Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

I am going to say this as gently as possible; please accept it in the spirit that it is offered.

Please do not thank a veteran this weekend. We have our day in November. This weekend is for our friends, our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the cause of freedom.

When you thank us, as sincere as it is, it reminds us that we came home, while they did no...t. Somehow, for us, it lessens the solemnity of the day and heightens our survivor guilt.

We appreciate your gratitude. We are embarassed by it, but we appreciate it. But please, please, this weekend, remember it is not about service, it is about sacrifice.

And while willing, we did not make that sacrifice. . .

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Sunday we will continue our series How Firm a Foundation on the spiritual disciplines.  Already we have covered the two Sacraments of the Church: Communion and Baptism.  This Sunday we will focus on prayer and intimacy with God.

 In the past I have shared with you some very concrete ways to pray: 

1.  Memorized prayers.  Prayers like the Lord’s Prayer, St. Patrick's Breastplate, or other memorized prayers have an important place in our prayer life.  Not all prayer needs to be spontaneous.  Remember, Jesus as a Jew would have prayed the Shema daily.  If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us!

2. A.C.T.S. of prayer.  ACTS is an acronym that stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  We come into God’s presence remembering who He is and praising Him for His greatness; we confess that we have failed to be the people God calls us to be; we thank Him for His blessings, and we pray for the world and those who are hurting.

3.  Breath prayers.  These are prayers that can be prayed in one breath.  I often hop on my motorcycle, drive around our community and pray for the families in their homes, the people I see in our community, our police and firefighters, whatever else God leads me to pray for.

4. Contemplative or Centering Prayer is what brings me the most peace in my prayer life.  It is a way of resting in God’s presence without speaking.  I often do this in my church study, the door closed, with some spiritual or instrumental music playing in the background.

This week I will not so much be talking about the nuts and bolts of praying as I will be talking about how Jesus prayed and some of the words of correction he has for the way we pray sometime.  I hope you will join us in one of our five worship services as we think through what it means to be able to listen and speak with God and enjoy that intimacy.

Father, we want to spend some time with you.  Help us to hear your voice, to know your desires for us, and to be the children you want us to be.  What we want, most of all is to be in a deep, loving relationship with you, and to please you in what we say and do.  Thank you for our brother Jesus, who teaches us through word and example how to do just that.  This we ask in his name.  Amen.