Being Friends with God

 Culture, Featured, Holidays, Religion  Comments Off on Being Friends with God
Jan 172010
 

Today in Sunday School, we are still going through the Rick Warren book. This discussion was about being friends with God. The discussion went off in a number of directions, and I’m not sure how much I got out of this week. Today is also the Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so I wanted to work in a reference to that in today’s prayer. I heard a great story this morning on NPR about how King had once been asked, in his teenage years, what he was looking at as he stared out the Window. He was watching the gas lamp lighter going along lighting the gas lights. King said he was watching the man, “knock holes in the darkness.”

God, we have been told byy the prophet Micah to walk with you. As we walk with you teach us to talk less and listen more…to you and to our earthly friends.

Thank you God for the processes of your world which bring us the warmth and light of the sunshine, and the cleansing nourishment of the rain. We confess we don’t always understand that natural world, and today we pray especially for our brothers and sisters in Haiti who are experiencing  a desperation we can’t begin to comprehend. Remind us too that while this a tragedy on a scale unprecedented, others experience equally difficult personal tragedies every day. We pray also for them.

As we celebrate the birthday of one of the great leaders of our time, we remember Dr. King’s story of describing the work of the town’s lamp lighter as “knocking holes in the darkness.” As we deepen our friendship with you, show us to knock holes in the darkness of our world.

Amen

A New Series-Prayers and Meditations

 Religion, Society  Comments Off on A New Series-Prayers and Meditations
Jan 032010
 

It seems I’m frequently asked to offer the closing prayer for my Sunday School class. I guess some are good enough that I’ve been asked to get them down for possible future publication. This seems to be as good a place as any. So this may be the first in what may become a series.

Right now we are studying Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” I’m not thrilled about that. Today’s lesson was about making God smile. While I usually try to tie the prayer to the lesson, I didn’t really do that today.

Father God, we stand today at that unique place on the calendar where we shrug off the tatters of the old year, and look forward to  a new year with the hope and opportunities offered by new beginnings. Use this time to remind us that because of your unbounded grace, each day can be a new beginning; a re-committment to faith; and a renewal of spirit. Help us learn that same grace that we might forgive those who trespass against us, and while we pray they be few, give that same grace to others that they may forgive our trespasses.

We confess that in the past decade we have allowed our civil discourse to become harsh. We have clinched our fists, crossed our arms, and divided ourselves…not only across geographic lines, but across beliefs, ideologies, and most sadly, religion. We have adopted a dangerous arrogance that we alone are right, and therefore all others must be wrong.

We have been reminded across the ages by the prophets and sages that we are all your children, and as such we are, each one living today, those who came before, and all who will come after, brothers and sisters. We pray for the strength to put aside our petty sibling rivalries, lay down our weapons, un-cross our arms, un-clinch our fists, and open our hearts to that simple great commandment given us by your son, that we love you, and love one another. We ask this in his name…

Amen.

A Wonderful Prayer

 Culture, General, Religion  Comments Off on A Wonderful Prayer
Apr 232007
 

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.

– Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Thanks And Giving

 General, Kings Mountain, Religion, Society  Comments Off on Thanks And Giving
Nov 272005
 

Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home. -Wilbur D. Nesbit

I suppose it is almost obligatory to write something about Thanksgiving around this time. Like many of you, I traveled over the holiday. I drove up to Kings Mountain, NC Tuesday to spend the holiday with my mother and sisters. We returned to Tampa Friday in an effort to miss traffic.

This is a time of reflecting and “giving thanks” for our blessings and one of the things I’m most thankful for is that my immediate family remains intact, and that I still have a home and hometown to which I can return. The parents’ of an old high school friend of mine died some years ago. He now lives in Asheville, NC and his sister in Charlotte. He made a comment a few years ago about how sad he was that for the first time, he really had no reason to go to Kings Mountain for the holidays. Because of the tight relationship I have with my family, and the love for the small town in which I grew up, I thought that was very poignant, and that is not a feeling I want to experience any time soon. So I’m thankful for home and family.

Thursday night, Lay and I went out riding around, and I pointed out so many of the local landmarks that were part of my growing up years. Being that it’s a small town, I could tell him who (at least) used to live in nearly every house in town. Not coming from a small town, he doesn’t have the same frame of reference to understand that, for all the drawbacks of growing up in small town, there are many benefits to knowing nearly everyone in town.

With a twelve-hour drive home, I had ample time to reflect on Thanksgiving and what this time of year means. I personally have had an OK year. There are things in my life that I wish were different, but on the whole, I am very blessed. So it seems almost curmudgeonly to think about what a bad year it’s been from a societal perspective.

The first thing that leaps to mind is the storms of the Gulf Coast and destruction they wrought. Then there is my disagreement with the federal government position on so many social issues from Gay rights to funding for social programs…and there is the on-going conflict in Iraq.

But for all of that, most of us in America have much for which to be thankful, especially if you consider our situations as compared to so many around the world and here too.

So I think the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving is the easy part. It’s the “giving” part that is often a little more difficult.

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