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.
 

Parental love

“I cannot forget him out of my mind,” an Afghani student said in a BBC World Service news report recently. The mix-up of ‘get’ and ‘forget’ means now I can’t forget this young man out of my mind.

In Isaiah 49:15-16 God says to his people who feel forsaken, forgotten:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

Here is a video by the Bible Project on the character of God, focussing in particular on his COMPASSION. Parental love is a recurring image throughout the video.

 


Great Caregiver Prayer

When we entered this world as tiny babies,
you gave us caregivers,
who watched and waited on us,
who fed and clothed us,
who taught us how to live.
We pause in this moment of silence to give our own thanks
for one special person who has changed our life:
For their work, and their love which has shaped us,
we give you thanks!

We pray today for caregivers;
mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers,
aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters and cousins,
neighbours and family friends,
all who care for children.
Give us the wisdom we need to do this work!
Open our ears and eyes to the real needs of those in our charge;
open our hearts and hands to meet these needs.
Give us endurance, and patience and hope,
and above all compassion,
treating each child as we would want to be treated.

You know us, God;
you know that there are places where we have failed as caregivers;
we also need your help to mend broken or strained relationships,
we need forgiveness, we need closure.
Grant us peace in our relationships.

Our prayers are also directed today for caregivers
around the world who face special challenges;
for those many caregivers
who are caring for orphans from the tragedy of AIDS;
for caregivers who are without food,
walking long distances with children in their arms;
for caregivers in war-torn countries who are trying desperately
to protect their children from bombs and guns.
So many dangers in this world, Lord,
and you know them all.
Bring peace to our troubled times,
justice for those who are oppressed,
hope to those who are hopeless.

God, you love us with a father’s love,
you care for us more tenderly than any mother,
you are the Great Caregiver.
Help us this week to be aware of your love,
your gaze upon us,
encouraging us, sustaining us,
directing us.
Amen.

~ written by Carol Penner, and posted on Leading in Worship.
 

“A Good Night’s Sleep” inspirations

 

Do not try to cover more than one good day’s journey at a time.

Ann Siddal, from #15

 

In July/August 2019 I decided it was time to address my struggle to go to bed on time, and I foraged for Bible verses and prayers to help me turn over a new leaf, writing them up in a little booklet I made.

My struggles also inspired a song to share with a group of creatives who might also be trying to do too much and regularly miss out on the benefits of A Good Night’s Sleep. (Follow the link for the lyrics and a recording).

I’m still struggling to go to bed on time, but during this Lenten season I hope to make it my daily practice, drawing on my collection of Bible verses and prayers for inspiration, and maybe adding a few more entries.

I share this resource with you, aware that our struggles with sleep may have different causes but a good night’s sleep will benefit us all.

 
Please feel free to share your own inspirations in the comments.
 


#1

We can rest,
we can sleep,
we can say no to this activity or that invitation,
we can quit the exhausting work of trying to sustain ourselves,
because You never slumber or sleep.
You are faithful always.

O my soul, praise the Lord.

~ by Grace Olsen Claus, posted on re:worship (excerpt)


#2

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again,
because the Lord sustains me.

~ Psalm 3:5


#3

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

~ Psalm 4:8


#4

In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat –
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

~ Psalm 127:2


#5

My soul finds rest in God

~ Psalm 62:5


#6

May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us –
yes, establish the work of our hands.

~ Psalm 90:17


#7

All the lands are at rest and at peace;
they break into singing.

~ Isaiah 14:7


#8

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

~ Psalm 91:1


#9

Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

~ Psalm 116:7


#10

This is the resting-place,
let the weary rest –
this is the place of repose – listen.

~ Isaiah 28:12 (adapted)


#11

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.

~ Isaiah 30:15


#12

I am saying this for your own good,
not to restrict you,
but that you may live in a right way
in undivided devotion to the Lord.

~ 1 Corinthians 7:35 (taken out of context, but still valid)


#13

There will be no rest day or night
for those who worship the beast and its image …

~ Revelation 14:11


#14

Lord, you put twenty-four hours in a day,
and gave me a body which gets tired and can only do so much.
Show me which tasks you want me to do,
and help me live prayerfully, as I do them.
Sharpen my senses that I may truly
    see what I am looking at,
    taste what I am eating,
    listen to what I am hearing,
    face what I am suffering,
    celebrate the ways I am loved,
    and off you whatever I am doing,
so that the water of the present moment
    may be turned into wine.

~ by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, #262


#15

In the footsteps of centuries of pilgrims, go now …
Consider how you may simplify your days,
so that you may travel lightly.
Be alert to all that could side-track you:
notice that which beckons alluringly,
or with apparently greater urgency,
than the pilgrim journey Christ invites.
Do not try to cover
more than one good day’s journey at a time.

Know when to stop for food and sleep,
so that the journey will not be too great for you.
Walk humbly, knowing that the goal
is not recognition, achievement or reward,
but simply to have come to know Christ
and yourself more intimately.
Be on the lookout for other pilgrims,
caring for those who limp, or fall;
those who cannot see the way forward:
pilgrimage is richer in community.
Go now: place your hand
into the outstretched hand of Jesus Christ,
allow the words of the story to guide you,
and pray for purity of heart and mind. Amen.

~ by Ann Siddall, posted on re:worship (adapted)


#16

God with us in our restlessness and wakefullness,
    give us your rest.
God with us in our sleep and calm,
    give us vision of newness.

~ by Meredith Holladay, posted on re:worship (extract)
 

Welcome ~ embrace


 

The Welcoming Prayer

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment,
because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition,
person, or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God
and the healing action and grace within.

Amen.

 
by Father Thomas Keating, posted on www.spiritualityofconflict.com.
 


 
From the blog
Prayer sheet: Called into community
Do this remembering
In the light of His coming

On trust


 


 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
      and he will make straight your paths.

 
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
 


Blessing

inspired by Psalm 37:3-9

Trust in God, and do what is good;
live with quiet confidence where God has placed you.
Delight in God’s presence,
and you will have all that your heart desires.
Commit everything you do to God—trust Him completely—
and He will never let you down.
Be patient.
Don’t worry or get upset when things don’t go well.
Instead, learn to rest in God’s presence.
For those who trust in God will have everything they need.
 
from re-worship.blogspot.com

Sola gratia – Deo gratias


Water lilies – in and on the water  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

The words gratia and gratias point to a connection between grace and gratitude.

 
 
To bring to a close our reflections on the theme of “grace”, I’ve selected some Latin terms, a song, a reading, a bit of church history and a prayer of thanksgiving by Thomas Ken, writer of the traditional doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
 


By grace alone (Sola gratia)

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
 

 

“Only by grace” by Gerrit Gustafson

Thanks be to God (Deo gratias).

 
Note:
Sola gratia (“by grace alone”) is a foundational principle of the Reformation, along with two other core beliefs, Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”) and Sola fide (“by faith alone”).
 


Giver of All Good Things

Giver of all good things, we thank you:
for health and vigour,
for the air that gives the breath of life,
the sun that warms us,
and the good food that makes us strong;
for happy homes and for the friends we love,
for all that makes it good to live.

Make us thankful and eager to repay,
by cheerfulness and kindliness,
and by a readiness to help others.

Freely we have received; let us freely give,
in the name of him who gave his life for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 

by Thomas Ken (1637-1711)
 
source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


 
From the blog
Ancient Irish Prayer
 

Word study: Shema

The Bible Project
Someone in my congregation sent me a glowing commendation for The Bible Project, especially their video devoted to the first word of the ancient biblical prayer called “The Shema”.

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NIVUK)

The whole Shema series is available here: https://thebibleproject.com/explore/shema-listen/

About the series

“For thousands of years Jewish people have daily prayed these words which summarize the Bible’s call for faithfulness and devotion to God. We will explore all of the key words in this prayer and what they meant in their original language and historical context.” (https://thebibleproject.com/product/word-study-shema-listen-2/)