Jesus Christ

PRAYER: Prayer For Lent by Peter David Gross

March 11, 2019

From Wheatstone Ministries Hold me together, Jesus. Be my king and my first resort. Oh archetype, remake me after you. Set at peace the war-making parts of me. Forgive me, and spread balm on my injuries. Sharer of my death, share your life and light with me. Bring me home into your home, to your family. Purify, beautify me until I refract your light. Step into my pain. Touch my scars. Even now, show me your singing. [...]

SERMON: The Temptation In The Wilderness by George MacDonald

March 10, 2019

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said [...]

BIBLE: An Inner Light by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 27, 2019

From Seeds of Trust John wrote: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet [...]

BIBLE: An Ever Greater Love by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 20, 2019

From Seeds of Trust Am I a God nearby, says the Lord, and not a God far off?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord.  Do I not fill Heaven and Earth? says the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24) “A God who is near”: this expression sums up Israel’s experience of God’s tenderness.  God watches over his people, Israel – “shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye,” (Deuteronomy 32:10).  But God’s people also experienced a “God who is far away,” and Jeremiah complains about this: “Why should you be like a stranger in the land?” (Jeremiah 14:8))  It is as though God no longer intervened in human affairs; his presence could no longer be felt.  He let Jerusalem and its [...]

BIBLE: The Beauty Of God’s Love by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 13, 2019

From Seeds of Trust While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.  But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.”  And they scolded her.  But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her?  She has performed a good work for me.  For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my [...]

PRAYER: Prayer Of Confession Based On The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares by Moira Laidlaw

February 11, 2019

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, [...]

PRAYER: Sick—Jesus Heals A Man With Leprosy

February 4, 2019

From Daily Prayers Father, your Son accepted our sufferings, teaching us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brothers and sisters. May all who suffer pain, illness, or disease realize that they are chosen to be saints, and know that they are joined to Christ in his suffering for the salvation of the world. [...]

SERMON: The Cleansing of the Leper by Richard Chenevix Trench

February 3, 2019

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.  (Matthew 8:1-4) We are told that the ascended Lord confirmed the word of his servants with signs following; here he does the same in the days of his flesh for his own.  his discourse upon the Mount, that solemn revision of the moral code, lifting it up to a higher level, has scarcely [...]

POETRY: It is as if infancy were the whole of incarnation by Luci Shaw

January 30, 2019

One time of the year the new-born child is everywhere, planted in madonnas’ arms hay mows, stables, in palaces or farms, or quaintly, under snowed gables, gothic angular or baroque plump, naked or elaborately swathed, encircled by Della Robbia wreaths, garnished with whimsical partridges and pears, drummers and drums, lit by oversize stars, partnered with lambs, peace doves, sugar plums, bells, plastic camels in sets of three as if these were what we needed for eternity. But Jesus the Man is not to be seen. There are some who are wary, these days, of beards and sandalled feet. Yet if we celebrate, let it be that He has invaded our lives with purpose, striding over our picturesque traditions, our shallow sentiment, overturning our cash [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 1) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

January 19, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church.  We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares.  The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices.  Grace is represented as the church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.  Grace without price; grace without cost!  The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing.  Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite.  What would [...]

SERMON: The Beginning Of Miracles by George MacDonald

January 13, 2019

Already Jesus had his disciples, although as yet he had done no mighty works. They followed him for himself and for his mighty words. With his mother they accompanied him to a merry-making at a wedding. With no retiring regard, with no introverted look of self-consciousness or self-withdrawal, but more human than any of the company, he regarded their rejoicings with perfect sympathy, for, whatever suffering might follow, none knew so well as he that – “There is one who makes the joy the last in every song.” The assertion in the old legendary description of his person and habits, that he was never known to smile, I regard as an utter falsehood, for to me it is incredible – almost as a geometrical absurdity. In that glad [...]

DISCIPLINE: The Cost Of Discipleship, Introduction, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

January 12, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship Revival of church life always brings in its train a richer understanding of the scriptures.  Behind all the slogans and catchwords of ecclesiastical controversy, necessary though they are, there arises a more determined quest for him who is the sole object of it all, for Jesus Christ himself.  What did Jesus mean to say to us?  What is his will for us today?  How can he help us to be good Christians in the modern world?  In the last resort, what we want to know is not, what would this or that man, or this or that church, have of us, but what Jesus Christ himself wants of us.  When we go to church and listen to the sermon, what we want to hear is his Word – and that not merely for selfish reasons, but [...]

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: He Has But One Name—Savior by Phillips Brooks

January 4, 2019

From Love Came Down And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) There is one group which no one who thinks of Christmas Day forgets: “There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”  How familiar and how full of rich association these old words have grown!  Try to think what their story must mean, what contribution it makes to the symphony of meaning in which all these attendants on the birth of Christ unite.  Remember what is told us.  They heard a song of angels, a voice from Heaven telling them that a Savior was born in Bethlehem, and that glory had come to God and peace had come to Earth.  Then they can only say to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this strange [...]

POETRY: A Christmas Hymn by Richard Wilbur

January 3, 2019

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:39-40) A stable-lamp is lighted Whose glow shall wake the sky; The stars shall bend their voices, And every stone shall cry. And every stone shall cry, And straw like gold shall shine; A barn shall harbor heaven, A stall become a shrine. This child through David’s city Shall ride in triumph by; The palm shall strew its branches, And every stone shall cry. And every stone shall cry, Though heavy, dull, and dumb, And lie within the roadway To pave his kingdom come. Yet he shall be forsaken, And yielded up to [...]

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: Press Forward Eagerly by Isaac Williams

January 1, 2019

From Love Came Down The Circumcision (Holy Name) After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21) The day of the circumcision tells us that to follow Christ we must be in a manner dead to this world while we are in it; that we must not seek to do our own will or follow our own pleasure, if we would learn to love God now and be with God hereafter.  If this seems a hard saying, let us ask the world what it has to promise.  It will tell us, as on this day, that if we fix our hearts upon anything on Earth, it will very soon depart from us, or we shall depart from it and leave it behind.  A consideration of the fleetness of [...]

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: Why Do We Dally? by Charles Henry Brent

December 30, 2018

From Christmas Haste, a sermon  They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. (Luke 2:16) The shepherd lads animate the Christmas story with their racing feet, as a generation later two running disciples the Easter narrative, illustrating the demeanor of every earnest character in the presence of a new phase of truth.  Vehement desire binds wings to the feet.  Need rouses desire; responsibility challenges capacity.  Few of us have heard our desire sing its full song; few have plumbed the true depth of our own capacity. So they made haste – those shepherd folk – because the parched lips of high desire were within reach of cooling streams, because the restless wings of human searching were [...]

POETRY: Christmas Child by Paul Willis

December 29, 2018

When you were born, sycamore leaves were brown and falling. They sifted through the stable door and laid their hands upon your cheek. Sunlight bent through cracks in the wall and found your lips. It was morning now. Joseph slept, curled on the straw in a corner. Your mother offered her breast to you, the warm milk of humankind, of kindness. You drank from the spongy flesh as you could, a long way now from vinegar, but closer, closer, closer than the night before. She cradles you, O Jesus Christ, born in blood and born to bleed, for this brief dawn a simple child, searching the nipple, stirring among the whisper, the touch, of [...]

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: There Is No Joy Like The Joy Of A Savior by Lancelot Andrewes

December 29, 2018

From Love Came Down But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11) I know not why it is that when we hear of saving or of a Savior, our mind is carried to the saving of our skin, and other saving we think not of.  But there is another life not to be forgotten, and the dangers and destruction there are more to be feared than those here, and it would be well sometimes to remember that.  Besides our skin and flesh we have a soul, and that is our better part by far, and also has need of a Savior.  It has a destruction out of which and a destroyer from which it should [...]

POETRY: Mary At The Nativity by Tania Runyan

December 25, 2018

The angel said there would be no end to his kingdom. So for three hundred days I carried rivers and cedars and mountains. Stars spilled in my belly when he turned. Now I can’t stop touching his hands, the pink pebbles of his knuckles, the soft wrinkle of flesh between his forefinger and thumb. I rub his fingernails as we drift in and out of sleep. They are small and smooth, like almond petals. Forever, I will need nothing but these. But all night, the visitors crowd around us. I press his psalms to my lips in silence. They look down in anticipation, as if they expect him to spill coins from his hands or raise a gold scepter and turn swine into angels. Isn’t this wonder enough that yesterday he was inside me, and now he nuzzles next to [...]

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: Make Room For Him by Mark Frank

December 25, 2018

From LI Sermons  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7) I shall not need to tell you who this “she,” or who this “him.”  The day rises with it in its wings.  This day wrote it with the first ray of the morning sun upon the posts of the world.  The angels sang it in their choirs, the morning stars together in their courses.  The Virgin Mother, the Eternal Son.  The most blessed among women, the fairest of the sons of men.  The woman clothed with the sun; the sun compassed with a woman.  She the gate of Heaven: he the King of Glory that came forth.  She the mother of the everlasting God: he God without a [...]

POETRY: Bethlehem, Indiana by Susanna Childress

December 17, 2018

Which glacier faltered in silencing your hills, Bethlehem? Which Shawnee woman foraged your wild gooseberries? Where but a knell of spruce and flowering dogwood, the smallest of starlings crossing the Ohio River to a province once known as Ken-tah-ten, could we find cascading-haired Mary, whose fingers hover the unquestionable beauty of her new son’s thighs, their tender fat rolling, their slight spoonful of tendons kicking with the certainty of impulse, unknown to him yet as the body’s subtlest joy. No heifer lows against her bale, for this is the Midwest, and our cows are happy cows. But Mother & child are not in the barn, its rafters housing a dozen fidgeting pigeons, nor are they in the east shed where the combine neighbors the [...]

POETRY: For Advent by Christina Rossetti

December 16, 2018

Sweet sweet sound of distant waters, falling On a parched and thirsty plain; Sweet sweet song of soaring skylark, calling On the sun to shine again; Perfume of the rose, only the fresher For past fertilizing rain; Pearls amid the sea, a hidden treasure For some daring hand to gain; — Better, dearer than all these Is the earth beneath the trees: Of a much more priceless worth Is the old, brown, common earth. Little snow-white lamb, piteously bleating For thy mother far away; Saddest sweetest nightingale, retreating With thy sorrow from the day; Weary fawn whom night has overtaken, From the herd gone quite astray; Dove whose nest was rifled and forsaken In the budding month of May; — Roost upon the leafy trees; Lie on earth and take your [...]

POETRY: On The Mystery Of The Incarnation by Denise Levertov

December 13, 2018

It’s when we face for a moment the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know the taint in our own selves, that awe cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart: not to a flower, not to a dolphin, to no innocent form but to this creature vainly sure it and no other is god-like, God (out of compassion for our ugly failure to evolve) entrusts, as guest, as brother, the [...]

POETRY: From God Christ’s Deity Came Forth by Ephrem of Edessa

December 10, 2018

From God Christ’s deity came forth, his manhood from humanity; his priesthood from Melchizedek, his royalty from David’s tree: praised be his Oneness. He joined with guests at wedding feast, yet in the wilderness did fast; he taught within the temple’s gates; his people saw him die at last: praised be his teaching. The dissolute he did not scorn, nor turn from those who were in sin; he for the righteous did rejoice but bade the fallen to come in: praised be his mercy. He did not disregard the sick; to simple ones his word was given; and he descended to the Earth and, his work done, went up to Heaven: praised be his coming. Who then, my Lord, compares to you? The Watcher slept, the Great was small, the Pure baptized, the [...]

POETRY: Advent Calendar by Rowan Williams

December 9, 2018

He will come like last leaf’s fall. One night when the November wind has flayed the trees to bone, and earth wakes choking on the mould, the soft shroud’s folding. He will come like frost. One morning when the shrinking earth opens on mist, to find itself arrested in the net of alien, sword-set beauty. He will come like dark. One evening when the bursting red December sun draws up the sheet and penny-masks its eye to yield the star-snowed fields of sky. He will come, will come, will come like crying in the night, like blood, like breaking, as the earth writhes to toss him free. He will come like [...]

POETRY: Into The Darkest Hour by Madeleine L’Engle

December 4, 2018

It was a time like this, War & tumult of war, a horror in the air. Hungry yawned the abyss— and yet there came the star and the child most wonderfully there. It was time like this of fear & lust for power, license & greed and blight— and yet the Prince of bliss came into the darkest hour in quiet & silent light. And in a time like this how celebrate his birth when all things fall apart? Ah! Wonderful it is with no room on the earth the stable is our [...]

POETRY: Conversion by Marci Johnson

December 3, 2018

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) How can word become flesh? Belly. Bone. Tongue—the feel in the mouth a word rolling around. Word, not a kiss not the thing itself—a name. The arch of a foot. Your face in my hands, just a name. Blue sky lolling beyond the window frame—eyes open. just a way of looking. begin with a [...]

POETRY: Advent Credo by Allan Boesak

November 29, 2018

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction— This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly. It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever— This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace. It is not [...]

ADVENT MEDITATION: Meditation by Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster

November 27, 2018

From Christ and the Human Life Above the portal of the ancient cathedral in Lisbon is found a marvelous portrayal of the Blessed Mother and her child.  Mary, the image of purity and divine grace, is not bent over the child: she is looking far, far away, as if she were contemplating the deepest meaning of the Incarnation of the divine Spirit and as if she were surveying the immeasurable consequences of the event upon which shone the star of Bethlehem.  What is that deepest meaning?  It becomes clear to us when we hear from the streets the cries of newspaper vendors calling out the latest news.  This latest news is basically age old and constantly repeated: the cold or hot war of everyone against everyone else.  Its simple cause lies [...]