Category Archives: devotional

Hashtagged Laments: Praying Psalm 13

Hear Our Cries, O Lord: (Psalm 13:1-2, NIV)

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?”

#Aleppo #AlyanKurdi #Syria

“How long will you hide your face from me?”

#ReturnOurGirls #childsoldiers #MMIW

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts…”

#endthestigma #poverty #homelessness

“…and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”

#SandraBland #PhilandoCastile #TerenceCrutcher

“How long will my enemy triumph over me?”

#DoctrineofDiscovery #NativeLivesMatter #lament

 

Look on Us and Have Mercy: (Psalm 13:3-4, The  Message)

“Take a good look at me, God, my God;”

#Orlando #genderequity #bodyshaming

“I want to look life in the eye,”

#incarceration #lynching #deathpenalty

“So no enemy can get the best of me…”

#misogyny #humantrafficking #residentialschools

“or laugh when I fall on my face.”

#refugee #immigrant #saytheirnames

 

We Long for Your Deliverance: (Psalm 13:5-6, ESV) 

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love;”

#MotherEmanuel #FaithfullyLGBT

“my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”

#withjusticeforall #untilallarefree

“I will sing to the Lord,”

#blessingnotburden #reconciliation

“because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

#KyrieEleison

Amen. 

 

 

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Ashes & Snow

IMG_0859I went to the Ash Wednesday chapel service at Redeemer University College this week. I found a place toward the back simply to sit and be still. The house lights were down, making solitude possible even in a crowd of familiar faces.

The simplicity of the worship proved powerful. Song followed by a well read passage of scripture; another song with a two-part reading of scripture; an invitation to come forward while a the musicians led another song; and then a closing blessing and a final song. The darkness of the space, the richly voiced scripture readings, the soft rising and falling of contemplative singing allowed for surprisingly deep stillness in a short 30 minute service. Continue reading

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A Christmas Farewell

IMG_4066Now that the garbage and recycling have been picked up, only a few remnants of Christmas remain in our house. There’s that one card stuck on the wall still, the decorative fake tree guarding our front door, and a few remaining bites of Margaret’s speculaas cookies in the kitchen. Oh, and lest I forget, the string of lights above the gutter, waiting for a warmer day, when I can pull the ladder out to take them down. With New Year’s resolutions disciplining our bellies and school rhythms regulating our sleep schedules once again, our Christmas celebrations have been done around here for a few days already.

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Christmas Day! Jesus Christ is Born!

* This post concludes a series of Advent devotionals that was posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Christmas Day: December 25 – Jesus Christ: God with Us!

Our Context   

What more can we say? God has entered our darkness and turned it into light. We were hopeless; but in Jesus Christ, God has filled us with an overflowing hope. We were without peace; but in Jesus Christ, God has enveloped us in his all-encompassing shalom. We were without joy; but in Jesus Christ, God has given us the gift of a joy that endures all circumstances in eager anticipation of Jesus Christ’s return. We desperately needed to be loved; and in Jesus Christ, God has lavished upon us the glorious riches of his love.  Jesus is the life that lights our way!  Continue reading

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Advent: Day 25

* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Wednesday 24 December                   

Read: Isaiah 65:17-25

(light four candles)

Reflection

Have you noticed what’s missing from the nativity scenes that adorn our mantels? Blood, dirt, and manure. Mary has just given birth in a back room used for the animals! Yet, Mary’s clothes inevitably fall gracefully down her side with pleated folds protecting her modesty. Did she do a quick change of clothes after the messiness of birthing a baby? And her smiling face looks so freshly washed – no sweaty, dirty smudges, not a hair matted to forehead or cheek! Joseph stands peacefully by her side, though they’ve just finished a journey and his wife is giving birth to a child that is not his own. Continue reading

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Advent: Day 24

* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Tuesday 23 December                

Read: Isaiah 61:1-3

(light four candles)

Reflection

Each Sunday in Advent last year and this year our church has proclaimed the Good News through a simple call and response between our children and the adults. The children gather at the front of the sanctuary. While facing the rest of those who have gathered that morning, they declare in a loud voice: “Jesus is coming!” To which the adults respond: “He’s almost here!” This simple act reminds us that our act of remembering Jesus’ birth is intended to deepen our anticipation and longing for the day when Jesus will return.

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Advent: Day 23

* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Monday 22 December                   

Read: Isaiah 55

(light four candles)

Reflection

Christmas is almost here. In a way, we can hardly wait. Like children eager to unwrap our presents, we can be giddy, barely restraining our excitement for the coming day. At other times, we marvel at how quickly we have gone through this season. Is it Christmas-time already? Today – and this text in particular – provides us with a fitting pause then, inviting us to look back on our Advent journey, even while looking ahead to the celebration of Christmas Day. Continue reading

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Advent: Day 22 – Fourth Sunday

* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Fourth Sunday of Advent: 21 December – God’s Lavish Love      

Our Context   

All we need is love…or so the song goes. Yet, we seem perpetually incapable of love. Our self-interests, our self-doubts, our self-actualizations – all our preoccupations with our own way of life keep getting in the way of love. Our motivations – whether comfortable homes and clothing, freedom and security, access to food, education, and healthcare, entertainment – all come at the cost of others, many of whom we will never see and whose names we will never know. How can we even begin to love God, if we don’t know how to love each other? Or ourselves? Where is the love that will light our way? Continue reading

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Advent: Day 21

* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Saturday 20 December                   

Read: Isaiah 54:1-10

(light three candles)

Reflection

“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” How harsh and out of place these words must have sounded at first! Think of Sarai, Abram’s wife, when the Lord visited them and promised a child. She responded with laughter – not from joy, but to protect herself from opening a dream deferred and destroyed. What else could she do after decades of her yearning, only to have her prayers for a child seemingly fall on God’s deaf ears. The promised joy of children and the fullness of life they bring seemed too cruel to dare imagine again. For that matter, think of Rebekah and Rachel and Hannah who also pleaded to God in the midst of their barrenness. In their own stories, each of these women depict the story of God’s people as a whole: so full of hope, yet seemingly so barren. When would they taste and see and hold the abundant and overflowing life God had promised them. Continue reading

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Advent: Day 20

* This post is part of an Advent devotional being posted daily during Advent 2014. For an intro to this series of posts, please read the initial post here

Friday 19 December                   

Read: Isaiah 52:7-12

(light three candles)

Reflection

Most schools in North America begin their two-week holiday break today. Christmas Day is less than a week away and many of our Christmas celebrations have already begun. “The signs of the season” are all around us. Trees and sugar cookies alike have been decorated. Presents are wrapped and beginning to accumulate. Meals are planned and special desserts are being baked. Laughter and games around family tables are anticipated, if not already taking place. Continue reading

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