Celtic Retreat – Morning Liturgy



[Three Readers are needed for this liturgy.]

A Vision of the New : Revelation 21v1-5

ONE: Then I saw

a new heaven and a new earth;

for the first “heaven” and the first “earth” had passed away,

and the “sea” was no more.

TWO: And I saw

the holy city, the new Jerusalem,

coming down out of heaven from God,

prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

THREE: And I heard

a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them;

they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them;

he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death will be no more;

mourning and crying and pain will be no more,

for the first things have passed away.”

ONE: And the one who was seated on the throne said,

“See, I am making all things new.”

Call to Worship – Peruvian Gloria

Peruvian Chant


ONE: The Maker of Heaven and Earth is with us

Glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth

TWO: The Son of Mary is with us

Glory to the Son of Mary

THREE: The wild and wonderful Spirit is with us

Glory to the wild and wonderful Spirit

ONE/TWO/THREE: We gather in the name of the Holy Three



ONE: When author Paulo Coehlo wrote, “a ship is safest in port, but that’s not what ships were made for”, he wasn’t the first to say it, and he definitely wasn’t the first to feel it, because deep down we all know that we were made for more than simply a lifetime of playing it safe. Deep down we all know that we were made for a lifetime of adventure and mission and the invigorating, yet terrifying risk of the open and unknown sea of God’s new future.

TWO: And this brings us to this weekend’s patron saint.  Brendan was a 6th century Irish monk.  He is probably best known for his heroic voyage to find the mythic Isle of the Blessed. The stories about his sail across the uncharted Atlantic Ocean in a small wooden craft with 14 other monks became some of the most popular and enduring medieval legends.  In modern terms, St. Brendan was likely clinically disturbed in his obsession with finding this new thing to which God was calling him.  He was willing to risk everything.

THREE: Certainly God is doing something new here on this land that is so pregnant with possibility.  After years of dreaming and hoping, we can finally see posts rising out of the ground; a framework growing into what’s to come.  Certainly God is doing something new within you.  In the words of the prophet, “God is about to do something.  Something you’ve never seen, heard or thought of before.  Can you see it yet?”  Or do you need to be disturbed first?

Prayer of Sir Francis Drake

ONE: Let us pray with the words of English sea captain Sir Francis Drake:

Disturb us, Lord,

When we are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true

Because we have dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to the shore.

TWO: Disturb us, Lord, when

With the abundance of things we possess

We have lost our thirst

For the waters of life;

Having fallen in love with life,

We have ceased to dream of eternity

And in our efforts to build a new earth,

We have allowed our vision

Of the new Heaven to dim.

THREE: Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture on wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land,

We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back

The horizons of our hopes;

And to push into the future

In strength, courage, hope, and love.


Chant : All Things New

All things new


The Prophetic Voice : Isaiah 42v5-9

TWO: This is what God says, the Lord,

who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people upon it

and spirit to those who walk in it:

“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,

I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

I have given you as a covenant to the people,

a light to the nations,

to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

from the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the Lord, that is my name;

my glory I give to no other,

nor my praise to idols.

See, the former things have come to pass,

and new things I now declare;

before they spring forth,

I tell you of them.”

Listening SIlence

THREE: In this nature sanctuary let us take time to listen for the still soft voice of God.  [2 minutes silence]

Dressing the Altar


THREE: What is the new direction, undiscovered future, the holy voyage that God is calling you to? – Think of all the things you might leave behind for this new land? – Think of all the risks that might be involved in setting sail? – Think of those who might be in the same boat with you.

– Think of the calling that wont stop calling you.

Keep these questions within you as you walk.  Search for an object in nature that might be a symbol of your setting sail.  Bring it back to set on the altar as we begin our day (10 minutes to walk and find an object.


Song: Be Thou My Vision


An invitation to Lectio Divina.


God something new is emerging,

Something new is being birthed,

In our lives, in our world and through our faith.

God may we journey with patience and hope towards your newness,

Willing to walk on paths unknown,

That you have marked out with loving care.

May we wait in trust and not fear for your new world,

For the justice and peace and freedom that has been promised,

For those things hoped for and not yet seen.

Knowing that the journey belongs to you

And our future is in your hands.


Chant : All Things New


Sunday Morning Liturgy For Celtic Retreat

Wish I was at the Celtic retreat today where they will be finishing with this liturgy. I am heading home to Seattle from Sydney instead. Lots of memories, lots of tears, much to remember and think about.


Our annual Celtic retreat is over, one of the best we have ever had. Jeff Johnson’s beautiful chants and music are still with me as I unpack and prepare for the coming week. Those of us who stayed through the weekend finished out time together with this liturgy.

As this day begins Christ be with us,

Be in our hearts and in our minds,

Be in our souls and in our spirits,

Be in our thoughts and in our desires.

As this day begins Christ walk beside us,

Show us the love only you can give,

Show us the light only you can provide,

Show us the wholeness only you can reveal.

As this day begins Christ surround us,

Circle us with your presence,

Keep protection near and danger far,

Bring us the assurance of your love.

Pause for a time of silent reflection on the glory of God.


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Celtic Retreat Evening Prayer

The MSA 22nd Annual retreat begins tomorrow evening on Camano Island. There is still time to consider attending, just email me for directions and pay at the site. However for those, like me who are too distant there are other ways to enter into the spirit of the event. Consider reading along with the liturgies which I will post over the next few days. We begin with evening prayers Friday evening, this year using the same prayers as last year.


The retreat is only a few days ago. We are pulling out our tents, packing our bags and getting ready to head up to Camano on Friday. So many of you have told me that you wished you could come that I thought I would share some of the programme with you. (More to come next week). Hopefully you can be with us in spirit if not in person. For those that are undecided there is still time to sign up.

Here is the prayer that we will begin with on Friday night – a prayer to prepare our minds for a time of thanksgiving and gratitude towards God.



Friday Evening Prayers

God we gather this night to thank you for the many blessings in our lives,

We praise you for your generous goodness new every day,

To you our God we offer praise and thanks.


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Still Time to Register for the Celtic Retreat


22nd Annual Celtic Prayer Retreat
It’s not too late to join


Don’t Miss Out – Register Before Midnight August 7th!
We’re counting down to the Celtic Retreat!  This year’s theme: “Celebrate the Newness”.Join us at Mustard Seed Village on beautiful Camano Island (Washington State) and enjoy times together in worship, prayer, meditation on scripture, creative activities, and the celebration of the Eucharist/Communion.

We’ll also have plenty of alone time for wandering the prayer trails, walking the labrynth, and relaxing quietly.  And of course, there’s always time for conversing, conspiring, and dreaming!

We will have programs designed especially for children and teens.  The younger kids will expand their imaginations with Kendra Long, and teenagers will explore igniting their own creative spark with Cindy Todd.

Only one week left to register for the event.

This is a great opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy the company of fellow sojourners on The Way. Come just for Saturday, or join us the whole weekend for camping and more informal times of conversation, prayer, and meandering the prayer trails.
Bonus – You get to see in person the progress
being made on the new building!

Be sure to register before midnight, August 7.
(Late arrivals are welcome to register the day of the event, however
we cannot guarantee enough prayer books and programs to go around.)

Here’s a quick breakdown of activities:

  • 6:00-8:00 pm — arrive and set up tents
  • 8:30 pm — evening prayers

Saturday – The Main Event

  • Breakfast on your own – coffee and tea provided
  • 8:30 am — Morning prayers for those who stayed overnight or who arrive early
  • 9:30 am — Registration and gathering (coffee and tea available)
  • 10:00 am — Preparing to Set Sail- decorating the altar
  • 10:30 am — Building together: lectio divina
  • 12:30 pm — Potluck lunch
  • 1:30 pm — Dreaming together – dedicating the pole barn
  • 2:00 pm — Working and resting together — walk the prayer trails, pray in the labyrinth, meditate amongst the trees, help us paint the mural, make boats for St. Brendan
  • 5:00 pm — Setting Sail into Newness – eucharistic service and sharing with Ryan Marsh
  • 6:30 pm –The Great Shared Feast – BBQ dinner (bring your own BBQ items & potluck salads)


  • Breakfast on your own
  • 9:00 am — morning prayers, worship and feedback time
  • 10:00 am — break camp & prepare to go home.
Hope to see you there!

Find out more on our Celtic Prayer Retreat page

Mustard Seed village UP-date

On July 27th a dedicated team demonstrated the ultimate support for Mustard Seed Village by installing the final support beams on our first building.

Thanks to the extreme generosity of Greg and Nathan Abell, Martin Bayley, Brad Glenn, Dennis and Andrew Todd, and many others who have been praying and have helped in advising and procuring supplies, all the remaining beams were raised today by 4:30 p.m. Our team of volunteers were exhausted.

It takes a team to raise a village.Tom exclaimed, “Thanks be to God for the miracle of having all the beams up!!!”

We are looking forward to seeing most of you at the annual Celtic Retreat, Saturday August 10 during which we’ll have a luncheon dedicating of the erection of our first facility in the Mustard Seed Village.

Preparing the beamsThere are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer your construction talents to the project! Next up, we need to get the roof on as soon as possible!  If you have carpentry skills and are interested, please contact us and let us know.

Thank you for your continued prayer as the Mustard Seed Village dream unfolds. You can join us in God-inspired future through prayer, volunteering as we continue construction on the village, and through contributing financially. If you haven’t already seen it, please check out  Graham Kerr’s invitation to support construction of the village.

Check out more photos in this Facebook album

Transition Time

Transition Time

al.paulTom and I have just returned from Evangelicals for Social Action’s 40th Anniversary celebration. Tom had the privilege of participating in an hilarious roast celebrating the retirement of Ron Sider, founder of ESA.

It was a delight to share vision with the new ESA presidents Al Tizon and Paul Alexander. They also reminded us that change especially on this scale, is both scary and filled with possibility and promise.

This is a time of change and transition for Mustard Seed Associates too, not on the same scale as in ESA, but change none less that can be scary as well as offering new possibility and promise.

  • Mustard Seed House is in transition
  • Mustard Seed Village is in transition
  • Mustard Seed Board is in transition.
It is an exciting but challenging time and we appreciate your prayers and support throughout these changes.

What’s Happening at the Mustard Seed Village?

The 22nd Celtic retreat is coming fast. This year’s program offers new and exciting opportunities that reflect some of our transitions. Inspired by St Brendan, our featured Irish saint, who sailed into new and unchartered waters in the 5th century, our retreat has us sailing into new waters and exploring new expressions of life and faith. Our theme, Celebrating the Newness, has taken on a prophetic edge not just in the development of the new youth program, but also as we work with collaborators Ryan Marsh and Kendra Long to reshape and strengthen our existing adult and children’s programs.

This retreat will feature a new and experimental program for youth 13-18 years. Led by Cindy Todd, this progam will invite participants to explore their God given creativity and reflect on ways it can be used to create new sustainable models for life and faith.

For all of us, the afternoon will provide many active ways to express our faith from painting a Celtic mural for our new building, to walking prayer trails and our labyrinth. We may also get to make solar cookers and build boats to journey with Brendan.

For those that spend the weekend we offer extended times for quiet reflection as well as great times of fellowship and fun interwoven with a rhythm of morning and evening prayer. In the afternoon we will also dedicate our new, though still unfinished building, celebrating another step forward for the Mustard Seed Village.

We are especially grateful for those of you who contributed to Graham Kerr’s appeal which helped us raise the beams and begin roof construction. If you want to contribute there is still time to do so.

What’s Happening at the Mustard Seed House?

The Mustard Seed House is changing too. At the end of May we said goodbye to Ricci and Eliacin and their kids Catie, Gabriel and Elias who have moved to a new house in Shoreline. They have been an important part of not just the Mustard Seed House community but of the MSA team in the last 7 years.

Ricci and Eliacin played central roles in helping us rethink MSA as a community based organization. Together we experimented with the Quaker discernment process and integrated it into the life of MSA. Together we experimented with morning and evening prayers, which became our first MSA publication Light for the Journey.

It was Eliacin who encouraged me to start blogging and helped us connect to new networks in the Pacific Northwest. Ricci and Catie facilitated the expansion of the Mustard Seed garden into the productive ministry it is today. Ricci’s work with the MSA publications Waiting for the LightPrayers of a Difference Sortand A Journey into Wholeness has been invaluable. Their presence will be missed though their friendship will continue.

carroccinoAt the beginning of June we welcomed Michael and Kristin Carrocino and their kids Mirella and Caedmon to the Mustard Seed community. We are enjoying getting to know each other and exploring ways that this new community can express the purposes of God’s kingdom together. Mirella has already planted her first garden and Kristen has begun editing A Journey into Wholeness. Michael started work at the beginning of July as the new curate at St Mark’s Cathedral.

What’s Happening with the MSA Board?

In the last year we have said goodbye to four Board members: Coe Hutchison, Shonnie Scott, Paul Stephenson and Jill Alyard Young. All have served faithfully for at least ten years but relocation and new commitments make ongoing participation challenging. They continue to participate in the broader circle of Mustard Seed Associates however, providing valuable encouragement, support and advice.

New Board members Jonathan and Jennifer Campbell, Neil Gavin and J.Paul Fridenmaker, are stirring us to reimagine new possibilities for how we carry out our goals and live into God’s purposes for us. We affirmed the already existing MSA vision and goals but began discussing new ways in which these might be expressed. We appreciate your prayers as we discern God’s will for us for the future.

What’s Happening with Cascadia?

The cancellation of the Cascadia CCSP program for September because of lack of students was a disappointment for all of us. We are passionate about the need for sustainability education for university students and believe that this program will still come into being but for the foreseeable future it is on the backburner. The indefinite postponement of CCSP Cascadia has planted new seeds, however. Some of these are already beginning to emerge as new partnerships and collaborative relationships.

View every MSA venture as a collaborative opportunity”, Jonathan Campbell encouraged at a recent Board retreat, and as we look to the future we sense that collaborative partnerships will be key to our ongoing development.

What’s Happening with the MSA web?

breath.prayer 3Tom and I have both just read The New Digital Ageby Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, a challenging book that some describe as a guide to the future. It talks about how technology is reshaping war, peace, freedom and people. It is also reshaping faith, spiritual practice and discipleship. This encourages us to realize that our new developments on the web are vital to our journey.

The popularity of prayers, like this new breath prayer and resources like this post on creating spiritual resilience, shows the vital need for connecting followers of Jesus to ongoing resources that ground us in our faith.

Drying LaundryThere is also a growing interest in resources like Andy Wade’s series, Intentionally Ordinarythat stir our imaginations encouraging us to create new possibilities for life and faith for the future. We ask for your continued prayers and support as we reshape these areas of our ministry.

Pray for us in transition time

  • Pray for the MSA team and Board as we work together to discern God’s purposes for MSA into the future
  • Pray for the ongoing construction of the Mustard Seed Village and the finances needed to complete it.
  • Pray for our upcoming Celtic Prayer retreat and the spiritual renewal of all who attend.
  • Pray for the reshaping of the MSA website and Godspace which will continue over the next few months
  • Pray for Tom as he works on his new book Join the Innovation Revolution.
We pray God’s richest blessing on all of you over this next month.

Celtic Retreat Early Bird Special Ends July 1st.


Preparing for the Celtic Retreat.

Celtic crosses

While I am here in Australia I am working on the program for the Celtic retreat. I really do this will be the best ever! The theme is Celebrate the Newness, an exciting exploration led by Ryan Marsh and the team at Church of the Beloved. Ryan comments:

“New” is a high value in our culture.  Everything must be new – the newest fashion, the newest technology, even the newest theology… I know what kind of “new” is being sold to me, but is there anything new about me? About you, about us?  What is new that is of substance? Real newness… or do we need a new “New”?  Might God think about newness differently than we do?

This year’s retreat will explore newness from God’s perspective. To help us explore we will journey with Brendan the Navigator, 6th century Irish monk, who with 14 companions set off to find new lands. From Ireland via the monastery at Iona, Brendan and his companions are said to have travelled through the Faroes to Iceland and on to Greenland and Newfoundland. Their journey was at heart a spiritual journey to explore new insights in the scriptures and prayer.

We will embrace many aspects of newness from fresh liturgies and songs composed by the Church of the Beloved team to a new and exciting children’s program led by Kendra Long. Afternoon activities include walking the prayer trails and labyrinth and painting a mural designed by Erica Applewhite Nordfors.

We will also celebrate the new structure that is taking shape at the Mustard Seed Village. Two weeks ago we raised the beams for the roof which we expect to complete by August 10th. There is still time to accept Graham Kerr’s invitation to donate shares for this structure and we hope all of you will join us in making this dream a reality.

I do hope that you can join us – Early Bird Special is good until July 1st so it really is time to sign up and let your friends know.

Still Listening to the Celtic Saints

Brendan's voyage

I am starting to get ready for this year’s Celtic retreat at the site of the future Mustard Seed Village. This is one of my sacred spaces, a thin place where heaven always seems but a breath away. This year’s theme is Celebrating the Newness. There are many new things emerging in MSA and new things that God is giving birth to within all of us. We want to celebrate and encourage this newness.

I am working with Ryan Marsh of Church of the Beloved to put our program together. He has wonderfully creative ideas of how to use the voyage of St Brendan in our retreat. I am delighted with the fresh new approach and what is emerging. Tomorrow I will meet with Kendra Long and chat about how to incorporate the same themes into the children’s program. We also hope to initiate a new program for youth this year. What began as a gathering for half a dozen people in the Camano State park over 20 years ago has become the central gathering event for Mustard Seed Associates.

This may be our 22nd retreat but there is a newness and freshness to what is emerging that I am really excited about. It’s time to sign up if you want to take advantage of the early bird special. I hope that you can join us.

In getting ready for my meetings with those helping to develop the program I came across this beautiful prayer that was written by Jennifer Parker Reeves at a retreat I conducted on Learning from the Celtic Saints a few years ago. I thought that some of you would appreciate it.

Christ around me, Christ within me
Spirit in my soul, Spirit in my mind.
God my Father, God my mother, in my body, in my life
In my rushing, in my anger, my impatience and my pride
God is with me, offering mercy, peace, trust and love.
Stillness, stillness, I choose stillness.
The presence of my God is here.
In that stillness, find my center
I see who I was made to be.
Hope grace, Lord have mercy.
Next time I rush, call me back to center.
When I get angry, call me to confession.
When my pride dictates my movements
remind me of your grace once more.
Stillness, stillness, I choose stillness
The presece of my God is here.

Celtic Retreat Liturgy and Lectio Divina

The altar complete

The altar complete

Gathering Prayer: A Responsive Prayer

Eternal One you are our life,

Redeeming One you are our salvation,

Indwelling One you are our joy,

We give you thanks for the gift of this visit within your creation,  

May our hearts swell with gratitude as we enter into your presence. 

We give you thanks O God for the beauty of this land,

We give you thanks O Christ for the abundance of our lives,

We give you thanks O Spirit for the flourishing of friendship,

Most holy Trinity, One in essence Three in person,

We thank and praise you with heart and soul and mind.

God we pause in the busyness of our lives to give you thanks,

May we look back with gratitude,

May we look forward with anticipation,

May our hearts respond with thankfulness, 

And our lives respond with praise.

God may we live fully in the wonder of this moment,

Our eyes open to see in every sight a cathedral giving glory,

Our ears unstopped to hear in every sound angels singing Alleluia

May we enjoy each cathedral moment before it bursts, 

Giving thanks and praise with grateful hearts.

(Let us offer words of thanks to God)

God the fulfiller of enduring promises,

Christ the sharer of abundant love,

Spirit the giver of eternal life,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For your welcome to this lavish feast of plenty, 

We praise and give you thanks this day.

God of the plentiful and ever giving heart,

Christ of the generous and overflowing bounty,

Spirit who gives enough for our own needs and abundance for every good work,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For the wonder of your provision that never runs dry, 

We praise and give you thanks this day.

God whose love never gives up,

Christ whose forgiveness never says no,

Spirit whose mercy never lets go,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For the hope and promise of your inexhaustible abundance, 

We praise and give you thanks this day. 

God may we always savour what each moment holds,

May we live in the promise of your love and faithfulness,

And ever trust in the One for whom all things are possible,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For all that was, for all that is and for all that is to come,

We praise and give you thanks this day. 

God may we look and see your abundance pressing in all around,

Rich fruit, luxuriant growth, laden branches hanging low,

May we remember they can obscure the path that winds so narrow out before us,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For your provision that is inexhaustible, a harvest that never ends,

We praise and give you thanks this day. 

God as we eat from your table of plenty,

May we see what you have placed in our hands,

Beauty beyond words, creativity beyond imagining, generosity overflowing,

Everything is God bathed, Son drenched, Spirit inspired,

May we taste and see that all you give is good,

And raise our voices in praise and thanks and gratitude.


Song: For the Beauty of the Earth

Introduction to Celtic tradition 

Setting up the Altar

Decorating the altar

Decorating the altar

God as we gather from your beautiful creation to build our altar,

Open our eyes to see the many gifts you pour into our lives.

We come to you with grateful hearts and thankful spirits,

Allowing love of you to bubble up from within us and overflow.

May we seek you with teachable spirits,

Willing to obey, to trust and to serve.

Let our lives give thanks as a sacrifice that truly honours you.

May we follow this path and see the revelation of your salvation.

(Go out to collect items for decorating the altar)

Regathering song – Morning Has Broken

Introduction to Lectio Divina

Teach us to pray O Lord with gratitude and thankfulness,

Draw us closer to you, to your world, to each other.

Teach us to pray O Lord with compassion and love and forgiveness.

Open our eyes and our ears and our mouths,

Teach us to pray O Lord with joy and praise and faithfulness.

Until all that we are and all that we do,

Becomes a gift of prayer to you.

Scriptures for Lectio Divina & meditation

Psalm 100 (NLT)

Colossians 3:12-17 (NLT)

Song to end with – God Alone Suffices

Meditating sitting on the logs

Meditating sitting on the logs