Tag Archives: God

Thoughts for Thursday

When we pray for another, it is not an attempt to alter God’s mind toward him. In prayer we add our wills to God’s good will… that in fellowship with Him, He and we may minister to those whom both He and we love. (Henry Sloane Coffin, Joy in Believing, 1956)

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy
never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come,
knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we
can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP pg 831)

 

A dear friend once commented that during our worship service, the prayers of the people is the closest we come to being Christ like. 

When we gather together to pray for each other and for the world we bring the Kingdom of God ever closer. 

I find myself sometimes struggling in prayer for others. I get specific, praying that this or that will be solved or this job will happen or that thing will be resolved. Sometimes I think I know what the outcome should be, and it ends up not turning out that way but being perfectly alright. Maybe something happens that I hadn’t even thought of.

I like just saying people’s names or being otherwise non-specific. Sure there are outcomes I would prefer for certain situations, and I definitely make that known, but who am I to know what is best? I trust that God is “doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for”. 

So the next time you tell someone, yes I will pray for you, don’t feel like you have to dream up a solution to their problem, or pray for a certain outcome. You can simply lift their name up to God, join your own will to His, and trust that God knows what the best outcome is for that person.

And God hears your prayer anyway, no matter what you end up saying. 

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Lift your voice

“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won.”

Take a minute this morning to lift your heart to God, not in gratitude for family or friends or warm homes or good food. Lift your heart in thanks for all that your life has made you, for the faith, the hope and the love you are able to carry inside you because of the good and the hard times you have faced. Trace your fingers across the scars and think of the ways you have been transformed and strengthened by a life that is often unsteady and unsettling. Give thanks for resilience.

Success

success

 

Success is hardly the neutral definition provided in the dictionary, especially in these United States. Success is loaded with all kinds of connotations of material gain or notoriety, impact or well roundedness, but the most invisible and perhaps most powerful connotation of success is failure. If we do not succeed we fail. Check out this amazing interview by Alain de Botton about how the American desire to crown a winner has created an equally powerful need to punish a loser.

Our faith of course calls us to turn all of this on its head, to crown the loser and send the winner to the back of the line. Or does it? In Jesus’ time were we really talking about winners and losers or were we talking about the fortunate and the unfortunate, those who had (through no fault of their own) and those who did not. This is a very different thing. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t talking about redistribution or even equal distribution, but about lack of ownership altogether of wealth and power and relationships and hope. Only then do you really see the end of the vicious cycle of winners and losers.

As the year begins to wind down and you are tempted to give thanks for your successes and lament your failures, I hope you’ll take some time to reframe, to reconsider, and to redefine the ideas you have about what success means and whether you can ever really have or want it. What else does God call us to value to give meaning to our lives? What does God value?

Friday final(e/ly)

It’s Friday, the end of the work or school week for many, the beginning of the work weekend for others. To help you get to 5:00, why not spend a little time reflecting on what you learned this week! Join me in taking 5 minutes three times today and reflecting on the following three questions:

1) What did you learn about yourself this week that surprised you?

2) What is something you learned from someone you do not know well this week?

3) What did you learn about God this week?

If you’re coming up blank and want some food for thought, watch this. If you want to see something that is ambiguously disturbing and beautiful, watch this. And if you want to displace a song stuck in your head with another one watch this.

Shanah Tovah

Today ends the celebration of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. According to tradition, this past Wednesday evening leading into Tuesday marked the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve and their entry into God’s plan for the world. This celebration of new beginnings and of God’s glory historically lasts two days, ending at sunset today.

But as you enjoy the light hearted video above and share the greeting “Shanah Tovah” (literally, have a good year) with your Jewish (ad non-Jewish) friends, we at the Daily Cake invite you to think of the common homeland of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions and the incredible tension that continues to brew on the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Tomorrow we will engage the call for a day of prayer and fasting for Syria by offering a series of reflections and prayers. We hope you’ll join us by reading along and perhaps fasting and praying yourself. If you have prayers to contribute please post them below and we will repost them to our network tomorrow.

In the meantime, we give thanks that there are always chances for new beginnings…for all of us.

Invisible

“What am I doing with my life?”

I ask this question in jest whenever I see someone accomplish what I could only hope to (like making this amazing video). But really, it is the ever present question, the one that rattles around in my chest and head every time I stop long enough to breathe and look around. That’s part of the unsettled nature of this moment in life, I guess. Or maybe it is just part of life in general.

I have this image in my head that discernment  is a task I could accomplish in an afternoon if I really just committed the time and engaged in some sort of linear process. I would begin by looking at my life, my skills, my passions, then I would ask myself a series of  questions and suddenly my vocation would emerge, clear as day.

But really discernment, in my experience, has been a lot more like this video.

The me I want to be, the me God is calling me to be is like an invisible being that I’m constantly chasing through the woods. I wait for a shadow or a change in the way the dust is blowing and then I have an instant to throw color where I think he is in hopes of catching a glimpse of how he moves, what he looks like, where he’s going. It’s beautiful and painstaking and frustrating as hell.

But every time I encounter him I come one step closer to being him.

Being in grad school I have the luxury of spending all my time chasing this image of who I want to be. But just like in my former working world, it is so easy to lose focus. It is so easy to get caught up in someone else’s idea of what the process should be, to just create another to do list, when all I really want and need is to pursue the image of my own wonderfully created soul.

And when I pursue that, when I can emphasize my being over my doing and seek ardently for it in all its unknowableness, I know I’ll begin both being and doing what God has called me to do and be.

Thoughts for Thursday

For silence is not God, not speaking is not God, fasting is not God, nor eating is not God; loneliness is not God, nor company is not God; nor yet any of all the other two such contraries. he is hid between them, and may not be found by any work of thy soul, but all only by love of thine heart.

(The Cloud of Unknowing, 14th Century)

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Science

Somebody did this.

This is you. Amazing.

These exist.

There are many Facebook pages that give homage to the wonders of science, but my favorite is Science is Awesome.

In a world where people constantly fail to honor the wonder of life around us, the complex mysteries of other human beings, and the infinite miracle of our own bodies, these pages provide a constant stream of opportunities to marvel at the miracle of existence.

When God called himself “I Am that I Am” in the book of Exodus, God claimed existence itself as the divine wonder, the beauty of being as the unknowable foundation. Christ showed us that we didn’t have to stare into the cosmos to see that wonder, that it was right in front of us every moment.

So when I wonder at the posts on this page I am reminded that life is so much bigger than my own little tragedies, that the beauty of all life is an invitation into the divine fullness of our own lives.

God in Proof?

This is a book trailer (they have those now) for Nathan Schneider’s new book, God in Proof. I took a class in college on the philosophy of religion, and found all of the proofs presented thought provoking (though not entirely convincing on their own).

In this Huffington Post piece, Schneider writes, “Despite today’s unending debates about whether God exists or not, few of the classic proofs were meant to convince anyone one way or another. More often, they served to pose more interesting questions.” I think that’s a helpful way to think about proofs of God. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

How does your city taste?

What do the 1980s taste like? What’s the difference between the flavor of the Bronx and the flavor of Staten Island? What is the difference between the self-described flavor of Brooklyn and the clean scrubbed stats produced by the census?

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