Monday, June 30, 2014

Desire for the Everlasting Hills

“...All this time I’ve felt the ‘desire for the everlasting hills,’ or at least their poetics, their aesthetics, which I ascribed to my mother in my poems. And suddenly that ‘desire for the everlasting hills’ became something more than poetry, became a prayer, a quest for the road from darkness into light. Desire—is love. And the ‘everlasting hills’—are undying beauty, the Always that does not deceive.”
~Anna Kamienska

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Search Me, O God

Search me, O God,
And know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior,
Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be
Some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord,
For cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word,
And make me pure within.
Fill me with fire
Where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire
To magnify Thy Name.

Lord, take my life,
And make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart
With Thy great love divine.
Take all my will,
My passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord
In me abide.

O Holy Ghost,
Revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival,
Start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

~Words: J. Edwin Orr; based on Psalm 139:23 & Music: Maori melody; arranged by Robert Douglas

Friday, June 27, 2014

An Interesting Idea

“As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.”
~Zach Helm

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Worship

 
(Picture found here)
Light beginning again in the east,
superstitions of nuthatches and finches,
heartbreak of robin’s eggs.

Tell me about that colour.

Not this mud-light tipped from a rain barrel,
this wet earth knotted into a rope,
loose twist of water,
loose twist of darkness.

No. This other,
this speckled light,
this fawn light born at dawn,
this sun light
peeking under rhubarb leaves,
over fences
and into windows.

Light of the meditative eye
reflective and peaceful,
hinged open.

Blessed wind breaks.
Blessed barn,
blessed animals.

Let Him come.

~Heidi Garnett
 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stepping Westward

“I am, a shadow
that grows longer as the sun
moves, drawn out
on a thread of wonder.
If I bear burdens
they begin to be remembered
as gifts, goods, a basket
of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me
in fragrance. I can
eat as I go.”

~Denise Levertov

Monday, June 23, 2014

Joy and Peace in Believing

Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord who rises
With healing on His wings;
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
To cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation
We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God's salvation,
And find it ever new;
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say,
E'en let the unknown to-morrow
Bring with it what it may!

It can bring with it nothing,
But He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing,
Will clothe His people too;
Beneath the spreading heavens
No creature but is fed;
And He who feeds the ravens
Will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither
Their wonted fruit shall bear,
Though all the field should wither,
Nor flocks nor herds be there:
Yet God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice;
For, while in Him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.

~William Cowper

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Depth...

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been His counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to Him
that He might be repaid?”

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory for ever. Amen
~Romans 11:33-36

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lauds, Summer: An Antiphon

It never grows old, this sun rising here
every morning
As much as I ever wanted
anything, listen:
birdsong, a dying language
Practice
its rise and fall, its
loss, familiar
as the body
You can never
get close enough
to the ground to pray
Long blue heron, sunslant
on the underwing
armfuls of butterfly weed
and orange
Holy, holy this morning, here
and gone

~Jeanie Tomasko

Friday, June 20, 2014

Trials and Steadfastness

"Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
~James 1:2-4

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Ineffable

“...to become aware of the ineffable is to part company with words...the tangent to the curve of human experience lies beyond the limits of language. The world of things we perceive is but a veil. Its flutter is music, its ornament science, but what it conceals is inscrutable. Its silence remains unbroken; no words can carry it away. Sometimes we wish the world could cry and tell us about that which made it pregnant with fear--filling grandeur.

Sometimes we wish our own heart would speak of that which made it heavy with wonder.”
~Abraham Heschel

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Examination

“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”
~William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rejection of Coercion

“...In the famous Grand Inquisitor section [of] The Brothers Karamazov, the inquisitor ... tells a disguised and imprisoned Jesus that he made a mistake in the desert by resisting the three temptations. When tempted, Jesus refused the power to win human beings over by providing bread, dazzling them with miracles, or coercing them by earthly power.

The inquisitor says Jesus made himself too easy to reject by refusing to use these powers. In fact, the inquisitor pronounces, ‘if there has ever been on earth a real stupendous miracle, it took place on that day, on the day of the three temptations.’ By resisting those temptations, Jesus declined the use of coercive and manipulative tactics and provided the opportunity for a human decision made in freedom.

The desire to entertain and coerce – whether in the mega church, the multi-site campus, or the prayer meeting – nullifies the very freedom Christ came to establish. In his rejection of coercion, Jesus created the basis for human freedom...”
~Jeff Meyers

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Treasure

“How happy we would be if we could find the treasure of which the Gospel speaks; all else would be as nothing. As it is boundless, the more you search for it the greater the riches you will find; let us search unceasingly and let us not stop until we have found it.”
~Brother Lawrence

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers

“When your father told you, walking about the garden, that bees stung or that roses smelt sweet, you did not talk of taking the best out of his philosophy. When the bees stung you, you did not call it an entertaining coincidence. When the rose smelt sweet you did not say ‘My father is a rude, barbaric symbol, enshrining (perhaps unconsciously) the deep delicate truths that flowers smell.’ No: you believed your father, because you had found him to be a living fountain of facts, a thing that really knew more than you; a thing that would tell you truth to-morrow, as well as to-day.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, June 14, 2014

O God, Almighty Father

O God, Almighty Father,
Creator of all things,
The Heavens stand in wonder,
While earth Thy glory sings.

Refrain:
O most Holy Trinity,
Undivided Unity;
Holy God, Mighty God,
God Immortal, be adored. 

O Jesus, Word Incarnate,
Redeemer most adored,
All Glory, praise and honor,
Be Thine, our Sov'reign Lord.
(Refrain)

O God, the Holy Spirit,
Who lives within our souls,
Send forth Thy light and lead us
To our eternal goal.
(Refrain)

~Words: Anonymous (Trans. Irvin Udulutsch) & Music: Gott Vater Sei Gepriesen, Limburg Gesangbuch

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Children's Song

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.

~R. S. Thomas

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

After Prayers, Lie Cold

Arise my body, my small body, we have striven
Enough, and He is merciful; we are forgiven.
Arise small body, puppet-like and pale, and go,
White as the bed-clothes into bed, and cold as snow,
Undress with small, cold fingers and put out the light,
And be alone, hush'd mortal, in the sacred night,
-A meadow whipt flat with the rain, a cup
Emptied and clean, a garment washed and folded up,
Faded in colour, thinned almost to raggedness
By dirt and by the washing of that dirtiness.
Be not too quickly warm again. Lie cold; consent
To weariness' and pardon's watery element.
Drink up the bitter water, breathe the chilly death;
Soon enough comes the riot of our blood and breath.

~C. S. Lewis

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fluttered Wings

The splendor of the kindling day,
    The splendor of the setting sun,
  These move my soul to wend its way,
      And have done
With all we grasp and toil amongst and say.

  The paling roses of a cloud,
    The fading bow that arches space,
  These woo my fancy toward my shroud;
      Toward the place
Of faces veiled, and heads discrowned and bowed.

  The nation of the awful stars,
    The wandering star whose blaze is brief,
  These make me beat against the bars
      Of my grief;
My tedious grief, twin to the life it mars.

  O fretted heart tossed to and fro,
    So fain to flee, so fain to rest!
  All glories that are high or low,
      East or west,
Grow dim to thee who art so fain to go.

~Christina Rossetti

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Come, Holy Ghost

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in our hearts take up Thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high;
Thou fount of life, and fire of love,
And sweet anointing from above,
And sweet anointing from above.

O Holy Ghost, through Thee alone,
Know we the Father and the Son;
Be this our firm unchanging creed,
That Thou dost from them both proceed,
That Thou dost from them both proceed.

Praise we the Lord, Father and Son,
And Holy Spirit with them one;
And may the Son on us bestow
All gifts that from the Spirit flow,
All gifts that from the Spirit flow.

~Words: Rhabanus Maurus & Louis Lambillotte

Friday, June 6, 2014

He cares for you

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
~1 Peter 5:6-11

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Miracles of Our Lord

“In all His miracles Jesus did only in miniature what His Father does ever in the great. Poor, indeed, was the making of the wine in the … pots of stone, compared with its making in the lovely growth of the vine with its clusters of swelling grapes-the live roots gathering from the earth the water that had to be borne in pitchers and poured into the great vases; but it is precious as the interpreter of the same, even in its being the outcome of Our Lord’s sympathy with ordinary human rejoicing.”
~George MacDonald

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thistles

“I remember one thing that happened when he was a little boy. Talking about thistles brings it to mind. He was about five years old. ...[He] was hopping about in the dust like a sparrow, playing some kind of game, singing silly songs—you know the way children do. I was bored by the adults and so I watched him.

He spied a thistle plant blooming against the back wall of a house and went over to it, very interested, as if it were a rose of Sharon. He held the prickly bloom in his hand and stared at it. I wondered if he was addled in his wits, for everyone knows thistles and hates them, and I would guess that he had seen more than enough of them even at so young an age. But you would think he had never seen one before. For the longest time he stood very quietly without moving, holding it. It makes me wince just thinking about it. Then his mother noticed and put down her jug and went to him. I went too. He turned and showed her the blossom he held in his hand. There were drops of blood on his fingertips. She said something to him, and he let it go. She wiped his hand with her apron.

Then he did the strangest thing. He bent over and kissed the blossom, and that must have hurt him. When he straightened up he turned toward the wall of the synagogue, which is just down the street from the well. He bowed to it. Then he smiled. He had a nice smile. His eyes were nice too...”
~Michael O’Brien (from the novel Theophilos)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Gratitude

"I answer that, ...gratitude regards the favor received according the intention of the benefactor; who seems be deserving of praise, chiefly for having conferred the favor gratis without being bound to do so. Wherefore the beneficiary is under a moral obligation to bestow something gratis in return. Now he does not seem to bestow something gratis, unless he exceeds the quantity of the favor received: because so long as he repays less or an equivalent, he would seem to do nothing gratis, but only to return what he has received. Therefore gratitude always inclines, as far as possible, to pay back something more."
~St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Gift of Fear

“Love and fear. These must be the accompaniments of our way. When love banishes fear, fear itself is changed into love (St. Gregory of Nyssa). It is the fear of a child who loves his Father without reserve, and who will allow nothing in the world to distance him from that Father. Then the soul understands better the infinity which separates it from God and at the same time its condition as a child of God. Never until now has it trusted more in God; never, either, has it respected and venerated Him more. When the holy fear of God is lost, the sense of sin becomes diluted or vanishes. Then tepidity easily enters the soul. It fails to discern the power and majesty of God, and the honor due to Him. ...

Among the principal effects which the fear of God works in the soul are detachment from created things, and an interior attitude of vigilance to avoid the least occasion of sin. The soul acquires a particular sensitivity to discern whatever can grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30).
~Francis Fernandez

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Crown Him With Many Crowns

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His piercèd feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

~Words: Mat­thew Bridg­es & Music: George El­vey