Saturday is St Patrick’s Day. As I have posted a responsive prayer and some links to Patrick’s Breastplate and other prayers in the past as well, a post with his Prayer for the Faithful, I thought that this year I would post his creeds instead. I have found two that are attributed to Patrick – both very compelling and worth a read.
Creeds of St. Patrick
There is no other God,
nor ever was, nor will be,
than God the Father unbegotten,
from whom is all beginning,
the Lord of the universe,
as we have been taught;
and His son Jesus Christ,
whom we declare to have always
been with the Father, spiritually and
ineffably begotten by the Father
before the beginning of the world,
before all beginning; and by Him are made all things
visible and invisible.
He was made man, and,
having defeated death,
was received into heaven by the Father;
and He hath given Him all
power over all names in heaven,
on earth, and under the earth,
and every tongue shall confess
to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God,
in whom we believe, and whose advent
we expect soon to be,
judge of the living and of the dead,
who will render to every man
according to his deeds; and
He has poured forth upon us
abundantly the Holy Spirit,
the gift and pledge of immortality,
who makes those who believe
and obey sons of God and
joint heirs with Christ;
and Him do we confess and adore,
one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name.
–Another Creed by St Patrick
Our God, God of all men,
God of heaven and earth, sea and rivers,
God of sun and moon, of all the stars,
God of high mountains and of lowly valleys,
God over heaven, and in heaven, and under heaven.
He has a dwelling
in heaven and earth and sea
and in all things
that arc in them.
He inspires all things,
He quickens all things,
He is over all things,
He supports all things.
He makes the light of the sun to shine,
He surrounds the moon and stars, and
He has made wells in the arid earth, placed dry islands in the sea
and stars for the service of the greater luminaries.
He has a Son coeternal with Himself,
like to Himself;
not junior is Son to Father,
nor Father senior to the Son.
And the Holy Spirit
breathes in them;
not separate are Father
and Son and Holy Spirit.
This morning’s post in the series Easter is Coming: What Do We Hunger and Thirst For? is by AnaYelsi Sanchez.
Intimacy with God enables us to maintain a passion for justice and a commitment to living in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in poverty. Intimacy with God opens up the door to intimacy with others.
But what is intimacy? Is it emotional? Spiritual? Sexual? Experiential?
And is intimacy taught or is it simply a part of what It is to be human?
Many of us share this passion for justice, though it may not always look the same. If you were to ask my friends and colleagues what I have a great passion for, what lights a fire in my spirit, makes me sit up straighter, and speak a little louder, they would tell you- Human Trafficking.
For others it may be a desire to see equality for the LGBT community, another might seek to improve the quality of life for the Sudanese refugees living here in Omaha, and so on and so forth.
No matter what the cause, our ability to impact issues of injustice is directly connected to our ability to experience healthy intimacy and our ability to experience healthy intimacy is directly connected to our sense of identity.
How do we tell a woman trapped in Kolkata’s sex trafficking industry that she is valuable and beautiful if we do not believe this about ourselves?
How do we encourage a child living on the streets of Peru that God AND others want to know them and want to share a life with them when we don’t know the depths of that type of relationship ourselves?
Hear me when I say that this is not about perfecting self before you can serve others.
Identity, Intimacy, Impact… this is a continuous cycle… not a hierarchy of achievements.
If you have an incredible sense of self-worth and identity but never look beyond yourself than you have missed the point. And if you are celebrated for your acts of service and your fervor for justice but cannot even be vulnerable about who you are with those who love you, than you have cheated yourself. God is a God of intimacy AND of action. She desires for us to know her, each other, AND ourselves…. and then to use that knowledge to bring about peace and justice.
But, most of us do not even know what it is to be intimate with our self and yet, how we relate to the world is a reflection of how we relate to our self. When you consider that, it is easy to understand why we are rarely truly intimate with others.
How often are you alone with yourself? How often do you spend time studying who you are and working on your sense of self?
I posted this prayer last year, but it is such a compelling Lenten prayer that I decided to post it again. This prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer was used as one of the Lenten meditations in The Mosaic Bible
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But in you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is peace.
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
This morning’s post in the series Easter is Coming: What Do We Hunger and Thirst For?is by James Prescott. James Prescott is a writer and creative passionate about social media, gender issues, and helping people discover their identity within the divine. He blogs regularly at JamesPrescott.co.uk and is a regular guest blogger at bigbible.org.uk and other sites. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Lent is now in full swing. Many of us have given up one or several things this lent, as many do each lent – and I’m no different. This year I gave up chips, chocolate (which more and more seems to be ‘the’ thing to give up) and DVD’s for lent.
DVD’s was the biggest, toughest one for me. I realised I was watching so many DVD’s that it was stopping me reading and even writing, so I thought giving them up for lent would allow me to do this more, and get a healthier balance.
The interesting thing is what has happened as a result of this.
Right at the beginning of lent I had a week off work, a time to rest and relax at home. A time where I’d normally sit and watch DVD’s. At same time I decided to take a 48 hour social media sabbath too – and for anyone that knows me at all, that was a big decision for me to take. I spend a lot of my time on social media interacting with people – which was one of the reasons I wanted to take a break from it, to ensure it didn’t take over my life.
This of course, meant I suddenly had a lot of
Instead of sitting watching a film, I read. I learned. There was something to fill that space in one sense – for a time anyway.
But there is only so much reading you can do, before the gap, the space, becomes too big to fill.
As I sat down reflecting on this, it suddenly became abundantly clear what was going on.
My priorities, my motives, what was really important to me, was being exposed for what they were.
Why did I watch films?
Why did I have to go on social media?
Why did I share what I shared on social media?
These were the first things that came to mind. But there was a bigger question way beyond this.
What’s really important to me, and why?
In essence, what do I hunger and thirst for?
This is what lent does at it’s best. It exposes us for who we are, strips down the layers and exposes the truth behind our reality.
It exposes the things that really make us tick. It takes us beyond the right religious answer, and shows us the brutal truth.
The things we’ve been idolising, the desires that really motivate us, the things in our lives we try to hide and run away from.
Giving up things for lent should do this for us. If we’re courageous enough to give up the right things, God will strip us down and show us ourselves, and there can begin a process of transformation.
We must ignore the religious voice – which tells us what we should hunger and thirst for, what should be important, and lulls us into thinking we really desire those things.
We must look beyond, to what our actions tell us is what we really desire and what our real priorities are.
One thing I have learned, especially from the sabbatical from social media, is that most of these things we place such stall on, that we find it hard to give up
we can actually live without.
As we begin to understand this, we realise there is one thing we simply cannot live without – and that of course is our creator. The one who sustains our very lives, and provides for our needs.
It would be much harder to give up God for lent.
You see, it’s possible for me to live my life without watching films.
It’s possible to survive without social media.
But it’s not possible to survive without the one who created us.
We belong to Him, we are His – so must allow our desires and priorities to be shaped by Him, surrender our own to Him, and allow Him to transform us.
So, some suggestions for this Lent.
Firstly, if you’ve not yet given up something, choose something to give up.
Second, whatever you have given up or choose to give up, make the most of the space it gives you. Take time out, and reflect on what it exposes about you, about your priorities.
Reflect on the things you really hunger and thirst for, the things that are most important to you – not the things you think you have to hunger and thirst for, or say are important to you – but the things your actions and emotions tell you really matter to you.
Third, ask God what matters to Him, what He is hungering and thirsting for this lent, and allow Him to shape you and your priorities, to fit with His – for your life, for others and for the whole world.
Then you will see the the real transforming work in both your life and the lives of those around you this lent, as you embrace what matters to Him.
It is a couple of weeks since I posted a summary of my facebook prayers. Speaking commitments and the travels they entail have kept me busier than usual. As well as that I am working on a new book that has come out of my blog series on Tools for Prayer. I plan to incorporate a number of the facebook prayers in it as well. The title is Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray. I will keep you updated on progress over the next couple of months.
Anyhow – enough of excuses. Here are the prayers from the last couple of weeks with links to posts with prayers from other authors.
God may I give up my life to you,
So that you can fill me with your life.
May I let go of my expectations,
So that your promises can be fulfilled.
God lead us home to your heart of love,
May we practice love in all we do,
And become your broken bread and poured out wine,
To prepare ourselves for your eternal world.
God may your grace and mercy rest on us,
Your peace and righteousness surround us,
Your compassion and love fills,
May we practice love in all circumstances,
And prepare ourselves for your eternal world.
God we are yours forever,
Your grace and mercy are poured on us,
You faithfully fulfill promises made long ago,
Your covenant of love and peace stands firm forever,
And we worship you.
God you have claimed us as a special possession
The God of rich compassion and abundant mercy
You are slow to anger, tender hearted and filled with love
Forgiving all our faults and sins
You have extended your kindness through all generations
And we praise you
May we take up our cross and follow,
Toward the inner work of love.
May we see the miracle of redemption,
And embrace the wonder of salvation.
Lord of life, touch and transfigure us,
Let your love grow strong and deep within us.
Let your compassion bloom in us,
Your righteousness bear fruit,
Your generosity encourage us to share.
God you are a covenant making God,
who gives assurance of salvation and faithfulness,
Who unveils compassion and love.
May we see your signs in the wilderness,
Believe your promises in the midst of temptation ,
And follow your call into the kingdom.
And in case you missed some of the prayers that I have posted this week here are the links:
And from previous years:
This morning’s post in the series Easter is Coming: What Do We Hunger and Thirst For? is by Greg Valerio. Greg is a follower of Jesus and explorer of Columban Spirituality. He is a co-founder of the Contemplative Network (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Contemplative-Network/) and is currently studying an MA in Celtic Christianity at Trinity St Davids University of Wales. His day job is as a Jeweller and Activist and one of the principle architects of Fairtrade Gold. He is the Founder of CRED Jewellery (www.credjewellery.com) and co-founder of Fair Jewellery Action (www.fairjewelry.org) and advocates for human rights and environmental justice.
Alongside Ruth (wife) and Mali and Jemba (children) they aim to enshrine a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity and activism in both the local community and the wider world. He describes himself as a ‘Contemplative Activist’.
“Monsieur, L’église est fermée”, said the old man as I wondered round the Sint-Niklaaskerk (Church of St Nicholas) in Ghent St Pierre in Belgium at 9 am. An hour I did not think was particularly excessive.
I am currently in Belgium for three days contributing to a series of talks and presentations on the ethics, (or lack thereof), in the gold business. I try where ever possible to maintain a rhythm of morning prayer. Ghent St Pierre, is a beautiful Renaissance City so a morning stroll through the town to the local Church seemed in order.
At this point an old lady, who was busy brushing down the altar turned to me and in a sweetest English accent said “The Church is always closed”.
So welcome to my morning meditation. The Church is always closed. I despair. I was not even sad about it, I was furious. How the fuck can the Church be closed? No wonder the state of the community of Christ is in such a trauma across western Europe with a practice like that.
The sweet old lady informed me that they had just finished mass, and I could come back at 10 am when the Church opened for tourists. I explained I was not a tourist and I wanted to find somewhere to pray. She was clearly perplexed by my reply as I also indicated I would like to take part in mass. “You cannot do that”, she said “we have finished, you should have got up earlier”. The old man repeated I should leave as the “L’église est fermée”.
With these words ringing in my ear, I wandered further up the road to St Bavo’s Cathedral, the home of The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. As I prayed in front of this iconic painting, the anger of a closed Church burned in my head. The deception of a philosophy of Christendom as a twisted witness to the authentic Jesus of Nazareth came into sharp focus for me. My anger began to give way to the grace of tears as the realisation that with the collapse of Western Christendom almost complete, I am free to enjoy these ecclesiastical art galleries, as the Cathedral of Christ can only be found in creation.
The post Christendom landscape of Europe presents us with a wonderful opportunity to find the real witness to Jesus, without the baggage of religious ideology fused with State patronage. The doors of Christendom’s buildings may be closed, but the community of Christ is open. Is open to imagination, open to opportunity, open to encounter and open to a rediscovery of ancient pathways made new.
In the build up, during lent, to our Celtic Easter celebration on 15 April, I am conscious this is where I am, in the landscape of re-imagining. Walking an ancient indigenous British path, rediscovering its rhythm of practice, learning to walk under the sun of the Son. The Monastic Church of the British Isles, a distant memory to the contemporary Church, is awakening again. A Monastic Church that in the fire of its youth, did not swallow the lie of the Emperor Constantine’s settlement of Christianity as the religion of the empire.
As I stared at the Mystic Lamb upon the sacrificial altar in the Van Eyck painting, I could see the early Churches emphasis on the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, the helpless lamb, led to the slaughter, a willing sacrifice for the horrors of humanities cosmic error. This willing submission to powerlessness and service as authentic witness is the road on which the true disciple walks. My prayer is that I will have the courage to keep walking.
A collection of posts from our current series. More to come from various guest writers/bloggers across the country during the remainder of the Lenten season. Stay tuned.
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