The Breath of Peace

When the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said,
“Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:39

When I was seventeen years old and had just graduated from High School, I entered a Catholic community—a religious order—called the Jesuits.  If you ever go up along the Hudson river just past the city of Poughkeepsie on Route 9,  you’ll see “The Culinary Institute of America.”  That is where I lived for four years when it was a seminary.  The large, red brick building faces the river, high above what we call palisades. 

On the path to the river, there used to be a large crucifix: that’s a cross with a carving of the body of Jesus on it.  We used to stop for a moment to pray at that spot.  The cross had a little roof over it to protect it from the weather.  Just beneath that roof there was this saying: “From the arms of the Crucified, the breath of peace moves slowly across the world.”

As you read the story of Jesus’ death on the cross, may you feel that silent breath of the dying Jesus, amid all the shouting and commotion that must have been going on around him.  There’s that idea of silence again…When there’s lots of noise about you that threatens to take away your peace—maybe the noise of other people talking selfishly—may you feel that silence of Jesus inside you, becoming aware of your own breathing that is joined to the Spirit of Jesus.

Mark 15:21-47

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Breath of peace across the world
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the  twelfth of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. Year B.
Fridays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
We read the Gospel of Mark in Year B.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Five Minutes of Silence

The smoke of the incense offered for the prayers of the saints
rose up before God from the angel’s hand.

Revelation 8:4

I wonder if a movie could be made of all the awesome scenes that are described in these two chapters. They are very amazing and even scary. Yet take a look at the first verse of chapter 8 about that half hour of silence. Imagine going to the movies…Instead of the Previews of Coming Attraction, the movie folks were to lead us in a half hour of silence so that the special movie we were about to see would be all the more impressive. Interesting, no?!

Well, that’s what God suggests when we face something that might be scary in our lives. The silence is meant to increase our awareness of the presence of God who is always with us and who protects us against all harm. Maybe a half-hour of pure quiet might seem too much for you, but how about five minutes? The silence is the setting in which God can show us His presence and love. If you’ve got a watch with a timer, set it for five minutes and just be quiet, believing that God is looking at you and loving you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Revelation 8—9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My prayer rising like incense 8:4
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the twelfth of thirteen weeks
in the season of Kingtomtide,
autumn in the north Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
In this season we are reading 1st and 2nd Thessalonians.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

This Too Will Pass

The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
    the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;

Psalm 93:1

A wonderful holy woman lived in Avila, Spain, in the 16th century. Her name was Teresa. She wrote spiritual books, and left us some one-line words of wisdom that are worth pondering about as we read Psalm 93. “This too will pass—God alone suffices.” Think of it: whatever may be happening in your life that is not happy—perhaps frightening and causing you distress—it will pass. God will not only remain with you, but will be the source of your comfort and strength in whatever suffering you might be going through.

The psalm describes God’s greatness over all the world. If the Lord is mightier than the oceans and the seas, he is certainly mightier than whatever meanness that might be coming against you. “This too will pass—God alone suffices.”

Psalm 93

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
This too will pass; God alone.
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the twelfth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. Year B
Wednesdays are dedicated the Psalms.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Temple Destroyed from the Inside

AnimFireStarter

There’s never been a king like Josiah, whether before or after him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, all his being, and all his strength, in agreement with everything in the Instruction from Moses.

2 Kings 23:25

Even though it was enemy armies that attacked Jerusalem and destroyed it the first time, six centuries before Jesus, the evil kings and the faithlessness of the people were the ones really responsible for this great loss. By sinning so greatly, they lost the protection of God from their enemies. It’s as though in a spiritual way, the Temple was destroyed from the “inside” by the people’s abandoning their God for false ones.

Consider the great energy of Josiah! He was devoted to God throughout his whole life, not just for part of it. Will you be like Josiah, and turn to the Lord with all your heart and soul and strength?

2 Kings 23:1-8; 25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My heart turning to You, Lord 23:25
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the twelfth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

Peace Flowing from Us

The people’s teachers will help many understand,
but for a time they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder.

Daniel 11:33

Nations coming against nations: the theme continues in this part of the Book of Daniel, similar to Jesus’ predication that we read yesterday.

Think of it: a pagan statue from the altar to the Greek god, Zeus, is placed on top of this sacred altar of sacrifice in the Temple! How is that for meanness, pride and arrogance! In addition, it is a sacrilege—doing something awful with the things of God.

No need to be afraid as we read verses such as these. God is always in charge and once again, “The Lord will provide for you.” We are called to be gentle persons—loving, even our enemies—so that the goodness, love and mercy of God can flow through us. This love and peace will comfort us and will also flow out of us to touch others for whom we pray.

Daniel 11:29-45

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Resting with inner wisdom v. 33
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the twelfth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north, Year B.
Mondays in this season are dedicated to the Prophet Daniel.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Remains of the Temple

Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other, and there will be earthquakes and famines in all sorts of places. These things are just the beginning of the sufferings associated with the end.

Mark 13:8

The stones that made the foundation of the great temple in Jerusalem are still there, silently sticking up from the ground. The temple was destroyed by a Roman Army in 70 AD. Can you image how sad that was? Jewish people today go to that part of the temple that remains called the “Wailing Wall.” There they pray and sometimes cry over the great loss.

Jesus today is talking about what’s going to happen at the end of the world. There will be a build up of enemy anger, with nations fighting each other. Don’t we see that happening these days! But still, we don’t need to be afraid, for the end is hidden from us, known only to God. Just keep on praying for God’s protection, and also that the human family will find itself living in the New Temple of Christ’s body which is the one Church of Jesus all over the world.

Mark 13:1-8

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You in me and I in You Jn 17:26
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the twelfth of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north.  Year B.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Bond Is God

 “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other.

Genesis 31:49

Lots of intrigue describe this part of the Bible, as God’s plan for Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, begins to unfold. Jacob and his wife Rachel are trying go on with their lives and God’s plan, seeking to get away from the very controlling father of Rachel, Laben. Laban finally agrees to let them go. There’s a beautiful verse that they use to seal a very special promise they make. The bond between them will be God. In 31:49, Laban bids farewell to Jacob and his daughters with these words: “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent from one another,” What a beautiful prayer to say when members of a family have to be apart for awhile!

Here’s an idea: take this verse and say it different words that carry the same basic prayer. Let your own creative mind make the blessing just right for who you are and how you want God to be present with you and you family in every situation—whether you are together or apart.

Genesis 31:17—32:3

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
The Lord between you and me 31:49
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…