Whether you are looking to inspire others, or deepen your own spiritual life, these music offerings may be the perfect fit.
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.
You are welcome here. This is your space. This is a safe space. A space to remind yourself who you are and why you're here. A space to wind and unwind; to retreat and to advance; to withdraw and to move out refreshed. A space to be apart from other people and yet to be aware that you are sharing the space with them, that they are walking alongside you; that their journeys touch yours.
As I am pondering the approaching of this Lenten season, and gosh it seems too early, I am wondering, what do I want Lent to be about this year? What do I want to/need to focus on? How can I use the gift of this Holy Season to be more intimate with God?
If we are going to be present to Jesus' real presence - and not just virtually present - we need to find practices for "being there," living life as an ongoing invitation from God. Lent can be a great help to retrieve, recover, redeem what is most important to us, yet may have gotten lost along the way.
Do I nip at the hand that is feeding me, loving me, nurturing me, providing me sustenance on many levels? Do I tempt that hand, seeing if it will indeed go away?
We have entered the most holiest of weeks for Christians and will soon be enveloped in the Triduum - three days of prayer in preparation of the greatest feast of the church year.
I think I failed Lent this year. I started out pretty good. 7:30 am Ash Wednesday service, morning meditation as usual. But something happened along the way, and it just sort of got away from me.
Whatever vehicle is chosen to focus our prayer, the Gethsemane watch presents us with a superb opportunity to teach faithfulness in prayer and discipleship. "Could you not keep awake one hour?" were the words of Jesus in reproach to his hapless followers in the first Gethsemane.
For many, Lent and guilt are synonymous. Lent is the yearly opportunity to reflect on our “wrongness,” purge guilty consciences and practice self-denial, so one might live unfettered by these weighty topics the rest of the year.
Sometimes we need to acknowledge that our small, finite, frail human existence requires that we stand in awe of the Creator and just appreciate who we are, where we are in our faith journey and what God has spread before us.
We begin the season of Advent November 27th this year. The first Sunday of Advent is also the first Sunday of a new church year. It marks the end of the old Church year and the beginning of the new. The word advent comes from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival.” In Advent we are waiting for the coming of the birth of Christ. In our own lives, Advent can be a special time of learning to wait and slow down.
Around this feast cluster so many associations that a wide variety of images can prompt meditation.
During Lent, with Holy Week coming closer and closer by the minute, I always find myself reflecting on the cast of characters that accompany Jesus to the cross and to his resurrection. Every year, the disciple that I return to and reflect the most on is Judas.
Prayer is communication with God and can occur before a meal, at bedtime, during a worship service, or any time the need or opportunity arises. Silent and spoken prayers are both okay and can be used throughout the day. Prayer is also taking time to listen to what God is saying to us.
I don’t know about other vocations, but I think finding Sabbath time is a strangely hard thing for those of us who work for the church. One would think that we would have time for silence and meditation, worship and praise, rest and re-creation. But it’s hard to find for me, and I bet it is for you too.
As they move on to specific art disciplines, they provide suggestions and exercises intended to take advantage of the unique spiritual perspectives of the individual art forms. Each artistic discipline is rich with ideas that can be used in either group or individual settings. And if that isn’t enough to stir your soul, there are chapters devoted to specific spiritual needs such as periods of grieving, transition, or the cycles of life.
Relationships and devotions are the most important contributors to a sustained faith life for teenagers. Invite your teen to try these devotions, or do them together as a family, during the twelve days of Christmas. The devotions lead to the Day of Epiphany when the magi arrive at the manger to adore the baby Jesus and offer him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
There is the expectation of myself to produce the perfectly decorated house with the sprinkle-covered sugar cookies and the perfect presents perfectly wrapped under the 7’ Christmas tree that it took me hours just to put the lights on, never mind the rest of the stuff.
We’d all benefit from waiting. We would have more time to engage life more deeply, to listen to our beloved more closely, and to come to know ourselves and God. I suspect that many of us realize that. So, how does impatience emerge if it makes us worse off? Economists have a word for behavior that on the individual level makes sense, but ceases to do so when everyone does it. It’s called the "fallacy of composition".