak;
from flowers of the field in all their radiant hues
to butterfly emerging from chrysalis, all speak
of the artist’s vision and creativity,
the loving brushstrokes with which you paint.
And if you should take such care with these,
who are we to doubt the value that you place
on those whose hearts contain the maker’s mark?
We shall not worry what tomorrow brings,
for even in sorrow you bring us joy
and we shall praise you for all good things!

(http://www.facebook.com/faithandworship)

God guide us,
Through the wonder of your love.
Through the gentleness of your compassion.
Through the righteousness of your justice.
Amen

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com

God help us to see as you see,
Beauty in the midst of brokenness,
Love in the midst of war,
Promises in the midst of despair.
God help us to hear as you hear,
Cries for help from those in need,
Calls for justice where there is oppression,
Voices of hope that bring us life.
God help us to think as you do,
To believe you can transform
All that is broken into wholeness.
Amen

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

God send your spirit upon us,
Give us a great love for all,
Make us more compassionate to the sick,
More generous to the needy,
More zealous to follow you.
Give us strength and courage
To follow you in all we do,
Amen.

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

Scientists look at the world
I arise to day
Through God’s strength to pilot me :
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils.
From temptations of vices,
From every one who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear.
Alone and in a multitude.

(from Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, Meyer, Kuno, 1858-1919)

Posted by http://faithandworship.com

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A Prayer for My Children #3 by Kimberlee Ireton Conway

A Prayer for My Children (part three)
Today’s post is by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year. This is the last of a three-part prayer for our children, adapted from an Orthodox akathist to Mary the Mother of God. If you missed or would like to reread the first two parts of the prayer, you can find them here:

Part One
Part Two

Ben_Golden_Gardens

A Prayer for My Children

Prelude 9

Fill the souls and hearts of my children with all good—and You alone are good, O God. Drive away from them the evil spirit of atheism. Give to each of them all that they need of Your infinite compassion. I cry to You: Alleluia.

Song 9

Deliver my children from teachers and leaders who speak lies about Your all-powerful intercession, O Christ. Look upon me as I faithfully sing:

Raise my children to love You with all their hearts and minds.
Raise my children to love You with their whole soul and strength.
Raise my children to open their lips only in praise and glory to You.
Raise my children in watchful and continual prayer.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

Prelude 10

Desiring to save the world, O Christ, You came from heaven to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. I pray that, having been saved through You, my children may call to God: Alleluia.

Song 10

Surround my children with indestructible walls, O God, that under Your blessed protection, they may accomplish a multitude of good deeds. I cry to You:

Raise my children to be leaders in doing Your will.
Raise my children to hate sin and all transgression.
Raise my children to love good and all virtue.
Raise my children in blameless purity.
Raise my children to ascend the ladder of their lives every day.
Raise my children to turn their eyes to Your compassion in the midst of sorrows.
Raise my children to serve You in obedience and purity of heart.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

Prelude 11

Make my children (names) worthy always to hymn Your unshakable intercession, O Christ, and through Your grace direct their lips to sing to God: Alleluia.

Song 11

O Shining Lamp from on high, make the lives of my children to burn and their hearts to melt day and night with love for You and for their neighbors. Hear me when I cry to You:

Raise my children to love You with all their hearts and minds.
Raise my children to open their lips only in the praise and glory of Your blessings.
Raise my children in watchful and continual prayer.
Raise my children to await Your coming with joy and tears.
Raise my children to stand always before You with reverence.
Raise my children to bear good fruit.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

Prelude 12

Fill the hearts of my children with the inexpressible grace of the Holy Spirit, so that they may love only You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For this, I cry to the King of all: Alleluia.

Song 12

Singing of Your loving-kindness, I pray to you, O Christ, who feeds and has mercy on my children: do not cease to intercede for them with the Father, for I believe that all is possible for You.

Raise my children to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Raise my children to live in a holy manner.
Raise my children to dwell securely on the path of faith by the grace of the Spirit of God.
Raise my children to hunger and thirst insatiably for the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.
Raise my children to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

Closing Prayer

O Sweetest Jesus! Accept this small hymn of supplication for my children as a sweet fragrance and take them under Your compassionate protection. Grant them to think, know, hear, say, and do only that which brings them close to You, only that which helps them attain eternal salvation. And send them in this present life all that is profitable for the salvation of their souls, that they may cry to God all their days: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

God’s Healing – Do We Need Doctors?

As a young doctor I was always concerned because it seemed to me that the Bible had nothing to say about doctors.  When healing occurs it is usually linked with the miraculous. Luke is the only doctor mentioned in the Bible, and he was not working as a medical practitioner.

With Steve & Michelle Ruetschle

I was thinking about this yesterday when our good friends Steve and Michelle Ruetschle came to visit. Some of you may remember when I wrote about him a couple of years ago in Do Miracles Still Happen. According to the doctors Steve should be a quadriplegic. Though medical science certainly helped in his healing, Steve would not be walking today without the healing powers of God.

Health and healing, the practice of medicine and the principles of hygiene in the Hebrew world, all fell under the Levitical mantle, part of the religious framework of life.  Medicine and the care of the sick is part of the priestly calling a life set aside in service to God. 

It was the Levites to whom God gave the principles for health and hygiene.  They were responsible for both the physical and spiritual health of the community.  God gave them detailed instructions for basic cleanliness and sanitation that if followed today would greatly increase the level of hygiene in many a struggling nation.  It would be hard for us to imagine our church workers as garbage disposal experts or as sanitation workers, yet for the Levites this all came under their jurisdiction.

Spiritual and physical health were linked as one ministry.  Physical cleanliness was for the priests a symbol of spiritual cleanliness. One depended on the other and both were performed by those people whose lives were set aside to serve God.

In the early Judeo – Christian church, healing was considered part of the religious function of the community.  Monetary compensation was forbidden.  In contrast the Graeco-Roman tradition professionalized medicine and saw it as a vocation to be monetarily compensated – the model that we now embrace.

The rapid growth of the early church was probably a result of its power to heal, to cast out demons and to create communities of mutual care.  Interestingly, this was closely linked to an acceptance of suffering as an identification with the sufferings of Christ and an understanding of physical illness as part of a larger paradigm in which God’s grace works through human weakness.  Throughout most of Christian history, the church provided centers for healing and cared for the sick and the suffering.  In the Middle Ages the monasteries were centers of healing They were often famous for their herb gardens which provided a broad range of medicinal substances that were produced for the use both within the monastic community as well as in the outside secular community.

In this framework, the medical attendant was seen as a servant to the poor and the sick, someone who came to relieve their pain, to heal their hurts to comfort their concerns.  Spiritual and physical health and healing walked hand in hand, separate parts of a whole person.

I thought that you might be interest in  this interesting reference to health care workers that I found.  It is not in the Protestant Bible but in the Appocrypha, those books between the Old and New Testament that are considered by some to be a part of the Biblical text.

From the Book of Ecclessiasticus (part of Appocrypha)

“Hold the physician in honour, for he is essential to you,

and God it was who established his profession.

From God the doctor has his wisdom, and the king provides for his sustenance.

His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority.

God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect;

Was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn his power?

He endows men with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works,

Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines;

Thus God’s creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.

My son when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you;

Flee wickedness; let you hands be just, cleanse your heart of every sin;

Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition, a rich offering according to your means.

Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too.

There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeched God

That his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure.

He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor.”

Ecclesiasticus 38:1-15

A Celtic Blessing

Highlands-Wade 007

May the blessing of Light be on you
Light without and light within,
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
And warm your heart till it glows like
A great peat fire, so that the stranger
May come and warm himself at it,
And also a friend.
And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you,
Like a candle set in two windows of a house,
Bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.

Raindrops on leaf

And may the blessing of the Rain be on you
The soft sweet rain. May it fall upon your spirit
So that all the little flowers may spring up,
And shed their sweetness on the air.
And may the blessing of the Great Rains be on
You, may they beat upon your spirit
And wash it fair and clean,
And leave there many a shining pool
Where the blue of heaven shines,
And sometimes a star.

Walking on the beach

And may the blessing of the Earth be on you
The great round earth; may you ever have
A kindly greeting for them you pass
As you’re going along the roads.
May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it,
Tired at the end of the day,
And may it rest easy over you when,
At the last, you lay out under it;
May it rest so lightly over you,
That your soul may be out from under it quickly,
And up, and off, and on its way to God.

I was sent this blessing a few days ago – not sure where it comes from though. If you can help I would appreciate you letting me know

God Will Healing – Symbols that Tell me So

Over the next week or so my posts will revolve around healing in the Bible. I started with the idea of one post on healing gardens but this has grown as I have reflected on my own history in healing and quest for a Biblical understanding. The forst post is adapted from one I wrote several years ago

————————————————————

Examining patient medical outreach Dominican republic

I no longer practice medicine but am still passionate about health, particularly for the poor.  One of my yearly tasks is to download the latest World Health and United Nations Human Development reports.  When I first started reading these reports in the mid 1980s there was a sense of optimism and excitement.  Life expectancy was increasing rapidly, child mortality was plummeting and infectious diseases such as smallpox and measles were being brought under control.  Over the last few years however many of these trends have been reversed and I have found the statistics rather discouraging and somewhat daunting.

The greatest health challenge for millions of children worldwide is still whether or not they will survive to their fifth birthday.  Children in developing countries, already lack proper nutrition and may also lack access to affordable measles vaccinations and simple interventions for diarrhoeal diseases. Children are also most likely to die from malaria. Overall 35% of Africa’s children are at higher risk of death today than they were 10 years ago.  Every hour 500 African women lose a small child.  Even those who do make it past childhood are confronted with adult death rates greater than 30 years ago.  Life expectancy is shrinking – in some countries by as much as 20 years

Tragically the causes of many of these deaths could easily be controlled with simple vaccines or antibiotics.  Six deadly infections – pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, measles and more recently , HIV/AIDS – account for half of all premature deaths, killing mostly children and young adults.  And, while not major killers, a number of other diseases, often neglected by researchers because they have little impact on health in wealthier countries cause chronic disability and stigma for millions of men, women and children.  Unfortunately those who are most vulnerable often lack access to essential medicines.  WHO estimates that 15% of the world’s population consumes 91% of the world’s pharmaceuticals.

Many of these challenges overwhelm me.  They make me wonder: “Does God care about physical health particularly for the most vulnerable in our world?”  I often struggled with this as I worked in poor communities in Africa and Asia.

God does care.  From the time the children of Israel came out of Egypt God showed concern for their physical as well as their spiritual well being.  However God’s prescription for health was always very different from that of the surrounding cultures.  During Moses life, the Papyrus Ebers written about 1552 B.C. provided many of the standard treatments for disease.  Drugs included “lizards’ blood, swines’ teeth, putrid meat, stinking fat, moisture from pigs ears, goose grease, asses’ hoofs, excreta from animals, including human beings, donkeys, antelopes, dogs, cats and even flies.”

Not quite our idea of good medicine and not God’s either.

Central to God’s model of health and wholeness is reconciliation to God.  Healing depended not only on the taking of medicine but primarily on obedience to God’s word and commandments.  Many of the laws of Leviticus are good preventative health directives that we still use today.  These regulations include nutrition, environmental laws and behaviour – the three primary factors that influence the health of any community.  Others are guidelines for how the most vulnerable in society are to be cared for.

Interestingly the Greek word most commonly translated save in the New Testament SOZO can also be translated heal. It means to heal, preserve, save, make whole.  Healing from a Christian perspective is the process of moving towards wholeness in body, soul and spirit.  The purpose of medicine is to support and encourage human wholeness in every respect.

Nothing speaks more highly of God’s desire for healing than the incredible systems of protection and repair within our own bodies.  The immune system cures most of the illnesses that attack us.  Wounds heal, bones knit together and tissue repairs itself in miraculous ways we rarely think about unless something goes wrong. At best doctors and nurses assist God’s healing work yet we rarely thank God for these miracles.

Unfortunately in our imperfect world, corrupted by sin and disease, these systems don’t always work but God provided other elements to assist the healing process.  Most modern medicines originate from medicinal plants and herbs that are a part of God’s wonderful creation.

The Cross is probably the most powerful symbol of and power for healing in the world.  Its redeeming and transforming power brings healing to body soul and spirit – and beyond that it brings healing to communities, and eventually will bring healing to our entire broken world.

The taking of communion is another powerful symbol of healing.  In many churches healing services are Eucharistic, deliberately linking our need for healing to confession, repentance and forgiveness.  (1 Cor 11:27-34)  Baptism too, because it infuses a person with new life, the life of Christ, can drive out before it all the powers of sickness and death.(Rom 6: 1-14)

James 5:13-16 lists other important symbols of healing we need to pay attention to.  Praying for the sick, often associated with laying on of hands, anointing with oil, singing psalms and hymns, confession and forgiveness are all practices that can encourage the healing process.

Observing the liturgical calendar is another way that God’s people can find God’s healing.   “By connecting to the seasons of the church year we enter into a rhythm that focuses every day and every season very intentionally on the One who gives all of life meaning and purpose.  By celebrating through the structures of the Church we actually are given the forms we need to become whole and we are given the formulas to make whole every human experience.

An wholistic approach to health that embraces the need for both spiritual and physical transformation is an extremely effective way to eradicate infectious diseases.  LifeWind International (formerly Medical Ambassadors International) www.lifewind.org works to improve the total health and well-being of children, women and men in communities worldwide by addressing the root causes of poverty, disease, and hopelessness. LifeWind’s Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is an integrated wholistic strategy that equips and empowers communities to discover and implement effective and lasting solutions to their problems through the combination of disease prevention, economic enterprise, and social and spiritual renewal. People from over 150 organizations are using CHE training and materials to serve the poor around the world.

God does will healing not just for us but for all human kind.  Incredibly we are asked to become participants in the process and bring God’s healing and wholeness to others.  The statistics are overwhelming but fortunately God does not call us to change statistic but to transform lives.  Even providing a cup of clean water can make a difference.  And as Matthew 10:42 reminds us “if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

Celtic Retreat Early Bird Special Ends July 1st.

early.bird_.celtic.2013

Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

good samaritan - african

good samaritan – african from Jesusmafa.com

In the Anglican church we attended yesterday the gospel portion was Luke 9: 18 – 24 in which Jesus asks the disciples who the crowds think he is and then who they think he is. The crowds see a prophet, the disciples see the Christ of God, the long awaited Messiah.

Sounds great but who exactly is this Messiah? Even Peter and the disciples got it wrong. They expected an earthly king. Someone who looked a little like the Roman generals only better. Jesus’s description that follows was far beyond their comprehension.

And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:22,23)

The idea of a vulnerable God who willingly exposes himself to suffering, pain and death  is hard for all of us to believe. A God with an aching heart who walks amongst the poor, eats with prostitutes, heals lepers, stands with the marginalized, this is the kind of God we still tend to reject. This is the kind of God who is still beyond our comprehension. That Jesus asks us to become like this is often even more incomprehensible.

The closer we walk to Jesus, the closer we move toward the love of God, the more aware we become of the fact that our God is not the arrogant “godlike” character we expect. Out of my meditations yesterday I wrote this prayer:

God you made yourself vulnerable,

Shown us your aching heart,

Open to abuse and contempt,

Willing to be scarred,

Accepting death as a criminal.

This is your love,

This is your faithfulness,

This is you revealed in Jesus Christ.

May we see and give thanks,
Amen.

So my question for today – how do we embrace this God, this vulnerable One with a broken heart and nail scarred hands? And then how do we follow him?