GRAB a COFFEE CUP and USE it as a prayer tool.
This week, the Gospel Reading is from MARK 10: 35-45. Jesus and his disciples are on their way up to Jerusalem. Jesus has just told them again that he will be betrayed and arrested and then killed. Here’s what happens next…
MARK 10: 35-45 NIV
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
What do you know about the “Sons of Thunder” James and John? How do they change from this power hungry pair to people who go and change the world?
Why don’t we like the thought of being last rather than first?
What makes it hard for us to deal with suffering?
What does Jesus say about how we are to live differently than the world’s leaders?
Pick a world leader or two and pray for them to be encouraged.
Pick a leader who “lords it over others” and pray for them to have a servant’s heart.
GRAB a COFFEE CUP and USE it as a prayer tool.
JESUS took the CUP of SUFFERING for each of us. He takes the CUP for YOU!
As you hold your cup, consider:
What are the things causing you pain right now? Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, etc
What things hurt your soul?
What are the things you are grieving or need to grieve?
Talk to Jesus about all of these things….IMAGINE these things held in your cup. IMAGINE giving this cup of pain and suffering over to Jesus to hold for you!
JESUS thank you for taking the CUP OF SUFFERING FOR ME and holding all of these things!
NOW HOLD YOUR CUP AND PRAY AGAIN! Actually pause, hold your cup and pray for these people and places.
PRAY for people you know who are suffering today.
PRAY for People who are in pain because illness or disease.
PRAY for People who are hurting, dealing with depression or other mental health issues.
PRAY for People hurting because of broken relationships or loneliness.
PRAY for places in our world that are suffering due to natural disasters.
PRAY for places in our world like Afghanistan and Lebanon that are dealing with the suffering of unrest and war.
PRAY for People who are suffering as refugees or due to immigration status, and pray for those fleeing oppression.
PRAY for groups who are suffering due to discrimination due to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
PRAY for the First Nations people who have suffered for so long due to colonialism, oppression, and discrimination.
Jesus, you took the CUP OF SUFFERING for all of these people and places.
You took the CUP for each of us and our pain and suffering too.
HOLD THIS SUFFERING. HOLD THIS PAIN for us and for all of these people and places.
We praise and thank you Jesus for taking this CUP. AMEN
Now live and ready for registration! Join Christine and Lilly for a virtual retreat unlocking the wonder of the Advent season on November 20th, 2021 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm PDT.
guest post by Delme Linscott,
King Lear once remarked, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” And I believe he was absolutely correct. The stinging pain from a child who constantly receives, without remembering to say Thank you can release a slow poison of disillusionment and frustration in the heart of any exhausted parent.
But, why is it that most children seem to be born without the grateful gene in their DNA? Trying to teach children the importance of using words like Please and Thank you can be an absolute nightmare? In fact, sometimes it feels as if flying to Mars is more likely to happen than children using a Please and Thank You.
We could take the dim view of this frustrating phase in the lives of our youngsters and simply give up or we could choose to push on and teach our kids the lost art of being grateful. As a young naive father, there were many days where I shook my head in despair at my kids’ lack of gratitude, but I am glad we persevered in expecting more. I strongly believe that if we can teach our kids the art of gratitude it will change the way they see their world and hopefully embed in their hearts an attitude of thankfulness.
If allowed to continue without the appropriate correction, the spirit of ungratefulness can impact upon the child’s friendships with peers, relationships with significant adults and ultimately lead them down a path of isolation. If you think that this statement is an over-exaggeration then I ask you to think about the last time you were in the company of someone who was arrogant, demanding, ungrateful, and entitled. How did that go for you? How did you feel? My guess is that you hated every minute of the experience and you will definitely be moving that person way down your future guest list.
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus had an interesting encounter with ten lepers, nine of whom seemed to be totally ungrateful for what he did for them. There was only one of them who bothered to come back and say to Jesus, “thanks for giving me my life back!”
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”(New Living Translation)
We are not sure how far the lepers had to walk to report back to the Priests, but this is beside the point. The main issue is that only 1 out of the 10 bothered to thank Jesus. Even if they had to walk a few kilometers, they still could have turned around and said thank you. The point is that many times we ask God for favours and yet we seldom remember to say “Thank you, Lord.”
In my experience, gratitude requires a certain amount of effort. Sending that email, making the phone call, or even popping around to say Thank You all take time, but in the end, the gesture goes a long way. Receiving a Thank You can even inspire more generosity in the heart of the initial giver. I am not sure why it works like that, but it just does.
So, here is a question for us today: How often do we say thank you to God?
Is it only when we get something from God or perhaps every time we come to worship? Or are we able to develop a daily attitude of thankfulness and gratitude?
Carefully read the words of this passage from the Psalms:
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4
If you read this passage in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase The Message you will note how he interprets this verse to read:
“Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.”
I love this thought. I think I am going to tell my friends and family that we have a new password at home and church. If you want to enter into either of these spaces you have to say the password out loud – THANK YOU! Forget about the secret knock on the door; just use a Thank You and you are welcome in our home.
It may seem like a long, long process, but I want my kids to learn this lost art and to be grateful for their blessings. It would be wonderful if we could instill within all our hearts these challenging words from Paul – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In this way, we could be grateful despite what happens in the world around us.
Lastly, can I leave us with this challenge? Think about someone who has done something for you recently and send a clear message to them that you are deeply grateful. You will be surprised how far your ‘Thank You’ may go!
Living in Grace
Bio for Delme Linscott
Delme Linscott is an Ordained Minister serving in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. He is married to Kim and they have three teenage sons. Delme loves the outdoors, running, swimming, surfing and also enjoys good coffee. For many years, Delme has been exploring his faith journey through his writing and personal reflections on his daily blog. Delme has also authored seven books, including Living Oceans Apart, Whatever it Takes, Jesus in the Psalms, 70 Days of Wisdom and Christ in our Chaos. For more information please visit: www.LivingInGrace.co.za.
Gearing Up for a Season of Gratitude Online Retreat
Inspired by the celebrations of Canadian Thanksgiving at the beginning of October and American Thanksgiving at the end of November, we designate October and November as gratitude months on Godspace Light. Lilly Lewin and Christine Sine will encourage you to get ready by providing a collaborative retreat process that will help us enter this season of gratitude with joy and delight in our hearts. This course provides a fun process of interaction, creativity, and reflection.
How do we approach the world with gratitude and delight even in the midst of the most challenging situations? What if gratitude is more than an emotion? What can we do to bring more gratitude into our daily lives? These are some of the questions we grapple with as we look ahead to the changing seasons. What are your questions about gratitude? Join us and explore them in this interactive mini-retreat “Gearing up for a Season of Gratitude“.
by Carol Dixon photo by me of my back garden
‘Barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day’
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. John Keats
I first came across Keats’ poem Ode to Autumn when we studied it as part of our English Literature course at the girls’ grammar school I attended in the 1960s. For me it still is one of the best descriptions of the feel of the season–not only because of its wonderful rich description of the world around at this time of year but also because it refers back to the other seasons as well and even gives a hint to forthcoming winter (robin chirruping & swallows leaving for warmer climes).
Ode to Autumn was the last poem Keats wrote before his death of tuberculosis as a young man, and due to the incurable nature of the disease, he would be well aware that he was in the autumn of his life, despite his youth. As a septuagenarian, I too am in the autumn of my life; over the years, even when I was young, there were ‘autumn’ periods through illness or change of circumstances. Yet rather than causing sadness, sometimes they were times of abundance and great joy as ‘old’ things passed in order to give birth to a fallow wintertime of rest which hinted at the spring to come.
John Donne’s poem To Autumn takes a more somber note, but still there are glimmers of light in the darker times.
Come, pensive Autumn, with thy clouds and storms
And falling leaves and pastures lost to flowers;
A luscious charm hangs on thy faded forms,
More sweet than Summer in her loveliest hours,
Who in her blooming uniform of green
Delights with samely and continued joy:
But give me, Autumn, where thy hand hath been,
For there is wildness that can never cloy –
The russet hue of fields left bare, and all
The tints of leaves and blossoms ere they fall.
In thy dull days of clouds a pleasure comes,
Wild music softens in thy hollow winds;
And in thy fading woods a beauty blooms
That’s more than dear to melancholy minds.
Donne suffered greatly from depression, but in his lighter moments when the fog lifted he was able to see so perceptively and his beautiful words have spoken to many over the centuries and provided hope in the dull days of life.
Both of these poets remind us of the need to be thankful for the gifts of God around us even when it is difficult to see them for the mist and autumn rain–as I have discovered myself, recently, while recovering from surgery, (with a couple of setbacks I hadn’t reckoned on) and learning to find God in pain hasn’t been an easy lesson. I am so grateful for the Godspacelight current theme of Gratitude & Thankfulness and for the wonderful reflections submitted by my fellow Godspacelight writers which have helped immensely, along with your prayers.
One of my favourite gratitude songs which I used to sing with my family (now in their 40s!) is classed as a children’s hymn but it is wonderful to sing whatever our age or season of life. It’s called ‘Autumn days’ by Estelle White and I hope you enjoy singing along and ask yourself what ‘GREAT BIG THANK YOU’ you need to say to God today.
Join Christine and Lilly TODAY for the next session of Facebook Live on October 13th, 2021 at 9am PT. If you are not able to join live, you can check out the recording on YouTube later.
by Catherine Lawton,
Nature Doesn’t Lie
Embark on this healing journey with Christine Sine, Lilly Lewin, and Bethany Dearborn Hiser with the Time to Heal Online Course. Each session is lead by one of our instructors and allows you 180 days of access for only $39.99. The goal of this course is to provide time, space, and tools to work toward healing.
by Christine Sine
I have an extensive collection of heart-shaped rocks and other heart-shaped objects. Some were gifted, a few purchased, but the majority I picked up on beaches, pebbled pathways and even in scrap heaps. They are everywhere, these heart-shaped reminders of a God who loves us unconditionally. Even my tomatoes sometimes come in the shape of a heart.
The unfortunate thing is that I never noticed heart-shaped objects until a friend, who began collecting similar objects years ago, pointed them out to me. She encouraged me to look intentionally for such objects and suddenly my eyes opened wide to God’s displays of love hidden all around us.
As I reflected on this last week I realized that the evidence of God’s love is everywhere present, not just in the heart-shaped rocks we pick up, but in our friends and neighbours, in the generosity of strangers, in the selfless sacrifices of those who care for the marginalized and in the dedication of those who work to overcome injustice and to preserve the earth…. and we often don’t notice because we don’t look around us with intentionality.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Then I asked myself: Where have I seen patience, kindness, humility, lack of envy and boasting, concern for others, rejoicing in the truth, trust, protecting the vulnerable, hope and perseverance this week? I was amazed at how that stack of heart-shaped acts and attitudes piled up around me. The person at the store who helped me with a heavy load, the friends who helped me pick and process apples, my husband making dinner so that I had more time for processing, the understanding doctors and nurses helping me to negotiate my health challenges, the organizations at our church’s Rainwise Garden Fair passionate about reducing water pollution and flooding, the pastors of small churches in East Harlem , planted in their neighbourhoods for 30+ years and still committed to seeing the transforming presence of God in their congregations. What a heartwarming exercise to try and list these and recognize how extensive the evidence of God’s love is all around me. Eventually I ran out of time, but I walked away with a warm glow inside still feeling that my list only scratched the surface.
Next I read 1 John 4:7-12 which I think is beautifully expressed in The Passion Translation:
Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of him. 8 The one who doesn’t love has yet to know God, for God is love.[a]9 The light of God’s love shined within us[b] when he sent his matchless[c] Son into the world so that we might live through him.[d]10 This is love:[e] He loved us long before we loved him. It was his love, not ours. He proved it by sending his Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins.[f]
11 Delightfully loved ones, if he loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! 12 No one has ever gazed[g] upon the fullness of God’s splendor.[h] But if we love one another, God makes his permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in him, and his love is brought to its full expression in us.
Loving one another should be our way of life! Easier said than done, but when we remind ourselves frequently of the expressions of God’s love around us we are more likely to move in the direction of expressing love in and through our lives, which makes it easier to ask the next question – Where did I express God’s love in my concern for others and for God’s creation this week? Where did I fail to express love? This last list seems to be the longest of all, unfortunately, but I continue to work on it!
My reflection on my heart-shaped rocks culminated, at least for the time being, in the writing of the poem below. Perhaps you would like to join me in this exercise. Walk around your garden, neighbourhood park or a rocky beach. Collect all the heart-shaped objects you can. Bring them home and reflect on the unexpected places you have seen God’s love this week.
God we thank you
For the wonder of your love,
For in it is hidden the wonder of who you are.
Wherever generosity is shared,
Your love is proclaimed.
Wherever compassion is expressed,
Your love is at its root.
Wherever forgiveness breaks forth
Your love gives it birth.
Your love never stops loving,
It is ever patient and kind,
A safe place to shelter from fear and anger and violence.
Let it find a permanent home in us
and become our way of life.
Love pouring from you to us,
from us to you
and out into the world you love.
Christine Sine 2021 (Inspired by I Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4)
Now live and ready for registration! Join Christine and Lilly for a virtual retreat unlocking the wonder of the Advent season on November 20th, 2021 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm PDT.
A contemplative service with music in the spirit of Taize. Carrie Grace Littauer, prayer leader, with music by Kester Limner and Andy Myers.
Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-710-756 with additional notes below:
“Bring Your Peace,” “Kyrie,” and “Shepherd Song” are original compositions. Words and music by Kester Limner, shared under the Creative Commons License, Attribution (CC-BY).
“Nothing Can Ever” and “Within our Darkest Night (Dans Nos Obscurites)” are songs from the ecumenical monastic community in Taize, France. Copyright and all rights reserved by GIA/Les Presses de Taizé.
Thank you for praying with us! www.saintandrewsseattle.org
Photos and writing by June Friesen,
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. (Definition from Wikipedia)
When I heard about this celebration this year (sadly I had not heard of it before) I immediately went online to find out the historical meaning of this day. I do not know if I had really never heard of it before, or if I had heard the words but really never thought about it–merely ‘heard’ the words.
Growing up I was very familiar with the Indigenous people in various ways. I remember them coming to our farm and selling my father wooden fence posts. He taught me that they were always of good wood and they made especially sturdy fencing corners. I also was gifted with many of the items above, which were mostly made by the Navaho nation in the early 1950s.
As I have pondered these thoughts these past couple of weeks, many thoughts have gone through my mind. I have some very special friends among the Indigenous peoples, especially here in Arizona with whom I have shared various experiences. I have been privileged to worship in their churches, attend their revival/camp meetings on their lands, and sleep and eat in their homes with them. I have many specials friends among these people. So, I became very curious as to this special day and I have to admit that as I now understand it, I will embrace it fully. Let us look at a couple of Scriptures, as I was once again reminded of these verses:
John 3:16 16 For here is the way God loved the world—he gave his only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.
(The Passion Translation)
Romans 1:14-17 14 Love obligates me to preach to everyone, to those who are among the elite and those who are among the outcasts, to those who are wise and educated as well as to those who are foolish and unlearned. 15 This is why I am so excited about coming to preach the wonderful message of Jesus to you in Rome! 16 I refuse to be ashamed of the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere! 17 This gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. (The Passion Translation)
A song that comes to mind from my earliest childhood Sunday School days is this:
“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world; Red, brown, yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
When I got a little older a Sunday School teacher added a verse:
“Jesus died for all the children, all the children of the world; Red, brown, yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight; Jesus died for all the children of the world.”
As a child, my spirit was sensitive to anyone who looked different than I did. Yet I remember so clearly how I really believed in my little ‘child’s heart and mind’ that every one of us all over the world mattered to God. In the photos above you will see some very special treasures of mine. One dates all the way back to when I was three years old and my aunt brought me a little jacket with weaving on it from one of the Indigenous tribes in New Mexico. She continued to add to that collection over the years as she would come to visit us. I treasured all of these and still do.
So how can we show respect and honor to these people around our nation? In my experience, it is in accepting them as individuals just as you and I. I remember fondly sitting with a number of women, some of them quite elderly, in one of my visits to their tribal land/nation. Some of them knew little to no English yet we were able to visit and learn about each other. They were eager to share with me their creative abilities, especially in their weavings. I learned about their great respect for the creation/world around us, especially water. Oftentimes their communities struggled for water, especially when the rainfall was minimal. Water was used in the home but never disposed of down the drain. Rather it was carried outdoors to the farm animals, especially the chickens.
I learned how to worship God with great enthusiasm. It did not matter so much if the tune(s) and/or harmony were perfect; what mattered was the opportunity to praise God because they had come to know that they were created by Him and loved by Him, even though life was not always easy. I have learned they have been taken advantage of by Caucasian people. For some, this has caused a continual struggle, yet they desire to still one day be respected among all people/by all people. I have shared with them through the loss of a family member in death. In knowing the faith walk of the person we were all assured of the person’s presence in heaven with God the Father of all humanity.
This is a day of new possibilities and possibly new beginnings for some–if not all of us. I know that it is for me. I knew many things about the Indigenous peoples, but now I know even more. I now want to embrace a day to honor them, especially for their resilience, their continued perseverance, and their forgiveness–as well as their great contributions to this country over time. This is an opportunity for all of us to show appreciation to this people group by thanking them for the things they contribute to our society, the arts that they share with us for sale, as well as embracing them as fellow believers.
Today I close with a prayer:
Father in heaven, today we celebrate and honor a group of people who have often felt marginalized in our society. Forgive us for where we have not always recognized and included them in our lives as You did and do. Help us begin today to embrace them as Your children created and loved by You just as we are. In Jesus’ name, amen and amen.
Want to experience more of the awe and wonder that God offers us? Check out the Gift of Wonder Online Retreat by Christine Sine. This retreat allows for 180 days of access for only $39.99 so you can move through the sessions at your own pace.