Advent Daily Devotional: Day 7

Sat, Dec 5 – DAY 7

Lighting the candle requires multiple tools and actions. Hands to manipulate the match and candle. Fuel to ignite the spark. Oxygen to feed the flame. All these elements exemplify interconnection and dependency on each other in order to move from potential to reality.

            Hope permits us to seek connection and support. Hope suggests that we are never alone. God is present to us. And we are designed to be in community with others.

            Tangible hope shows up as relationships. Embodied by family, friends, and community. Showing up through family, partners, companions, classmates, collaborators, colleagues, care providers, mentors, peers or acquaintances. Put into practice by churches, schools, workplaces, classrooms, creative spaces, teams, workshops, clubs, charitable organizations, or public agencies.

            Hope invites vulnerability and models strength through these connections. Hope admits that we require help. Says we don’t know all the answers or have enough resources to do it alone. Acknowledges that we belong to each other and need each other. Hope reaches out to offer or opens up to receive support and connection.

— Rev Gail

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your words. — Psalm 119:147

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Maya Angelou

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela

Reflections on forms of lay ministry: gifts of the spirit and where you may be called to serve & support others.

Reflections on forms of lay ministry: gifts of the spirit and where you may be called to serve & support others. Our church’s deacons will give the sermon and explore this theme at this week’s worship service. Based on passages from letter from Timothy.

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see if, seeing meant
That you would have to believe in things like heaven
And in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?
— Joan Osborne (excerpt from song lyrics)

Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment,
to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
Peace is all around us in the world and in nature, and within us;
It is in our bodies and our spirits.
Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed.
It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of practice.
— Thich Nhat Hahn

Helping Others with our Gifts of the Spirit:
Everyday People as Ministers, Servants, Saints

…You don’t have to be famous, or perfect, or dead.  You just have to be you—the one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated human being whom God created you to be—to love as you are loved, to throw your arms around the world, to shine like the sun.  You don’t have to do it alone, either.  You have all this company—all these saints sitting right here whom you can see for yourself plus those you cannot… all of them egging you on, calling your name, and shouting themselves hoarse with encouragement.  Because you are part of them, and they are part of you, and all of us are knit together in the communion of saints … — Barbara Brown Taylor

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Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle

Inspired by recent ski races, upcoming Olympic games, and today’s Superbowl Sunday, we discussed how we might pray during competitions or periods of conflict, stress, and struggle. We discussed forms of prayer or reflection that might center us at these times:

  1. For Preparation (becoming focused and ready to engage in the experience)
  2. For Support (intercession for comfort, strength, gifts and resources to go through the game, the contest, the stressful or conflicted situation)
  3. For Others (teammates, competitors/opponents, allies/friends, families/fans, coaches/teachers/mentors, colleages, etc)
  4. For Gratitude (thankfulness in the midst of challenge)

People sat at tables during brunch church, picked a scripture from among the collection of Bible passages in baskets at the table, and discussed their selected passage’s potential as a resource for prayer or reflection. People discussed how they might categorize the text among the four possible prayer opportunities above (prayers for preparation, for support, for others, for gratitude).

Here are the scriptures below. They were selected based on themes of athletes and contests, strength or vigor, images of body, gifts and blessings, victory and triumph, weakness or loss, and other such key ideas that might intersect with times of competition and challenge, conflict and struggle.

Is there one that resonates for you?

Continue reading “Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle”

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