POETRY: The Four Candles Of Advent by Royston Allen

November 30, 2018

The candle of HOPE: Hope for the hopeless and hope for the lost. No matter the price, whatever the cost. Jesus has come and was willing to pay being born as a babe that first Christmas day. Hope that’s a certainty, hope that is sure. Though the Earth is shaken we are secure. Trusting in Jesus and safe in his care. Knowing that he’s with us and always there. The candle of PEACE: Peace, all other peace transcending. Peace so eternal and unending. Peace that passes all understanding. Peace so perfect and undemanding. Peace lovely peace floods into our soul. Peace of healing making us whole. Peace from God, peace from Heaven. Peace, Jesus whispers deep within. The candle of JOY: The candle is burning, its flame so bright and joy [...]

POETRY: The Morning Watch by Henry Vaughn

August 16, 2017

O joys! Infinite sweetness! With what flowers And shoots of glory, my soul breaks and buds! All the long hours Of night and rest, Through the still shrouds Of sleep, and clouds, This dew fell on my breast; O how it bloods, And spirits all my earth! Hark! In what rings And hymning circulations the quick world Awakes, and sings! The rising winds, And falling springs, Birds, beasts, all things Adore Him in their kinds. Thus all is hurled In sacred hymns and order; the great chime And symphony of Nature. Prayer is The world in tune, A spirit-voice, And vocal joys, Whose echo is heaven’s bliss. O let me climb When I lie down! The pious soul by night Is like a clouded star, whose beams, though said To shed their light Under some cloud, Yet are [...]

BLESSING: What Fire Comes To Sing In You, by Jan Richardson

April 20, 2017

From: The Cure for Sorrow This blessing had big ideas about what it wanted to say, what it wanted you to know, to see. This blessing wanted to open your eyes to the joy that lives in such strange company with sorrow— wanted to make sure to tell you, lest you forget, that no matter how long it seems absent, no matter how quiet it becomes, joy has never been far from you, holding a space of celebration, watching for you, humming as it keeps vigil. But now that it comes time to speak it— comes time to lay these words on your brow, your beating heart— all this blessing can think to say is Look— your life a candle, this day a match. Strike it and see what blazes, what fire comes to sing in [...]

JESUS: The Accessibility Of Jesus, by Hubert van Zeller

April 8, 2017

In spite of the uncompromising nature of his doctrine, there was nothing of the harshness about Jesus which is sometimes found in religious people.  He could be stern as we have seen, but he was never dismissive.  Love itself, love from whom all humanity springs, how could he have been unlovable?  The word, “amiable,” (admittedly a weak word to act as an adjective to Jesus, and one which describes only a manner), derives from the Latin, “amabilis.”  Critical commentators have made much of the absence of any reference in the gospels to our Lord laughing or smiling.  The implication is that his facial expression was forbidding rather than welcoming.  How, we ask, can an unsmiling man be reconciled with the [...]

SERMON: From Sorrow To Joy, by Charles Spurgeon

November 8, 2016

Your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (John 16:20) Our Lord was very honest with his followers when any enlisted beneath his banner. He did not profess that they would find an easy service if they took him to be their leader. Over and over again he stopped some young enthusiastic spirits by bidding them count the cost; and, when some said they would follow him wherever he might go, he reminded them that though the foxes had holes and the birds of the air had nests, yet he had no where to lay his head. He never duped any man. He told all the truth to them, and he could honestly say to them, If it were not so, I would have told you. He kept back nothing which it was needful for them to know in enlisting under his name. In this verse he [...]

PRAYER: Sorrow Into Joy

November 7, 2016

From Daily Prayers & Blessings Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (John 16:20) God, thank you for sometimes reminding me that in the center of chaos lies the seed of new opportunity and that things are not always as awful as they seem at first. I often forget that what starts out bad can end up great and that it is all a matter of my own perspective. [...]

HEAVEN: Get Ready For Heaven, by James Martin

July 5, 2016

From Between Heaven and Mirth By now I hope you can see why “excessive levity” is not to be feared, as that elderly priest told my friend, Mike, all those years ago, but to be welcomed.  And – it’s worth mentioning again – this is not to say that one should ignore the reality of suffering and sadness.  But too many religious people overemphasize these aspects of life while downplaying the more mirthful ones.  This book has tried to balance things out a bit.  Joy, humor, and laughter are virtues necessary for a healthy spiritual life. Those virtues also point us beyond our Earthly lives.  And that’s the last thing I would like to speak about before we end our discussion. This is not the place for a long [...]

SUFFERING: A Study In Joy — 1 Thessalonians, by James Martin, SJ

October 15, 2015

From Between Heaven and Mirth You would think that the book that many scripture scholars agree to be the oldest in the New Testament would garner a great deal of respect and attention.  You would think that a document written around 50 AD – only seventeen years or so after the death of resurrection of Jesus – would be pored over by all Christians.  You would think that most Christians would know even the smallest verses of this document by heart. Well, you would be wrong.  Saint Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians isn’t all that well-known by many Christians. Still, by common consent, it is the earliest of Paul’s letters, and therefore the earliest writing in the entire New Testament.  Scholars say that 1 [...]