Continually ever-present


 
 
Wishing you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Benediction

(inspired by Hebrews 10:19-22)

Go in peace, assured that God has heard,
      and will continue to hear your prayers.
Remember that no curtain separates us
      from the presence of the Lord.
Therefore, every table at which you will sit this week,
      be it a school desk,
            a work bench,
            a lunch counter,
            a meeting room table,
            an office desk,
            a board across sawhorses,
            your own kitchen or dining room table;
      every table is God’s altar.
So boldly pray,
      hold fast to hope,
            and encourage and provoke one another
                        to put love into action.
                        Amen.

~ from the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren website.
 


Holy Week resources from the blog
Windows on Holy Week (2017)
He suffered series (2018)
 

Inspired by trees


 

A poem

 
Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

 
by David Wagoner, from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems
 


Also inspired by trees

The children’s book, The Boy Who Grew a Forest (based on a true story).

Youtube video on how to make paper growing trees (from illustrator of The Boy Who Grew a Forest)

Article from themarginalian.org about Ursula K. Le Guin’s Love Poem to Trees, also featuring some stunning artwork.
 


From the blog

Winter = long nights
Flowers fall, but …
Tree of life
 

Playful prayer


 

While I was trawling the internet for play-related prayer topics and resources I came across a website called PLAYFUL PRAYER with the tagline, ‘Exploring creative communication with God’.

The blogs posts are by Susanna from the UK. She writes,

This blog exists to inspire you and I to play and explore with different ways of communicating with God. There are many different ways to learn and express. I happen to be a visual and kinesthetic learner: Truth and beauty sink into my spirit when I see and do. Don’t get me wrong, I do love words: There’s great power in spoken and written word but sometimes I get a bit ‘word weary.’ So, recently I’ve been having lots of fun praying in creative ways.

Here are some ways it’s helped me:

  • Focus when I pray for others (I’m easily distracted!)
  • Going deeper into understanding the bible
  • Emotional healing, overcoming fears, breakthrough freedom and spiritual growth
  • I’ve found new ways to worship God, thank him & mediate on his character
  • Ways to express myself when I can’t find the words
  • By creating something physical and visual it helps to share the joy with others

 
The most recent blog post is dated January 23, 2018. Still, the site is a treasure trove of ideas to inspire playful prayer activities where you are – in your family, church and neighbourhood.

PLAYFUL PRAYER posts you might like:

 

Check it out. Creativity, playfulness and prayer are always in season.

 

Song in the night

at night you give me a song as my prayer to you, the living Lord God. Psalm 42v8 CEV
at night you give me a song as my prayer to you, the living Lord God  (Psalm 42:8, CEV)
 

What songs have you received from God at night to sing as your prayer to him?


For further study and reflection

Article:
Singing Songs In The Night  (from bible.org)

Case study:
Acts 16:16-40  (Paul and Silas in prison)
 


From the blog
Singing creation’s song
Newness of life
Up to us
 

A holy kingdom


 
[from the Prayer Stations handout]

 

LET’S PRAY: THY KINGDOM COME

From Ascension Thursday to Pentecost (13 to 23 May 2021) Christians all over the world are once again invited to join the annual global prayer movement called Thy Kingdom Come.

During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, the hope is that all who take part will:

  • deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ
  • pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus
  • pray for the Holy Spirit to empower Christians everywhere for witness, just as He did the early disciples at Pentecost

Prayer resources – catering for ages 5 to 105, suitable for churches, families and individuals – are available online.
 


A prayer

Jesus, we believe in your kingdom coming. Even amid pain and despair, we believe that with each brave prophet – with each unknown disciple who stretches her arm as a bridge between a broken world and a holy kingdom – you are laying another brick for the New Jerusalem.
Amen.

 
from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro, p. 274
 

Holy moment beneath the stars


(Illustration: Irene Bom)

 

Let me introduce you to a recent addition to my growing collection of prayer books: Every Moment Holy: Volume One by Douglas Kane McKelvey. It features over 100 liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life, including liturgies “For Home Repairs”, “For Missing Someone” and “For the Hurried Preparation of a Meal”. A second volume with liturgies for seasons of dying and grieving has also been published.

Here is an excerpt from Volume One, used with the publisher’s permission.
 


from  A Liturgy For Stargazing

[O Great Architect of These Intricate Heavens]

Tune our ears to hear the songs
of stars in their trillion-fold choruses,
bearing witness to your glory, your power.

Use these bright expressions of your extravagant
beauty to stroke our holy longings, whetting our
appetites afresh for all that is eternal and good.

You made this vastness, and by
your love you placed us in it,
fixed among the wonders.
So let us be stirred, O Lord, by night skies such as these,
lifting our thoughts to you, our Maker, and to the vast
and beautiful infinitude of your designs.

O Spirit of God, draw praise from us,
      here in this cathedral of creation,
      beneath this starry dome.
Awaken our adoration in this place
where we are so very small –
      and yet so greatly loved.

Amen.

 
written by Douglas Kane McKelvey
from Every Moment Holy: Volume One (Pocket Edition), p. 80, 82
Used with permission
 


 
More
Interview with Douglas Kane McKelvey on The Habit Podcast
Every Moment Holy liturgies for download and liturgy videos
 

Tree of life


 
 

Recently I’ve been experimenting with frottage, often using the bark of a tree as my substratum, and posting results to my instagram account (@irene.bom).

Here I’ve used the technique to help illustrate Proverbs 15:4a (NLT): “Gentle words are a tree of life”.

My main inspiration for featuring this particular verse was a blog post entitled, “100 Healing Words for Every Harmful Syllable” by Scotty Smith.
 


Words of assurance

(inspired by Revelation 21:1-6)

Behold:
there is a new heaven,
    a new earth
        and a new city,
where the river of life flows,
where the tree of life bears fruit in every season.

This heaven,
    this city,
        this river,
            this tree
are a vision of your life
    reborn, restored, and renewed.
Thanks be to God!

 
source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


Tip: Word study on “Tree of life”

Check out the bibleproject.org video on Tree of life. Also check out their many other materials to enrich your study of the Bible.
 

Lament


Always speak the truth even if your voice shakes  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

To introduce this month’s theme of SORROW, an excerpt from the Foreward by Eugene Peterson published in Michael Card’s book, A Sacred Sorrow.

And if you want to try writing your own psalm of lament, check out the links below.
 


On weeping

Eugene Peterson writes,

It’s an odd thing. Jesus wept. Job wept. David wept. Jeremiah wept. They did it openly. Their weeping became a matter of public record. Their weeping, sanctioned by inclusion in our Holy Scriptures, a continuing and reliable witness that weeping has an honored place in the life of faith.

But just try it yourself. Even, maybe especially, in church where these tear soaked Scriptures are provided to shape our souls and form our behaviour. Before you know it, a half dozen men and women surround you with handkerchiefs, murmuring reassurances, telling you that it is going to be alright, intent on helping you to “get over it.”

Why are Christians, of all people, embarrassed by tears, uneasy in the presence of sorrow, unpracticed in the language of lament? It certainly is not a biblical heritage, for virtually all our ancestors in the faith were thoroughly “acquainted with grief.” And our Savior was, as everyone knows, “a Man of Sorrows.”

 
source: A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card, p.11
 


Compose your own Psalm of Lament

During a recent episode of The Habit Podcast, David O. Taylor describes how we might write our own psalm of lament.

To find out more, go to thehabit.co and/or listen to the podcast episode.
 


 
Prayer poem for Lent 3B : Sweet words
 
This prayer poem is inspired by Psalm 19, in particular verse 14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
 

First steps


Poster for a Corona-proof cultural route through the heart of Rotterdam
 

“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20)

britannica.com describes dance as

the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.

There is some overlap between dance and prayer, as our bodies help us express our love for God, our delight in knowing Him and our emotional and bodily needs.

Exodus 15 records the use of dance as a community response to God’s saving acts on Israel’s behalf. But there’s no reason why we can’t use “dance” in our personal prayer time too, to enrich it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Adopt the embodied version of St Patrick’s breastplate. A friend of mine was keen to learn it – not just for the spiritual benefits, but also to exercise her weakened left arm. And when I visit her now, we make a point to pray this prayer together before I leave.
  • Dance prayerfully to a favourite hymn or spiritual song.
  • Interpret a passage of Scripture as a series of steps and gestures, to make the words come alive in a fresh way for you.

 
RECOMMENDED
Dance Is Like Thought: Helen Keller Visits Martha Graham’s Studio (including a video)
 

More food for thought

 

According to euronews.com, there are multiple benefits to eating locally and in season. For example:

  • reducing our carbon foot print
  • protecting local land and wildlife from mass-scale agriculture
  • minimizing our exposure to preservatives
  • reconnecting our body with nature’s cycles
  • enjoying nutrient dense food

 

Another benefit is that we get to share in the joy of harvest on a regular basis.


From the blog
Food for thought
Environmentally water-wise
From parched to satisfied