Saturday, November 17, 2012

Prayer of the People

We are celebrating today Thanksgiving.
Giving thanks to You, our Creator and Sustainer,
For all You have given us and continue to give us. 
More importantly, we are thankful for the days that you stand by us.
We know the strength of Your love.
Today, we ask you to extend this strength to others.
We raise to you people who are hurting, suffering, and are in need of your nursing heart.
Watch over those that are sick, facing surgeries, or waiting for test results.
Grant the doctors overseeing these cases sure hands and keen minds.
We lift up those that are facing life transitions and we ask You to act as their personal Sherpa on their journey.
Guide them as they journey through change and transformation.
Protect them along the way.
We trumpet to You the celebrations of people known to us.
We pray that you will bless and support these positive changes in their life.
We call to Your care not just individuals but nations, groups of peoples, and all of nature.  We ask You to watch over all.
Today we have specifically named:
(Please feel free to comment below if there is someone you would like us to pray for)

Asking You to hear their specific issues and to care for them in Your wisdom.  We trust in Your ways.  Knowing that You have sacrificed for us.  
We know that you walk with us in sorrow, in our fears, in our joys, in our triumphs, and in our losses.  
We call out to you because we know You listen, and we remember that You cared for us so much that You sent Your only son to walk among us. 
He taught us to pray together saying  . . . 
Our Father, who art in heaven,
 Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

For those of you, like me, who believe that God inspired the Bible, but that it was written by man (and frankly and historically I do mean man, not mankind), here are two good books that start to pull apart some of the historical, linguistic, and cultural concepts that we have to consider when we read and attempt to interpret the Bible.  I have read both of these and have found them both to be insightful.  You may not agree with everything they have to say, but they bring up points that you should at least consider.

Do you have any book suggestions that have helped you to better understand the word of God?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Scriptural Meditation - Take One


 Today was the first day of my offering of Scriptural Meditation to the church that I am serving as a student minister.  The meditation is sculpted around a Lectio Divina style reading of scripture, but like my mandala drawing, there is no real interaction with the people present.  The reflection and consideration of the scripture is supposed to be personal between you and God.  Our reading today was based on Psalm 1, but you can choose any short passage.  Here is the structure of the meditation as I walked participants through it. After we have gathered, welcomed each other, and lit the candle to symbolize welcoming God into our presence, the facilitator can begin.  Be sure to encourage everyone to find a comfortable position.  I personally sit cross legged on the floor, but I arranged some chairs also.

"Listen first to the reading .  Hear the word of our Lord.  After I finish reading it, we will pause for two minutes to reflect silently on what we have heard."  Read scripture of choice. Find a way to time two minutes so that even you are not interrupted.  I found a great Tibetian bowl timer as a free app on my phone. After the two minutes, read the following.

"Listen again to this reading.  What phrase or word is call to you.  Grab a hold of the phrase as I read the Psalm again.  Keep the word or phrase in your heart.  After I have finished, hold your word or phrase in your mind.  Let the word or phrase wash over you.  Mull on it.  Contemplate it.  Repeat it within your mind.  We will sit with our individual words or phrases for 5 minutes." Read the scripture again slowly and clearly. After the five minutes, take a deep breath and return.

"I am going to read this passage one more time.  You have heard the words.  You have found a word or phrase that is calling to you.  Now reflect on what God is saying to you.  These verses have been read by many, but the Spirit that is speaking through these words is speaking only to you.  Feel the words as I speak them again.  Feel God within you, moving you.  Hear the message you are meant to hear within these words.  Sit with this feeling for the next 12 minutes.  Let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts." Read the scripture again.  Time 12 minutes. 

"Slowly finish your thoughts.  Bring your mind back to the present.  Let your body feel the ground below you.  Hold on to  your thoughts on this scripture.  While our time to meditate together is ending, you should carry this time, these thoughts, God’s words with you throughout the day.  Let the mediation of God’s words never be far from you."  Remind people that part of a spiritual practice is exactly that "practice".  It may have been very difficult to be still that long or keep focus.  They may not have "felt God" over the ache in their hip.  Encourage them though to continue with this practice multiple times before judging it.  Close together.

"Let’s take three full breaths together and then together, 'Thank God for being with me today.  Amen'"

I hope you will try this practice, if not with a group then within the quite time of your life.   We do a lot of talking to God, rarely are we quiet enough to listen to His response.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

God's Path - One Humble Depiction

We are embarking on a very exciting new journey.  While apparently completing my field education was not enough this year, I have decided to work with my minister and some other local ministers to launch a new conversation on our relationship with God.  This conversation is going to occur at a local coffee house.  We are going to base some of our first conversations around the Phoenix Affirmations.  To start the conversation, we asked, "What does God's path look like?"  This was my answer to the question. I would say that my response more accurately represents, "What does our path to God look like?"

How would you respond?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Religion and Art - Where do they intersect?

As we explore the intersection of Art and Religion, or perhaps I should say faith, we should consider those who have mastered the task.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jesus against religion?

I don't necessarily agree with all this man says, but he certainly brings up some important conversation points for all who believe:

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word from bball1989 on GodTube.


Dear God,  Join us today in Your home.  Let us recognize Your gracious welcome and Your abundant hospitality.  Help us to extend the same extravagant welcome to others that You have offered to us.  Let us recognize that we might act as a footpath guiding or as the lamppost illuminating the way for others to Your door.  Give us the strength to proclaim Your welcome and to invite others to your open doors.  Amen