This weekly roundup of facebook prayers has been fun for me to review – not hard to tell that I am writing a book on prayer as an exercise in love
My good friend Tom Balke just sent me this link to “pray as you go”. It is a beautiful meditative prayer (takes about 10 minutes) offered by Jesuit Media Initiatives. It is well worth a listen but make sure you take the time to go through the whole meditation. www.prayasyougo.org
Let each breath that you take breathe in God
Let each step that you make live for God
Let each word that you say glorify the One who fills our world with life and love
Let the love of God soak into your heart,
Let the peace of God soak into your soul,
Let the life of God soak into your spirit,
May they transform you and make you whole.
Jesus teach us to pray as you did,
Not in thought and speech but in truth and action,
Jesus teach us to love as you did,
In compassion and mercy, with patience and kindness,
Jesus teach to live as you did,
Considering the needs of others as more important than your own.
Let us love as God loves with forgiveness and restoration
Let us love as Christ loves with compassion and mercy
Let us love as the Spirit loves with truth and action
Let us join the Triune God who is love
Lord Jesus Christ may we call each other into life and hope,
May we learn always of your love unveiled through the life of others,
And respond to your wisdom expressed through the most unlikely people.
Jesus may we sit in your presence today
And absorb the inner world of God.
It is easy for me to get distracted and I must confess that since the Inhabit conference I have found it even easier. My friends at the Parish Collective keep posting such interesting articles, examples of what creative ordinary people are doing in their communities. It is both inspiring and energizing so I thought I would share some more of what I have learned this week.
Continuing the Conversation: Toward an Architecture of Place and Toward an Architecture of Place are two articles well worth reading.
We believe that the iconic design movement, which defines our architectural era, must integrate a sense of place into its work. When the bold idea of place takes hold in modern design, cities will become more livable, sustainable and authentic.
OK now download this great resource from the New American Dream.
And finally this is a very inspirational video to watch too. I love the comments she starts with: There is no failure – creativity comes out of chaos. Gratitude trumps fear.
And Paul Spark’s comments:
The only stories of heroes most people have in common are the ones they watch on TV. But in our neighborhood a lot of us have stuck around long enough to see the characters who deserve to be called “hero” because of the way they live their lives, and what they’ve overcome. In our town stories are told about their lives, about their character, about their courage, and about how their acts of imagination bring power to the people. My friend Patricia Lecy-Davis is one of those kind of heroes.
One year ago this week, as the birds were hatching on our porch and the rose bush was in full bloom, our friend George was shot, just four blocks up the street. The bullet that hit his neck lodged in his C-7 and paralyzed him from the chest down. For eight months, George lay on his back in a hospital bed. Most of the medical and social work professionals who worked with him said George would never live outside of an institution again.
But George said, “I’m gonna drive.”
After working hard in rehab, George came home to stay with us at Rutba House in early February of this year. With good medical care, determination, and the patient love of lots of friends, he’s made steady progress–getting out of bed, learning to use a wheel chair, even hoisting himself in and out of our family van. But all along, George has maintained, “I’m gonna drive.”
I believe he will. But here’s the exciting news: you can help make it happen. For National Mobility Awareness Month, there’s a contest. Three people will win a fully equipped, handicap accessible van. And the winners will be determined by the number of votes that each nominee gets by May 13th.
1) Click here to Vote for George. (Use the promo code “963″ to multiply your initial vote times five.)
2) Share this. Email it. Tweet it. Post it to Facebook. Holler at everyone in your office and ask them to help.
3) Vote Early, Vote Often. We’re getting a late start, but you can vote once every 24 hours until May 13th.
George thinks I’m a little crazy for thinking we can win this. And maybe I am. But if I’ve learned anything in our life here at Rutba House, it’s that the unimaginable is possible when people come together in the power of love.
As a matter of fact, that’s the only thing that makes our life here possible.
I’m glad for this chance to invite you to join us.
In the last few days I have posted several articles about the love of God and prayer. I also posted one about the riots here in Seattle on May Day. Guess which one got the most traffic?
It saddens me to see how much more easily we are drawn towards violence than towards love – not the mushy love of lust that is so often portrayed on the TV screen – but the enduring self sacrificing love that is at the core of who God is and who God wants us to be.
Violence saturates our society and we seem to accept it especially here in America. When I set out to get statistics on violence and media consumption this morning, I could find the results of little research done in the last 7 or 8 years. And the statistics from back then are rather sobering. Evidently the average child, from 2004 figures, will see at least 8,000 murders on TV before they finish elementary school and 200,000 violent acts by age 18. And if you want to follow the statistics SCMS Canada is well worth a visit.
Yet many people do not believe that watching violence creates violent behaviour and unfortunately much of the research produces inconclusive results as this article shows. In fact the most quoted research, though it concedes that watching violence increases aggression, states the startling fact that:
We ﬁnd that violent crime decreases on days with higher theater audiences for violent movies…. Overall, we ﬁnd no evidence of a temporary surge in violent crime due to exposure to movie violence. Rather, our estimates suggest that in the short-run violent movies deter over 200 assaults daily.
So should we encourage the watching of violence hoping that it will actually decrease the incidence of violent crimes? Or is there another solution like teaching both children to love and care for each other rather than competing with each other.
Fortunately there are many organizations that are more concerned with peaceful rather than violent solutions to violence. Those involved in conflict resolution have grown remarkably in the last few years. Here are a few organizations worth checking out.
Eastern Mennonite University has a great list of resources on peace and conflict resolution, though of them deal with more global issues of violence.
Alternatives to Violence Project is another group that seems to take this issue seriously.
As you can see this has only been a very quick research project this morning and I would love to hear your input. How do you think the viewing of violence on TV and the interacting with violence in video games impacts behaviour? and probably even more important – How should we as Christians respond?
This morning I have been thinking about what it means to practice the presence of a God who is love. We know that the central commandment Jesus gave to the disciples was to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and to love your neighbour as yourself’. It is so simple yet so profound that we spend our entire lives trying to understand and live into its meaning.
Paul begins his great discourse on love by saying “let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” (1 Corinthians 12:31 NLT) What gives me great hope is the transformation that has taken place in Paul’s life. We first meet him as a fire breathing, killer of Christ’s followers. Now he has learned what love is all about.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Cor 13: 4-7 via biblegateway.com)
We see the same transformation in John’s life. He who was known as a son of thunder becomes the apostle of love. His gospel and his letters provide a wonderful glimpse into what the love of God looks like.
If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Interestingly when we reach out to others with love and compassion our own ability to love grows. I have mentioned before that I was born 2 months prematurely and spent the first month of my life in hospital. Separated from my mother’s love I built a wall between myself and others. For much of my childhood I felt that a glass wall separated me from my family and friends. Then I became a Christian and the wall began to give way. It didn’t shatter in one fell swoop but it did slowly break down. What broke it down more than anything else was my reaching out to others who had even deeper needs than I did. The support of friends who loved me also eroded its walls.
Isaiah 58: 6-12 has become my life verse, because it is my life story.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes. (NLT via Biblegateway.com)
Reaching out to others has healed my wounds to. Learning to love others has made me more lovable (at least that’s what they tell me) and in the midst I have discovered the presence of a God whose love is so deep and so enduring that it will never leave me.
I have just heard about the May Day riots in downtown Seattle. Chaos and property damage have been the order of the day. According to the KOMO news report: Property damage was extensive including a Wells Fargo bank, Niketown, Taphouse Grill, American Apparel and the old downtown federal courthouse. Seattle police tweeted that multiple vehicles were damaged along parts of Seneca Street and Sixth Avenue, and the HomeStreet Bank on 6th was also vandalized.
This kind of violence doesn’t really help anyone’s cause and in fact diminishes the important protest of the many peaceful participants. It certainly doesn’t forward the cause of justice and often alienates those who would listen to justified protest. The May Day parade traditionally honors labour and workers’ rights. In Seattle, it drew hundreds of demonstrators for immigration rights and from the Occupy movement, with many converging on a park near downtown for rallies and music. These people need our prayers and support. Please pray with me.
Dear God in a world of violence and injustice,
May your righteousness prevail.
When anger and destruction seem to reign,
May your peace restore and renew.
When voices seeking justice are silenced by rioters ,
May your shouts for freedom be heard.
Protect the innocent, guide the righteous,
Be with those who walk for justice,
May your peace and harmony prevail.
Guide those who seek to restore
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