Celtic Retreat This Weekend
[caption id="attachment_7202" align="alignnone" width="225"] Celtic cross decorating altar retreat 2011[/caption] Our 21st Annual Celtic retreat is only a few day away. There is still time to sign up and the weather promises to be perfect. Our theme this year is thanksgiving and gratitude. Join us for a time of prayer and worship with Celtic musician Jeff Johnson, for times of meditation and contemplation. Join our rich fellowship together as we share pot luck meals. Join with us in dedicating the beginning of the first building of the Mustard Seed Village. Join us in creating a prayer wall and prayer flags. Walk the prayer trails and soak in the beauty of God's creation. This will be an awesome weekend and we would love to celebrate it with you. [caption id="attachment_7203" align="alignnone" width="300"] An outdoor cathedral amongst the trees[/caption] As a sneak preview here is what I wrote for the introduction to our weekend. Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honours me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God. (Psalm 50: 23) Giving thanks, living in gratitude for the rich and abundant blessings of God, being content to sit, enjoy and absorb what God has provided now, in this moment, this is indeed the pathway to God. This is where we often see the salvation of God revealed. One of the hallmarks of our faith is contentment in all circumstances even in the midst of pain, suffering and struggle. This only comes when we take time to pause, reflect, recognize the gifts of God in our lives and be grateful. To grow in intimacy with God and move deeper into that loving union we all so desperately crave we must learn to live in gratitude for what each moment holds. This kind of faith does not come easily to us. It must be learned through discipline and commitment. Discontent is built into our society. Our consumer culture encourages and manipulates us to be envious and discontented. No matter what we have, enough always seems just beyond the horizon. So how can we learn to say with Paul: I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil 4:11-13 NLT) After hearing a discourse on gratitude, my friend Sue and her husband Chuck decided to begin each day by naming ten things they felt truly grateful for. “The discipline worked a new muscle, but over time, it became a natural part of our day. We found ourselves not only “naming” thankfulness in the morning, but looking for things to add to our list all during the day. Our hearts smiled. We grew expectant.” More recently after meditating on Philippians 4:6, Sue developed a new discipline every time she asked God for something, prayed for a person, or expressed fear and anxiety. She forced herself to stop and be present in the moment. Then, she named something related to her request that she was truly grateful for – before asking anything. A sense of peace and calm followed. Now, the prayer often seems secondary, the need less urgent and the sense of God whispering, “I’ve got it covered” more clear. At the end of this retreat we will share the Eucharist together, a very appropriate part of the thanksgiving celebration. The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word eukaristos meaning “to give thanks” and it is often referred to as “The Great Thanksgiving.” As we come to the communion table we remember and we give thanks for all that Jesus has done for us through his life, death and resurrection. We give thanks for all the things he has done that reveal the love of God to us, all the things that made him a leader worth following. At the same time we should remember and give thanks for the many blessings we still experience every day as we share our lives with him and with all God’s creatures. However in the midst of taking communion we are reminded that we cannot fully enter into the great thanksgiving of God when so many people in our world are without a place to live, nourishing food to eat, and adequate health care. In the midst of our own thanksgiving we should be doing all that we can to make sure that no one in our society or indeed in our world is hungry, cold or sick. We will only be able to fully celebrate with thanksgiving when all the world’s people are able to share in the bounty of God’s world together not just for a day but for the rest of eternity. So let us give thanks today for all that God has lavished on us in anticipation of the day when we will join together with all God’s people in the great thanksgiving feast of the kingdom.
[caption id="attachment_6583" align="alignnone" width="300"] Earth touches heaven - photo by Coe Hutchison[/caption] This week's round up of prayers. I have added some of the links in yesterday's post to alternative renditions of the Lord's prayer too as some of you may have missed those. Lord you have written your covenant of love deep within our hearts. You have written your kingdom ways of peace and justice into the fabric of our world. Lead us Lord to the place where evil no longer tempts us, To where we desire your kingdom purposes above all else, And reveal them in all we are and do. ------------------------------- Our Father, Not mine alone but stretching beyond family, race, class, and religion, reaching to everyone everywhere. Hallowed be your name. May we reverence in thought and word and deed your name, your character, the very nature of who you are. May your kingdom come, because we seek it above all else and put it in our prayers where Jesus did, first in consideration and allegiance. (Today's prayer is in response to meditating on the Lord's prayer) ----------------------------------- Give us this day our daily bread, not bread for me alone but for everyone, not bread for the rest of my life but for today, For we know that when we seek first your kingdom, all these things - food, clothing, all we need- shall be added, as and when we need them. -------------------------------- I love this prayer by Henri Nouwen Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched. --------------------------------- Your eternal word stands firm in heaven O Lord, Your faithfulness is as enduring as the earth you created, All you do flows from your heart of love. May we seek only you this day, And see that all you do and all you are is good. -------------------------------- Alternative forms of the Lord's prayer. The Lord’s Prayer – An Adaptation - written by the Society of the Sacred Heart The Lord’s Prayer – How Should We Say It? -
A Blogger’s Lord’s Prayer by Andrew Jones
[caption id="attachment_7189" align="alignnone" width="300"] Andrew Jones[/caption] I first came across the following prayer from this church on alternative Lord's prayers. It is attributed to Kiwi blogger, Andrew Jones. Our Father who lives above and beyond the dimension of the internet, Give us this day a life worth blogging, The access to words and images that express our journey with passion and integrity, And a secure connection to publish your daily mercies. Your Kingdom come into new spaces today, As we make known your mysteries, Posting by posting, Blog by blog. Give this day, The same ability to those less privileged, Whose lives speak louder than ours, Whose sacrifice is greater, Whose stories will last longer. Forgive us our sins, For blog-rolling strangers and pretending they are friends, For counting unique visitors but not noticing unique people, For delighting in the thousands of hits but ignoring the ONE who returns, For luring viewers but sending them away empty handed, For updating daily but repenting weekly. As we forgive those who trespass on our sites to appropriate our thoughts without reference, Our images without approval, Our ideas without linking back to us. Lead us not into the temptation to sell out our congregation, To see people as links and not as lives, To make our blogs look better than our actual story. But deliver us from the evil of pimping ourselves instead of pointing to you, From turning our guests into consumers of someone else's products, From infatuation over the toys of technology, From idolatry over technology From fame before our time has come. For Yours is the power to guide the destinies behind the web logs, To bring hurting people into the sanctuaries of our sites, To give us the stickiness to follow you, no matter who is watching or reading. Yours is the glory that makes people second look our sites and our lives, Yours is the heavy ambience, For ever and ever, Amen I think that we can learn so much from reflecting on alternative renditions of the Lord's prayer like this. You may also like to check out these other alternative renditions of the Lord's prayer that I have posted in the past: The Lord’s Prayer – An Adaptation - written by the Society of the Sacred Heart The Lord’s Prayer – How Should We Say It?
Unpacking the Lord’s Prayer.
[caption id="attachment_7182" align="alignnone" width="286"] Praying At Gethsemane - He Qi[/caption] Yesterday we posted John O'Keefe's great narrative on the Lord's Prayer. I, too, have been reflecting on this prayer over the last couple of weeks in conjunction with reading the section in E. Stanley Jones' The Way, in which he unpacks the Lord's prayer. I wrote this prayer/poem/discourse in response. I was particularly struck as read it this time by the corporate nature of the language. This is not a prayer that we can pray alone or live out alone. The language is "our" and us. Jones comments:
That "our" determines the nature of religion. Suppose it had been "my"? That would have changed the nature of religion. Instead of being social and we-centred, it would have been individual and I-centred. That would have started us off wrong, the whole prayer would come out wrong. That word "our" means a shifting of the emphasis from me to the Father and to my brothers (and sisters). p199.Our Father, Not mine alone but stretching beyond family, race, class, and religion, Reaching to everyone everywhere. Our Father, The One who takes responsibility for us as family, The One who cannot do anything but the loving thing, Hallowed be your name. May we reverence in thought and word and deed your name, your character, May we see as holy the very nature of who you are. Your kingdom come, Your kingdom of peace, justice, wholeness and abundance. May it come because we seek it above all else, And put it in our prayers where Jesus did, first in consideration and allegiance. Your will be done, Your will for the only way that life is meant to work, Your will for kingdom life to be revealed, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, Give us this day our daily bread, Not bread for me alone but for everyone, your entire human family Not bread for the rest of my life but for today, For we know that when we seek first your kingdom, all these things - food, clothing, all we need- shall be added, As and when we need them. And forgive us our sins, Forgive us our desires for luxuries that make others do without necessities, Forgive us our holding onto tomorrow’s bread that should be shared today. Forgive us as we forgive others, not resenting what they have, who they are, how you have gifted them, Lead us not into temptation but away from evil, Guide us, all of us, until evil is not longer a temptation for us. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, You still rule, now, in our world today, You rule with kingdom power and kingdom glory. Amen
Lord Teach Us to Pray: How I See The Lord’s Prayer by John C. O’Keefe
One day, while Jesus was finishing his alone time with God, a bunch of us started to gather to bug him and ask a billion questions. As we gathered at Bob’s house, one of us looked at Jesus and asked, “How do you pray?” Jesus looked at him and said, “What do you mean, how do I pray? I mean, I just talk with God, it’s that simple.” I thought to myself, ‘Simple, did he just say it was simple?’ if it was so simple everyone would do it. My thought right after that, was that Jesus wanted to play some kind of mind game on us, he liked doing that kind of thing. Just then, Sue asked, “Well, what he meant to say was can you teach us to pray? You know, like John taught his follower, can you do the same for us?” Jesus replied, “Sure, that’s simple.” As he looked at me and gave a wink (mind games, I’m telling you, mind games) So, Jesus grabbed a beer out of the cooler and found a comfy spot on the couch, “Let me share with you how I see it” Jesus said as he cracked open the beer while shuffling around on the couch looking for that one sweat spot where he could relax, you know the one spot where you are comfortable enough to kick back and chat, while still have plenty of room to grab your beer when you want. You see, Jesus knew this was going to come as a shock to what we thought prayer was all about, so finding that sweet spot was pretty important. Being in the zone, Jesus started, “The first point you need to know is don’t just repeat the words of others, you have to make the prayer your own – you need to own it. Along the same lines, don’t write down what you’re going to say or memorize it, you really need to speak from the heart. Let your prayers have meaning, let it speak to your needs, your desire, and center on your relationship with God.” As Jesus was talking, you could’ve heard a pin drop. Jesus wanted to give his followers a chance to ask questions about what he just said, so he took a swig of beer and waited a bit. But no one said anything; we just sat there, waiting and listening. Seeing that no one was ready to comment, Jesus continued. “The second point I want to make is that you need to remember, and this one is so important, don’t act like some weird televangelist with all those clicks, moans and empty words. With all the money they make fleecing others, do you really think God cares about their clicks, moans or empty words? You have to remember that most of their prayers are designed to simply get others to send them money so they can buy big house, cars and planes. Trust me, they got all their going to get.” With that, Jesus could see by the expressions on our faces that the processors were starting. Jesus leaned forward and added, “Next, let your prayer be a pray between you and God, you don’t need an audience, you don’t need crowds, all you need is you, your heart and the ear of God. If you make it a show, what value does that have? You have to keep in mind that prayer is not you telling God what is happening, God already knows what’s going on. Pray is more like you sharing with God how you’re seeing things, so God can guide you as you need.” With that, Jesus sat back and waited for us to say something, anything. But all we could do was look at each other as if we were deer standing in the street in the middle of the night and the car was heading our way. As we were processing all that Jesus shared, someone from the back of the room said, “I get all that, and I love it. But can you share an example of how to pray? Can you break down some steps? What should a prayer look like?” Jesus thought for a moment and said, “Sure, I can do that. But you have to promise me that you will not simply repeat my words, keep in mind that your prayer needs to come from you.” He thought for a moment, you could see the expression on his face change as if he was going to go so much deeper than before, “Let me share with you what a good prayer might look like – As I said before, the most important thing is to go directly to God. Praise God; share your love for your God. Realize that God is the creator of everything, so bring honor to God as you speak. Say something like, ‘Oh my God who is all, You are center of all and creator of all, my heart shares the blessings of your love.’ Also, you must then realize that whatever you desire, no matter what you are praying for, it must fit God’s plan for this world; so, say something like, ‘My heart desires to do as you command, your will is my desire and I seek to live in your kingdom here among others.’ When you go to God remember that you desire your needs, and wants, to fit into God’s plan. Also, thank God for all God has given you, whatever it is and ask God to help you with issues that may come your way over time; you could say something like. ‘Thank you for giving me all I have and all I desire.’” As Jesus was finishing his views of prayer, he added something that shocked his followers, “Here is the part that may seem a bit weird to you, but share that you are working to forgive others every wrong they have done to you. You could say something like, ‘I seek to forgive all the wrongs others have done to me, give me strength so that I can forgive others and please Lord, and forgive me the wrongs I have done to others.’ You see, what you need to remember is that the way God works is like this, if you are unwilling to forgive the bad things others have done to you; God has no desire to forgive the bad things you have done to others. You can see this as a ‘catch 22′ in that you need to forgive, before you can be forgiven.” Based on Luke 11:1-4 and Matthew 6:5-14, this may not be how it happened, but it is how I see it.
[caption id="attachment_7175" align="alignnone" width="300"] Unloading the poles for the Mustard Seed Village[/caption] This morning was a momentous one for Tom and I. We left home at 5:30 am to drive out to the future site of the Mustard Seed Village on Camano Island. We were so excited because the poles for our first building - the pole barn classroom were arriving. This may not sound very momentous to some of you but for us it is huge. [caption id="attachment_7185" align="alignnone" width="300"] From big truck to little truck - Tom helps to load[/caption] Tom bought the land 20 years ago and the dream for an eco-village that can become a centre for Christian imagination and innovation has slowly emerged. We believe that this is a vision that God has placed in our hearts. It is exciting to have a growing circle of friends and collaborators who share the same dream. [caption id="attachment_7177" align="alignnone" width="224"] So that's what those poles are for[/caption] This will be a place where people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages can gather to imagine and create new possibilities for life and faith for the future. are so excited, in spite of the fact that there are still many obstacles to overcome - not the least of these is that we still need $100,000 to widen the road, bring in electricity and complete the first building. If you would like to help we would love you to join our team.
- Pray for us,
- Share our vision with your friends,
- Join us for the Celtic retreat August 17 - 19 and celebrate this project with us.
- Contribute financially to this project.
- Help us recruit students for the CCSP Cascadia semester away program
Last week I posted a list of websites and other resources on community and urban farming. In one of the comments I promised a list of urban farming books. So here it is and to be honest I borrowed a lot from the list at crunchychicken.com, a site which I highly recommend to you as well. I have not read all the books (too busy gardening) but am putting some of them on my Christmas list so that I can go dig into them over the winter months. 1. The Urban Farm Handbook, by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols: the authors share their own food journeys along with those of local producers and consumers who are changing the food systems in the Pacific Northwest. A great book whether you live in the Northwest or not. 2. All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. I loved the original version and still find it to be an extremely useful book for planning my garden though I am not quite as obsessional with the grid as he is. 3. The Essential Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter: A helpful guide to all things urban farm related. "From day one to market day", she gives full disclosure on everything you need to become an urban farmer. 4. Urban Homesteading, by Rachel Kaplan: Expert urban homesteader Sundari Elizabeth Kraft shares her hands-on knowledge of: growing organic foods and preserving them; composting; raising small livestock and chickens; generating electricity and biofuels; and other ways to cut costs and live green. 5. Your Farm in the City, by Lisa Taylor: This book is put out by my local Seattle Tilth. Their Seattle Tilth Northwest Garden Guide has been one of my favourite resources for years and I am looking forward to reading this one too. 6. The complete book of Edible Landscaping, by Rosalind Creasy. This was the first book that I bought on urban farming in the days when few people were talking about it. I still think it is one of the best resources available. 7. The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen: According to Crunchychicken.com, this book covers more than you can possibly imagine and will inspire you to try new things. I have not read it yet but have added it to my wish list. 8. Urban Farm Magazine, This is my favourite magazine on urban farming. (along with YES and Mother Earth). 9. Mother Earth News Magazine, This is another favourite which was the source for the no knead bread recipes I posted recently. 10. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading, by Sundari Elizabeth Kraft: This book covers the basics as well as everything from composting to clean energy. Again I have not read this but it has jumped to the top of my wish list because of its broad base of information. Would love to hear about your favourite books and resources too.
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