Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 8/23

The bad news everywhere
leaves me feeling helpless, Lord...

My brothers and sisters in faith,
and people of so many faiths:
persecuted, terrorized and tortured,
driven from their homes and homeland,
hungry and thirsty, exiled and wandering,
seeking a place to lay their troubles down,
seeking a haven of healing, a refuge
where they might dwell and worship you
in peace...

Move the souls of terrorists, Lord,
for who but you have strength to turn
and change a warped and twisted human heart?

Move the minds of fanatics, Lord,
and with your wisdom purge and purify
their bigoted and grotesque thoughts...

Sour the bellies of zealots, Lord,
until they're sickened by their arrogance,
their poisonous pride and venom...

Destroy the schemes and plots of all who seek,
for their own ends, to violate what's holy
in the hearts and lives of others...

Disband cartels, cabals and gangs of thugs:
conspirators who plot to undermine the lives
of those who've done them not the slightest harm...

Come heal the beaten, wounded poor,
bring peace to those who have no peace
and comfort those who mourn and grieve their dead...

Bring hope when we feel helpless, Lord,
and counsel us to find the ways
that you would choose to free all those in chains...

And, Lord, lest we become as tyrants, too,
teach us, in peace, to make the world once more
the gift you have entrusted to our hands...


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 8/22

Photo by Bob Bowers

Summer's on the wane, Lord,
and I doubt I'll make it to the shore again
to sit with you at sunrise
and begin another day at water's edge...

But no matter where I am, be it cloudy, hazy, clear,
your sun will rise on my horizon and,
alone or in a crowd, you'll be there by my side
as each new day begins...

There's beauty in creation, Lord, but even more
in my mind's eye, within my heart, deep in my soul
where your warm light, your hope and wisdom
rise each day to shine upon the waters of my life...

So even as the summer fades, shine bright
and turn my face to you:
be my horizon, Lord, and meet me in whatever place
your Spirit leads my steps...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Word for the Weekend: AUGUST 24

Image source
Image source

It's time to take a look at the scriptures for this coming weekend in preparation for keeping the Lord's Day holy. Here are the texts and background on them for August 24, the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.

There are keys in the first reading (Isaiah) and keys in the gospel (Matthew.)  In addition to the keys we all carry, how are these keys important in our lives?

This Sunday's scriptures include some very powerful verbs:
pull down







How will these scriptures (and their verbs!) impact our lives?

Bringing kids to church? Here are some hints for helping youngsters open their ears and hearts o God's word his Sunday.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 8/21

Photo by Marshall Neilson

This summer, Lord, I pray I'll  find
just one gray speckled egg rock
- and one will be enough, Lord,
one will be enough...

I pray its smooth, cool surface bless my palms
on a warm and sunny day
while my fingers weigh the mystery of how it came to be: 
the mystery of confetti now embedded 
in a stone rolled smooth by shifting tides
and polished on a sandy beach...

I pray my eyes and heart will open wide
in awe that such a gift should wash ashore
and land at my bare feet...

I pray I'll wonder, as a child does,
how such a treasure could be mine 
to hold, to own, to prize 
upon a shelf of memories in my heart...

I pray for just one day to hunt for rocks and shells
and sea glass frosted by the briny foam:
all jewels and gemstones strewn by your own hand...

This summer, Lord, I pray I'll find
just one gray speckled egg rock
- and one will be enough, Lord,
one will be enough...

Reposted from last summer.

Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 8/20

Even when I'm not looking to talk to the Lord,
    even if I'm avoiding prayer,
        the Lord's always trying to get in touch with me...

No matter how long it takes me to answer,
    the Lord is patient, ready to talk 
        and wants to know how I'm doing... 

Is it time to text back?


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 8/19

Lord, of all the things I have to do today...

    which is most important?

    will best help serve my neighbor?

    best mirror your strong love?

    best help me be the person
       you created me to be?

And of all the same things, Lord...

    which is least important?

    least mindful of my neighbor?

    least faithful to your law of love?

    least apt to make of me
       the person I would choose to be?
Give me wisdom, Lord,
    and grace to choose wisely
       among all the things I have to do today...


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monday Morning Offering: AUGUST 18

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

This morning, Lord,
I offer you a prayer that groans within my gut,
searching for its voice, longing for some words
to help it come to speech...

I offer you a prayer that haunts my heart,
seeking respite in that harbor
where hope drops anchor, finds a berth
and puts in for the night...

I offer you the prayer on the tip of my tongue
for which I find no words worthy,
none equal to the task
of speaking all my heart would say...

I offer you the prayer I think is foolish,
the plea that I deem selfish,
the prayer I think too small to matter
or too great to dare to offer...

I offer you my hidden prayer,
the one I failed to speak
when in my anger I kept silent
even though I had the words...

I offer you the secret prayer
embedded long ago, waiting still
to break the lonely silence
that doubt and fear impose...

I offer you the prayer that sleeps within,
waiting to be wakened, spoken, cried
and shouted from my heart
in hope of reaching yours...

Help me trust when all I have to say
is "Lord, I have no words to pray..."
that such is still a prayer you understand,
a prayer you welcome from my soul...

Help me, Lord, to know
that trusting that you've heard my prayer
is greater than your answering
as I would have you answer...

Teach my heart to speak to yours
and help my heart to hear,
to know and understand
what your heart speaks to mine...

Lord, teach me how to pray
when I have all the words for prayer
and teach me how to pray
when I have none...


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

Homily for August 17

Homily for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

How often have you heard someone say,
   Well, it doesn’t really matter what god you believe in
      or how you name your god.
   It doesn’t really matter what you believe in
      as long as you believe in something, some god, some power.

Well, all three scriptures today do highlight the universality of God
and God’s love and grace.

• Isaiah reminds us that the Lord’s house will be a house of prayer
   - for all peoples.

• St. Paul is clear that although his own people, the Jews,
   have yet to accept the gospel
God’s covenant with them, his chosen people, is irrevocable.

• And here is Jesus,
reaching beyond his own mission to the house of Israel,
reaching out to a pagan woman whose interest is inspired
perhaps not so much by any faith
as much as personal desperation.

As ancient as these stories may be, they speak to us today.
In our own times, the universality of God’s love and grace
is easily accepted by many and in some cultures, by most.

So, does it not matter who or what you believe in
as long as believe in someone or something?
Is that so?

We need to try to look at this question from two vantage points
and the first will be more difficult for us than the second.

First, we need to try to see this from God’s point of view.
God is the creator of every human being
and knows every human soul and life  - intimately.
God loves every one of us long before we’re conceived,
before we’re born
and loves us regardless of what our beliefs are
– or what they are  not.
God’s love for us is greater than our belief in God
and God’s love isn’t given on account of our believing,
nor is it withdrawn for our lack of belief.

God. Is. Love.

But God’s love for each of us is a gift
and it is given out of God’s desire
to engage each of us in a relationship of love.

God loves each of us and asks for our love in return
and asks us to love one another as we are loved by God.
The universal gift of God’s love is given to each of us, then,
with expectations, responsibilities and demands.
In fact, we Christians say that this love is the LAW
by which we are to live.

And with that statement,
I’ve crossed over to the other vantage point
from which we need to try to understand
the universality of God’s love and grace.

There are thousands of religions and faiths and beliefs in the world.
But I’m a Christian believer speaking to other Christian believers.

• I believe in God, the creator of the all things visible and invisible.

• I believe in Jesus, God’s Word made flesh, who lived among us
and who suffered died and rose from the dead
so that you and I might have life forever.

• And I believe in the Spirit of God, living and moving in my heart,
and in your heart, and in all the world around us.

• And I believe that in communion with Christ’s Body, the Church,
we come to discern the truth, to grow in God’s love
and to serve those in need.

And in just a few minutes you will be joining me
in professing those very same beliefs in the Nicene Creed.

So, I believe, we believe, that the universal love and grace of God
- took flesh - and was born among us 2,000 years ago
and that the image that hangs over our prayer every week:
is the sign of how and how much God loves us
and of how and how much we are called to love one another.

While we believe that God’s love is universal
and that no human being lives outside or beyond
God’s universal embrace, we also believe that
in a unique, historical, physical, personal, and unrepeatable way
God revealed himself to the world, in the mystery of Jesus
and invited us to a life of faith, ruled by the law of love.           

We believe that the eternal God loves us
and has spoken to us and has saved us in Christ,
and lives among us in the Spirit.

And that gift of faith,
the gift of knowing God through Jesus and the Spirit,
in the sacramental life of the Church,
that is a gift beyond compare, an unparalleled gift,
a gift we’re called to treasure and to share.

And in light of what we have been given,
what we have heard,
and what we have received:
we who follow Jesus can never say
   It doesn’t really matter what god you believe in
      or what you believe in,
   or how you name your god…

We can not say that.
So much more that that is our belief, 
the belief of our ancestors and of our Church. 

This is the belief
for which our brothers and sisters in Iraq are, this day,
being persecuted;
the belief that gathered us together today in this church;
the belief we’re about to profess in the Nicene Creed;
the belief that leads us to find at this Table
the Body and Blood of Jesus 
in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist.

This is the belief that is ours in Christ Jesus the Lord.

This is the mystery of our faith
and it does truly matter who we believe in,
what we believe
and how we name our God.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 8/17

Help me Lord, today,
   to do no wrong to you,
   to do no wrong to my neighbor,
   to do no wrong to my family,
   to do no wrong to my friends,
   to do no wrong to my colleagues, 
   to do no wrong to strangers,
   to do no wrong to myself... 
Help me Lord, today,
   to love you,
   to help my neighbor,
   to cherish my family,
   to treasure my friends,
   to appreciate my colleagues,
   to be kind to strangers,
   and to respect myself... 
Help me Lord, today,
   to love all those whose paths cross mine...


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 8/16

What will you ask of me today, Lord?
   - my time?
   - my attention?
   - my compassion for someone in need?
   - my forgiveness of someone who's hurt me?
   - my letting go a grudge or resentment?
   - a change of heart?
   - a word of truth?
   - some time in prayer?
   - something known only to you and me?

Here I am, Lord:
   help me know and understand what you ask of me
      and help me do it - today...

Here I Am Lord by St. Olaf Choir on Grooveshark

I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin, my hand will save.
I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?
Here I am Lord, is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have born my people's pain.
I have wept for love of them, they turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them, whom shall I send?
Here I am Lord, is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them, my hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide, 'til their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them, whom shall I send?
Here I am Lord, is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments