Sunday, December 28, 2008

Too Busy to be at Peace?

It is ironic that during the Christmas season we talk about and sing songs about "Peace on earth," yet there is no busier, frustrating and anxiety-filled time of the year. We have so much to do, so many places to go, so many people to see. With all the commotion we just don't have time to fit this "peace stuff" into our schedule. We say, "I'll sure be glad when the holidays are over so I can rest up."

If you can relate to that and are looking for a little peace in your life, you might want to consider what Thomas a Kempis called "Four Things That Bring Peace to the Soul," or, "The Truest Way of Peace and Perfect Liberty."

1. Study [or endeavor] to fulfill another man's will rather than your own.
2. Choose to have little worldly riches rather than much.
3. Seek the lowest place and desire to be under others rather than above them.
4. Desire always and pray that the will of God may be wholly done in you.

Let's see now. We have: servanthood, self-denial, humility and surrender to God. If that is what brings peace to our souls, no wonder why so many lack it. This is, simply and far too often, contrary to the way we choose to live our lives.

May you take the necessary steps to know, experience and live in the peace of God as you enter the New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Revelation "revelation"

The Book of Revelation, the Revelation of St. John the Divine, the Apocalypse, call it by which ever name you prefer, (but never in the plural - "Revelations" - also, please don't refer to a single Psalm as in the plural , for example, "Turn with me to Psalms 23." Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.) the Book of Revelation has been read, discussed, argued, interpreted, misinterpreted, dissected and analyzed since the day it left the island of Patmos late in the first century.

Usually the Book of Revelation is seen as a prophetic book that foretells what will happen in the final days of the Last Days or at the End of the Age. The number of interpretations of the details of Revelation nearly numbers the number of angelic beings seen in the Book ("ten thousand time ten thousand and thousands of thousands." Of course, I speak hyperbolically.) Yes, I agree, Revelation tells us what will happen with, to, on and in earth and heaven in the future - perhaps near future for us.

But notice something else in the Book. We see a glimpse of Heaven. We get a taste of worship in Heaven and around the Throne of God. Observe the sights and sounds and smells. See the angels bowing in unison; hear them worshiping in unison; smell the incense; note the altar, the lampstands and other sacred articles that are also seen in Jewish Temple-worship. We see structured, ordered and unified worship. We see....... (drum roll please) ........... LITURGY!

This is just an interesting observation that causes me to ponder.

Friday, December 12, 2008

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Another consideration for starting your day off right, would be the Celtic prayer known as "St. Patrick's Breastplate." It is a "Please bless my day, Lord" prayer expanded out to some very specific areas. It is a very power-filled prayer.

We are told in Ephesians 6:11 to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (NKJV) One piece of that armor is the "breastplate of righteousness" (v.14). Perhaps the prayer that follows gives us a glimpse of what St. Patrick looked like getting dressed for battle each morning. Maybe this shows us the intricate details of one of his pieces of armor. You will notice, as in many Celtic prayers, the heavy emphasis of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

I bind myself today to
Mighty strength, invoking the Trinity,
Though believing in threeness,
I confess the oneness of creation’s Creator

I bind myself today to
The power of the Incarnation of Christ and His Baptism,
The power of His crucifixion and His burial,
The power of His Resurrection and His Ascension,
The power of His coming on the Day of Judgment.

I bind myself today to
The power of the love of seraphim,
The obedience of angels,
The hope of resurrection unto reward,
The prayers of Patriarchs,
The predictions of Prophets,
The preaching of Apostles,
The faith of Confessors,
The purity of holy virgins,
The deeds of righteous men.

I bind myself today to
The power of Heaven, the brilliance of the sun,
The radiance of the moon, the splendor of fire,
The flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea, the stability of earth,
The firmness of rocks.

I bind myself today to
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me
God's Host to deliver me,
From the snares of demons,
From evil temptations,
From the lusts of nature,
From everyone who devises injury to me,
Whether far or near, whether few or many.

Today I invoke all these powers
Against every hostile merciless force
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of paganism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that holds the soul of man in bondage.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in my lying, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising.
Christ in the heart of all who think of me,
Christ on the tongue all who speak to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind myself today to
Mighty strength, invoking the Trinity,
Though believing in threeness,
I confess the oneness
Of creation’s Creator.

For to the Father belongs salvation;
And to the Spirit belongs salvation;
And to Christ belongs salvation.
May your salvation, Lord, be with us always.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Take my life... Please!

Ok! So the title of this post is a play on words of the well known Henny Youngman quote and the title of his autobiography. But, "Take My Life" is the title of the the following Frances R. Havergal hymn.

Take My Life

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love

Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King

Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my will, and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine
Take my heart, it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne

Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee

Now, ask yourself, "Is this just a song we sing once in a while in church? Or, is this truly the prayer and desire of my heart?"

Consider printing out the words of this song and and putting them in your Bible to be used as a prayer of personal commitment and dedication of yourself to the Lord. You might choose to do this daily, weekly or simply from time to time. Think about it.