Saturday, July 23, 2005


Until further notice, I will suspend this daily journal linked to Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours. This fall I will be writing a small volume, Praying with the Church, and this daily journal may be resumed then.

I thank each of of the readers for their comments.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Friday, July 22

This post is linked to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, pp. 271-273, or click here.

Our Refrain this morning speaks volumes: "Know this, the Lord himself is God; he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture." This line, from Psalm 100, is a version of the old-old covenant formula that we are to be his people and God will be our God. It is a commitment from God as a covenant to be with us and to protect us -- and that vision of God's covenant presence is finally expressed in Revelation 21-22, when God fully dwells among his people eternally.

To say then that God made us and we are his is not simplistic: it is more than "God made us so we better buckle under." It is saying that we are his people and the sheep of his pasture -- those whom he cares for and worries about and protects.

Today, as I live, I want to know that God is with me -- even when life is running smoothly; today, I want to know that God is protecting me -- even when I am aware of no dangers; and I want to know that God is caring for me -- even when I think the cruise control is on.

From Genesis 1 on, our faith only makes sense when we understand that the Creator God is more than "Maker" but is "Covenant Love" who has come to us in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Incarnate One.

Thursday, July 21

This post is linked to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, pp. 266-268, or click here.

James and John, who were with Jesus on the Mountain when he was transfigured into glory before their very eyes, and who know that the heavens and all of nature declare the glory of God, and who saw all that in full display in Jesus, just a few chapters later think that "being on the inside" should privilege them above all other disciples. They want to be the MVPs of the Apostolic Circle.

Now let's remind ourselves one more time: the Jesus who knows the heavens and all earth can declare the glory of God, and who displayed such glory to three Apostles, is the one who became the example of servanthood. What James and John want is the opposite of what Jesus wanted: they wanted glory and Jesus wanted to serve.

How often, I say to myself, do I want glory instead of service? To be noticed instead of just doing what God beckons me to do? To be given an award instead of going on without anyone noticing?

Servanthood is not something we choose once and then are done with it. No, servanthood is a lifetime disposition of four things:

We need to look to see what we can do;
we need to listen to the needs of others;
we need to learn about those needs;
we need to link to others to help them.

These are the "4Ls" of the love that serves. I need to keep them in front of me everyday.

Because our desire for glory sometimes overwhelms our desire to serve, we need to pray to the fountain of wisdom who knows to give us not what we want but what God wants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wednesday, July 20

This post is linked to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, pp. 262-263, or click here.

"Happy are the people whose strength is in you! whose hearts are set on the pilgrim's way." This Refrain in our Morning Office comes from a psalm for pilgrims (Ps 84). Pilgrim psalms, and there are others, are prayers written for those who leave home, travel and face danger and isolation, in order to find the greater joy of dwelling in the house of the Lord.

I have never made a specific pilgrimage as others have. Like going off to Israel and being a pilgrim walker or through some terrain in Italy or to sacred sites in France or Poland or Germany or England or Spain. My pilgrimages, to Assisi or to York Minister in England or to visit an author's home, have been short episodes. I've not been in danger, but I would say they have been intense visits with lasting impressions.

But, as you well know, the writer of Hebrews sees our entire life as a pilgrimage. Hebrews 11 is filled with thoughts like this. What pilgrims most long for is strength, and the risk they take and the dangers they face are undertaken with the challenge that they will have to trust the Lord for protection and provision.

Someday, as we pilgrimage our way through this life, we will dwell with the Lord and we will find that "leaving home" was well worth it because the Father's house is not only our pilgrimage destination but what our home on earth was anticipating.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tuesday, July 19

This post is linked to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, pp. 257-259. [The online form is not in sync with my book.]

I love to begin the day with The Concluding Prayer for the Church in the Morning Office. One day I found myself unable to remember it and I stumbled for its words until I hit upon "preserve" and then it all came back to me. Here it is:

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fufilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

This prayer, so it seems, brings to a head theme of the Morning Office. The "mighty acts" of God, and "he looks at the earth and it trembles" and Jesus' ability to calm the waters and the "awesome things" God shows us and "the earth is the Lord's."

The reason we can begin in safety, the reason we can summons God to "preserve" us throughout the day, and the reason we can ask God to "direct" us is because the earth is the Lord's.

We are asked to live by faith: when the world seems to be tumbling into chaos, when injustices are so rife, when so few are willing to lay down their differences for the good of the world, we need to remind ourselves and learn to walk to the refrain that the earth is the Lord's.

Today, Lord, give us the faith to live for the Earth Trembler.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Monday, July 18

This post is linked to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, pp. 252-254. [The online form is not in sync with my book.]

Mary of Magdala (Magdalene) is the focus of the Church's memory this week. In the Gospels, Mary is defined by her location (from Magdala) not by her family, as it would be had she been, say, Mary daughter of Reuben. Her story is an interesting one: she was released from seven demons and was a constant traveling companion of Jesus. She was one of the few (Mel Gibson's movie elaborates too much here) at the Cross and she sees where they placed the body of Jesus.

When she finds that Jesus' body is gone on Eastern Morning, she weeps. Why? Because, and here we are guessing somewhat but the guessing is consistent on this point in the Church, the One who gave her an identity was dead and gone.

She's got nowhere to go. She's utterly alone. She's an abandoned, stranded woman who had placed her hope and future in the hands of the Galilean.

But, as you know, the story does not end with Mary weeping: she sees Jesus! There is hope that fellowship will follow abandonment.

Jesus dispenses her with the commission to tell the disciples that he has been raised. She is the first witness to the resurrection, and one can easily say that the Christian faith rests upon the word of Mary to the others -- not that other appearances didn't take place.

But, still, Mary is the first to announce to the community of faith that Jesus was alive again.

There is no end of surprises in the Bible, but surely the most "common surprise" -- so common it doesn't even surprise us anymore -- is that God takes ordinary people and gives them the gift of witness to his marvelous works.

How about us, How ordinary are we and how often do we get to testify to God's great things?

Sunday, July 17

Each Sunday morning I look forward to reading The Prayer Appointed for the Week. This week's prayer is especially suggestive.

How many times have I prayed, wondering if what I asked for was after all what I should have been asking for? How many times have I prayed with less than full confidence for my request? Often enough.

How many times did my children ask me for something that I knew they did not really want or need. Not long ago we visited my son and his wife in their new home, and we told them we'd like to help them out with some yard tools -- so we went to Home Depot. We said to them both, "Just ask." They did. And we bought a few items: two shovels, a rake, a wheelbarrow. We knew they knew what they needed.

Therein lies one of the mysteries of prayer: "we knew that they knew what they needed."

Sometimes, however, we don't know what we really need for life, God knows that we do not know what we need, and that is why we pray,

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom,
you know my necessities before I ask and
my ignorance in asking:
Have compassion on my weakness,
and mercifully give me those things for which my unworthiness I dare not,
and for my blindness I cannot ask.

If God knew that we knew what we really needed, we'd always get what we wanted. We are broken vessels, we are fallible humans, we are selfish people -- and part of life is to learn that our condition is such that we genuinely need God's Wisdom to walk this life uprightly.

To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 247-248.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Saturday, July 16

To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 243-244.

"Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits," so says our Refrain this morning.

Yesterday's morning office led me to think of what has happened in my life because of the incursion of God's grace into my life, and today the office leads me to think of the "benefits" and how they lead me to "Bless the Lord" from my "soul."

I am grateful today for the fellowship of my Department colleagues, and I am reminded of this because of our dinner together last night. Boaz and Sarita, Brad and Barb, Genevive, Kris and I are trying to get together once a month this summer to be friends, to fellowship around our work, and simply to enjoy one another. So, last night we went to an Ethiopian restaurant and had a splendid time.

We catch up on what we have been doing, on one another's kids, on what we will be doing -- nothing intense, nothing out of the ordinary -- just friends brushing up against the mystery of what happens when human meets human for the purpose of fellowship. We just want to be together.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sees playing and fellowship as similar states. Playing is doing something for the sole purpose of its pleasure. If we convert some game we are playing with one another into winning, the game becomes sport. For it be playful, it must stop at being done for no other reason than the joy that comes to us in the doing.

In the same way, I see the "benefit" of fellowship to be "human playing." But more than this, playing in this sense is exactly what the three persons of the Trinity were doing in Eternity Past: simply put, Father-Son-Spirit were in the dance of love, called the perichoresis in ancient theology, in the three-circled splendor of light of interpenetrating one another.

Having dinner together, fellowship, and playing -- we were not doing "nothing." No, we were enjoying the Dance of the Ages.

Bless the Lord, o my soul.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Friday, July 15

To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 239-240.

Most of us know moments or seasons from our past when had it not been for the Lord's intervention or guidance or help we would have made a mess of things. We join the Psalmist in this morning's Psalm with these words and I will ask you to fill them out:

"If the Lord had not been on our side, then..."

Feel free to fill in that sentence and send me your responses.

Here's my response: "then...

I would have made a mess of my life as a teenager,
I would have missed the wife God had planned for me and our wonderful children,
I would have found a vocation that would not have satisfied,
I would have avoided the opportunity to teach college students,
I would have never had the chance to write Christian books and articles and to speak in churches,
I would not have had the wonderful colleagues that I have had over the years,
I would not have met other Bible teachers and preachers throughout the world,
I would have been a whole harder to get along with than I am now,
I would have been even more impatient than I am now,


I probably would have made a lot more money and not been as happy.

In sum, I would have missed the chance to be who God wanted me to be.

I sure am glad the Lord was with me.

In God's grace, the Lord was with me and I am grateful today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Thursday, July 14

To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 2235-236.

"Gracious is the Lord and righteous; our God is full of compassion," our Morning Office Refrain tells us. But gracious in our Office includes being pruned, as Jesus says in the Reading.

Everyone has done this, so I did it: we had a Lilac bush that got out of hand and Kris thought it was time that I "pruned" it. I really didn't know what I was doing, but I had heard that you need to cut them way back, so I did. I pruned that puppy from a 7 foot bush into a 3 foot set of stubby branches. Kris thought it was a huge mistake, thinking that I had cut it back way too much. Knowing that I had no idea what I was doing, I quickly agreed with her and wondered if I had ruined the tree. I felt bad about that because I like the lilacs and the smell and the wren that hid itself under its protection.

But, sure enough, the next year it started to blossom. It sent out leaves, which relieved me some, and then out came some blossoms, and then we could smell their scent as we sipped evening tea on the screen porch. In the end, I felt a little puffy-chested about my accident of doing a good job of pruning.

Graciousness on God's part is like this: sometimes we are cut down to size by what we learn about ourselves, or by the talent we see in other people that makes ours look so pitiful, or when we come to terms with what we've accomplished or not accomplished, or singular events in life like missing an opportunity to share God's embracing grace with someone else or finking on an appointment because we were too preoccupied to remember that other people are in our world. When these things hit us, we realize that we are not all we are cracked up to be.

But we know that God is still gracious and will be forever because that is the way God is. God is "full of compassion" it says -- I'm glad because I need it, and it is that compassion that comes home to me just after being pruned down to the stubby branches.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wednesday, July 13

To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 231-232.

The Refrain in today's office is sobering: "Our God is in heaven; whatever he wills to do, he does."

But sometimes this one is harder to comprehend than anything we say about God: why, we are entitled to ask, does God permit so much cruelty? the senseless bombings in London? the bloodshed in Rwanda? the systemic violence of corrupt leaders? Why?, we ask.

To approximate the words of St. Augustine, we are left with this:

If God were all-good, he would only will good, and if he were all-powerful, he would be able to do all that he wills. But there is evil. Therefore God is either not all-good or not all-powerful, or both.

To which I would comment: The problem with this way of putting it puts us in the laps of Job's friends, who constantly worked with the correlation of life here as a reflection of obedience. The resolution of Job, if we can call it that, is this: we don't know why God does what God does. But we are committed to God's goodness and his mercy, and that means when we see bad things on earth we do two things: (1) confess God's goodness and live in light of it, and (2) continue to live our life in dedication to the kingdom of God. God gave us freedom, and no one ever said that giving us freedom to love or not to love would mean that everything in life would correlate good behavior with good results and bad behavior and bad results.

I struggle with the news shows; I'm deeply sorry about Natalee Holloway and her family; I wonder about those who were near the English bombs and who survived and those who didn't and the loved ones of those who died. But I live in light of God's goodness and sometimes it is hard.

It is because I don't understand that I trust God; it is because I understand God that I trust.

Tuesday, July 12

To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 226-227.

"May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us," so reads The Request for Presence in the morning office. "Awesome things will you show us," answers back the The Greeting. What might these "awesome things" be, I am asking myself this morning?

The rest of the office helps: God's awesome things include that his "testimonies are very sure" -- we can trust God; "holiness adorns your house" -- God is pure and right and just and this gives us stability.

Even more, and paradoxically, in our Reading we learn that the "awesome things" of God include seeing the kingdom of God, the universal establishment of God's sure and holy will, is like a "treasure hidden in a field" that, when discovered, is of so much value that everything is surrendered for it. It is like the discovery of a "pearl of great value," again worth of everything we have.

To see in this world the "awesome things" of God, I am seeing in this office, I am being asked to take God at his word and to bank on the treasure that we find in God's embracing grace and give my life for it.

What the morning office is telling us is the Jesus Creed: we are to love God with everything we have and all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves, and it is only in giving our all to God that we see that the All of God is ours. Faith is the name of the game: we are invited to trust God to find the pearl of great price.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Monday, July 11

To read this morning's office, click here. [The online readings are still one week off. So, this reflection is from The Divine Hours, pp. 222-223.]

In The Prayer Appointed for the Week we find a thought that shapes everything.

... grant that I may know and understand what things I ought to do, and that I also may have the grace and power faithfully to accomplish them.

Each day the Divine Hours is designed to bring us into contact with God's Word and God's People reciting them so that we may develop the discipline of being formed by God's Word. Such formation comes to us through God's grace: "grant that I..." and "that I also may have the grace and power...".

For years I have believed that we Christians, by and large, don't have a problem with "knowing" God's will so much as "doing" God's will. And "doing" God's will is not the result of mustering our inner forces or working at it, but the result of "surrendering" to it. In such a way do not surrender who we are but we become who God made us to be.

John Stott, Rector Emeritus of All Souls London, provides the paradoxes we need to hear:

Only if we serve, will we experience freedom.
Only if we lose ourselves in loving, will we find ourselves.
Only if we die to our own self-centredness, will we begin to live.

The delight in the Lord's will we all so cherish comes from surrendering to the grace that can re-make us and the power that can re-energize us. Let us turn to the Lord over and over and simply ask for his grace.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sunday, July 10

To read this morning's office, click here.

Our Morning Office sets before us a marvelous Christian truth: that in Jesus we see the face of God. The connection is clear: God comes to the Temple; Jesus is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; in Jesus we see the coming of God.

I wonder what this might mean for us today.

The first thing it means is this: God is essentially personal. To know about God by learning creedal statements about God, as J.I. Packer once reminded us in his Knowing God, is not the same thing as knowing God. Knowing God is deeply personal; it is the way I know Kris.

The second thing it means is this: trusting God is about living in light of our relationship to God. I trust Kris because I know her; we are to trust God because we know God. And this personal knowledge of God comes to us by knowing Jesus.

Today, I will spend time with the Gospels reading about Jesus (and I think I'll choose Matthew 8--9) and I will read about Jesus knowing that in Jesus I am seeing God.

The third thing it means is this: this one is scary. If the face of God is Jesus, then the face of Jesus is the Church. And that means that others see God in and through us -- the Body of Christ.

What kind of God, I ask myself, will they see today as the Church gathers for fellowship, for worship, for sacrament, for Word? Will they see the face of Jesus in the face of the Church?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Saturday, July 9

To read this morning's office, click here.

If my Jesus of Nazareth class has fifty students, which is the average, I will get to know about five or six students pretty well, I will have short exchanges with most students, and will barely know about 10 of the students. I will know names (though those that don't talk at all tax my name-memory) of nearly all of them. To get to know all of them is exceedingly difficult, and some of them don't want to be known at all.

This is just one class. If the other two classes have fifty students, then the challenge of getting to know students by name and at some level below "I know your name" is impossible.

Compounded it becomes this: after one year I forget many students' names even if I remember some odd bit about them.

God, however, knows each of us. This is more than difficult for us to comprehend: an infinite God, who knows each of us by name, who knows each of us better than we know ourselves, who knows every human being from Siberia to Shanghai, from the North Pole to the South Pole. The mind simply cannot comprehend it, and calculation compounds the problem beyond its capacity.

And I believe (because I could not prove it if I tried) this is easy work for God -- not that it doesn't vex God and pleasure God. God easily knows all of us, God's phone line is never busy, it never has to go "blink" as God shifts to another caller. Indeed, incomprehensible.

But very comforting. So comforting to know that God can hear the gurgles of children when we are asleep and the sighs of children when they are at a distant from us. So comforting to know that in the depths of our problems God loves us and showers his grace upon us. So comforting to know that God will hear us today as we pray for "traveling mercies" as we drive to Indianapolis to pick up our son and comforting to know that others, everyone around us who cares to lift a prayer to the Lord, will sense the same comforts.

I may be small and of little account but the Lord hears -- and it is easy for God to listen.

Friday, July 8

To read this morning's office, click here.

Often we confess in a catechism or a creed or in a theological moment that our desire in all things is to glorify God. "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever," so reads The Westminster Catechism. This notion is more profound than we sometimes think and also more practical than we imagine.

In this morning's office, the psalmist prays "For your Name's sake" and "for your mercy's sake." And the Morning Psalm is almost a litany of the sins of those who do not care about God along with clear indicators of the righteousness of the one praying. That person understands life from the end: "Until I entered the sanctuary of God and discerned the end of the wicked."

The psalmist prays to God, not because he knows he's right but because he knows God is right. He wants God to be glorified. The same God who has redeemed him. Are we confident enough in God to stand with the psalmist?

Seeking God's glory involves seeking the glory of the God who has redeemed and restored us, who has embraced with grace, and who empowers us to embrace others with the same grace. Seeking God's glory involves knowing that God wants us to be uplifted and demonstrated to be the people of God. When we are uplifted, God's Name is seen for who God is: the glorious one.

God's Name is besmirched when his people's spirit sags, when his people's zeal cools, and when his people's love weakens: God's Name is honored when his people's spirit soars, when his people's zeal fires up, and when his people's love is enflamed.

May we glorify God today.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Thursday, July 7

To read this morning's office, click here.

My house doesn't work right without electricity, my car doesn't move without gas, my relationship with Kris doesn't run smoothly without spending time with her, and the Christian life collapses into routines without the Holy Spirit.

"Grant me the grace," we pray in the Prayer Appointed for the Week, "of your Holy Spirit that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection." To have a heart that is "firmly fixed" means that the Holy Spirit is at work doing what the Holy Spirit does: enlivening us, softening us, and guiding us.

We need the Holy Spirit for the little and the large, for the routine and for the challenging. My day will involve hours of the routine editing and writing at my computer, and it will also involve the challenge of a radio interview. For both, as I begin this day, I am asking that the grace of God's Spirit will be granted -- so that my writing and speaking may be with my whole heart and manifest itself in love and pure affection.

How do we "get" the Holy Spirit? The famous lines of Jesus, "Ask and you will receive" is about the Holy Spirit. Ask, I say to myself, and God in his grace will give.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Wednesday, July 6

To read this morning's office, click here. [My reflection is from the Wednesday, nearest to July 6, selection, and the online link seems to be from next week's readings.]

This morning, as I say the Morning Office, when I read The Greeting's words, my mind is drawn to a pastor's friend whose adult daughter was in a bicycle accident. The medical team wonders if it was an aneurysm that led to her accident, and further tests are being taken. The family, as I can only imagine, is greatly unnerved and wondering and waiting and trusting in God.

"O Lord my God, I cried out to you, and you restored me to health." Our Refrain is perfect today: "May you," I pray for her, "be blessed by the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."

We carry around all the time these burdens of life, vexations for others and worries about what may happen and requests for so many, and the reason we do is because we know the Lord can bless, with one Word, with one stroke, and with one act of mercy. We do so because our faith is in the Lord who created and makes.

May you, too, pray for Lori and her family. May we all learn that those whom we carry to the Lord in prayer are those who need God's blessing. Carrying such requests to God may not end our anxiety (for we are anxious, I say to myself, because we care) but it a blessing just to know that God cares and that we can go to the Lord our maker.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Our 7pm flight from Pittsburgh last night was delayed, then cancelled, and we just got home -- after a 4am wake-up and a 6:30am or so flight.

Be with you tomorrow.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Monday, July 4

To read this morning's office, click here.

If our heart is not in the act, the act is superficial. Sometimes our heart is not in it because we are strangers to those to whom the act is most important. Yesterday, Kris and I went with his wife's family to the dedication service of a new chapel at Christian camp, called Mission Meadows. We didn't know but a handful of people, but the service itself was about people we'd never heard of, funny events in the camp history we'd never heard about, and about connections and experiences we had no part of. So, much of what was said and done went by us. You could say our heart was not in it. We did our best to enjoy what we could -- the music, the prayers, the litany written for the occasion, and the entire value of camping to the Christian community.

More importantly, as we say our offices we challenge our hearts to wake up and be receptive. Reading novels, attending movies, or watching theatrical performances have one thing in common: if you open your heart to receive what is there the story can take you for a ride.

If you say your offices with a heart prepared to receive, the office can speak to you: it will tell you, in the course of the year, the Story of the Bible and of Jesus Christ; it will tell you, in a week, a Story of the Prayer Appointed for the Week. And it will tell you something specific each time. But only if the heart is open to receive.

How to do this? I like to pause, quiet my heart, rid myself of all distractions, and concentrate as I read and to read in such a way that I expect anything rather that than something specific. Let the Word speak, I say to myself, and my heart answers back:

"The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; and a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sunday, July 3

To read this morning's office, click here.

The beginning of our witness is our silence, the beginning of our power is taking refuge in God, and the beginning of our understanding is understanding the face of God in Jesus Christ. I am impressed in this morning's office by how often I am being drawn in to the presence of God, how often I am being asked to find strength and security and power in the presence of God.

Christians often speak of being a presence in the world, but our presence is to be God's presence and our presence becomes witness only after being in God's presence to take God's presence into the world.

Today as we worship in a new community of Christ with our son and his wife, my heart is committed to seeing the presence of God that emanates from those who are taking their presence in God. It is said of Brother Lawrence that he exuded the presence of God because he practiced the presence of God. It is still being said of the aged Billy Graham that he, too, exudes the grace and love of God because he constantly turns to the God of grace and love.

Our office this morning calls us into the Presence of God in order that we might know and accomplish the presence of God in our world.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Saturday, July 2

To read this morning's office, click here.

This weekend many of us will gather with our families to celebrate July 4, the day we remember our own founding and coming to adulthood as a nation. All nations have such a day to celebrate. In a day when many are nervous about any one country getting too full of itself, the best solution is not to deny any nation's this joy but to encourage each to celebrate its own history. In fact, we need to remind ourselves that all nations do this.

One feature of such days is the inclusion of children in the celebration. In fact, children feature as a regular feature in national holidays: we will see them in marches, we will see them with sparklers, we will see given special attention at meal time. I like this because it brings to the front what holidays are all about: passing on our cherished memories, our founding visions, and our deepest dreams.

When we include children we tell everyone that everyone matters. In our morning's office (and this computer does not have the editing capabilities that mine has and I don't know why), the following prayer reminds us of what we all are called to do: whether we are old or young, what we all called to pass on and cherish and dream about. This part of flattens the playing surface, and equalizes us all:

O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving you and my neighbor: Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

All of us, young and old, are called to walk with God and God will walk with us: to walk with God means to love God and my neighbor. Today, we are called to the love that begins at home and spreads to the neighborhood and the world, because any part of the world we see and touch is the neighborhood of God.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday, June 31

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime (pp. 156-157)

To read this morning's office, click here.

We are on vacation in the Chautauqua region and will return soon. I'll do what I can to post from there.