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Sojourners Verse and Voice – 18 March 2021

Verse of the day   Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2she
Voice of the day 
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. – Arthur Ashe
Prayer of the day  
O God, we pray that you would cultivate within us a soul that finds joy in our service to others. May we always have eyes that see the needs of our communities and the will to strive to meet them.

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 26 January 2022

Verse of the day 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 

– Psalm 51:10
Voice of the day 
It takes vulnerability and openheartedness to listen. These are good and holy qualities. 

– Rev. Jes Kast
Prayer of the day 
Remind me of the holiness of listening. Help me to approach with a spirit of vulnerability and openheartedness.

All is Clothed in Divine Light – Henri Nouwen

image and quote courtesy of the Henri Nouwen Society

God exists, and the meaning of all that I am depends totally on that knowledge. I wonder constantly if I am genuinely allowing my life to be determined by that truth. Maybe part of my reason for hesitating to embrace this truth fully is that it challenges me to give up all control over my life and to let God be God, my God, the God of my neighbor, and the God of all creation. But I also realize that as long as I do not “do” this, my life is an illusion and most of my energy is spoiled in trying to keep that illusion going.
Does all this mean that my thoughts, plans, projects, and ideas no longer matter? That conclusion has been drawn by people who used the spiritual life as a way to manipulate others, and that conclusion has led, sadly enough, to false views on asceticism, obedience, surrender to God’s will, and certain forms of self-denial. The converted person does not say that nothing matters anymore, but that everything that is happens in God and that he is the dwelling place where we come to know the true order of things. Instead of saying: “Nothing matters anymore, since I know that God exists,” the converted person says: “All is now clothed in divine light and, therefore, nothing can be unimportant.”

Evening Prayer – 25 January 2022

The night sky and Orion over our back deck

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It has been a good day for contemplation

It has been a good day to reflect on the past

It has been a good day to simply enjoy the present moment

It has been a good day to look to the future

This Compline prayer from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer came to my heart unbidden

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

That is indeed my humble prayer

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from your Padre…

Pace e Bene – 25 January 2022

image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“Everywhere one turns, in jail or out, with prisoners, with movement people, with militant clergy persons, dove politicians, well-meaning bureaucrats of all denominations and hues, the big question is, ‘What will it (action) cost me?’ Rarely is the question turned around to become, ‘What will it cost me if I don’t act?'”—Phillip Berrigan

The House of Love – Henri Nouwen

“Do not be afraid, have no fear,” is the voice we most need to hear. This voice was heard by Zechariah when Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, appeared to him in the temple and told him that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son; this voice was heard by Mary when the same angel entered her house in Nazareth and announced that she would conceive, bear a child, and name him Jesus; this voice was also heard by the women who came to the tomb and saw that the stone was rolled away. “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid.” The voice uttering these words sounds all through history as the voice of God’s messengers, be they angels or saints. It is the voice that announces a whole new way of being, a being in the house of love, the house of the Lord. . . . The house of love is not simply a place in the afterlife, a place in heaven beyond this world. Jesus offers us this house right in the midst of our anxious world.

Pilgrimage – Christine Valters Paintner

“Pilgrimage demands preparation. There is much letting go that needs to happen. Packing bags means we need to discern what to carry with us and what to leave behind. This is one of the great gifts of pilgrimage; an invitation to discern what is essential.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within

What kinds of attitudes, beliefs, expectations and stories you tell about yourself need to be released to travel with only what is essential for your life?

News from the Padre

Brother Sun sets each day with the promise to rise again tomorrow ♥️

Well folks, it’s on the Church’s Facebook page so here is the story. It isn’t long but it is important for Denise & me.

Y’all know what we have been dealing with the past year in terms of family, culminating in the death of our sweet Pixie. It goes back further than that but this is where we are.

When a pastor’s spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental batteries are drained and the same goes for his partner in faith, life, and ministry, one reaches a critical crossroads. We have been so focused on taking care of family and parishioners that we sort of forgot to take care of ourselves.

This reminds me of the class we took on Sabbath through Columbia Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s Spiritual Formation program. We had to ask for extensions on our final papers because, you guessed it, we had flunked Sabbath!

Well, here we are… in desperate need of time for healing and sabbath rest. Since I cannot be the pastor that Carrollton Presbyterian Church needs, it isn’t fair to either of us for me to continue. I have resigned my position as pastor and my last Sunday is February 6th. Our prayers are with our CPC family and we are thankful for the many prayers so many of our spiritual companions on the way continue to offer.

Since it is a sabbath rest and we don’t want to flunk that class again, we will not be moving right away. Somehow packing up, selling a house, and moving doesn’t sound very restful 😉

We trust in God to guide us and show us the road we will travel. To take the first step without seeing the rest of the stairway is liberating, not frightening.

In the words of Thomas Merton—You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope. (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)

p.s. I guess this was longer than I said it would be! Go figure 🙄😉🤣

P.P.S. To our Austin friends, Dad doesn’t know yet. We will be traveling up to Minnesota shortly after the 6th and tell him in person.

The Spiritual Life – Henri Nouwen

…the spiritual life can be lived in as many ways as there are people. What is new is that we have moved from the many things to the Kingdom of God. What is new is that we are set free from the compulsions of our world and have set our hearts on the only necessary thing. What is new is that we no longer experience the many things, people, and events as endless causes for worry, but begin to experience them as the rich variety of ways in which God makes his presence known to us. — Henri Nouwen

Pace e Bene – 23 January 2022

image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“What we have experienced and are still experiencing must surely convince us that the spirit is everything and that institutions count for very little. The best planned improvements in the organization of our society cannot help us at all until we have become at the same time capable of imparting a new spirit to our age.”—Albert Schweitzer

Walking in the Lord’s Presence – Henri Nouwen

To walk in the presence of the Lord means to move forward in life in such a way that all our desires, thoughts, and actions are constantly guided by him. When we walk in the Lord’s presence, everything we see, hear, touch, or taste reminds us of him. This is what is meant by a prayerful life. It is not a life in which we say many prayers, but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said, or understood independently of him who is the origin and purpose of our existence. — Henri Nouwen