Enter the Quiet
apostles came back to Jesus and told Him all they had done and taught. 31‘All right,’ He said, ‘it’s time for a break. Come away, just you, and we’ll go somewhere lonely and private.’ (Crowds of people were coming and going and they didn’t even have time to eat.) 32So they went off privately in the boat to a deserted spot.
Mark 6:30-32 “The Bible for Everyone: A New Translation” by John Goldingay & Tom Wright
An invitation to be with God
Take a walk somewhere. Find a quiet and peaceful space. Sit down. Ask God to make His presence known to you at this moment. Sense God’s presence all around you and even within you. If it feels natural to do so, allow yourself to linger in this sense of God’s presence. Descend into and soak in this experience for a moment, as though it were a hot bath. If you do not sense God’s presence, wait quietly and patiently for another moment. If you still do not sense God’s presence, don’t let it bother you. Simply lean into your faith that He is here, even when you don’t perceive His presence. Let your heart, mind, and soul remember what it does feel like when you do sense His presence, and let that suffice for now. Choose any of the following sections. Read it once, read it twice, read it again slowly and sit with it. You don’t need to say anything. Lean into what God might be saying to you at this time. Just sit there and wait. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you sense? Do write your thoughts down.
The Lordâ€™s Prayer Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)
Meditate on each phrase. Take your time to pray; pause after each line.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trail, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
A Liturgy For First Waking â€œEvery Moment Holyâ€? by Douglas Kaine McKelvey
While you read this passage, take note of active phrases/verbs. Consider if you need to focus on accepting or letting any of them go.
I am not the captain of my own destiny, nor even of this new day, and so I renounce anew all claim to my own life and desires. I am only yours, O Lord. Lead me by your mercies through these hours, that I might spend them well, not in harried pursuit of my own agendas, but rather in good service to you. Teach me to shepherd the small duties of this day with great love, tending faithfully those tasks you place within my care
and tending with patience and kindness the needs and hearts of those people you place within my reach. Nothing is too hard for you, Lord Christ. I deposit now all confidence in you that whatever these waking hours bring, my foundations will not be shaken. At dayâ€™s end I will lay me down again to sleep knowing that my best hope is well kept in you. In all things your grace will sustain me. Bid me follow, and I will follow. Amen.
A Prayer For Reconciliation “Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community” by Pádraig Ó Tuama
Begin with this prayer. Pray slowly and openly.
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, and all desires known. cleanse the thoughts of our heart: this is our desire, so that our love may be better than it is now, a little bit less imperfect, because we need it, because without love, what are we? We ask this in the name of the One who named the world. (Pause)
Where there is separation, there is pain. And where there is pain, there is story. And where there is story, there is understanding, and misunderstanding, listening and not listening. May we - separated peoples, estranged strangers, unfriended families, divided communities - turn toward each other, and turn toward our stories, with understanding and listening, with argument and acceptance, with challenge, change and consolation. Because if God is to be found, God will be found in the space between. Amen.
Meditate on each phrase. Take your time; pause after each line.
Mother Teresa “Emotionally Healthy Relationships Day by Day” by Peter Scazzero
Spend 2 minutes in silence and stillness before God
Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:34-36, 40 Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” The King will reply, “I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Devotional Born in the former Yugoslavia, Mother Teresa (1910-1997) joined the Sisters of Loretto in Ireland at age seventeen, and within a year was sent to Calcutta, India. There, she witnessed the profound suffering of the poor who lived and died on the streets. In 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order dedicated to serving the sick and dying in the cityâ€™s slums. In 1979, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. By 2015, there were more than 5,600 workers serving in 844 communities around the world.
Mother Teresa made no distinction between being open to the heart of Christ in prayer and being open to the hearts of others, especially the hearts of the poor. Here is how she views what it really means to love others in Jesusâ€™ name: It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. The greatest disease in the West today is not TB [tuberculosis] or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.... At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by â€œI was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.â€? And Mother Teresa, in following the way of Christ by loving one person at a time, changed the world.
Question to consider What phrases or sentences from these Mother Teresa quotes speak most to you today? Prayer Lord, forgive me for the times I have ignored your voice and avoided entering into the pain or loneliness of those you have placed around me, especially those closest to me. Help me to really see the needs of those around me today - and then to listen. Then may the words and actions that flow from me reflect your heart of love. In Jesusâ€™ name, Amen.
The Virgin Mary “The Art of Advent: A painting a day from Advent to Epiphany” by Jane Williams Reflect prayerfully on this beautiful painting and its accompanying text.
“The Annunciation”, 1898, Henry Ossawa Tanner
Above all the people we walk with through Advent, there is Mary. Mary is the one who carries inside her the child we are all waiting for. Mary is the one who has said yes to God’s plan of salvation, and so she makes the whole thing possible. Hers is the final candle in the outer ring of the Advent wreath. God’s preparations for this birth have gone back centuries, so it seems unlikely that Mary could have said no to the angel and subverted the whole narrative, which starts, according to John 1, even before the world comes into existence. Yet the tender scene between Mary and the angel is a vital expression of how God’s action works with us, not against us; not in competition with us, not over-ruling us, but enabling us to be who we are. Henry Ossawa Tanner shows us Mary is troubled and uncertain but looking directly into the angelic light; there is a real dialogue of respect going on here. Mary is drawn as a young woman, barefoot, wrapped in a nightgown. The room is cramped and dingy; it looks as though she sleeps in the family’s main living space, with just a screen to give her some privacy. The light could almost be the sun breaking through, except that this sun is coming through a wall, not a window. The angel is not the usual semi-human figure with wings, but a bolt of pure energy, which
makes us wonder how the angelic visitor is communicating. However Mary hears what is said, she does not look terrified, merely anxious. There must be a gentleness in the angel’s approach, as well as a quiet self-possession in Mary’s response. The moment is going to have to sustain Mary through the lonely and difficult times ahead. There is the shape of a shelf behind the angel’s lighted shoulders, making the outline of a cross; there is no false bargain here, no promise that all will be plain sailing. When, in later years, Mary doubts, as she surely must have done, there will be no one who can remind her of what she heard and said; she is quite alone with the angel. It is striking that Mary asks for no promises for herself, she simply seeks assurance that angels know how human babies come into existence, and then she says, ‘Yes.’ In her song of praise, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Mary describes the character of this God, who is able and willing to make a simple girl the cornerstone of the mighty plan for salvation. But we can also hear God singing Mary’s praise in these words. Here is a young girl who understands God well enough to believe and trust in what he asks of her. Here is the character of God responding to the character of Mary, just as much as the other way round. For each of us, this is the daily advice Mary gives us through Advent. Mary does not
become less herself by responding to God. God’s plan, beginning with the creation of the world, is not in danger of being derailed by Mary because God knows Mary so well. God’s knowledge does not take away her freedom and turn her into an automaton, any more than our knowledge of the people we love does. We may have complete certainty about what our dearest friends will choose, not because we are forcing them to, but because it is so characteristic of them. When we throw in our lot with God’s plan, we can be certain that we will play the part that is perfect for us. When we struggle to assert ourselves in opposition to God, we are struggling against what sets us free to be ourselves. That is not to say that our lives will be all sweetness and light in the service of God, as Mary’s path makes plain. This is the journey that will mean that ‘all generations call her blessed’, but there must have been times when she longed for peaceful obscurity, even if that meant denying her truest self. Advent prepares us for the reality that there is only one story of the world, only one destiny for it, from before all time, and that is for it to find its fulfilment through the Son of God. We can choose not to be involved in telling the world its story, but we cannot choose to make another story the true one, because we are not God.
Questions to consider What are you most afraid that God might ask you to be or do? Do you think it is true that you can be completely known by God and completely free?
An Examen: My Greatest Fear “Reimagining the Ignatian Examen” by Mark E. Thibodeaux
I’m convinced that fear plays a far greater role in our lives than we realise or want to admit. Every year when I go on retreat to pray and rest, I ask myself, “What is my greatest fear at this moment in my life?” It always brings about fruitful dialogue with God. Today’s Examen invites us to go to that dark spot in our hearts and psyches and stare right into the face of our fears. It takes some work and some courage to get to the very bottom of our fears. Often, I discover that the root of my fear is not at all what I would have expected. This spiritual work can be deeply consoling in the end, but it is not for the faint of heart; so I recommend you do this Examen only if you’re up for it. Otherwise, save it for another time.
1. I quiet myself down. I slow down my breathing. I sit very still for a moment and try to turn down the volume on my crazy, random thoughts and preoccupations. 2. I spend a few moments in gratitude, thanking God for one or two of the blessings, big and small, that I’ve received today. 3. I look over my day and ask God, “Where did fear play a role in my thoughts, words, actions, or inactions?” I will not be satisfied until I come up with an answer to that question. (It may take a while.) After I’ve located one fear, I look again and see if God is trying to show me one or two other moments when fear played a role. (Often, the first answer that comes is not the most important one.) 4. Once I have identified the most important fear, I zoom in on it. What am I afraid of? I say out loud to God: “Lord, I am afraid of_________.” What exactly is so scary about this? What is the most frightening thing about it? (What I’m trying to do here is get to the deeper fears beneath the superficial ones. For example, “I’m afraid of upsetting the boss” might lead to “I’m afraid of getting fired,” which in turn might lead to “I’m afraid of failing to provide for my family.” Now we’re getting somewhere!) I keep digging deeper and deeper, trying to get to what I’m really afraid of. I will know it when it snatches my breath and I have a hard time saying it out loud.
5. I gather up the courage to say it out loud to God. And then I say it again and again until it gets a tiny bit easier to say. I speak with God about it and remain open to whatever God might say or do. 6. I ask God an important question: “Lord, is this fear realistic, or is it irrational?” For example, some people discover an unconscious fear of losing their job or having their spouse leave them, when all the while their conscious, rational self knows that there is practically no chance of this. If this is the case, I ask God for the ability to acknowledge the fear but not let it control my thoughts, words, or actions. On the other hand, if the fear is a reasonable one (I may actually get laid off soon), then I ask God, “What would you and I do then, Lord? How could we handle it?” If I listen carefully and with peace in my heart, God will often intervene at this moment, consoling me by showing me how
even this worst-case scenario will be manageable. God may even show me how growth and Godâ€™s good will can emerge from such a difficult moment. Studies have shown that within six months most people recover from the most traumatic moments of their lives. And if this is true for the general population, how much more true must it be for those who have an intimate relationship with God!
7. Looking to tomorrow, I ask God for a particular grace or gift that will prevent this fear from getting the best of me. I pray for courage, fortitude, peace of mind and heart, trust in God, and acceptance of whatever comes.
8. I conclude a brief prayer of gratitude / praise to Jesus for being with me.
Celtic Liturgy For Communion God designed Communion to be an intimate act of remembering His body broken and blood shed. Communion also calls us to love one another just as He loved and laid down His life for us. Take time to break bread with one another so we can experience Him together. Invocation Leader:
Come, Triune God Giver of Life
Be near us now.
Creator of all people Son of the earth Spirit of all time
Give ear to our words consider the meditations of our hearts.
Listen, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters and you that have no money come, buy and eat.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Incline your ear and come to me, listen, that you might live.
All: We turn our hearts to you, for you are good. Your faithfulness continues through all generations. Leader:
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
I long to gather you together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.
In all our wanderings, in light and in dark you are the journey and the journeyâ€™s end.
Prayer of confession and restoration Leader:
God, you have created us in your image inviting us to live joyfully and in relationship with you, with others and with all your creation.
But often we have chosen to hide, and to protect ourselves at the expense of others.
Sometimes we are able to love those close to us and befriend those most like ourselves. But often we turn away from your presence in those who differ from us or threaten us. In our actions and in the structures we support, we are so often derailed by our fear, our laziness and our pride.
When we have kept silent, though you asked us to speak. When we have lashed out though you asked us to forgive.
For so often we ignore the cries of the poor and lonely; choosing ease and convenience over your good life; and we trample your creation by deed or by neglect.
Grow us in love.
For you have shown us what is good: to act justly and love mercy, to walk humbly with you. But we have listened first to the leadings of anxiety, anger and shame; sometimes we have put ourselves as gods before you and others.
God have mercy, our sins are as scarlet.
Silence is kept to reflect and prepare our hearts.
Before God, with the people of God, I confess to my brokenness: to the ways I wound my life the lives of others, and the life of the world
May God forgive you, Christ renew you, and the Spirit enable you to grow in love.
Before God, with the people of God, we confess to our brokenness: to the ways we wound our lives the lives of others, and the life of the world.
May God forgive you, Christ renew you, and the Spirit enable you to grow in love
Hear now the words of Jesus your sins are forgiven I give you my peace; come and follow me.
As followers of Christ aware of our faith and our doubt we affirm:
We believe in God, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible, who has come in Jesus to reconcile and make new, who has sent the Spirit to guide, to comfort and confront Godâ€™s people.
Now renewed, our tongues are loosed to say:
We believe in one Church, one broken body, given by God as a sign for all the earth. We affirm the goodness of God
at the heart of humanity, planted more deeply than all that is wrong.
Now, made white as snow, our very lives received as a gift, we say:
We believe that Jesus is worthy to be followed, and through him we know that in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though our hearts grow weary and our best intentions fail.
God, you are our hope and our strength, we place our trust in You.
Prayer and intercession Leader:
And now, as Jesus taught us, we say:
Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us today our daily bread forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us, save us in the time of trial and deliver us from evil, for the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours.
now and forever. Amen. Leader:
We join with all who suffer. We ask â€œHow long?â€?
All: With compassion, we remember those who endure the pain of violence, poverty, illness, loneliness, loss, and despair. Leader:
God, in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.
Invitation to communion Leader: The table of the bread and wine is now to be made ready, it is the table of company with Jesus, and all who love him. It is the table of sharing with the poor of the world, with whom Jesus identified himself. It is the table of communion with the earth in which Christ became incarnate.
So come to this table, you who have much faith and you who would like to have more; you who have been here often and you who have not been for a long time; you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who know what it is like to fail; come. It is Christ who invites us to meet with him here. All:
To whom shall we go? You give us words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know you, Holy One of God.
Behold, the Body of Christ is broken for the life of the world. Here is Christ coming to us in bread and wine. Take and eat.
Thanks be to God.
Serve the person on your side with communion - with the blessing of “the body of Christ broken for you” for the bread, and “the blood of Christ shed for you” for the cup. After all the elements have been taken;
May the bread restore our strength, giving new energy to tired limbs, new thoughts to weary minds. May the wine restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts.
Many grains were gathered to make this bread, many grapes were mixed to make this wine.
So we who are many, and come from many places, are one in Christ.
The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.
As we see the week stretched out before us, in all of its mystery and predictability, we give it to you and ask that You would walk with us through the minutes and hours, keeping us awake and available to you and to each one that will cross our paths.
All: Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
The week to come is full of hope because Jesus was crucified and has risen. God is turning the world right-side up. New creation has begun.
Jesus, Son of God take us with you wherever you go.
And now may the God of hope bring you such joy and peace in believing that you overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.
May the peace of God, which supasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. All:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Christian Community “Reaching Out” by Henri Nouwen
As you read this passage, underline the word community and highlight the qualities of Christian community that resonate with you.
It is important to remember that the Christian community is a waiting community, that is, a community that not only creates a sense of belonging but also a sense of estrangement. In the Christian community we say to each other, “We are together, but we cannot fulfill each other. We help each other, but we also have to remind each other that our destiny is beyond our togetherness.” The support of the Christian community is a support in common expectation. That requires a constant criticism of anyone who makes the community into a safe shelter or a cozy clique, and a constant encouragement to look forward to what is to come. The basis of the Christian community is not the family tie, or social or economic equality, or shared oppression or complaint, or mutual attraction... but the divine call. The Christian community is not the result of human efforts. God has made us into His people by calling us “out of Egypt” to the “New Land,” out of the desert to fertile ground, out of slavery to freedom, out of our sin to salvation, out of captivity to liberation. All these words and images give expression to the fact that initiative
belongs to God and that He is the source our new life together. By our common call to the New Jerusalem, we recognise each other on the road as brothers and sisters. Therefore, as the people of God, we are called ekklesia (from the Greek kaleo = call; and ek = out), the community called out of the old world into the new... As members of the Christian community, we are not primarily for each other but for God. Our eyes should not remain fixed on each other but be directed forward to what is dawning on the horizon of our existence. We discover each other by following the same vocation and by supporting each other in the same search. Therefore, the Christian community is not a closed circle of people embracing each other, but a forward-moving group of companions bound together by the same voice asking for their attention. It is quite understandable that in our large anonymous cities we look for people on our â€œwavelengthâ€? to form small communities. Prayer groups, Bible study clubs, and house-churches all are ways of restoring or deepening our awareness of belonging
to the people of God. But sometimes a false type of like-mindedness can narrow our sense of community. We all should have the mind of Jesus Christ, but we do not all have to have the mind of a school teacher, a carpenter, a bank director, a congressman, or [the mindset of any particular] socio-economic or political group. There is a great wisdom hidden in the old bell tower, calling people with very different backgrounds away from their homes to form one body in Jesus Christ. It is precisely by transcending the many individual differences that we can become witnesses of God who allows His light to shine upon poor and rich, healthy and sick alike. But it is also in this encounter on the way to God that we become aware of our neighbourâ€™s needs and begin to heal each otherâ€™s wounds.
Reflect prayerfully on everything you have highlighted. Ask God to open up your eyes or lead you into such a community that Henri Nouwen encourages us all to embrace and to be.
Worship & Praise Playlist
Open Space, Housefires Take Courage, Bethel Music Who You Say I Am, Hillsong Worship No Longer Slaves, Bethel Music King Of My Heart, Sarah McMillan O Praise The Name, Hillsong Worship Freedom, Jesus Culture Surrounded, Michael W. Smith Yes and Amen, Housefires So Will I, Hillsong Worship Do It Again, Elevation Worship What A Beautiful Name, Hillsong Worship You Restore My Soul, New Wine Worship Peace Be Still, The Belonging Co Seasons, Hillsong Worship One Thing Remains, Jesus Culture Build My Life, Housefires With Everything, Hillsong United Feeling Low, Will Reagan Show Me Your Glory, Jesus Culture It Is Well, Bethel Music Good Good Father, Housefires Bones, Hillsong United You Make Me Brave, Bethel Music Your Love Never Fails, Jesus Culture
Distant Water, Chelsea McGough Eden, Jordan Critz Oana, Otto Totland Now It’s Over, Now I’m Awake, Luchs Passion, Steve Gibbs Ascension, Jordan Critz Whisper To Closeness, Sophie Hutchings Evermore, Roary, Jordan Critz Wen We Get Home, Jordan Critz Butterflies, Peter Sandberg At Last, Sunrise, Maree Docia Softly, Gently, Jon E. Amber Chasing Cloud Nine, Luchs Dawning, Luchs Red Gold Yesterday, Luchs Penumbra, Martin Landh This Delicate Place, Silver Maple A Silver Lining, They Dream By Day While You Were Sleeping, Vincent & A Secret Home, Young Collective Light & Thunder, Young Collective
“Please Aslan, before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do, make it soon.” “Dearest,” said Aslan very gently, “you and your brother will never come back to Narnia.” “Oh, Aslan!!” said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices. “You are too old, children,” said Aslan, “and you must begin to come close to your own world now.” “It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?” “But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan. “Are–are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund. “I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis
ALONE time is precious. It is to ground yourself in what matters and find a way to return to the path you were on. It is also a time for you...
Published on Nov 23, 2018
ALONE time is precious. It is to ground yourself in what matters and find a way to return to the path you were on. It is also a time for you...