Beyond These Shores by Iona

I was sent the lyrics to this song after my mother died and found this version on youtube this morning that I have been listening to and meditating on. I thought that some of you would enjoy it too.

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God’s Fire Kindled in Our Hearts – A Morning Prayer

I am working on a set of morning and evening prayers for reflection and meditation. Some like this one are based on Celtic prayers and their connection of prayer to every part of life. Kindling the fire was a very important part of the day that invited the fire of the Spirit into their lives.
Lord may we enter this day..003I am working on a series of morning and evening prayers which I thought you might enjoy.

Prayers for the journey

I have already posted many of this weeks Light for the Journey prayers as blog posts, but I know some of you like to share these with friends and having them in one post helps. I have reposted the prayer from yesterday because of its popularity
Enjoy!
Lord I breathe in life.004

God may I enter this day with joy.
May I search for your ways,
And follow your paths.
May I look for your presence,
And uncover your dreams.
May I commit all I am and all I do
Into your care.
Amen

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

There are confusing voices
distracting us from your Word,
persuasive voices
demanding to be heard,
drowning out the still small voice
we have listened to before,
bringing a new philosophy
that has no place for you.
Forgive us
when we doubt your Word,
forgive us
when we are led astray.
Grant us a faith that is strong,
and wisdom to distinguish
between Truth
…..and that which is not.

(http://www.facebook.com/faithandworship?ref=hl)

This is the day that God has made,
May we work hard
and share God’s gifts
with friends and neighbours
with colleagues and foes.
This is the day that God has made,
may we work hard
and we share with Jesus
in the poor and the oppressed
in the rejected and abandoned.
This is the day that God has made,
May we work hard
and share with gratitude
God’s gifts generously given
Full measure overflowing like manna,
Not for us alone but for the renewal of all creation.

Christine Sine http://godspace.wordpress/,com

God I breathe in your life,
And find your strength
Made perfect in weakness.
Christ I breathe in your love,
And inhale your fragrance
Interwoven through all creation.
Spirit I breathe in your peace,
And am engulfed by your presence
Surrounding me on every side.
God who is One,
God who is three,
I breathe in you.

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

When faith is tested to the limit
and we stumble,
forgive us.
When feet stray from the path
and we wander,
forgive us.
When our neighbour is in need
and we walk by,
forgive us.
When the voices of this world
drown out your whisper,
forgive us.
When love draws us to your feet
in repentance,
forgive us.

http:faithandworship.com

Lord Jesus Christ
let us breathe in your love
In all its wonder and beauty.
Lord Jesus Christ
Let us drink in your mercy
In all its grace and patience.
Lord Jesus Christ
Let us stand in your presence
In all its glory and majesty.
Lord or earth and heaven,
Let all that we are and all that we do
Draw us closer towards you.

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

May we dream of a world made new,
Where together we shout for justice,
And as one we fight against oppression.
May we dream of a world made new,
Where together we seek God’s righteousness
And as one we sing God’s praise.
May we dream of a world made new,
Where together we climb God’s mountain,
And as one we enter the promised land.
May we dream of a world made new,
Where together we proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom,
And as one we enjoy its peace, and abundance and love.

In the Power of the Triune God

Celtic cross Mayne Island

One of the spiritual disciplines that is really helping during this season of my life is the writing of prayers. Celtic Christians believed that life was embraced on all sides by God and that God was present alongside, behind, before, above and below. They experienced God as guest, fellow traveller, friend, fellow worker, brother, companion and comforter. This has certainly been my experience over the last couple of weeks.

I hope that you enjoy this prayer I wrote a couple of days ago with these thoughts in mind.

I will enter this day

In the power of the triune One.

God of life,

Christ of love,

Spirit of guiding.

Ignite within me a fire of love,

Its flame in my heart for all to see.

Let it shine for neighbours

And be generous to strangers.

Let I express compassion for friends,

And show forgiveness to foes.

Let it reach the lowliest creatures that live

And exalt Christ’s name which is highest of all.

This day and every day

Triune God,

Creator of life,

Christ of love,

Spirit of guiding,

Ignite within me a fire of love.

You Are the Peace of All Things Calm – Another Celtic Prayer

Here is another beautiful Celtic prayer that I find relaxing and comproting.

Lord you are the calm.002

A Tree Planted by Water – Kimberlee Conway Ireton

Today’s post is by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year and a forthcoming memoir, Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis.

Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
who meditates on God’s law day and night.
Such a one is like a tree planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.

Psalm 1:1-3

Psalm1_tree

Almost three years ago now, in the throes of postpartum depression, I desperately grasped at anything that would help me channel my out-of-control thoughts away from the fear that choked me. In the midst of this darkness, my friend Susan offered me a lifeline.

She mentioned over dinner one night that she was memorizing Ephesians.

“The whole book?” I asked, incredulous.

She nodded and pulled a little black Moleskine out of her bag. Inside, the words of Ephesians were pasted, six to eight verses at a time, onto the left-hand pages. The right pages were blank. “For my notes,” Susan said. “Or for keeping track of how many times I’ve recited it.”

I paged through the little book, and something in me stirred. “May I—may I join you?” I looked at her. “I want to do this, too.”

The following Monday, Susan brought me my own little black Moleskine, its pages already pasted with every verse in Ephesians, and I began to memorize the words.

When the fear stirred, I forced myself to recite Ephesians. When I realized my thoughts were swirling chaotically, I forced them into the channel of Ephesians. These words became my prayer in a time when I had no words of my own to say, no words of my own to pray.

Week after week, I added new verses to the ones I already knew. It took me ten months, but I memorized every last word in that book. Even now, two years later, I still have them etched in my memory.

Since then, I have memorized half a dozen Psalms, part of 1 John, and large chunks of John 10 and John 17. Currently, I am beginning to memorize Colossians 3. I do this memory work slowly, a verse every week or so. But a verse a week adds up over time to a whole lot of verses.

I say all this not to boast. (Well, okay, maybe a little, which tells you just how far I’ve still to walk before I am renewed in my mind.) I say it to encourage you to memorize Scripture, too, to show you that you can.

To put on the mind of Christ, it is important, Dallas Willard writes, “to draw certain key portions of Scripture into our minds and make them a part of the permanent fixtures of our thought.” He continues, “This is the primary discipline for the thought life. We need to know them like the back of our hand…and then constantly turn them over in our minds as we go through the events and circumstances of our life.”

I came to the place of needing Scripture as the nourishment for my mind out of desperation. My mind was a dark and scary place, and I needed something other than my own frightening thoughts to fill it.

On the other side of that darkness, I continue to memorize Scripture and turn it over in my mind day after day because I want my mind to be filled with the light of Christ. I want it to be full of the thoughts and images that occupied His mind when He walked on this earth. I want to abide in Him and have His words abide in me.

And so, I continue, slowly, one verse at a time, to feed myself on the words of Scripture, to root them in my mind, so that I no longer conform myself to the patterns of the world or my own destructive thought processes, but can be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

If you feel nudged or pulled to plant the words of Scripture deep in your own mind, why not choose a favorite Psalm or Gospel or epistle passage to memorize? I have a sheet of memorization helps that you can use if you want, but the easiest way to memorize is simply to read 4-6 verses over and over again, day after day. Stick them on your computer monitor, your bathroom mirror, your kitchen sink—wherever you spend a few minutes several times a day—and read them a time or two every day. By the end of a month, you’ll have them memorized. Then, as you’re stuck in traffic or waiting in a line somewhere, say those verses, so that they affix themselves to the walls of your mind, a spot of beauty and light and peace in the midst of the anxious swirl of your thoughts.

How India Changed my Spiritual Practices by Amanda Stevens.

Today’s post is written by MSA summer intern Amanda Stevens. Amanda is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University and works as an Applied Behavioural Analyst doing in-home tutoring for children with autism.

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Taj Mahal India

When I met Christine for the time, our conversation meandered from getting to know each other and the story of how the Mustard Seed Associates began to eventually the topic of spiritual practices. As Christine talked about the importance of adapting spiritual practices to a changing world, I started having flash backs to my time studying abroad for a semester in India.

When I woke up each morning, I made my way quietly up to the roof of our apartment building, it was completely white and lines of laundry floated like banners beneath a flock of pigeons making their unified rounds over the city. This roof is where I came to meet God.  Not long after my arrival in India, I learned that in order for my emotional and spiritual well-being to stay intact, I had to find ways to interweave communion with God throughout my day.

I remember the first day in Coimbatore, India so vividly. We rode around the city in a bus, the comfort of chai and Indian sweets finding their homes in our stomachs, the garland of jasmine wrapped in our hair assuring with a sweet scent, and Bollywood music dancing from the radio as we drove around the city. It was a sensory overload that left me feeling an excitement high. It wasn’t long before this new country started to wear on me though, as I found that every day I could go from an emotional high to a despairing low in less than an hour. There would be days where we would drive in our bus through the country and I would be filled with hopelessness that there was this much darkness in the world as I saw children, adults, and animals all with starved bodies, streets caked with garbage, a group of elderly women pick pocketing, and then, that same day, find myself at a joyous wedding or a local community dance or religious festival. I was being pulled in both extremes with no firm foundation to center myself.

The landscape of India was completely different from the landscape of my home and, as a result, the ways in which I encountered and interacted with God were reshaped. I began claiming time in the mornings to awake in God’s presence; this is how I found myself on the roof every morning. I would walk the perimeter of the roof very slowly and chant a prayer to myself “Give me peace like a river, give me joy like a fountain, give me love like an ocean.” Some mornings if there was a particular concern on my heart, I went and sat on the veranda breathing in the incense from the courtyard and simply waited for God to speak to me, and he did.  It would have been easy to get carried away by all the events happening each day but making that space to meet God each morning was my way of arming myself for the day.

Every other weekend, our group would travel to a neighboring city or state and so again I had to adjust my spiritual practices; this usually involved journaling which I practiced everyday as a way to remain insightful of how God might be speaking to me. But I would also carry a verse or an image God had placed in my heart. In particular, I remember one weekend trip in which I woke up the night before with a severe stomach illness but chose to go on the trip the next morning anyways. It so happened that our bus ride involved speeding up a windy hill while dodging monkeys, other travelers, and broken down buses that couldn’t quite make it; this did not help the state of my stomach. But I held on to the verse Psalm 139:5-10 “you both precede and follow me”, knowing that God was there to meet me around every corner, and somehow my stomach sickness remained under control and rather than ride in worry, I rode in wonder witnessing some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.

I ended my days in the same way I started them, by heading up to the roof, but my cue was actually the local Muslim call to prayer. India is packed with so many different religions, and for most Indians, religion interweaves and connects into every aspect of their lives and culture. In my adjustment, I found myself letting the local traditions and culture direct and open new ways of engaging with Christ. So whenever I heard the call to prayer, I let it be a reminder to me as well and I would go up to the roof and sing God’s praises over the city; letting my praises to God reinvigorate me with strength while also establishing a connection with the land that God had placed me in.

Whether we realize it or not, the landscape of where we are at in our lives is changing. Now that I am home, my spiritual practices have readapted again, though some things have remained and my heart remains open to new ways that the Lord wants to connect with me.

What are some of the ways that God has been creatively inspiring you to reshape your spiritual practices according to your changing landscape?