Do You Memorize Scripture

Book of Kells

Book of Kells

This morning in Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings I read that the early monks memorized a lot of scripture, especially the psalms. It was partly because books were extremely expensive and relatively unavailable, but it was also because learning texts “by heart” provided a reservoir of wisdom within their hearts which was always available to draw on.

How many of us memorize large portions of scripture today? How often do we draw from these inner reserves rather than running to a book or a website for the scriptures we want to reference? Memorizing scripture does lodge it in in our hearts in a way that reading the verses in a book or online never does. The scriptures resonate in our souls flowing out into our bodies and often into our daily thoughts and activities. Lectio divina often accomplishes this same increased intimacy with God through the revelation of God’s word.

So my challenge to you today is – What could you do to lodge the words of God more deeply in your heart? How could you develop a discipline of regular scripture memorization?

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The First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the first day of the liturgical year when we begin that wonderful journey towards the celebration of the birth of Christ and that hoped for future world in which all of God’s creation will be reconciled, renew and made whole.

Tomorrow I will begin sharing the posts that I have received reflecting on What Are We Waiting for this Advent Season? but today I wanted to share the gospel reading for today from the daily readings in the Book of Common Prayer. I love the way it is worded here in the New Living Translation.  It seemed a very appropriate start to our Advent series.

Luke 21: 5 – 19

Jesus Foretells the Future

5 Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6 “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”

8 He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.

More Resources for Lent

Our church – St Albans Episcopal – has decided to use the MSA Lenten guide this year.  Our rector John Leech has put together a list of scriptures that are good alternatives to those in the daily lectionary because they relate to the themes of each week.    There are also some possible songs that relate to some of the themes

First Week of Lent: Journey into the Brokenness of Our Inner Selves
2 Samuel 12:1-15 Nathan confronts David with his offense against God
John 3:1-21 Jesus tells Nicodemus about being born again

Tara Ward’s song “Broken” fits perfectly here
http://www.belovedschurch.org/hope/broken.php

Second Week of Lent: Journey into the Brokenness of Hunger
Matthew 25:31-46 At the last judgment, Jesus says, “I was hungry and you fed me…”
Luke 16:19-31 the rich man and Lazarus

Third Week of Lent: Journey into the Brokenness of Homelessness
Isaiah 58:6-12 the fast that I choose… bringing the homeless into your house
Luke 2: 1-20 the theme of ‘las posadas’ – no room at the inn

Fourth Week of Lent: Journey into the Brokenness of Creation
Genesis 1:1-2:3
Isaiah 45: 12, 15-18, 21-23
John 1:1-15
Revelation 4:11
Job 38 ff

Fifth Week of Lent: Journey into the Brokenness of God’s Family
*Colossians 1: 9-21 firstborn of creation, head of the body; you have now been reconciled
Acts 2:1-17 the birthday of the church
John 17 that they may be one as we are one
John 15:1-16 – I am the vine, you are the branches; abide in me
John 13:1-14 Jesus washes the feet of the disciples

For the week on homelessness Joan Andenes thought of a song Harry Belafonte sang on his Christmas album

Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide
Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide

The foxes have a hole, the birdies have a nest
The Son of God, He don’t know where to lay His sweet head.

Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide
Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide

There was room at the inn
For the merchants that day,
But Joseph and Mary had no place to stay.

Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide
Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide

Then a star in the heavens,
The message did bring!
The tiny Babe in swaddling cloth, was Jesus the King

Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide
Jehovah, Hallelujah, the Lord will provide

http://www.rhapsody.com/harry-belafonte/harry-belafonte-christmas

Let your Justice Flow like a River

I have just started to prepare the programme for our upcoming Celtic retreat on Camano Island August 9th.  This is one of my favourite events of the year.  I particularly enjoy getting ready for it as it makes it possible for me to reflect on my own life and is often also a time for learning from God and enriching my faith.  I thought that you might enjoy this prayer that I wrote last year for the Eucharistic service that we ended with.

(Adapted from Psalm 72:1-10, & Amos 5:24)

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry

Please help those of us who are rich to be honest and fair just like you, our God.

May we who have such abundance be honest and fair with all your people, especially the poor.

Let peace and justice rule every mountain and fairness flow as a river that never runs dry.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry

May we your people defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them.

May we be as helpful as rain that refreshes the ground, to those who are treated unjustly.

Let the wholeness and fairness of your kingdom live forever like the sun and the moon.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry

Because you our God rescue the homeless and have pity on those who hurt

May we who are rich stand up for the poor and let peace abound until the moon fades to nothing.

Let God’s kingdom of justice and fairness reach from sea to sea, across all the earth.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry