Came across this fabulous study looking at Proverbs 31... as all the verses popping up in biblegateway were rubbing salt in a somewhat raw wound, this was a cleansing but also soothing balm to the soul… To be a woman of valour, now that’s a life goal to aim for…
Letter to Colossian Christians (chapter 3 verses 12-14)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
“FORGIVE AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU…”
Not too big an ask there! Fortunately I can find some wiggle room in Jesus words…
“FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US…”
hmmmmm ok maybe not.
Gonna have to ask for help I think… last several times help was given… once in the form of a song…
So I was struggling to put into words in several recent conversations how I’ve managed to go from being a young christian girl who thought she would have to vow to obey her husband if she was to be “really christian” (and therefore that singleness was looking a remarkably attractive option) to realising I’m going to struggle to be an active participant in a church that doesn’t recognise the ministry of women as elders/priests/teachers/presbyters/ministers etc.
Then I saw this blog post from the Beaker Folk. In know I’m a fangirl, but still, I need to quote verbatim:
“We are celebrating because the Church of England furthered the Kingdom of God when it ordained women as priests. And though “celebrating” is an odd word to use regarding Christ being crucified, we are celebrating something that is an outworking of Christ crucified. Because by making us all free, he has set us all free to serve in the way the Spirit calls us.”
AMEN AMEN AMEN
Actually as an addendum, there’s this BBC magazine article with stunning photos that seems to put into pictures this concept very well indeed:
The sermon at the church I visited yesterday was all about one of the “fruits of the spirit”… JOY. Appreciated the thoughtful approach, including what this means in hard times or if you have clinical depression… Particularly liked the idea of cultivating a plant to produce fruit…
Anyway… in a follow on of aptness to encourage with this idea of cultivating the environment so Joy can thrive, and making choices to be joyful (trust Gods goodness), todays biblegateway verse reminded me:
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
By the combination of the timing of the church calender, my purchasing the Daily Office of SSF and it being posted at a certain time, and however biblegateway decides its verse for the day… today there were some readings and prayers that were really bang on for where I’m at and also for celebrating the beginning of the summer season.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
You, O Lord, are my lamp; you turn our darkness into light.
The light and peace of Jesus Christ be with you (and also with you)
Blessed are you, Sovereign Lord,
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;
to you be glory and praise for ever.
From the deep waters of death
you brought your people to new birth
by raising your Son to life in triumph.
Through him dark death has been destroyed
and radiant life is everywhere restored.
As you call us out of darkness into his marvellous light
may our lives reflect his glory
and our lips repeat the endless song,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.
Let my prayer rise before you as incense,
the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
That this evening may be holy, good and peaceful,
let us pray with one heart and mind.
As our evening prayer rises before you, O God,
so may your mercy come down upon us and cleanse our hearts
and set us free to sing your praise,
now and forever Amen.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
the Lord is the strength of my life.
The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has not overcome it.
Alleluia. Mary Magdala said to the disciples,
I have seen the Lord!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia.
Lord Have Mercy. Christ Have Mercy. Lord Have Mercy.
To whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts,
that we may seek the good of others
and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,
to the praise of God the Father.
May the risen Christ grant us the joys of eternal life. Amen.
A posting from the Community of Aiden and Hilda got me thinking about this season, which so far for me is bringing many changes. I’ll copy and paste it here, to give a flavour:
Tonight (April 30th) is Beltane eve, drawing us through the night to the dawn of the season of Beltane, the season of the sun. For the next three moons the Celtic calendar was focused on the warmth and light of the sun, of the strength of light over darkness with the summer solstice in the middle. It was the season of celebrations and feasting, but also of war and reclaiming what may have been taken from you, and of battling the enemy.
For the Celtic Christians this celebration and season lost none of its potency. It was a celebration of the Sun of Righteousness (a prophetic term for the Messiah), who comes, according to the prophet Malachi, with healing. It is a celebration of the strength of the Light of the world over spiritual darkness, and of reclaiming through ‘the Sun of Righteousness’ all and any parts of your life which have been taken from you by spiritual darkness, or ‘the enemy’.
May the Great Light overcome all your inner darkness
May the warmth and healing of the Sun of Righteousness be with you and within you
And may you know the overcoming of ‘the enemy’ and a reclaiming of any part of your life or inner self which has been lost.
This last part of the prayer in particular struck me. It particularly reminded me of a short “statement of faith” I clung on to a few years ago, love is never wasted. Recently I was reminded of this by this meme from Action for Happiness:
There’s something both strong and bittersweet about this reflection, and I think that links well to this post:
Of course after listening to that I had to find a version of the song in question to actually listen to…
Somehow this mix of the broken and the beautiful is so apt for humanity. I particularly therefore appreciated these two reflections on “unlikely characters” that God had good purposes for:
The hotch potch of real people in the bible gives me real hope at times!
To end, I had looked to the Carmina Gadaelica (online here:http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg.htm ) for a Beltane Blessing, but decided on just picking a few segments from the possibilities for today:
“…The strength of the Triune be our shield in distress,
The strength of Christ, His peace and His Pasch,
The strength of the Spirit, Physician of health,
And of the precious Father, the King of grace.
…Be the Cross of Christ to shield us downward,
Be the Cross of Christ to shield us upward,
Be the Cross of Christ to shield us roundward,
Accepting our Beltane blessing from us,
Accepting our Beltane blessing from us.”
“…Bless everything and every one,
Of this little household by my side
Place the cross of Christ on us with the power of love,
Till we see the land of joy,
Till we see the land of joy,…
Thou Being who didst create me at the beginning,
Listen and attend me as I bend the knee to Thee,
Morning and evening as is becoming in me,
In Thine own presence, O God of life,
In Thine own presence, O God of life.”
Not quite there yet, but looking forward to Calan Haf…