Saturday, December 5, 2020

Watch

 

Watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. Mark 13:35, 36


Watch.

Watch out.

Watch and be ready.

We learn in Advent, once again, the call to watchfulness.  To being awake, to being attentive.  To being mindful of the moment.  The moment is too important for "multi-tasking," too important for distractions.  The only way to prepare for this watchfulness is to practice mindful prayer, contemplation of this very moment, and openness to what life has for us now.  

Watch.

Stay Awake.

pmc+

Friday, December 4, 2020

Giving from the heart

 


Luke 21:1-4

21He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’


Jesus knew that it was the giving that matters, and that when we give from our own selves that the gift will be truly given.  Merely giving a "bit off the top" of our abundance and surplus is rather different than giving of our essence, and giving from the depth of our hearts.  We are asked to give from the heart, whether it is our time for our families, our friends, our neighbors.  Or, even when it is for other, those outside our regular circles. From where do you give?   And, to whom to you give?

Helpful to reflect on our giving in this time of need and suffering.  What would Jesus have us do?

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Thursday, December 3, 2020

3 December 2020 ~ "Let us find our rest in Thee"

 




"Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee."


Reflection

Perhaps like no other year, we are longing for this time to be over.  Longing for the lockdown to be opened.  Longing for a vaccine.  Longing for "normalcy."  Hoping.  Preparing.  Waiting.

This Advent, we wait for much.  Much that is particular to this time, but also we await God's appearing, in Jesus.  "Come, Thou long expected Jesus."  And he will come.  The glory of God will come to us.  The promises will be fulfilled.  We will find our rest in God. 

As we pray, hope, prepare, and await, may we have the faith that we do not hope in vain.  

"From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in thee!"

pmc+

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

2 December 2020 ~ Happy are they



119:1-8 

Aleph Beati immaculati

1 Happy are they whose way is blameless, *
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Happy are they who observe his decrees *
and seek him with all their hearts!
3 Who never do any wrong, *
but always walk in his ways.
4 You laid down your commandments, *
that we should fully keep them.
5 Oh, that my ways were made so direct *
that I might keep your statutes!
6 Then I should not be put to shame, *
when I regard all your commandments.
7 I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, *
when I have learned your righteous judgments.
8 I will keep your statutes; *
do not utterly forsake me.


Reflection

Happy are they whose ways are blameless! Of course, who can claim that their ways are always blameless?  Not many, perhaps, not any of us, I am sure.  But, then, we aim to walk in God's ways not matter what.  We see God as our ultimate guide and path, and we strive to walk in God's footsteps.  Psalm 119 praises the gift of statutes, rules, and guidelines.  We have a natural inclination to rebel against rules, perhaps.  However, these are gifts to us.  The tradition which Jesus inherited was one in which the law was seen in tandem with the prophets, and that the law gives us a guide for living.  This guide is not unlike the painted lines on the road, giving us guides within which we aim to go.  These laws, these guidelines, give us the gift of being ultimately Happy; ultimately Joyful! May we see that God desires to see us happy and well!  May we walk in the ways of the Lord.

pmc+

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

1 December 2020 ~ Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness

 


Psalm 5


1 Give ear to my words, O Lord; *

consider my meditation.


2 Hearken to my cry for help, my King and my God, *

for I make my prayer to you.


3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; *

early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.


4 For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, *

and evil cannot dwell with you.


5 Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; *

you hate all those who work wickedness.

6 You destroy those who speak lies; *

the bloodthirsty and deceitful, O Lord, you abhor.


7 But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will

go into your house; *

I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.


8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness,

because of those who lie in wait for me; *

make your way straight before me.


9 For there is no truth in their mouth; *

there is destruction in their heart;


10 Their throat is an open grave; *

they flatter with their tongue.


11 Declare them guilty, O God; *

let them fall, because of their schemes.


12 Because of their many transgressions cast them out, *

for they have rebelled against you.


13 But all who take refuge in you will be glad; *

they will sing out their joy for ever.


14 You will shelter them, *

so that those who love your Name may exult in you.


15 For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; *

you will defend them with your favor as with a shield.



Reflection

Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness,

There will be times when we experience threats.  There will be times of stress.  There will be times when we can’t find the way.  Our psalm today reminds us that we can turn to God.  We can cry out to God in order that we might know the way: “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.”  I remember long ago driving in a blinding rainstorm, and just barely being able to see the road right in front of me.  There was no way I could have picked up a map to get some direction, and this was decades before we had GPS systems to tell us the way.  Of course, what we did in those moments was to slow down, to manage our own stress, and know that we could even pull over and wait it out, if needed.  Our way ahead is not always clear, and our humanly made maps are sometimes of no help at all, and there is no spiritual global positioning system on which we can rely.  However, we can slow down, we can pull to the side, and we can turn to God.  “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.”  Of course, the characters we will meet once again in this season of Advent each took time to turn to God:  Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, the shepherds, the visitors from the East.  We too have the opportunity also to turn to God in the midst of it all.  Can we take a moment?  Can we slow down a bit?  Can we turn aside and wait?  “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.”


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Monday, November 30, 2020

+ 30 November 2020 ~ Taste and see that the Lord is good +

Psalm 34

34   Benedicam Dominum


1 I will bless the LORD at all times; *

  his praise shall ever be in my mouth.


2 I will glory in the LORD; *

  let the humble hear and rejoice.


3 Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD; *

  let us exalt his Name together.


4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me *

  and delivered me out of all my terror.


5 Look upon him and be radiant, *

  and let not your faces be ashamed.


6 I called in my affliction and the LORD heard me *

  and saved me from all my troubles.


7 The angel of the LORD encompasses those who fear him, *

  and he will deliver them.


8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; *

  happy are they who trust in him!


9 Fear the LORD, you that are his saints, *

  for those who fear him lack nothing.


10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger, *

  but those who seek the LORD lack nothing that is good.


11 Come, children, and listen to me; *

  I will teach you the fear of the LORD.


22 The LORD ransoms the life of his servants, *

  and none will be punished who trust in him.






Reflection

“Taste and see that the Lord is good”

Of course for many of us this season of Advent, culminating in Christmas,

is full of all sorts of tastes which remind us of times past, perhaps, but ultimately

can remind us that the Lord provides, and that the Lord is good.  The season marked

by special foods, perhaps, from our parents and grandparents, and reminders of the

season may come through certain types of cookies, pastries, candies in Advent

Calendars, and specially made recipes.  For me, I am reminded of the season when

I think of the Scandinavian traditions passed down to me by my maternal

grandparents.  Piles of cookies, pickled herring, Wasa bread, Swedish meatballs

were among the flavors. 


Taste and see that the Lord is good. 

What sorts of tastes remind you of times past? 

What types of foods, or music, or practices remind you of the ways that God has

provided for you? 


Taste and see.  The Lord is Good. 


Especially this year, in this strange and stressful 2020 we all deserve to taste and see,

and to be reminded that, no matter what, the Lord is Good! 


pmc+


Sunday, November 29, 2020

+ 29 November 2020 ~ Keep awake +


Collect for Advent 1 

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Mark 13:24-37

Jesus said, “In those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,

and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send 

out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.


“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.


“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 


Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”



Reflection

As the days grow shorter, and the light of the day changes so dramatically, today’s Collect may have particular relevance, “put on the armor of light.”  In addition, in this quite remarkably strange and difficult year of 2020, we may also have had plenty of occasions to work with diligence on our preparedness.  In the gospel from Mark, we hear what is known as Mark’s “little apocalypse,” which lays out images of those last days.  Mark is keen to remind us that no one knows the timing, except for God.  So, we are cautioned to “Beware”...to “keep alert.”  And likely this keeping alert will be to tend our light, the light that is in us, the light with which we share the love and joy of Jesus with the world.  Remembering those “wise bridesmaids” who had plenty of oil for their lamps, we also need to tend our own bodies, our minds, our spirits.  For, after all, we have no idea when the time will come for us, be it a time of need, a time of action, or, in the end, our time to go to that heavenly rest.  So, in this time of Advent, when we prepare, of course, for the yearly remembrance of Jesus’ Incarnation, we also prepare ourselves.  We are offered a sort of a mini-Lent in which we can clear away the muck, we can tend to our light, and we can set aside those things which get in the way.  So, put on the armor of light, acquire oil for your own lamp, and stay awake, for good things are happening, and God is in the midst of them.  


pmc+


Watch

  Watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning, lest...