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Evening Prayer – 12 November 2018

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Meetings and Fellowship

Teamwork and Ministry

You call us to serve, Lord

You call us to share your Word

You call us to walk with all of your children

What a humble honor and privilege

Lord, give us strength for this journey

Lord, give us compassion

Lord, in your mercy, hear this humble prayer

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Anger Danger

Well said, Ronnie

Ronnie McBrayer

Beale“We all know things are bad – worse than bad – they’re crazy,” began the fictional Howard Beale in the film entitled, “Network.” An emotionally disturbed news anchor whose life had begun to unravel, Beale revitalizes his career by “articulating popular rage.”

He advises his audience, “I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.”

And then, delivering one of the more classic lines in the history of all cinema, Beale (played by Oscar winner Peter Finch) says, “I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head…

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Evening Prayer – 11 November 2018

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

A day filled with snow, fireplaces, and worship

Time as well to pause and remember

In the US this is Veterans Day

In the UK this is Remembrance Day

I have felt the contradiction before

Today, as a Veteran, I remembered

I remembered officiating at services in England

Listening to the bell toll for each member of the lost generation

So many butchered and so many haunted by the horrors of that war

A War to End All Wars… really?

The Great War… really?

Ask a Veteran

Ask those who tried to survive in the midst of the horror

Ask civilians caught in the middle

There is nothing glorious about war

Lines from the Service of Remembrance haunt me

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

We will remember them

I will remember the haunting cries of the dying

I will remember the haunting cries of the dead

I will remember the haunting cries of those caught in the middle

I will remember that war is never the answer

I will remember that hatred cannot drive out hatred

That only love can do that (MLK, Jr)

Lord, at the end of the day, I remember

I remember the call of Micah

Do Justice

Love Mercy and Kindness

Walk Humbly with you

I remember the call of your prophet Isaiah

We shall beat our swords into plowshares

We shall beat our spears into pruning hooks

We shall no longer lift up our swords against another

Our nations shall study war no more

Lord, especially on this night, this is my fervent prayer

Dona Nobis Pacem et in Terra

Grant Us Peace on Earth

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Sermon – 11 November 2018

First Reading – 1 Kings 17:8-16

Second Reading – Mark 12:38-44

Sermon – From the Heart!

From the Heart!

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It only took three years, but I finally caught one of our elusive neighbors with my camera! This pika was busy gathering “hay” for the winter burrow when we saw it near Rock Cut. The more I have learned about our little furry friends, the more I am in awe of what such wee creatures can do. They also have shown me how delicate our ecosystem is not only in Rocky at the higher elevations, but also around the world. The pika work so hard to make sure they have enough stored up to make it through the winter months and changes in weather patterns can really throw them off.

I have seen this in my own life as well. When I was stationed in North Dakota and England, the long winter nights and lack of sunlight really played havoc with my depression. Last winter, there seemed to be more overcast days than had been in previous winters and I noticed the difference. Thankfully, time spent in search of our wild friends in Rocky has help me tremendously. While the pika may spend a lot of time scurrying around all year long, their friends the marmots seem to have more time to simply enjoy the sun. This particular pair, who we found on the same trip into the park where we found the pika, seemed to be enjoying the sun and relaxing. Spending ten minutes or so with them helped me tremendously.

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We just got back from a much needed vacation that didn’t involve any sort of work. It was good for my heart and for Denise’s heart to simply be with each other and slow down the pace a bit. At times, I felt much like this pelican!

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Yet, like the busy pika, we came back to a busy schedule. Veterans Day observances, a Funeral, Worship, and a slate full of meetings before heading to Minnesota to check on my Dad. All of a sudden, I felt a lot less like the Marmots and the Pelican and much more like the pika! Yet when I look at the two readings for tomorrow, it helps put perspective on what is going on in my life. I am not discounting the effects of depression and exhaustion… the effects are very real. What I am saying is that meetings, ceremonies, and the like pale in comparison to what the two widows in the readings faced each and every day. They also pale in comparison to what the family who lost a loved one is going through.

In 1 Kings 17:8-16 Elijah is sent by God to visit the widow of Zarephath. What Elijah didn’t know was how desperate the situation was for the widow. She was gathering sticks to prepare her last meal for she and her son with the last of the supplies so that they could eat the meal and then die. Somehow Elijah convinced her to take the last of her supplies and make him something to eat. She took all that she had and prepared the cakes for Elijah and her family. Everything that she had… she offered to the servant of God… and God provided! When I talked with the family at the funeral this afternoon, I didn’t try to sell them a bill of goods or tell them that all would be well. We talked about the emotional and spiritual roller coaster which death can bring. What I could promise them was that through the storm, God would be with them… that the peace which Christ offers is not like peace with conditions such as what happened on November 11, 1918 when the Armistice was signed. It is a peace which would guide them through the storm.

The Northumbria Community’s Celtic Benediction which I use at the conclusion of worship talks about such a peace and presence. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you. May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. That was the sort of peace which Elijah brought from God to the widow and her son.

When we move to the reading from Mark 12:38-44, we see a different take on life. Jesus and the disciples are sitting outside of the treasury watching as folks bring their offering to the Temple. Like the widow in 1 Kings, the poor widow put everything she had into the treasury. They both gave, not out of any sort of excess, but gave completely to God. In the words of the old offertory hymn — We give thee but thine own. What ‘er the gift may be. All that we have is thine, O Lord. A trust O God from thee.

I know that there are times when I feel like I have given all that I have to give. Times when I feel like I am completely wrung out and empty. That happened in the Air Force on Deployments or when the Operations Tempo was high and our staffing was critically low. It has happened when the call for another hospital crisis rears up and I find myself in the car headed down the mountain or elsewhere in other ministerial postings. Yet at about the time I feel like I have nothing left, the Spirit steps in. I may not be in as critical a condition as the two widows, but at times I just feel empty.

Tonight is another example of this provision. I had sunk into the couch and into a funk. Drained and empty, the last thing I wanted to do or felt like I could do was to write. The Spirit stepped in and before I knew it, She was guiding my heart and my fingers over the keyboard. Like my friend the pika, I discovered what I needed to get through this block or funk. I found the “hay” I needed to sustain me!

The promise of the Benediction does come through if we are truly open to the leading of our Lord. May that same promise bring you, dear reader, through whatever storms life has thrown your way. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you. May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May he bring you home rejoicing, at the wonders he has shown you. May he bring you home rejoicing, once again into our doors. May the Peace of the Lord Christ Go With You

burden: chained by circumstance but freed by grace

Brutally honest and so on target…. thank you for sharing and for persevering, Joy ❤️

Poetry Joy

burden - chained by circumstance, freed by grace

There are days when our burdens, be they physical or emotional, become impossible to ignore. Days when we feel consumed by the weight of them. Chained to our hard circumstances. Dragged down into a dark place.

I prefer not to talk too much about having chronic illness, although it’s an inescapable fact that faces me each day. It demands enough. It has stolen too much. So much that I tend to want to ignore its presence and pretend I am fine, doing okay, even when I’m not.

It feels better to plaster a smile on my face and seek to maintain a positive outlook on life. It seems less bothersome, less of a burden to fight the good fight of faith and try not to yield to dismay. Or give in to self-pity.

But sometimes? Sometimes I am just too tired to fight against the pain. Sometimes I just want…

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The Inclusive Gospel of Luke – John Valters Paintner

The Gospel of Luke is the most inclusive of the gospels, giving more time to women and the outsiders, and so portrays a very down to earth Jesus.”

 — John Valters Paintner, MTS The Wisdom of Mary and the Sacred Feminine – An Online Self-Study Retreat