prayer

The post for this week is on my other site, dwpianomusic.com

I’m glad to have published another piano piece there…it’s been waiting for over a year. Please give it a listen – I hope you like it.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

I found myself praying, praying with thanksgiving, praying with open eyes, while I watched the workers on the beach, the sunset, and listened to the sound of the waves and the scream of snowy gulls. “BUT,” I REASONED with myself, “I am praying because I am happy, not because I am unhappy. I did not turn to God in unhappiness, in grief, in despair – to get consolation, to get something from him.” And encouraged that I was praying because I wanted to thank him, I went on praying. No matter how dull the day, how long the walk seemed, if I felt sluggish at the beginning of the walk, the words I had been saying insinuated themselves into my heart before I had finished, so that on the trip back I neither prayed nor thought but was filled with exultation.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 51). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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God, do I have to pray in order to have life?

I am the way, the truth, and the life…but you are free to continue to seek another, if you like. Tell me, how is that going for you?

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

We have the greatest weapons in the world, greater than any hydrogen or atom bomb, and they are the weapons of poverty and prayer, fasting and alms, the reckless spending of ourselves in God’s service and for his poor. Without poverty we will not have learned love, and love, at the end, is the measure by which we shall be judged.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 63). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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More powerful than power itself is the choice to set it aside.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 76005-76007). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

I’m so distraught today over how people are treating each other in our world. I pray that God would ‘change the prevailing winds’ – in my heart, in the hearts of his people, in our culture, in our politics. I’m overwhelmed and at a loss for words.

In the past when I’ve felt the way I do now, I’ve turned to music – to beg, to listen, to find comfort, to believe. Today I’m sharing here music I’ve titled The Strongest Prayer I Know (for the little ones). When I first wrote it, I had in mind the millions of little ones who  were not allowed to be born alive; afterward, I realized it is about many more ‘little ones’ – all who are neglected or despised and considered of little value. This music has often been my prayer when I have no more words to pray – other than “Lord, have mercy”.

There are three parts: the first is a repeated cry for God to hear; the second is Jesus giving us a quiet wake up call, a chance to listen and change our ways; the last is reminding us that, in the end, our Great Shepherd will lead his little ones to the place he has prepared for us.

Here is a link to the music, posted on my other site.  I invite you to listen and pray with me.

The Strongest Prayer I Know

The name of the room is Remember — the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived…

So much has happened to us all over the years. So much has happened within us and through us. We are to take time to remember what we can about it and what we dare. That’s what entering the room means, I think. It means taking time to remember on purpose. It means not picking up a book for once or turning on the radio, but letting the mind journey gravely, deliberately, back through the years that have gone by but are not gone. It means a deeper, slower kind of remembering; it means remembering as a searching and finding. The room is there for all of us to enter if we choose to, and the process of entering it is not unlike the process of praying, because praying too is a slow, grave journey — a search to find the truth of our own lives at their deepest and dearest, a search to understand, to hear and be heard.

The room called Remember…is a room we can enter whenever we like so that the power of remembering becomes our own power…[it] is a room where all emotions are caught up in and transcended by an extraordinary sense of well-being. It is the room of all rooms where we feel at home and at peace.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

This is from another of Buechner’s sermons that has captured my imagination and is still capturing my heart. I don’t enter this room often enough, but the times I do I am blessed, refreshed, and am often given a new perspective that allows me to heal.

I’m posting this today because it resonates with a short-but-moving sermon I heard this morning about the importance of remembering our journeys and God’s faithfulness all along the way.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF FEAR, and I certainly pray to be delivered from the fear of my brother; I pray to grow in the love that casts out fear. To grow in love of God and man, and to live by this charity, that is the problem. We must love our enemy, not because we fear war but because God loves him.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 34). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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There is Love and there is Fear.

Fear is kin to Envy, Prejudice, Hate, and Violence.

Love is kin to Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

Love and Fear are not kin.
Love and Fear are enemies.

Fear hates Love; Love loves Fear.

Fear would kill Love.
Love would die to save Fear from itself.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Samuel Oliver-Bruno is a friend of mine and a worshiper at the church I attend; he has lived there in sanctuary since January.  If you haven’t heard about him yet, you probably will on a news broadcast before the week is out.

I was one of the many who accompanied him to the US Immigration Office and who witnessed his entrapment and detainment by plain-clothed ICE officers who posed as customers until he signed in. I was one of the many who stood in front of the minivan to prevent ICE from conveniently disappearing with him. I witnessed the screams, the disbelief, the pleading for mercy, the betrayal, the terror. I witnessed the peaceful, prayerful, gracious-but-firm resistance. I witnessed my friends getting arrested. I witnessed Samuel finally being driven away: from his wife, his son, his friends, his church, his life.

I feel anguish, anguish that is probably going to last a long time. I won’t drag you through every bit of it, but it isn’t honest for me to post today as if nothing was different from last week. Life will never be the same for me and for the others who witnessed what I did. I imagine I will process some of it here with you over the coming weeks. For now, though, I’m writing to Samuel as a member of the living sanctuary that still surrounds him in our love and prayers for him and his family. I invite you to join that living sanctuary.

Samuel,

As I imagine you in the detention center right now, I love you and I pray that you are experiencing God’s grace and mercy even in that harsh, cold place. When I eat, I hope and pray that you are being fed. When I am with friends and family, I hope and pray that some of those around you are showing you care and loving-kindness. When I sing (and I need to tell you that this morning we sang the song you taught us), I hope and pray God is putting a song in your heart and on your lips.

I know your faith is strong, stronger than the chains and bars that detain you. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” Your quiet, gentle witness is now booming out on social media and news programs around the world. The love of Jesus in you, I believe, is going to help “change the prevailing winds” in our national conversation about who we are and what we stand for.

Samuel, I would find comfort sitting by you right now; I know I would. That is how strong you are and how much you mean to us. You are Jesus’ beloved brother and God’s beloved child; that is who you are.

Grace and peace to you…

dw