Wednesday – April 17, 2019
Make Haste, O God, to deliver me; make hast to help me, O Lord. (Psalm 70:1)
But I am poor and needy; make haste unto me, O God; thou art my help and my Deliverer; O God, do not tarry. (Psalm 70:5)
A Word of Hope
This entire Psalm is one of hope and trust in God. The Psalm also declares the trust that God will protect us from our enemies. Who or what would you define as an “enemy?”
Would it be someone at work who is copying your work and taking credit for it? Would it be Uncle Mike who has owed you money for years? Is it the young neighbor who rides his bike on your lawn? Or is your enemy deep within yourself? Is it fundamental loneliness? Is it a form of depression? Are you still asking the question about what you are to do with your life? Are you missing “significance” in your life? Is the enemy always comparing yourself to others and you typically don’t compare well? When we read this Psalm, we don’t have to imagine physical enemies. The most difficult to address, and for which you need help are generally those that are unseen.
Each day when monks recite the Divine Office in choir, the first prayer begins with Psalm 70:1. It is a common human experience to want to be helped with whatever concern or fear we have on a daily basis. It is comforting to remember that God is with us and always ready to be our Deliverer. Our role is to accept His offer of help.
Holy One! We recall once again that we are everywhere and always in your presence which makes us smile and be grateful once again. We give you thanks for the gift of your kindness toward us. Help us to remember what your kindness transmitted through others means to our wellbeing as we face challenges each day. Remind us that we must be ready to hasten to help others in need. We know that we don’t have to be perfect in order to bring your love to others and to be open to others bringing your love and healing to us. We make this prayer in your many names, O God. Amen!
Member of Board of Stewards
Cathedral of Hope / United Church of Christ
Tuesday – April 16, 2019
Oh God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you.
Psalm 63. 1
A Word of Hope
As you examine your own weekly schedule before you, are you faced with a few monotonous tasks you would rather avoid? Is the laundry piling up? Are there clean dishes in the dishwasher that await sorting and storage? Have the lists of more interesting, and therefore more important tasks already begun to take precedence? After all, aren’t those bothersome drudgery tasks intended for people less creative and gifted than you are?
Of course, we have the choice to dread these inevitable parts of our lives as meniel bores or to recognize them as what the members of the Cathedral’s Order of St. Francis and St. Clare call holy monotony. The difference in definition is in finding a way to utilize this gift of time away from the regular flow as an opportunity to improve our relationship with God. An excellent method of accomplishing this is by storing up a few prayer mantras for such occasions.
Mantras are words or phrases we slowly repeat and then repeat again that can center our spirits on our ever present source of inspiration and comfort. The phrase in the Psalm above is one I often recall when I’m cutting out thirty sets of eagle wings for next Sunday’s children’s craft or boxing up a few thousand items I no longer need to donate to a thrift store.
A Mantra needs to be personal, a suggestion or piece of advice from the scriptures or other inspirational writings that resonates especially with you. A good place to begin your search is that gold mine of mantras, the Psalms. Consider Psalm 86.10: “You are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Try Psalm 25.4: “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths.” One of those days when you’re stuck on traffic listening to depressing news on the radio, turn it off and calmly repeat Psalm 27.1: “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?”
Mental Mantra storage is always a valuable exercise. We can be certain that the daily routine life will always give us ample chances to use them. With a little practice, we can actually look forward to those inevitable periods of Holy Monotony.
Thank you for Holy Monotony and the time it provides us to know you better.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Monday, April 15, 2019
Psalm 36:5-9 New International Version (NIV)
5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
A Word of Hope
We have made it through Lent to Holy Week. Hopefully we have opened the door to our hearts and learned about our inner selves and the way we can best live out our faith. Services this week will lead us to the cross on Good Friday and the empty cross of East Sunday.
Our small group for Lent discussed things that block us from a closer walk with God. And we talked about things from our past and how to unload those things so we can move forward unencumbered.
This Psalm is a praise of faithfulness. We can make this our anthem as we continue our life even after Lent. We can live out our part of helping people find refuge and pass along our Joy.
Don’t let the joy and excitement of Easter fade away. Let’s continue being Easter people all year. Remember to smile at the lonely and overlooked. Remember to help shelter animals in distress. Remember to help Dallas Hope Charities feed, house, and care for those who can’t help themselves.
Church doesn’t just happen on Easter Sunday. It doesn’t just happen on other Sundays. Church happens every time you make a difference in ONE person’s life! Or as the scripture says, “people and animals.”
God, Your love reaches to the heavens. It reaches to the Earth as well. We thank you for your grace to people and animals. We sing Psalms of praise to you as we live our lives as resurrected people in a world of need.
Friday – April 12, 2019
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing … They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” Isaiah 32.1-2
A Word of Hope
Glory to God, Even in the Wastelands
I spent most of the last week in a windswept, sandy part of southeastern Oklahoma that some of my sisters, who live in the lush, green Pacific Northwest would certainly describe as God-forsaken wasteland. Yet it was truly beautiful. The trees and shrubs were awash with the green furry leaves of Spring, and wild redbuds and wildflowers were awake everywhere. It was a great time to be alive and aware – I kept thanking my Creator for the opportunity to be present and part of these new stirrings of life which were unmistakable everywhere about me.
There are a lot of places like this in the world – that are not postcard verdant, yet are astoundingly beautiful if you have your heart and eyes open. The bald, spare places like badlands and hoodoos, where starkness itself inspires us to cry out Hosannas. I remember, for example, a place in the Nebraska Sandhills named the Dismal River, which is actually stunningly glorious if you appreciate it for what it is and not hope for what it is not. God imbues creation with glory, and all creation sings God’s glory. Even in my own personal wastelands, if I get out of my own way, am still, and listen, I may see things worthy of Hosannas!
As we move closer to Easter, I have been recalling the story from Luke of Jesus’ ride from the Mount of Olives. In this version of what happened on “Palm Sunday,” Jesus rides on a colt and there are cloaks thrown on the ground instead of palms. There also aren’t shouts of Hosanna; but the disciples do say, “Blessed is the one who comes in God’s name. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” Unique to this story, as well, are some Pharisees in the crowd, who rebuke Jesus and tell him to keep his disciples under control. Jesus answers, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them; shouting praise.” The stones, just like God’s Creation, would rise up! God’s Creation could not keep silent! “The wilderness and the dry land” (and even the stones in the road!) shall sing God’s glory! God’s gift of life!
O Gracious One, as we begin the sacred journey of Holy Week may our minds be open to your living presence. May our hearts be softened to receive your love. May our spirits be intertwined with your Great Spirit so that our voices and our lives can be witnesses to your Glory and your Truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Rev. Patricia (Patsy) Bjorling
Thursday – April 11, 2019
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9
Word of Hope
Compared to the age of Earth, I suppose that 33 years may truly be just “a little while,” but I think that his entire lifetime must have felt like a lot more than just “a little while” to Jesus. He spent his entire lifetime with the knowledge of what lay ahead, while living in human form. I cannot imagine how he pulled this off. Did he frequently feel anxiety and despair? I know he did during his agony in the garden, shortly before his arrest, but what about at other times?
Luke 2:41-52 tells of Jesus as a boy of 12. He had traveled to Jerusalem with his parents to a festival. Afterwards, as Mary and Joseph were walking home with extended family and friends, they realized that Jesus was not with them. They went back to Jerusalem and searched everywhere for Jesus. Three days had passed when they found him in the Temple, talking with scholars. Jesus was surprised at Mary and Joseph’s alarm. He asked them “Didn’t you know I would be in my father’s house?” So, with this level of understanding at age 12, certainly, Jesus must have spent many hours thinking about the many challenges he would meet while carrying out his ministry, and about how his life would end.
He didn’t just trade a day of torment, humiliation and an agonizing death for our salvation. He dedicated an entire lifetime to teaching about love being the route to God, all while knowing that he would ultimately be betrayed and publicly abused and murdered. I do not know of any greater act of love.
Gentle, loving Jesus, thank you for the incredible sacrifice you made for me. I accept your love, and will spread your message by sharing that love with others.
Cathedral of Hope Member
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)