A Love Story

AnimFireStarterMay the Lord reward you for your deed. May you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you’ve come to seek refuge.

Ruth 2:12

In today’s episode, Ruth goes out to gather up the leftovers after the harvesters are finished reaping the crops. Now comes the beginning of the love story between the owner of the field, Boaz and Ruth, the foreign lady who is quietly gathering up leftover grain the fields, lest they remain and rot in the field without being picked.

Watch the care of Boaz, the humility of Ruth, and all through this, the plan of God to bring these two persons together in love. It’s a beautiful story of how God makes human love into something beautiful. Ruth will become an ancestor of Jesus!

Ruth 2

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My refuge, under Your wings v. 12
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays are dedicated in Advent to the Book of Ruth

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

 

Listen to the Silence

The one who is high and lifted up,
    who lives forever, whose name is holy, says:
I live on high, in holiness,
    and also with the crushed and the lowly,
    reviving the spirit of the lowly,
    reviving the heart of those who have been crushed.

Isaiah 57:15

Take the six letters that make up the words “silent” and “listen.” What do you notice about these letters? Pause for a moment without reading on…Just look at these two words. They have the same letters in them! If you are to listen, then you must become silent. To listen to the silence is in faith is to become aware that you are in the presence of God—simply sitting quietly in the silence, being aware of God’s loving presence to you.

Read this chapter of Isaiah from the point of view of this kind of listening. Look how the people of this chapter were being busy about worshiping false god in worthless sanctuaries. They violated the First Commandant. When this happens all the others fall down like a bunch of dominoes!

Again the Advent message: Listen to the silence—God is speaking to your heart.

 Isaiah 57

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Contrite and humble within v. 15
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Monday are dedicated in this season to the prophet Isaiah

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

How Are You?

 This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

A voice crying out in the wilderness:
    Prepare the way for the Lord;
        make his paths straight.

Genesis 43:29-30

“Hi!”or “Hey!”…the usual way we greet each other. Sometimes we hear, “Wazz up?!” None of these are really invitations for us to really say what’s going on inside us. In fact, “Hi,” and “Hey” come from the same source of sound: just a kind of gentle shout to each other to let you know that you’re in each other’s presence.

“Hiya doin’?” Now we’re getting a little closer to inviting someone to say how they are. But even then, we usually give the standard answer: “OK” or “Fine.” But when we hear someone say with lots of attention and with real interest in listening…”How are you?” that becomes something warm and inviting and we get ready to share how it is with us.

How it really is inside us—whether sad, glad, mad, or feelings of love and maybe some fear—all this needs to find a way out so that the energy of peace can well up inside us because we are sharing with someone we care for and whom we trust. That’s the way it was with John the Baptist. Way down inside him, God was speaking to him and preparing him in turn to prepare others for Jesus’ coming. When we read about “The voice crying in the wilderness,” doesn’t that sound like the feelings we have way down inside us—in the “desert” part of our hearts, where the sounds of deep feelings come from? That’s the place where God speaks to you and the very feelings and sounds that we make are often one with the voice of God inside us—the Holy Spirit—who really wants to know how you are! So tell the Spirit…that’s prayer!

Luke 3:1-6

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Prepare the way of the Lord v. 4
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Second Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

A Feast at Joseph’s Palace

Joseph looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, and he said, “Is this your youngest brother whom you told me about? God be gracious to you, my son.” Joseph’s feelings for his brother were so strong he was about to weep, so he rushed to another room and wept there.

Genesis 43:29-30

All these episodes of Joseph and his brothers are exciting, with lots of mystery and surprise. It’s all about how the brothers of Joseph who sold him to slavery in Egypt, have had to come back to Egypt to get food, for their own land was having a famine—no food. After being sold into slavery, Joseph became so admired that he was put into a high position in Egypt. He wore different clothes, had his haircut different, as well as other features that made it hard for his brothers to recognize him when they saw him. Today’s episode is the story of their eating together, but Joseph still not telling them who he is. In the coming weeks we find out what happens…unless you want to just read before and after this reading and get the whole story at once. It’s a beautiful one that teaches us about God bringing about justice and fairness and love in God’s own timing.

Joseph the Patriarch and Joseph the foster father of Jesus…some similarities!

Genesis 43:19-34

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Clearing the way for loving
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.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

A Miracle for Elizabeth

They were both righteous before God, blameless in their observance
of all the Lord’s commandments and regulations.

Luke 1:6

With Advent this year, we begin the third and final cycle of readings. This year, what we call “Year C” is devoted to St. Luke, the third of the four evangelists.

St. Luke is the one that has the beautiful story of Jesus’ birth told from the point of view of Mary, his Mother. (St. Matthew tells the story with Joseph as the main character) The Gospel begins and ends in the temple. Be aware of how Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth were feeling—to be so old and not have had any children. It’s just too late…like Abraham and Sarah. But God’s got a miracle for Elizabeth just like Sarah. John the Baptist is going to be born from her! Read the story that is the introduction to the even more wonderful story of the birth of Jesus.

Luke 1:1-25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Living righteous and blameless v. 6
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
On Fridays we read the Gospel of Luke

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Comfort and Joy

Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy
that is too much for words.

1 Peter 1:8

Like the stars that are scattered across the Advent night sky, so does St. Peter write to his beloved Christians who are flung across Asia Minor, the area that is now the country of Turkey (no connection to what you ate on Thanksgiving…bad joke!)

This letter is like an Advent candle. The candle might seem powerless to push back the darkness as some great floodlight would do. St. Peter describes the people going through very hard times: persecution, jealousies, bully-fights from those who do not know God. St. Peter encourages them and lets them feel that though they are small against big attacks, still—like the Advent Candle—the darkness cannot any longer say that there is no light! Not only that, but the flame that lights the candle will also be like the fire that purifies gold and makes it shine more brightly.

So when things happen to you that frighten you or make you angry or sad, just take up this passage and pray slowly over some of the verses in the reading that will bring comfort and joy to your heart. Comfort and joy—two gifts that Jesus wants to give you this Advent and Christmas!

1 Peter 1:1-12

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Not seeing You, I love You v. 8
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to the the letters of Peter

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

A Prayer in the Night

In his hand are the depths of the earth;
 the heights of the mountains are his also.

Psalm 95:4

Can you imagine this psalm being prayed in the middle of the night for centuries—about a 2 AM? How’s that for getting up early! There are religious communities who live to praise God, work and pray in God’s presence all the time. They even promise to stay in the same place all the days of their life, challenging us to be careful about all the traveling that we want to do. Jesus never went beyond the Lands that became holy by his presence.

Pray this psalm in the spirit of those who begin their day in the middle of the night. While everyone is sleeping the prayer is sung out for the whole earth, inviting all the peoples to return to the basics of life and praise God.

The middle of the night….quiet, peaceful—a good time for prayer…for you too, if you find yourself awake for awhile at that time. It’s soon to be the middle of the season when nights are much longer than days—winter. It’s in this setting that we celebrate Advent—the season to become awakened to God and God’s love in our lives.

Psalm 95

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
All the earth belongs to You. v. 4
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…