“May I be an enemy to no one and the friend of what abides eternally.
May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and be reconciled quickly if I should.
May I never plot evil against others, and if anyone plot evil against me,
may I escape unharmed and without the need to hurt anyone else.
May I love, seek and attain only what is good.
May I desire happiness for all and harbor envy for none.
May I never find joy in the misfortune of one who has wronged me.
May I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make reparation.
May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.
May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need.
May I never fail a friend in trouble.
May I be able to soften the pain of the
grief stricken and give them comforting words.
May I respect myself.
May I always maintain control of my emotions.
May I habituate myself to be gentle, and never angry with others because of circumstances.
May I never discuss the wicked or what they have done, but know good people and follow in their footsteps. ”
– Eusebius of Caesarea, early 4th century
With Christ in the Desert:
Moses and the people were in desert places yet God sustained them with manna, a foreshadow of The Bread of Life. Elijah, as a prophet also foreshadowed Christ and God sustained his servant by sending ravens with food to feed him. The Lord may allow us to travel through desert places but as David said “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” Jesus taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread… and deliver us from evil…” Even in the desert God sustains.
“I am the bread who came down from heaven…unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.…”
Adam and Eve ate of the tree and broke fellowship with God. How is it that God chose to use something to eat to re-establish fellowship with us? Through Jesus HE reverses the curse, He reverses the effect of sin and death, HE turns this act of eating that was a form of disobedience, into an act of obedience, which sets us free.
And that is Communion.
(credit to sparks of creativity to author dee henderson)
At the Street Chapel it was evident that so many were sick today. An aid worker cleaned and continuously sprayed Lysol wherever she went. The night had been cold, so many were in the day room this morning as we invited people to join us for prayers, lessons, and communion.
We keep available inexpensive plastic rosaries for people to pick up for free. The last 3 weeks we have given away dozens. For whatever reason they have been in demand. At the most basic level I’d say people desire to have something to hold on to, even if it is only a plastic set of prayer beads. But if it reminds them of Jesus on a cold and harsh winter night, if that helps them through in some small way… God, I hope in some small way we help them to make it through.
Don’t forget them-Pray for the homeless in our cities.
Weekly I provide a Prayers and Communion service at our local homeless services center. We call this the “Street Chapel.”
Today the Street Chapel was pretty busy. The day center was filled and chaotic with the throng of people who have sheltered at the local hospitality kitchen for the night, and literally for the past week, as temperatures have dipped to as low as 12 and 13 night after night.
The police made an arrest while deacon and I were there today. Various loud conversations carried on through the facility, some slept in chairs or on the floor…
Deacon began morning prayers, read the lesson, the story of the Magi following the star, a story the people would be familiar with perhaps, then paused for silence during prayers of the people. For some reason they always respect that moment…
Confession and communion, more than one homeless person rang out a hearty “alleluia” today. Several came up to receive, thankful for the opportunity. They received the benediction for God’s face to shine upon them and give them His peace… on one of the coldest, harshest days of the year. May it be so.
After all the hubris of 2017 the simplicity of Isaac’s sermon seems particularly poignant and relevant for us.
This Nativity night bestowed peace on the whole world;
So let no one threaten;
This is the night of the Most Gentle One – Let no one be cruel;
This is the night of the Humble One – Let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy – Let us not revenge;
Now is the day of Good Will – Let us not be mean.
In this Day of Peace – Let us not be conquered by anger.
Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.
Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask;
So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.
This present Day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the DIVINE BEING took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
In order for humanity to be decorated by the Seal of DIVINITY.
— St. Isaac Syrian, Nativity Sermon, 7th century
Winter is here. Our local homeless shelter had their first “warming shelter” night where they opened the local community kitchen up overnight for people to come in from the inclement weather. This morning their were several more people in attendance there for our weekly Morning Prayers & Eucharist Service.
In Saint Francis’ day, on a cold night, many took what advantage they could of a big medieval community oven. The stones held the heat from the fire well into the evening, so people found shelter huddling together in the oven. However, as the oven became more crowded the more some complained. Perhaps Francis was tempted to complain as well, instead as he looked around he saw in the ruined faces of the homeless the faces of the brothers and sisters of Christ, and in fact, the face of Christ himself.
In a couple of weeks on December 21st we’ll hold a Memorial Service for those in the Homeless Community who have departed this year. Anyone who has lost someone dear to them, or who is facing their own vulnerability can more easily relate, understand, or have compassion.
Remember the vulnerable.
This year is an oddly timed year. Most years Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but this year Thanksgiving is early, and Advent doesn’t begin until December 3rd. So what to do in the in between?
Unfortunately for me, I am dealing with a mechanic for my truck, a plumber for my house, and setting an overdue doctors appointment for…me. Stress, inconvenience, and unwanted necessity seem to be the order of the day.
I walked past a shelf in my home, it holds some icons, a communion cup, some prayer beads, a couple of candles, and my wife just set out a nativity scene in preparation for the holidays ahead. Also, a prayer book is nearby.
I took a few moments, I just breathed and sipped a cup of coffee. I then picked up the prayer book and read the prayers and passages appointed for the day, taking a little time to think and meditate.
And I think that’s what you do with the in between. Do what you must, but don’t forget to breathe and pray.
Father, forgive me, and help me to forgive and release those who may have hurt me, intentionally or not. I give the hurt to you and ask in return for more of your love.
And for those I may have hurt, intentionally or not, forgive me and release them from any hurt as well. May they be recipients of your overflowing love.