Monday, November 29, 2010

Sacred Space – Readings for Monday, November 29 through Saturday, December 4.

Sorry, we ran out of books this Sunday! We’ve ordered more but until they get here we will post the readings for each day here. So even if you don’t have a book, you can find them online.

Please remember that all of this material is © 2010 by the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus (so no one can sue me!).

Each day roughly follows this format: The Presence of God, Freedom, Consciousness, The Word, Conversation, Conclusion. Walk through these in order each day and use the Thoughts and Reflections below during “The Word” segment each day.

For each day during the First Week of Advent (November 28 – December 4)

The Presence of God
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.

Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war. I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom. I pray for all prisoners and captives.

At this moment, Lord, I turn my thoughts to You. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word
Please see the daily Thoughts and Reflections for each day below.

Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet You in person, Lord. I might say, “Thank You, Lord” for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me. When through your strength I got through dark times in my life.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Monday 29 November (read Matthew 8:5-11)
Thoughts and Questions for Reflection.

  • Along with the calm authority of the Centurion, there is an extraordinary feeling for his sick servant which leads him to forget his standing as an officer of the occupying power and respectfully be a favor. More than that, he respects the possible reluctance of a Jew to enter a Gentile’s house, and bows to the greater authority he senses in Jesus.
  • Are there any in my life, Lord for whom I would go to such lengths? Yet I am one of those you welcome, who come from east and west to eat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. May I be worthy of that calling.


Tuesday 30 November (read Luke 10:212-24)
Thoughts and Questions for Reflection

  • What have I learned in prayer? What is it that is hidden from the wise and the prudent that I have learnt in the heart of prayer? Can I think over the mystery of prayer in my life and wonder what it has done for me?
  • How has prayer made me who I am? What have I “seen” and “heard” in prayer that I desired? Can I give thanks for all this?


Wednesday 1 December (read Matthew 15:29-37)
Thoughts and Questions for Reflection

  • Things happen around Jesus. People got better, physically and spiritually. In this scene they are healed, fed, and taught.
  • Things happen when we pray, when we journey to a new destination in ourselves, to the part of ourselves where we sing and dance, weep and laugh, cry and reach out to others.
  • Prayer is an adventure. My time in prayer each day is a venture into the uncharted land of love of self, others, and God.


Thursday 2 December (read Matthew 7:21,24-27)
Thoughts and Questions for Reflection

  • You see charismatic preachers who can rouse a congregation to wave their arms, pray with tongues, and chant in ecstasy. That is a blessing, a gift of God that lifts us out of ourselves. But if our lives do not reflect the Gospel, if we do not hear Jesus’ words and act on them, it is empty and false.


Friday 3 December (read Matthew 9:27-31)
Thoughts and Questions for Reflection

  • How could these men, who were blind, follow Jesus if they could not see?
  • How did they know what to ask for?
  • Their faith in him opened their hearts to appeal to him. Their faith opened them to the power in Jesus and they were healed. They knew their need – of God and of others – and did not hide their need and were healed.


Saturday 4 December (read Matthew 9:35-10:1, 6-8)
Thoughts and Questions for Reflection

  • This seems to be a really outgoing gospel: we are to look at the big harvest, the sick, the dead, the outcasts; all the needs of people are part of prayer. It is in care and compassion that the kingdom of heaven comes near.
  • Prayer is one door into the kingdom of heaven, with a door outwards to the world of great need. Advent is a time to notice and to respond to the needs of people in our immediate circle as well in the wider world.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wake From Sleep (Sacred Space – November 28th)

Romans 13:11-2 – “Wake From Sleep”

The Presence of God – Worship today was filled with wonder (at least for me). The children helping to hang Crismons on the tree was a great moment, one memory that I hope to capture and hold onto this Advent.

Freedom – What does Advent (Christ’s coming) mean to captives and persecuted saints around the world? What hope is there in Advent for them? I’m reminded of Jesus words, “If the Son has set you free … you are freed indeed.” (John 8:36)

Consciousness – Advent CalendarWe put up the Advent calendar today.
It belonged to Carol’s family when she was a little girl and we’ve used it every year since John was born. When we gather around as a family it brings back a lot of memories. The felt “ornaments” for the little tree and the tattered pieces of paper with verses of Scripture on them would look tacky and worthless to a lot of people. To me, they are solid gold. It awakened Christmas in me.


The Word – The urgency in Paul’s words hit home with me this Advent. I’ve been praying for a Christmas season unlike any other I remember; for The Christ to invade my life like never before. I want something different this year.

Conversation“Suppose we take these advertisements as a call to pray rather than to purchase.”

I want to wake up to Jesus this Advent in new and powerful ways. I want to leave Advent & Christmas with a new perspective on Jesus, myself and life. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. But it won’t happen unless I walk through this season differently. That will start by focusing myself each day on Jesus – and seeing my entire day through that lens.

Conclusion – This Advent is full of possibilities. I can’t wait to look back in few weeks and see where God has taken me. I’m ready for some change this Advent.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sacred Space – Through Advent and Christmas

Beginning Sunday, November 28th (tomorrow) and lasting through thesacred space Christmas Season; First Saints Community Church will be reflecting on devotions from Sacred Space. We have copies available for free: you can pick one up at worship tomorrow!

As a church body, we’ve done Advent and Lenten devotionals together before and it was a great experience. All of us reading the same piece of Scripture and reflecting on the same themes has led to some wonderful moments. We’ve learned a lot about God and about one another as we’ve shared our stories and our insights from the readings. This Advent & Christmas devotional promises to bring us all together in the same way. It encourages us to find “sacred space” during Advent so that we can hear God’s voice. And any place can be sacred space with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Each day provides something to think and pray about: Invite the presence of God into your day; allow the Spirit to enter your consciousness; allow the Word of God to lead you into the Scriptures; have a conversation with the Creator.

Every other day or so, I’ll be posting my thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. Add your own impressions as God enters your life and makes sacred space.

Pick up the book at worship this week.

~ Godspeed

Friday, November 26, 2010

Grown-Up Christmas List

My 11-year old just gave my wife and I his Christmas list. He said he only included the things he “really needed.” Simply put: Best Christmas List Ever!

  1. 1. Star Wars Lego.
  2. 2. Motor Scooter.
  3. 3. Nerf Gun.
  4. 4. Mind Flex Game.
  5. 5. Anti-Matter.
  6. 6. Cash.
  7. 7. Avatar DVD .
  8. 8. New Bike.
  9. 9. Naruto Figures.
  10. 10. Cell Phone.
  11. 11. Laptop.
  12. 12. Nerf Bullets.
  13. 13. Air Soft AK-47 Machine Gun.
  14. 14. Night Vision Goggles.
  15. 15. New Bed.

Needless to say, I had some questions. And needless to say, he had answers.

  1. 1. “Star Wars. And. Lego. (‘Nuff said)”
  2. 2. “I need a motor scooter because my regular scooter and my bike are too much work.”
  3. 5. “It could be fun.”
  4. 10 & 11. “Everyone at school ….” [You know the rest.]
  5. 14. “They’re just cool.” [I figure he needs them to walk to the bus in the dark at 6:15 a.m.]
  6. 15. “Because the old bed is OLD.”

It’s been a long time since I put together a Christmas list. I don’t NEED anything and as each year passes I find that I WANT less. So much of what I WANT I already have.

It’s still a few weeks off, but what would your Christmas list look like? Full of things you WANT or full of things you NEED? Are there dreams on that list? Some wild visions? Some things that “could be fun?”


Monday, November 22, 2010

Christ the King

Thinking today about the Kingdom of God – on the day following the celebration of Christ the King Sunday …

“What we are watching for is a party and that party is not just down the street making up its mind when to come to us. It’s already hiding in our basement, banging on our steam pipes and laughing its way up to our cellar stairs. The unknown day and hour of its finally bursting into the kitchen and roistering its way through the whole house is not dreadful, it is all part of the divine lark of grace. It is not our mother-in-law coming to see whether her wedding present china has been chipped. He is a funny old uncle with a salami under one arm and a bottle of wine in the other. We do indeed need to watch for him but only because it would be such a pity to miss all the fun.” ~ Robert Farrar Capon.

In another context he says this about analogies like the one above: “It is, I grant you, a crass analogy; but crass analogies are the safest.”

~ Godspeed

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stomping on the Promises

Are you committed to the Promises of God or to the Person of God?

The answer to that question is an important one. It reveals much about our relationship to Christ and how we approach our day-to-day life as a disciple. The difference between the two commitments is huge!

If you are committed to the Promises of God, then you are focused on God fulfilling your purposes. The Promises of God are true and dependable but, they aren’t the focus. If they are  then you’re focused on what God can do for you – and that’s the wrong focus. They aren’t the reason to follow. They aren’t the driving force behind discipleship.

If you are committed to the Person of God, then you are focused on fulfilling God’s purposes. The focus shifts away from you and toward God (where it belongs!) – that’s the right focus.

Acts (13:36) says that David “served God’s purpose in his own generation.” That’s our calling, too. Yours and mine. We are to “serve God’s purpose.” God isn’t here to serve ours and when we put God’s promises above God’s person we get a lot of life confused.

A lot is happening right now in my life and my family that I don’t like; things that I’d prefer I not have to deal with. At times, I’ve found myself waving God’s promises in His face – not “standing on the promises,” more like "Hey, God you owe me!”

It’s good to be reminded that its not about me – a lesson I’ve learned before but one that’s easily forgotten. It’s about God and God’s purposes. When I get that right a lot of others things find their right place.

So life can bring whatever it wants to bring.

~ Godspeed

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gaps & Silences

I’ve been wondering why its so hard for me to get into any kind of rhythm with the postings on this blog. It’s not for lack of anything to talk about! There are plenty of things that cross my mind throughout the day and I think, “What a great post that would be.”

In fact, that may be a large part of the problem right there. There are lots of ideas, but I’ve observed over these last couple of months that opinions and ideas aren’t really welcome. We’ve just come through an election cycle that’s been as ruthless as any since Andrew Jackson’s. But even on a personal level, things are venomous. The simplest Facebook status or posting can quickly degenerate into a howling, screaming mess. I’ve been as guilty of this as the next person.

Opinions and ideas are fine as long as they meet one of two criteria. 1-They are the same as the person who reads them or; 2- You keep them to yourself. We’ve lost any sense that we can have different opinions about important things and still be friends, still be brothers and sisters in Christ, and still love one another (in the best sense of that word).

So, read into that what you will. For lack of courage … for lack of energy … for lack of a desire to join the fray … for all those reasons and more, I’ve backed way off on the posting.

Reminded of the words of Proverbs 18:2, I still find myself posting. Hopefully with a bit of humility. Hopefully with a bit of passion.

… you’ll hear from me again soon.

~ Godspeed