Advent, Anxiety, Adversity

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This time of the year may be the most wonderful time for many people, but for some it is a time of sorrow, regret, and stress. This is the time of the year the Christian Church looks toward the promise of Advent. A promise of the return of the Lord.
Yet, when I look to the prophets of the past, I find that hoping for the Day of the Lord, is not always a pleasant promise or one of a celebratory perspective.
What a terrible day! The day of the LORD is near; it comes like chaos from the Almighty. (Joel 1:15 CEB)
Doom to those who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light; (Amos 5:18 CEB)
The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and coming very quickly. The sound of the day of the LORD is bitter. A warrior screams there. (Zeph. 1:14 CEB)
Look, I am sending Elijah the prophet to you, before the great and terrifying day of the LORD arrives. (Mal. 4:5 CEB)
Now if it seems like I am saying I am not looking forward to the possibility of be accepted by the Lord, I am not. The hope of heaven is the only really hope we have as human beings. What I am saying is I believe Advent needs to be set in the context of not just anticipation, but also in the reality of the Job-like experience some/many people, even Christian people, live.
So, day in and out,
He ran from the doubt,
Never finding earthly peace,
Or any sustained release,
Just seeking to cope,
In the absence of human hope.
Oh, when will come the day,
When at last in the grave
He will lay?

At last!

Advent was a sobering season in the past. The season was so serious, the Church felt in necessary to add a pink candle and have one Lord’s day focus on joy. I fully agree that people need to have times of joy, still, for some any joy is a fleeting, frustrating, and at times futile endeavor.

Yes, I know this post if dark. And no, this author is not in a state of absolute despair (well maybe 97%) and in no way, would consider the even remote possibility of ending life through a self-action.

No matter, even when pain is a constant companion, even when a person feels like the world would be better without them and it could not get worse, be assured it can!

I cannot image, or perhaps I dare not image, what it would be like trying to explain to God why you felt like you had to right to decide to end your own life. There is no excuse or explanation for something so selfish. This is true especially in the light of what God incarnate, Jesus, endured because of human life’s value. What pain could be greater than injustice, betrayal, humiliation, abandonment, crucifixion and descent into hell? Even in the worst darkness, we have no idea.

I am writing this post so that those who read it and are struggling with the feelings this season can stir and aggravate know they are not alone and that it is okay to not feel compelled to be happy, joyful when you are supposed to be (or at least pretend to be) and it is alright to cry out to God, “Perish the day I was born, the night someone said, “”A boy has been conceived.”” That day– let it be darkness; may God above ignore it, and light not shine on it. (Job 3:3-4 CEB)

What is important for those who hope is to one day be accepted into the presence of our Lord is to remain vigilant and endure knowing, “I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18 CEB)

Spontaneous Prayer

Anthony Bloom, in his book, Beginning to Pray, writes, “Spontaneous prayer is possible in two situations: either at moments when we have become vividly aware of God, when this awareness calls out of us a response of worship, of joy, all the forms of response which we are capable of giving, being ourselves and facing the living God, or when we become aware suddenly of the deathly danger we are in when we come to God, moments when we suddenly shout out from the depths of despair and dereliction, and also from the sense there is no hope of salvation for us unless God saves us.”

Knowing this to be true, I write this simple, spontaneous one word prayer bead prayer today.

Cross:
Mercy
Invitatory Bead:
Help
Cruciform Beads:
Forgive
Weeks Beads:
Renew
Benedictory Bead:
Clean
Cross:
Hope

Amen………

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A Prayer During Darkness

Tragedy is a part of human life. Paradise, as a place of no problems or sorrows, is not a reality when we live in a world of decay and death. We can never know when an accident, a storm, a disease, or another person may act in a way that brings tragedy to our doorstep.

It is not a matter of if, but of when.

In American culture this tension is lessened by our ability to utilize material resources to distract us from this certainty. We are skilled at isolating tragedy and imagining that such things will not happen to us. We are very good at finding ways not to think about the terrors or transforming them into entertainment in which we can hit the reset button or change the channel.

I am told there was a time even in America, when death was more visible, real, and feared rather than denied. A time in which people prepared for the darkness rather than trying to ignore it or escape it. A time in which faith was more prominent and practiced. I believe this is true. I believe it was during a time in which places of worship and spirituality center life in a community rather than being an option on the edge of our culture.

But who am I to question such things.

Still, I pray. I try to prepare. I seek the foundation and relationship needed to face tragedy. I am striving to learn how to suffer with hope. I understand my time will come to endure the darkness. I understand, even in darkness, their is light to be experienced.

 

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Cross:

“God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 Jn. 1:5 CEB)

Invitatory Bead:

Oh Lord, in our darkness we need your light. In our struggle against the darkness, bring us to hope. In the pain inflicted by the dark unknown and even darker evil, only you can sustain, only you can rescue. Lord, be my light now, bring light to my prayer.

Cruciform Beads:

You are the one who lights my lamp– the LORD my God illumines my darkness. (Ps. 18:28 CEB)

Weeks Beads:

Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.” (Lk. 1:78-79 CEB)

Benedictory Bead:

Psalm 23

Cross:

Lord, bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

 

Update on Patterns of Prayer Seminar

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For those who are interested, the early registration fee of $25 has been extended up to the day of the Seminar and payment will be accepted at the door. If you need a scholarship, please let us know. We want anyone and everyone who is interested in using the Anglican Rosary (Protestant or Christian prayer beads) to have the opportunity to attend.

(This picture above is a sample of the beads you will be making)

Also, if you are interested in Spiritual Direction, we are now accepting new directees. Please contact us by email at: lovethelord2@icloud.com for more information.

The Gospel Lived

Cross

God of promise and praxis, we seek, out of our thankfulness for your grace, to be living cups of Good News to be poured out on all we encounter. Glory be to God

Introductory Bead

O Good News God, may I proclaim your holy gospel by compassionately caring for others in my daily routines; by enjoying everyday events and unexpected fun times by confidently surrendering to situations by my control; and, most of all, by rejoicing in the knowledge that each moment holds a fresh start, a new beginning. May your gospel take root in my heart, and may I proclaim it in all the ways I live. Amen

Bridget Haase, OSU

Cruciform Beads

But they went out and proclaimed the message everywhere. The Lord worked with them, confirming the word by the signs associated with them.     (Mk. 16:20-1:1 CEB)

Weeks Beads

Preach the word. Be ready to do it whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Correct, confront, and encourage with patience and instruction. (2 Tim. 4:2 CEB)

Benedictory Bead

Lord’s Prayer

Cross

Our Lord gives us hope, hope that can overflow to all. Praise be to God

Bless to Me

WIN_20170621_15_05_06_ProBless to me the beads I string, the beads I string. to guide in prayer and open the heart. Bless to me this hemp I knot, hemp I knot. Each knot a reminder, of our need for You. Bless to me this cross of silver, cross of silver. What a gift of love, you have given so lovingly to us.

Cross

Jesus is Lord, let his reign of love drench us in his grace.

Introductory

Lord, bring your Good News to of God’s kingdom of love and grace, peace and hope to our hostile, often uncivil, world. You alone, Lord, are the one who can restore and renew, revive and redeem.

Cruciform beads

Pray that Jerusalem has peace: “Let those who love you have rest. Let there be peace on your walls; let there be rest on your fortifications.” For the sake of my family and friends, I say, “Peace be with you, Jerusalem.”For the sake of the LORD our God’s house I will pray for your good. (Ps. 122:6-9 CEB)

Weeks Beads

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid. (Jn. 14:27 CEB)

Benedictory

The Lord’s Prayer

Cross

Bless us, oh God, with a love that compels us to love. Bless us, oh God, with a desire not to rule, but to serve. Bless us, oh Lord, in order that we may be a blessing. Amen