Saturday, December 20, 2014


Advent is . . .
Longing and looking
Waiting and watching
Attentive anticipation
Earnest expectation
Patient preparation
During this season of hope we look back on, remember, and celebrate what many generations only dreamed of and longed for - the Incarnation of the promised Messiah. But we not only look back, we look forward to another promise, that of His return. 
Never lose that sense of expectancy that Advent is about!
Don't lose heart!
Hold fast to the hope!
May this Christmas bring you, your family, and your church God's richest blessings. May His favor be abundantly poured out on you and all you hold dear.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Happy Holidays!

"Happy whatever-your-holidays-might-be!"

For me:
it was Thanksgiving,
currently is Advent,  
soon will be twelve days of Christmas,
followed by Epiphany.

I don't presume that you would know that, nor do I assume you will remember that, so, "Happy Holidays!" will be just great.

When you smile at me and wish me a "Happy Holidays!" I will intentionally "keep Christ in Christmas" by kindly and simply saying, "Why, thank you! May your holidays be happy as well." A big part of "keeping Christ in Christmas" is keeping His grace in Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A True Advent Hymn

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is truly a hymn for Advent. The earnest desire for the One who would come as Israel's Deliverer is seen in every verse. This longing and hoping, watching and waiting is what the spirit of Advent is all about. Originally written in Latin in the 12th century, this hymn was translated into English by John M. Neale in 1851. Neale originally translated the first line, "Draw nigh, draw nigh, Em­man­u­el."

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death's dark shadows put to flight.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, thou Root of Jesse's tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Remember Christian Soul


Remember Christian Soul 


That today and every day you have

God to glorify.

Jesus to imitate.

Salvation to work out with fear and trembling.

A body to use rightly.

Sins to repent.

Virtues to acquire.

Hell to avoid.

Heaven to gain.

Eternity to hold in mind.

Time to profit by.

Neighbors to serve.

The world to enjoy.

Creation to use rightly.

Slights to endure patiently.

Kindnesses to offer willingly.

Justice to strive for.

Temptations to overcome.

Death perhaps to suffer.

In all things, God's love to sustain you.
~ ~ ~ From St. Augustine's Prayer Book

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Note to Husbands and Fathers

Husbands and fathers, your family needs to feel safe when they are with you. You are to be a place they can run, knowing you will protect and care for them. There is something seriously wrong if your family dreads being near you, never knowing if they can trust you to be the man you are meant to be. If they are afraid of being around you, you are a miserable failure at this game we call life.

Are you a bully around your family, or a bully toward anyone, for that matter? Being a bully and being a Christian are not compatible. You are called to lead by example in humility, servanthood, and Christlikeness. You are not called to rule with an iron fist.

Love your wife. Love your children. Make sure they never have a reason to doubt your love and never have a reason to be afraid of you.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." - 1 John 4:18

Monday, October 27, 2014

On the Lives of Early Christians

Some scholars date this wonderful work as early as 130 a.d., while others, mid to-late second century.

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

Chapter V - The Manners of the Christians

Christians are not distinguished from other men by country, language, nor by the customs which they observe. They do not inhabit cities of their own, use a particular way of speaking, nor lead a life marked out by any curiosity. The course of conduct they follow has not been devised by the speculation and deliberation of inquisitive men. The do not, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of merely human doctrines.

Instead, they inhabit both Greek and barbarian cities, however things have fallen to each of them. And it is while following the customs of the natives in clothing, food, and the rest of ordinary life that they display to us their wonderful and admittedly striking way of life.

They live in their own countries, but they do so as those who are just passing through. As citizens they participate in everything with others, yet they endure everything as if they were foreigners. Every foreign land is like their homeland to them, and every land of their birth is like a land of strangers.

They marry, like everyone else, and they have children, but they do not destroy their offspring. They share a common table, but not a common bed.

They exist in the flesh, but they do not live by the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, all the while surpassing the laws by their lives.
They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned. They are put to death and restored to life.

They are poor, yet make many rich. They lack everything, yet they overflow in everything. They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor they are glorified; they are spoken ill of and yet are justified; they are reviled but bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if raised from the dead. They are assailed by the Jews as barbarians; they are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to give any reason for their hatred.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Walking with Grief

The following thoughts are beautifully written by  Andy Raine, one of the founders of the  Northumbria Prayer Community, and found in the book Celtic Daily Prayer.

Do not hurry as you walk with grief;
it does not help the journey.
Walk slowly, pausing often:
do not hurry as you walk with grief.
Be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden.
Swiftly forgive; and let Christ speak for you unspoken words.
Unfinished conversation will be resolved in him.
Be not disturbed.
Be gentle with the one who walks with grief.
If it is you, be gentle with yourself.
Swiftly forgive; walk slowly, pausing often.
Take time, be gentle as you walk with grief.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Architectural Theology

The other day I picked up a book at a thrift store which should prove to be an interesting read: "Ugly as Sin," by Michael S. Rose. It is a book about church architecture as it relates to our worship experience. The author, addressing the subject from a Catholic perspective, writes about how churches have been reduced from "sacred places" to merely "meeting spaces." He uses the term "architectural theology," which I found to be very thought provoking. What follows is a short excerpt from the Foreword that I thought was interesting.

    "Church architecture affects the way man worships; the way he worships affects what he believes; and what he believes affects not only his personal relationship with God but how he conducts himself in his daily life.
    "In other words, church architecture is not negligible but significant, not the concern only of architects but central to your life and mine."

As I work my way through this book I'll share interesting tidbits along the way.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Powerful Words from a 20th Century Martyr

Oscar Romero, martyr of the church in El Salvador, said, “A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth—beware!—is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel’s call.”
~ ~ ~ from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Celtic Blessing

Bless to me, O God,
the earth beneath my feet,

Bless to me, O God,
the path whereon I go

Bless to me, O God,
the people whom I meet,
today, tonight, tomorrow. Amen. - unknown

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Valley of Vision

The following prayer is taken from the book The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett

The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, 
    where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; 
    hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. 
Let me learn by paradox 
   that the way down is the way up, 
   that to be low is to be high,
   that the broken heart is the healed heart,
   that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
   that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
   that to have nothing is to possess all, 
   that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, 
   that to give is to receive, 
   that the valley is the place of vision. 
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
   and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
Let me find Thy light in my darkness, 
   Thy life in my death, 
   Thy joy in my sorrow, 
   Thy grace in my sin,
   Thy riches in my poverty, 
   Thy glory in my valley.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Prayer of Surrender

“Father, I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I will thank you.
I am ready for all; I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, as in all your creatures.
And I’ll ask nothing else, my Lord.” ~ ~ ~ Charles de Foucauld

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas

"O Lord my God,
bestow upon me understanding to know You, 
zeal to seek You, 
wisdom to find You, 
a life that is pleasing to You, 
unshakable perseverance, 
and a hope that will one day take hold of You." ~ ~ ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday, August 1, 2014

Columbanus wrote . . .

Irish monk Columbanus wrote, “Blessed is the time of waiting, when we stay awake for the Lord, the Creator of the universe, who fills all things and transcends all things. How I wish he would awaken me, his humble servant, from the sleep of slothfulness, even though I am of little worth. How I wish he would enkindle me with that fire of divine love. The flames of his love burn beyond the stars; the longing for his overwhelming delights and the divine fire ever burns within me!” - from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Saturday, July 26, 2014

True Repentance

True repentance isn't hanging on to one's present way of life and the world with one hand and reaching toward God with the other; it is letting go of the world and that way of life that one may fully and completely embrace God only. This type of repentance isn't a one-time act, but a daily, continual, deliberate, and life-long practice.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What is Prayer?

What is a Monk?

"A monk is he who directs his gaze towards God alone, and who, being at peace with God, becomes a source of peace for others." -  St. Theodore the Studite

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Purpose of Prayer

I took the liberty and combined four consecutive tweets (from Twitter) from Brian Zahnd on the subject of prayer. It reads as follows:

“We are endlessly tempted to place prayer in the uniquely modern category of self-help. But true prayer is no such thing. Prayer is not a ‘technique‘ for making our lives ‘better‘ as understood by the assumed cultural values of consumerist America. As long as we control the agenda, prayer will be seen as a means of manipulating omnipotence—which is a fair description of idolatry. The primary purpose of prayer is not to get God to do what we think God ought to do, but to be properly formed.” ~ ~ ~ Brian Zahnd

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Offertory Prayer for Pentecost Sunday

on this Pentecost Sunday,
      we celebrate the Gift of Your Spirit.
Immerse us once again in Your River of Living Water.
Like a Might Wind, blow afresh in our lives.
Send the Fire of Your Holy Spirit
      and rekindle our zeal for You.
Now as we bring our gifts and offerings,
      may we always be reminded to offer to You
           the first and finest,
           the choicest things of our lives
           and not merely the leftovers.
Receive, bless, and multiple our gifts
      that others here and abroad
           may hear of Your great love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
      our Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Amen

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Prayer from Saint Augustine

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
~ ~ ~ Saint Augustine

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Truthful Life

"Help me, Lord, to live a truthful life,
a life in which I am guided
not by popularity, public opinion,
current fashion, or convenient formulations,
but by a knowledge that comes from knowing you."
~ ~ ~ Henri Nouwen, Show Me The Way

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Prayer of Abandonment

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this,
O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love
of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve
and with boundless confidence.
For you are my Father.
- Charles de Foucald

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tough Love

Some random thoughts on tough love.

Tough love . . . 
. . . is not mean love. It is still kind and gracious.
. . . has teary eyes not clenched jaws. It is firm, but not angry.
. . . is not judgmentalism under the guise of caring.
. . . is painful and heartbreaking for the one delivering it.
. . . is forgiving, but not permissive.
. . . uses a scalpel, not a machete.
. . . seeks to set people free, not to set people straight.