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Evening Prayer – 9 December 2018

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Another busy Lord’s day is over

What a blessing to be in worship with our Community

Bells were ringing and the congregation was singing

Prayers for peace were lifted

In this season of so much commotion

We must respond to your call, O Lord

To slow down and simply be in your presence

Be still and know

Reveal to us in this season your way of peace

In your mercy, Lord, hear this humble prayer

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Sermon – The Way of Peace – 9 December 2018

First Reading – Malachi 3:1-4

Second Reading – Luke 1:68-79

Sermon – The Way of Peace

Evening Prayer – 8 December 2018

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

A busy day is completed

From fellowship, food, and laughter

To walking with a family through the Valley of the Shadows

To time spent in reflection and preparation

As my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you, Lord

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

In Spite of it All – Angels Still Sing

God with us, Emmanuel! Thanks, Shirley!

A Pastor's Heart

Luke alone tells us of Mary’s journey to her cousin Elizabeth’s home after she learns she will be the mother of the long awaited Messiah. There must have been something about Mary’s face, a light – a radiance, that wasn’t there before. Elizabeth is moved to greet her with wonder.

Mary for her part cries out with joy, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for God has looked with favor on me – the Mighty One has done great things for me . . . and holy is God’s name. God’s mercy is for those who fear the Lord from generation to generation. . . . God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. . . . has brought down the powerful from their thrones . . . and lifted up the lowly; . . . has filled the hungry…

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simplify: seeking a more ethical approach to Christmas

Thank you, Joy ❤️

Poetry Joy

simplify - seeking a more ethical approach to Christmas @poetryjoy.com

As I sit with the world at my fingertips, I marvel yet again at the wonder of internet shopping at a mere click. Christmas means I get to buy my favourite people gifts from the comfort of my own home. Yet the relative ease can lull me into a false sense of security and control. Simplicity of consumption can mean loss of the ability to simplify.

Truth is, we’re all in danger of getting sucked into advertising hooks and consumerism’s greedy clutches. It’s all too easy to buy more than we need and neglect to think about its effect on us and the world in general. Though it’s vital that we don’t ignore it.

I’m a bit of a “it might come in useful one day” type of hoarder, truth be told. I’m also a wannabe declutterer and minimalist, who rarely has energy enough for the task. A baby taking…

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The Way of Peace

In what seems like a lifetime ago, we took a quick trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a brief respite. This is a statue of St Francis and the Wolf in the Cathedral square. The Way of Peace is often associated with St Francis of Assisi and the prayer attributed to him. As we wandered the streets of the city I truly did feel a sense of peace in my own heart and soul. It was a time of refreshment that we both needed.

My Mom had died the previous November and Denise had pretty much been her constant companion and hospice nurse in addition to caring for my Dad. We had also come off of an incredibly intense time of ministry walking with so many parishioners and friends through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. We had hoped that the break in Santa Fe would be healing and that we would see a turn for the better, personally and professionally. Sadly, this was not to be… less than a month later, Denise’s Mom died and once again, Denise was the constant companion and caretaker for her Mom and for her Dad. In the midst of it all, I continued to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with parishioners and traversed the country as ministry called.

This past week, I was fortunate to be on a Presbyterian CREDO retreat for pastors who are approaching the transition to retirement. I was definitely on the young end of the spectrum, but we all had our stories about walking with parents, parishioners, and family members through the difficulties of life and aging. For many of us, it felt weird to be away from our congregations for the First Sunday of Advent. Yet in our worship, fellowship, study, reflection, and prayer we found ourselves on the Advent journey with colleagues who would become dear friends by the end of the week together.

This Advent journey, like so many before has its sense of familiarity as the old stories are heard once more. It also has the familiarity which we have come to be all too aware of in terms of the Valley of the Shadows. I buried a stranger today after a brunch fellowship at our church. As I talked with and got to know the family and John’s widow, I discovered their deep roots in Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Even though they lived down on the Front Range, there was history for them here that went back several generations. As they shared stories about John and the family members, a stranger became a friend. As we worshiped and prayed at the cemetery, I was reminded again of the promise the Psalmist gives us. We read together the 23rd Psalm and it was a reminder to each one of us… even though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death, we are not alone. We had come to the cemetery as strangers… we left as family bonded together by a shared sense of loss and buoyed by the presence of the One who walks with us through the Valley.

One of the blessings of the week at CREDO was the limited amount of news we saw. We were encouraged to detach and simply be in the Lord’s presence… to hear the Lord’s voice… to sense the gentle nudging of the Spirit. Yet we came back into the world… a world filled with 24-hour news cycles of sensationalism and fearmongering… continued insanity coming out of Washington, D.C. and around the world.

This Advent season we have been focusing on the Magnificat or Song of Mary from Luke’s Gospel. My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. (Luke 1:46-48) In a time of great turmoil (how do you think it felt for Mary to be given the news that she was to have a baby and that Joseph wasn’t the father?!) Mary was able to lift praises to God and sing of her assurance that God was with her and with the oppressed and the downtrodden.

The theme for this second Sunday of Advent is peace. That is, in part, why the verses from Malachi struck my heart as I began to prepare for tomorrow’s sermon. Malachi speaks of the redemption of the people and the restoration of their offerings. That sounds to me like peace and reconciliation. That is also the message of hope which Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, shared in his prophecy.

Zechariah speaks of a mighty savior who will rise up from amongst the people This savior would rescue the people and restore their worship and their freedom. The most beautiful part of Zechariah’s prophecy comes in the closing verses. It speaks of hope and of peace in a time of darkness.

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I sure need to hear these words of promise and hope again and again and again. In the midst of the darkness that is both physical and spiritual (December 21st is the longest night of the year and the skies are often overcast… plus at times like this, Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression creep into the darkness) we need a reminder of light, life, and hope. In this time of hatred, animosity, fear, and greed we need a reminder of peace.

As we continue this Advent journey, my prayer for each of you is that you will join with me and allow the tender mercy of our God to give us light and guide our feet into the way of peace.

Evening Prayer – 7 December 2018

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

A time of reflection and prayer

A time of preparation and expectation

An evening of fellowship

A time to remember

To remember Pearl Harbor

To honor our WW2 Veterans

A time to pray for peace

And now, as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you, Lord

Dona Nobis Pacem et in Terra

Grant Us Peace on Earth

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…