by Lisa DeRosa,
We are pleased to announce and introduce the journal that is used in conjunction with the Lean Towards the Light this Advent & Christmas devotional that we published last year and updated for this year. The journal is a great tool to use with the devotional. Each day has a reading of either a liturgy, reflection, poem, or prayer that correlates with the journal which includes scripture, questions, and suggested activities.
There are many ways to experience these resources that we are offering for the season of Advent. For example, we are offering the Advent devotional and journal as a bundle pack (available as a download) as well as bundled with the Advent Prayer Cards (as a download too). The Advent Prayer Cards are sold as 1 set, 3 sets, or downloadable PDF.
Come walk with us in Wonder through the Advent season. Join Christine and Lilly for a virtual retreat on November 20th, 2021 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm PDT. Save the date and watch this space for more details to come!
by Christine Sine
Another week enamoured of my new morning mantra:
Thank God for the gift of life, this wondrous gift so freely given.
This week my focus was on the gift of breath, so intimately interwoven with the gift of life. This is a recurrent theme for me, but I have never felt so deeply moved by my meditations. Breath is the first gift God ever gives us, and the last. It is the gift that is given every moment of every day over and over and over again. It is a gift given to every living organism. In some way, every single part of creation inhales and exhales. Yet we so easily take this incredible gift for granted. Though perhaps one of the lessons we learned from COVID is not to take our breath for granted.
So today I sit looking at the prayer above, which I also have printed on a canvas board, and thinking about my breath and the wonder of a God who reached down into the soil, molded it into the shape we call human, breathed on it and formed that first human being. (Genesis 2:7 The Voice) Then I fast forward to the New Testament and imagine myself as one of Jesus’ disciples. I close my eyes and sense his warm breath as he moves close and breathes his spirit into me and says: “Welcome the Holy Spirit of the living God.” (John 20:21-22 The Voice)
Now I cup my hands and take a deep breath in through my nose and out into my hands. The warmth of it feels good against the chill of the morning air. I walk outside and repeat the process, imagining my breath moving out into the atmosphere laden with carbon dioxide that the trees in our back yard eagerly grab hold of, replenishing the air I exhaled with oxygen then sending it back to me or on to someone else. Wow, this act of breathing is far more wondrous and far more complex than I imagined. My breath is connected not just to the great Creator of the universe, it is connected to every other creature on our planet. God’s breath instills life into all creation. This wondrous gift of life and breath is truly incredible and I pray you will pause to think about it today.
I thank you God for the gift of breath,
First gift and last of my life,
A gift that fills me every moment of every day –
over and over and over again.
I thank you God for the wonder
of waking each day with breath in my lungs,
and your love in my heart.
I thank you for the breath you breathe,
On me, in me, through me.
Thank you for the gift you keep on giving
your life filling me each moment with love and mercy and joy.
(c) Christine Sine 2021
So much to give thanks to God for in every single breath of every day.
If you have time watch the video below and rejoice in the wonder of breath and of the God who continually gives us this wondrous gift.
You might also like to check out the series of breath cards I created a couple of years ago.
A contemplative service with music in the spirit of Taize. Carrie Grace Littauer, prayer leader, with music by Kester Limner and Andy Myers.
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:
“La Ténèbre (Our Darkness),” “The Lord is My Light,” and “In the Lord” are songs from the ecumenical Taize community in France. Copyright and all rights reserved by GIA/Les Presses de Taizé.
“Kyrie” is an original composition. Music and lyrics by Kester Limner shared under the Creative Commons License, Attribution (CC-BY).
“When He Cometh (Jewels”)” is a public domain hymn, written in 1856 by William Orcutt Cushing, who was a Methodist minister and advocate for the education of blind children.
Thank you for praying with us! www.saintandrewsseattle.org
Writings and photos by June Friesen,
What comes to your mind as you hear the words ‘World Wide Communion’? I have to admit that it was not until maybe fifteen to twenty years ago that I really gave it much thought at all. It was when my life became involved with refugees coming to our country fleeing rebels, poverty, and other issues. In recent years as it approaches each year my mind wonders how other people are holding their services of communion. Do they have the elements that many of us deem as necessary? And if not, how do they proceed. A few years ago, I used the Sunday as a teaching time with grapes and some wheat kernels that we passed around and partook of instead of the juice and bread that is traditional. I shared how the grain needs to go through intense crushing to become the needed flour for bread. The grapes need to be crushed to give up the needed element for juice/wine. So, Jesus came to face a similar situation in order to give humanity the opportunity to have a renewed relationship with God. His body was crushed, bones broken, and his life-giving liquid blood was spilled from head wounds by the thorns, his wounded side by the sword, the lashes on his back by the whips, and the nails driven through his hands and his feet.
The past year and a half, the world has struggled intensely with issues we have not been able to control. There is Covid. There is war(s). There is rioting. There is unnecessary death. There is division everywhere. My friends, when Jesus was on this earth it was really not much different – but He came to offer to anyone who believes in Him and His death and resurrection the gift of life after this earthly life. He said that this gift of life, eternal life, would be worth dying for – and He led the example and died first. Let us read about His preparation before His death, which by the way, included His disciples at that time.
THE LAST SUPPER
26-29 During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples:
Take, eat. This is my body.
Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them:
Drink this, all of you. This is my blood,
God’s new covenant poured out for many people
for the forgiveness of sins.
“I’ll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I’ll drink with you in the kingdom of my Father.”
Jesus took His twelve disciples aside as He prepared for the final hours before His earthly death. It was an intense time for not only Jesus but for His disciples as well. We are told briefly of what happened between Jesus and the disciples, particularly Judas at this meal but I expect that it was a somber and quiet time. And when they were finished it tells us they all went to the Garden of Gethsemane, a place that they had been before but this time no doubt things happened a little differently. When they arrived, Jesus went off by Himself.
39 Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
FATHER, WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Wow, God – have I ever taken even one time recently to ask of You, “What do You want of me?”. Your Son in His time of deepest distress, knowing well what was ahead of Him, set an example for us His followers. In the past year and a half, I have to admit that I probably have not gone into that deep place of prayer with You and asked of You – ‘Father, what is it that You want of me here in this situation in the world today?’. In fact, I have to wonder if my story would be similar to the next verses where Jesus speaks to His disciples.
40-41 When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”………
42 He then left them a second time. Again, he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
43-44 When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
Jesus, in His distress, in His time of great struggle asked His Father if there was any other way to get out of the situation He was facing – yet, He yielded His Will to His Father God. But His disciples – Jesus says to them, ‘be alert – pray – so you don’t fall – in one sense you are wanting to follow God but there is a part of you as that is rather lazy spiritually.’ If Jesus were speaking to His disciples today as He is in prayer before His Father in heaven about our world this day in 2021 – how would Jesus address us?
These verses have taken on a new meaning for me this year, 2021. As I meditated upon these last few verses, I have asked myself, “Am I like the disciples, asleep spiritually in this struggle of Covid, racial unrest, and world unrest?” I am finding myself challenged to open my spirit to God asking Him, ‘God, what is it You need from me today?”
Tomorrow for World Wide Communion Sunday, we are invited to what I am calling a new beginning. A new beginning where we can begin to support one another as we celebrate Jesus’ earthly life, His death, and His resurrection giving us as believers the promised gift of eternal life with God in the end. (John 14:1-2) Jesus said: “Believe in me, because I am going to help my Father prepare a blessed home in the heavens for all who come and follow me.”
DRINKING GOD’S CUP TOGETHER
The invitation has been extended so many years ago
By God Himself to humanity He created and continues to create each and every day;
It is an invitation to come and walk with Him in this world
So, when our last step here is taken, the next step will be our entrance into eternal glory.
God took the first step so many years ago
He sent His one and only Son as a baby, born into humanity,
He grew as a child experiencing life as a refugee,
Then growing and living within a community and even traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration –
He grew into adulthood and then He was commissioned to teach –
To reveal to the world a new beginning, a new way of getting to know and follow God.
He chose twelve men to teach and train more deeply,
Yet we know others were also profoundly affected
Such as Mary, Martha, Lazarus as well as the many who were healed.
And then there were the final hours before He was crucified –
He explained – His physical body would be broken, beaten and bruised like grain is before it becomes bread to sustain physical life;
His blood – which is the essence of physical life – would run from His physical wounds as juice runs from the fruit to sustain life;
Jesus died physically…..
BUT PRAISE GOD
Jesus came back to life spiritually…..
So today as people we celebrate all over the world,
This wonderful gift of life for our spiritual beings –
By remembering this wonderful gift Jesus gave to us all
Two thousand years ago.
It is a gift that unites all of us worldwide into one family,
GOD’S FOREVER FAMILY!
PRAISE BE TO GOD THE FATHER,
PRAISE BE TO GOD THE SON,
PRAISE BE TO GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT,
THE GREAT THREE IN ONE.
AMEN AND AMEN.
The Spirituality of Gardening Online Course is available for 180 days of access for only $39.99. This interactive course includes video sessions with Christine Sine as well as 8 other guest gardeners. Visit our store page for more information.
The season of Fall is upon us in North America and somehow, it’s already October! The leaves are thinking of turning here in Nashville; we just need some cooler nights and a bit of rain to make that happen. Maybe you need a bit of rain or some change of weather to get you in the mood for a new season! The Old Testament reading for the Canadian Thanksgiving Day and Harvest celebration Sunday is from the book of Joel. Read through the passage and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you today about this New Season. What do you notice? What brings your hope? What does God want you to hear today?
JOEL 2: 21-27 NRSV
Do not fear, O soil;
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
O children of Zion, be glad
and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
How are you feeling as you transition into the new Fall Season? What locusts have you been dealing with lately? What has been eaten away that you’d like to see restored? Talk to Jesus about this. What HOPE do you find in this passage from Joel?
FIND SOME POTTING SOIL, A DISH FILLED WITH SOIL FROM YOUR GARDEN OR A POTTED PLANT and FIX SOME TOAST with JAM or find some FIG NEWTONS TO PRAY WITH. You can do this prayer practice on your own, with your small group, or even with your entire church group. Just have enough fig newtons or jam and bread for everyone. You might create a slide show with photos of fall fields if you use slides in your church gatherings. Give people time to pray with and process the questions. You could even have pen and paper and have people respond to the questions in writing.
READ the Joel passage again and AS YOU LOOK AT THE SOIL and the photos of fall, consider your life right now.
Consider the SOIL…and your life.
It’s time for harvest. Picking the good food and the fruits of the land.
The old crops are tilled under.
Things go to seed.
The field, the soil, is allowed to lay fallow.
The soil, the earth, is allowed to rest.
The soil, is allowed to prepare for a new season after the rain.
What is your soil like today? Ready for harvest, in need of lying fallow? What is the harvest? What is the “good food” in your life? Take time to be grateful. Can you see this season as a gift? Do you need to give yourself permission to rest? How can you allow this season to be a time of preparation? Are you willing to receive what this season has to offer? Ask Jesus to show you.
The Creator is inviting you to the harvest feast…the table is prepared with love.
Milk and Honey overflow, fresh bread and new wine. Jam and Bread and Biscuits.
Feed us/Feed me Jesus with the food we/I need today. You know just what we/I need!
You know right where we are and you know all our circumstances.
Help us to remember the bread of life that sustains us and the sweetness of your love.
Help us to rest in the palm of your hand. AMEN
EAT YOUR BREAD AND JAM or your fig newton cookie and celebrate the sweetness of God’s love!
It’s here! As promised, Gearing Up for a Season of Gratitude is now available as an online course! 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”.
New Theme: Thanksgiving and Gratitude
Welcome to the new theme of Thanksgiving and Gratitude for the months of October and November. We are excited to share with you posts of spiritual practices, stories and moments of gratefulness and thankfulness, reflections from scripture, reviews of books or podcasts relating to gratitude, and much more! This theme was inspired by the season of Thanksgiving that comes each year around Canadian and American Thanksgiving, so we are delighted to keep with this theme throughout the next few months as we journey into Celtic Advent and Advent in November/December. Don’t miss the exciting retreat opportunity that Lilly Lewin and I are planning in November to kick off the season of Advent (see details below!)
Resources for Thanksgiving and Gratitude
These resources listed below are found in our resource pages on Godspace. Please check out the resource lists, posts, and activities for kiddos.
- Resources for Harvest and Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving Prayers and Resources
- Thanksgiving and Optimism by Lynne Baab
- Preparing for Thanksgiving by Lilly Lewin
- Thanksgiving Service: The Story of Trees & Leaves
- My Favourite Thanksgiving Prayers
- Thanksgiving Prayers from 2016
- A Thanksgiving Litany
Activities for Kids!
- Gratitude Activities from Rhythm of Play
- 40 Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities and Games by Rhythm of Play
- Thanksgiving Activities from TheSpruce.com
- A Sacred Home Box: Thankful by Joanna Cummings
Resource Lists and Posts
- My Favorite Books on Gratitude
- Getting Ready for a Season of Gratitude – Plan a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
- A Prayer for Gratitude by Talitha Fraser
- Re-Discovering Gratitude in a Season of Loss by Steve Wickham
- Another Prayer for Gratitude
- Every New Morning by Carol Dixon
- Wrestling with Gratitude by Jeannie Kendall
- Creating a Gratitude Garden
- Walking it Off with Gratitude
- Good News and Gratitude by Lilly Lewin
- 10 Tips for Expressing Gratitude
- Planning to Store
Gearing Up for a Season of Gratitude Online Retreat
We had such a lovely time at the live session of this retreat! So thankful for the participants that were able to make it. We compiled the videos and resources into an online retreat experience that you can go through at your own pace with access to the material for 180 days.
SAVE THE DATE: November 20, 2021 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
As with the Gearing Up for a Season of Gratitude retreat, we are offering this retreat with three price options to accommodate for the economic hardship of this season. The retreat will be recorded so you can still register even if you are not able to join live. We will keep you posted as more details are solidified, but for now, SAVE THE DATE!
- Regular plus Scholarship contribution registration rate = $49.99
- Regular registration = $39.99
- Economic Hardship or Student registration rate = $29.99
by Lisa DeRosa,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your Will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen. (adapted from original, prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971)
The serenity prayer seemed like a good place to start today as I wrote this post. Maybe take a moment to read it again. See if a particular part stands out to you. Rest in the goodness of God while you take in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Need another? Take a deep breath and let it out slowly… I find that breathing fully and completely doesn’t come naturally to me these days, but I must prompt myself to remember!
The coming months will arrive just as quickly as they will fly by through autumn and into Advent and Christmas. My mind is blown by the fact that we are already in autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere. I am not quite sure how it happened. But as time continues to rush by and the signs of the new season are upon us, I grapple with the bittersweet feelings of closing one season for another.
I feel that I am ready to move out of summer and into autumn (maybe our southern hemisphere friends are ready to move from winter to spring?!). I enjoy the sun, sunscreen, summer foods, and all the symbols of summer that we focused on in our last theme on Godspace. And there are just as wonderful symbols of autumn and gratitude that I know we will appreciate and enjoy during our next theme of Thanksgiving and Gratitude. But this also means a move of a different sort in my life as well. As my husband and I prepare to move out of Washington and back to California, this change of life season is bittersweet. While the excitement of being close to family and friends is helping us forward, the thought of saying goodbye to other family and other friends is begging me to stay. The possibilities of new community, new neighbors, and new members of the body of Christ are motivating me forward, but the sadness brought by leaving our current community, neighbors, and brothers and sisters in Christ is devastating. These are the folks that helped get us through the pandemic time of isolation when we needed each other most. When our blood relatives and family were 900 miles away in a time of great uncertainty. We became family for one another. I am exceedingly grateful for them.
This change brings about an unexpected change in the timeline for my work as well. At the end of October, I will also leave my work with Tom and Christine on NewChangeMakers.com and Godspacelight.com and Rob and Lilly Lewin on Confessionsofaracialfirstgrader.org and FreerangeWorship.com. What an amazing opportunity it was to work with such lovely, creative, and passionate people!!! I will miss working with each of them and am deeply appreciative of the work that they will continue to do to inspire others, challenge the status quo, and point people to Jesus!
Thank you Godspace readers for the encouragement and comments over the last year and a half! Blessings to you as we continue forward in the changing seasons and fix our eyes on the One who provides comfort, peace, and hope in every transition that we face.
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.