Category Archives: Let us Pray

Links to daily prayer with occasional comments

Daily Office help

 

Currently at St. Simon’s I am leading a class on the Book of Common Prayer. This is, partially, in response to the General Convention resolution calling upon the church to more intenseley and intentionally live into the 1979 BCP.  My class is going into much greater depth than my typical Confirmation/Inquirers class.

To that end we are taking a good long look at the Daily Office. This past Sunday I challenged the class to say Morning and/or Evening Prayer every day this week and then we can talk about what that was like for them, what questions they have, how the experience of this type of prayer time was, etc. I also showed them some online and smart phones tools they could use if they so desire. That list is below:

Daily Office

Links and Apps

Websites:

Fr. David’s blog:

http://itinerantpriest.org

Daily Office

http://missionstclare.com/

https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/

https://dailyoffice.org/

http://www.stbedeproductions.com/breviary/

Lectionary

http://satucket.com/lectionary/

APPS:

Mission St. Clare free, Android too

My Daily Office

Forward Day by Day $7, Android too

eCP $10, Android too

Anglican Hours

Daily Office Lectionary

Mobile web site: http://www.stbedeproductions.com/breviary/mobile/

All the Paths of the Lord

 

9All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness *

to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

These words from Psalm 25, appointed for today, echo in my mind. Often when I am counseling people who are faced with difficult decisions, I tell them that I believe God honors our decisions when we enter into them carefully AND prayerfully. By that I mean there may always be several options but paralysis of analysis keeps us from choosing, or we give into the anxiety, terrified of making a “wrong” choice. God of course can work with and through and bless whatever choice we make, if it is a decision made in prayer and one in line with God’s “covenant and testimonies”.

I can certainly relate. During the months of discerning and searching for “what’s next” as my interim time at St. Paul’s was wrapping up, I felt myself giving in to the anxiety. But I can honestly say in the last couple of months I felt much of that anxiety leave me. Part of it was the tender love and care the people and leaders of St. Paul’s offered me, part of it was my wife’s unwavering belief that “all will be well”. And a big part of it was practicing what I preach, offering it all up to God and believing what the Psalmist wrote – all the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness to those who keep God’s covenant and testimonies.

It sounds simple. It’s not. We are all human and the unknown worries us. No doubt about that. So God often helps us along the way. In my case, it was the love and generosity of my parish that helped calm my soul and gave me space to “let go and let God”. I am forever grateful to them.

Now we know what we didn’t know. I am excited and delighted to join with Christ Church in Pensacola as their Interim Rector. When we left Delray Beach, we moved into temporary quarters that are only 25 minutes away from Christ Church. As we were driving a uHaul with all our possesions out of Delray Beach and wondering what was next, I received a call from their interim search chair to see if I could come to Pensacola for an interview. He had no idea I was going to be living so close.

All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness.

Amen.

Venite

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In my daily prayers, I have returned to using “Venite”, an amazing prayer book put together by Robert Benson, a writer friend from Nashville. Benson has managed to produce a remarkable book which includes daily offices (morning, noon, evening, compline) arranged in ways that make them very assessable to anyone desiring a more disciplined approach to daily prayer, all in one book (which he states was his goal. In fact he wrote the book for his own prayer discipline and much later decided to publish it).

The offices include Psalms, Canticles, and Collects for the day of the month and/or the church season. For readings he includes sayings of Jesus for each day of the month. It is simple to follow and quite lovely as well as practical.
The book may be out of print but I found my copy on Amazon. It’s simply named “Venite” as it is itself a call to prayer. I highly recommend it.

Using a book such as this allows us, just like saying Morning or Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer (from which Benson draws much of his prayer rhythm), to join our own prayers with those of people all over the world. And I think now is a good time for us to do so. Praying changes us. Jesus knew this about us. It’s why Jesus told us two things about other people – first we should pray for our enemies. Praying for our friends was easy, he said, let’s expand that to include even those who do us harm. And he asked us to pray for, as we all called to love, our neighbors as ourselves. Then, doggone it, he went and expanded that too in the story of the Good Samaritan. So today, in light of the evil news we seem to be bombarded with each day, I have tried to expand my prayers as Jesus expects, as Jesus calls us to do.

It’s not easy. It does make a difference. I commend it all to you.

I will close with the final verse of Benson’s version of the Song of Zechariah:

In your tender compassion, the morning sun has risen upon us – to shine on us in our darkness, to guide our feet into the paths of peace.

Uncertainty

We live in anxious times. There is nothing new about this. From terrorist attacks and threats to economic concerns to the almost weekly mass shooting to ebola to the so-so-so-long election season, we are bombarded by crisis, by worry, by doubt. Our elected leaders seem to have lost all will to lead from strength, from compassion, from love of others and instead knee-jerk react in the ways they feel the most voters will appreciate. This is not leadership. I wish every elected leader at every level would read Ed Friedman’s “A Failure of Nerve”. Ordained leaders need to do the same. I know I do. I return to it often.

So what should the people of God do? We remember. In the service of Morning Prayer available online at missionstclare.com, the First Song of Isaiah is one of the chosen canticles for today. You know it. I know it. And today, I need it – to help me remember:

Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely, it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid.

For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense,*

and he will be my Savior.

Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing, from the springs of salvation.

And on that day you shall say, Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;

Make his deeds known among the peoples; see that they remember that his Name is exalted.

Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world.

Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy,

for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

My sure defense, the prophet Isaiah says. The defense, however, is not from bullets or disease, as much as we would love that. The defense is from being conquered by despair, from allowing our very natural fear to overwhelm our faith. Our defense is remembering our salvation and then acting in ways that God expects even when we are worried and afraid. Especially then. By taking care of the stranger, the poor, the orphaned. By being living examples of people of God making God’s deeds known among all the people. We are called, my friends, to be in the world but not of it, remembering the great one in our midst is the Holy One. Surely it is God who saves me, I will trust in God and not be afraid.

That’s my morning prayer today. 


The Countdown has begun

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The last few weeks have been amazing, challenging, rewarding, beautiful. And scary. We welcomed grandbaby number two on October 23rd – the beautiful Eliza James Dreyfus arrived at 8 lbs 11 oz of smiles and sweetness (she really does smile a lot). Daughter Chelsea is doing well and was a laboring rock star. My wife, the labor/delivery nurse, and John, Chelsea’s husband and the amazing Eliza’s Dad,  were labor coaches supreme and after two hours of difficult labor, following a night of induction, Eliza arrived and our world is brighter because she is here.

Her cousin Juby, now 5 months old and an incredible delight to us all, was there to greet her (along with his mother, Mackenzie, my middle child) and Uncle Joseph came up a few days later to meet his niece. John’s parents were there of course and his two brothers and their families welcomed Eliza soon after birth. I spent a few days at their home before returning to Delray and Jennifer is on her way right now. On her way to the countdown.

November 8th marks my last day at St. Paul’s. This week, just as the others leading up to it, has been filled with lots of hugs and some tears. We have begun counting off the  “last things” – last Day School board meeting was last week, last Vestry is this Sunday, last Day School chapel will be Tuesday, each day bringing some more “last times”.  Two sermons to go, one baptism, one funeral, lots of farewells, some wonderful celebrations, and not a small amount of sadness will be the order of the week. I really love these folks. St. Paul’s is an amazing place and the Reverend Paul Kane will be really blessed to be their Rector. And they have done well in calling Paul, he will do wonderful work alongside some pretty special people.

Meanwhile the question of the day/week/month continues to be – “so, where are you going? Have they assigned you to your next church yet?” Many Episcopalians are confused about how discernment and search processes work and most assume interims are just assigned a new spot when one ends. Of course for a lot of interim priests it does kind of work that way – although not assigned they do readily move from one interim position to the next. My interim time here has been much longer than anticipated (to our delight), but I have been unsuccessful thus far finding my next cure. I do not necessarily want to do another interim gig, but I am not opposed to that if the right fit comes along. It is staring into the unknown that is difficult.

Difficult, but not distressing. For we know we have been called and as St. Paul urges us in Ephesians, we do our best to answer the call, to live, as he begs, “a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. We do not always live up to such lofty aspirations, in fact I rarely do.  It is the journey that matters, the reaching for the goal, the attempt to practice what we preach, the hope and faith and trust that God is in the midst of all this and we will in time understand fully what we now can only wonder.

And we are not alone, nor is this only about whatever “church job” I can find. Jennifer is now an official, board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Goodness she worked so hard to earn her degree and pass boards – despite much adversity and disruption in our lives, she reached for something she thought was beyond her capability (although her family never doubted), and she GOT IT. She has lived a life worthy of the calling to which she has been called and has much to offer the world as a PNP. Maybe our next stop focuses on her work. We just don’t know. We just move on in faith.

This week will test us. This is the hard stuff. Lots to celebrate, lots of necks to hug and times to remember and prayers to offer and blessings to give and receive. We have been so blessed to wander with such an amazing body of Christ and community for a short while. I will miss this place terribly. Yet the countdown is winding low. The time has come. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

(stay tuned for a post on “breath of life” prayer, which I am leaning on pretty hard right now. Lord Jesus, show me your way).