If you are following along, please post your thoughts, concerns, questions in the comments. I am hoping the experiment of “trying on” a Daily Office this week will allow us to engage much more deeply into the offices of Morning and Evening Prayer during our Christian Ed time on Sundays.
Psalm 101 today really spoke to me. It reminded me of advice I often share with others – get rid of the toxic people in your life!
“1 I will sing of mercy and justice; *
to you, O Lord, will I sing praises.
2 I will strive to follow a blameless course;
oh, when will you come to me? *
I will walk with sincerity of heart within my house.
3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; *
I hate the doers of evil deeds;
they shall not remain with me.
4 A crooked heart shall be far from me; *
I will not know evil.”
In the St. Simon’s Cycle of Prayer for Wednesday –Pray for our youth and children, pray for our SS teachers, nursery workers, and all who work with our young people. Pray for Children in Crisis and Opportunity Place. Pray for staff, teachers, and students of Elliott Point Elementary School.
My apologies for posting two reflections today (10/03), but I had a computer malfunction (keyboard! UGH) that kept me from completing the post for Tuesday.
On Tuesday I listened to Morning Prayer as I drove to Pensacola for a gathering at Holy Cross Episcopal church where I am helping them with their stewardship program. The Mission St. Clare website has an audio component where you can listen to Morning Prayer as read at the Episcopal Church of Garrett County, Maryland. Here is the link: http://www.missionstclare.com/english/spoken/morning.html
The OT lesson from Hosea was a tough one!
“4Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel;
for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or loyalty,
and no knowledge of God in the land. …..
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
Once again a warning to the priests! What stands out at me is “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest.”
These words reinforce the calling I feel being put on all of us to work at being better disciples of Christ by study, prayer, worship, and service. Here’s hoping we together develop a holy habit of morning or evening prayer to help overcome any lack of knowledge. May God lead and inspire us all.
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:
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.
(Click an icon above to share this post on your social media)
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.