An Arrow Prayer

Arrow prayers are found in many places. Here is one from the Psalms.

An older person against a blue sky

And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, * till I make known your strength to this generation and your power to all who are to come.

Psalm 71:18 The Book of Common Prayer

“‘Arrow Prayer’ is a term used to describe a prayer which is offered quickly in the moment. Prayers of thanksgiving often come in the form of arrow prayers. Arrow prayers are also helpful in times of distress. ‘Help me, God!’ ‘Holy one, watch over me.’ ‘Walk with me Jesus, for I am afraid.’ These arrow prayers are also prayers of praise and thanksgiving for they recognize God’s on-going presence in daily life.”

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

“Arrow Prayer” source: From a paper written by Jane E. Vennard “Exploring a Life of Prayer” Retrieved from the internet 23 Jan 2010: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=296

To serve with wisdom, patience and courage

Wisdom, light, love, and Good News. How do you fit in?

Comforting the sad

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience and courage, they may minister in his name to the suffering, the friendless and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Source: Edward Lambe Parsons (1868-1960) in Michael Counsell (2002-08-01). 2000 Years of Prayer (Kindle Locations 8344-8347). Church Publishing Inc. Kindle Edition.

Image: GraphicStock.com

Teach us wisdom

Wisdom, light, love, and Good News. How do you fit in?

 

A forest trail

Earlier today I posted the Collect for the Commemoration of John Henry Newman on Hear what the Spirit is saying (a companion to this Blog). In that prayer we ask the “God of all wisdom” to “Grant that, inspired by [the words and example of John Henry Newman], we may ever follow your kindly light till we rest in your bosom, with your dear Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, where heart speaks to heart eternally; for you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen..” It reminded me of a contemporary prayer I saw on Sojourners. May our prayers be answered this day as we follow Wisdom’s kindly light. ~Fr. Dan

God of wisdom,
you sent your son
to set us on the path of knowledge,
so that it may lead us to share
your divine love with those around us.
Teach us wisdom to embody that love
and shine the light of your son. Amen.

Sojourners, Verse and Voice Dec. 17, 2013

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

John Henry Newman (Holy Women, Holy Men)

Image: GraphicStock.com

Stir me, O Lord, to care

A prayer for the caring heart.

Alone with the morning sun

[Jesus continued teaching],  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.…” Matthew 5:43-44

Richard J. Foster is a teacher and mentor for prayers and praying to many, including me. Here is a prayer of Richard Foster from his book, Prayers from the heart. ~Fr. Dan

Stir me, O Lord, to care;
for a world that is lost and dying,
for values that are rejected and scorned,
for enemies that hate and malign me.
Amen.

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Source: Richard J. Foster, Prayers From the Heart (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994) p. 75

Image: GraphicStock.com

Just hang up

If A Telemarketer Or Robocall Asks “Can You Hear Me?” Just Hang Up; It’s A Scam

Older woman on the phone

If A Telemarketer Or Robocall Asks “Can You Hear Me?” Just Hang Up; It’s A Scam” was originally posted on Consumerist.

Begin quoteIt’s a bad idea to ever use the word “yes” when talking to any telemarketer, but with the latest version of an old scam, saying “yes” can quite literally come back to haunt you.

Here’s how the scam works: you may receive a phone call from an automated system (a robocall) or a live person, but the common thread will be that the caller will ask, “Can you hear me?”

“Yes,” you respond, because you heard the question. Now, according to police departments across the country, that means that the scammers now have a recording of your voice saying “yes.”

Please keep reading, there’s more

2017 Lenten Study

Come. Join us on the Way during Lent. Explore the 5 Marks of Love.

5-marks-of-love-348x450

The Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) have once again put together a very fine study for use during Lent. In their own words:

begin-quote-purple-x7152This six-week series provides the opportunity to observe and to reflect on the ways in which the Divine Life expresses itself in and through us; individually and in our faith communities, as well as in the world around us. Each week will explore the Anglican Marks of Mission (Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure) through videos, questions and exercises so we can speak more clearly and act truthfully, motivated always by hearts marked by God’s love.

The Marks of Love are not simply a list of tasks to be checked off one after the other; they are signs that our life is rooted and grounded in the Being of God. The Brothers of SSJE will draw on their own monastic spirituality to help us balance action with contemplation, so that our words and deeds proceed from the deepest places of our hearts, where God dwells. The resource encourages us to reflect on how we should live, not what we should do.

This series is designed for use by individuals or small groups. In small groups, facilitators will guide the growing process as participants discuss and learn together. For individuals, daily videos and reflections will lead them through a similar process. Ultimately participants will learn to offer themselves, body and soul, to God’s Mission, and to live for God’s glory. Materials and videos are free online and as downloads.

Please join me in this Lenten Study. Sign up with the Brothers to receive a daily email and links to other materials. Let us speak with and listen to each other using this Blog. Each day that you are able, inspired, or otherwise moved, you are invited to comment and to read the comments of others as we respond to the daily emails from the Brothers. ~Fr. Dan

‘Don’t be afraid to be people of love,’ presiding bishop tells Pittsburgh revival

Don’t be afraid to take the love of Jesus into the world.

Scallop shell with red cross: be evangelists on your pilgrimage

Note: The post “Don’t b afraid to be people of love” appeared first on Episcopal News Service (ENS)

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Editor’s note: A photo gallery of scenes from the Pittsburgh revival is here.

[Episcopal News Service – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] The old church tradition of the revival received new life in the Diocese of Pittsburgh Feb. 3-5 with a distinctly Episcopal feel.

The emphasis was on both sparking individuals’ faith lives and a commitment to show the love of Jesus beyond the four walls of their churches. Anchoring Episcopal revivals in the needs of the world was a constant theme of the weekend.

“Episcopal Church, we need you to follow Jesus. We need you to be the countercultural people of God who would love one another, who would care when others could care less, who would give, not take,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said during his Feb. 5 sermon at Calvary Episcopal Church in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

For those who think the words Episcopal and revival don’t go together, the size of the crowds, the depth of their emotion and Curry’s insistence begged to differ.

His prayer for this and subsequent revivals, he said during one of his four sermons, is that they will be the beginning of “a way of new life for us as this wonderful Episcopal Church, bearing witness to the love of God in Jesus in this culture and in this particular time in our national history.”

Curry’s Pilgrimage for Reconciliation, Healing and Evangelism in Southwestern Pennsylvania is the first of six revivals being planned with diocesan teams in different cities around the country and the world this year and in 2018.

“I want to suggest this morning that we need a revival inside the church and out – not just in the Episcopal Church. For there is much that seeks to articulate itself as Christianity that doesn’t look anything like Jesus,” Curry said in his Feb. 4 sermon during an Absalom Jones Day Eucharist at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross. “And if it doesn’t walk and talk and look and smell like Jesus, it’s not Christian … and if it’s going to look like Jesus, it’s got to look like love.”

Curry said the revival of the church, centered in God’s love, is not about a church rejuvenated for its own sake. The church’s revival must spill God’s love out into the world “until justice rolls down like a mighty stream,” he said, echoing Micah.

Marianne Novy, foreground, and John Welch pray together Feb. 3 in Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Hicks Chapel after a sermon in which Presiding Bishop Michael Curry called for Episcopalians to help heal the world’s divides. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

To do that, a revival must channel the emotions of the moment toward something bigger and lasting, Curry said during a news conference. “It is about claiming new and authentic and genuine life. That’s true for our nation, true for our world. We must find better ways to live together, to care for each other, to care for our society and to care for our global communities,” he said.

“We who are followers of Jesus believe that the way of love and the way of Jesus is the key to doing that. But, we join hands with people of other faiths and people of goodwill – anyone who wants to help us end what so often is a nightmare of poverty and injustice and bigotry and wrong and violence, and realize God’s dream of true harmony and peace and justice for everybody.”

The six revivals will vary in design, according to a recent press release, but most will be multiday events that feature dynamic worship and preaching, offerings from local artists and musicians, personal testimony and storytelling, speakers, invitations to local social action, engagement with young leaders, and intentional outreach with people who aren’t active in a faith community. Pittsburgh Episcopalians were encouraged to bring with them neighbors who were not part of a faith community.

The next five revivals are:
May 5-7: Diocese of West Missouri
Sept. 23-24: Diocese of Georgia
Nov. 17-19: Diocese of San Joaquin (California)
April 6-8, 2018: Diocese of Honduras
July 2018: Joint Evangelism Mission with the Church of England

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation, is organizing those efforts, along with a team including Consulting Evangelist for Revivals Carrie Headington and Evangelism Associate Emily Gallagher. The planning for each begins with asking diocesan members what the good news of Jesus looks like in their communities. Pittsburgh Episcopalians discerned that the good news would help them cross the divides of their area, build relationships with neighbors of different traditions and start reconciling with each other, Spellers said during the news conference. Thus, that was the theme of the Pittsburgh gathering.

She and others will return to the dioceses after the revivals to work with Episcopalians to cultivate a group of leaders who have new abilities, new relationships and a new common purpose to further enact Jesus’ love in their communities.

“Hopefully, Pittsburgh – not just the diocese but the city and surrounding communities – will look different. And they’ll feel like there was a church that showed up, not only to talk about good news but to be good news,” she said, describing the hoped-for outcome.  Episcopalians will understand that they have grown into being new leaders of the Jesus Movement, she added.

Curry’s call for reconciliation and healing first rang out Feb. 3 during the opening event, an ecumenical service of repentance and reconciliation at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Hicks Chapel.

“I am more and more convinced that Jesus came among us to show us how to become more than simply the human race,” Curry said. “He came to show us how to become the human family of God. And, my brothers and my sisters, in that is our hope and in that is our calling.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaches Feb. 3 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

God is calling Christians to a deep and radical sense of repentance, Curry said. The world needs such a manifestation of Christianity, he contended, because it will lead to a desperately needed reconciliation among a litany of ethnic groups and even among “red folk and blue folk,” referring to the nation’s political divisions. Finding ways for Republicans and Democrats to discover common ground echoed through Curry’s sermons.

The congregation greeted Curry’s words at the seminary with murmurings of assent, shouts of agreement and, soon, drum rolls and keyboard riffs from the Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church choir, whose members also sang during the service. That audience participation was hallmark of all four of Curry’s sermons during the weekend and it included the presiding bishop leading every congregation in song.

Curry sounded a theme that would echo throughout the weekend: Christians must be people of compassion, people of goodwill, people who dare to live the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ words in the Matthew 25:31-46. For instance, he said, people setting social policy or enacting legislation ought to measure it by the core Christian value of “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Twelve leaders and senior pastors from local Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and African-American churches gathered with elected and civic leaders and members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for the service that many called a historic commitment to ecumenical conversation. The revival began with a revival of the clergy’s commitment to their ministry. Roman Catholic Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik began a 10-part confession based on the Church of Scotland’s Ministerial Challenge of 1671, lamenting clergy’s attention to the business and accolades of the world. “We have been unfaithful to our own souls, and to our sisters and brothers; unfaithful in the pulpit, in fellowship, in discipline, in the Church,” Zubik said.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry makes the rounds in the undercroft of Church of the Holy Cross during a Feb. 4 breakfast meeting with youth of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Curry met the next morning with some of the youth of the diocese at Holy Cross in the struggling Homewood West neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Telling them that they were growing up in a time of complex change, he said technological progress is important but “progress as a way of love, progress in living, progress in learning how to live together in all of our differences and varieties may be the ultimate progress that will make the difference for us all.”

After the breakfast meeting, Curry went upstairs for a rousing Absalom Jones Day Eucharist in the packed nave. During his sermon, the presiding bishop continued his call for Christians to act out of the selfless love exemplified by Jesus on the cross rather than “unenlightened self-interest.”

Saying that the “way of love can save us all,” Curry asked the congregation to imagine how legislatures, corporate board rooms, schools and health care in America would be different if they were approached “not by what I can get out of it but how it serves the common good.”

“We are talking about a revolution of values,” he said, having left the pulpit to preach from the center aisle. “Revival means to give life; it’s resurrection. Imagine our country, imagine what we would say to the immigrant and refugee, imagine what American would say to the rest of the world, imagine what the rest of the world would say to us if that way of love became our way.”

Absalom Jones, the first African-American ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church, looks down above a black Jesus in a mural painted on the wall of the side chapel at Church of the Holy Cross in the Homewood West section of Pittsburgh. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Heading to the end of his sermon Curry told the congregation: “Don’t be afraid to be people of love. Don’t be afraid to stand up for the name of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to reclaim this faith again. And don’t you be ashamed to be an Episcopalian.”

As an Episcopal sort of altar call, Curry invited people to sing “There Is a Balm in Gilead” in which Christians are told that it does not matter if they are not good at preaching or praying. Instead, they should simply tell someone else about the love of Jesus. “As we sing, in your own way I invite you to recommit – or commit – yourself to following the way of Jesus, to being a part of his movement in this world,” the presiding bishop said.

Video of the entire Eucharist is here. The presiding bishop’s sermon begins at the 22-minute, 6-second mark.

Curry returned to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary that afternoon to welcome Episcopalians and others from across the diocese for a conversation billed as “Bridging Divides and Healing Communities” and aimed at beginning to form relationships among individuals and churches in hopes that they can work together to address hopelessness, poverty and addiction in local communities.

Kim Karashin, Pittsburgh’s canon for mission, told Episcopal News Service before the conversations began that the “best case scenario” for the gathering would be that people agree to meet again to talk about these issues but that this gathering was about getting to know each other. “We’re not going to move the needle without building relationships,” she said.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry listens Feb. 4 as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto praises the Episcopal Church’s efforts to build bridges across the city’s divided neighborhoods. The mayor spoke at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary before a conversation aimed at forming relationships among individuals and churches in hopes that they can work together to address hopelessness, poverty and addiction in local communities. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who joined in welcoming people to the conversation, said later during the news conference that Pittsburgh is a divided community needing this sort of training in conversation to cultivate leaders who can step in during emergencies and try to move people into productive ways of acting.

“Pulling a community together only happens with things like this,” he said. “You have to be pro-active; you can’t wait until something happens. It’s taking these actions that will help build those bridges that we speak about.”

The last day of the Pittsburgh revival featured two Eucharists: the first at Calvary Episcopal Church, and the second 40 minutes away at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, McKeesport, in the economically struggling Monongahela River Valley south of Pittsburgh. Representatives of nearly three dozen Episcopal congregations gathered at St. Stephen’s to support “The Mon Valley Mission,” which is a new effort to revive the faith and well-being of the river communities.

Curry used the morning’s gospel story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well to tell the McKeesport congregation that God pushes people to build bridges between people who society says are enemies. In their conversations at the well, Curry said, both Jesus and the Samaritan woman learn something about each other and themselves. Moreover, the woman discovered within her the image of God and she experienced the love of God as being active in her life, he said.

Then, Curry said, she became “the first evangelist in the New Testament” when she told her neighbors what happened at the well with Jesus.

Each person at St. Stephen’s received a small scallop shell with a red cross painted on it, an ancient symbol of pilgrims, to symbolize their pilgrimage to take the good news of Jesus into the world. The service ended with Curry commissioning all 320 people in attendance to be disciples sharing the good news of Jesus.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Continue reading “‘Don’t be afraid to be people of love,’ presiding bishop tells Pittsburgh revival”

Collect: Thomas Bray, Priest and Missionary, 1730 (Feb 15)

Thomas Bray was a man who paid attention, promoted good, and wanted all to keep learning.

Thomas Bray, Priest

In 1696, Thomas Bray, an English country parson, was invited by the Bishop of London to be responsible for the oversight of Church work in the colony of Maryland. Three years later, as the Bishop’s Commissary, he sailed to America for his first, and only, visitation. Though he spent only two and a half months in Maryland, Bray was deeply concerned about the neglected state of the American churches, and the great need for the education of clergymen, lay people, and children. Read more…

Lesser Feasts and Fasts

The Collect for the Commemoration

O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and led him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

In the collect for this commemoration we pray that the God of compassion will “[m]ake the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge.”  You and I (and many others) are the Church in this land. Pay attention, for surely God will answer our prayer with graces to exceed our request allowing us to meet the needs of others. ~Fr. Dan

[Bray’s] greatest contributions were the founding of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, both of which are still effectively in operation after two and a half centuries of work all over the world.

Lesser Feasts and Fasts

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Collect: Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Acknowledging that God supports us in doing good, we ask for help in keeping God’s commandments for the good of all.

 

Coventry Cathedral - Reconciliation

Jesus taught them, “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

The Collect for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, 216

As this prayer is spoken aloud today in worship I wonder (about myself and those with whom I pray) just how completely I/we trust in God? Do I/we trust God’s strength in every time and place? Certainly I/we believe that God will mercifully accept our prayers (always). And then I/we have the audacity to ask for grace to keep the commandments so “we may please you [God] in will and deed.” After praying this way we’ll hear Jesus continue his teaching of the disciples (that’s us) that what is in our hearts is as important as what we do. Lots to consider through the day and the week. ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Art in the Christian Tradition (Vanderbilt Divinity Library)