Christianity 201

August 19, 2018

Creator: A Worship Liturgy

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a worship liturgy by Ruth Wilkinson

An hour is coming, and is already here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and Truth…
~ Jesus

Brothers and sisters, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
This is your spiritual worship.
~ Paul

…Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit? He is in you and He is from God.
You are not your own.
~ Paul


Who is this God we worship?

He‘s the great God, creator of Heaven and Earth.

He’s the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that surrounds them, and of time itself.

He’s the one who calls us to Himself, and calls us to each other, and calls us to worship.


Give thanks to the Lord of Lords.
His love endures forever.
He alone does great wonders.
His love endures forever.
He made the heavens with unsurpassed skill.
His love endures forever.
He spread the land on the waters.
His love endures forever.
He made the great lights:
His love endures forever.
the sun to rule by day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to rule by night.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven!
His love endures forever.


Not only is He the creator of all, but He is especially the creator of the human heart.

Of our hearts, our bodies, our imaginations.

Patterned after Himself.  Lived in by Himself.  Perfected by Himself.

Shaped of earth dust, breathed to life with His own Breath.


For it was You who created my inward parts;
Your love endures forever.
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
Your love endures forever.
I will praise You because I am wonderfully made.
Your love endures forever.
My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret,
Your love endures forever.
All my days were written in Your book before a single one of them began.
Your love endures forever.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
Your love endures forever.
See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.
Your love is the everlasting way.
Your love endures forever.



To see all of Ruth’s readings here at C201, click this link.

July 29, 2018

A Prayer to Start (or End) the Day

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:46 pm
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Today we stumbled across a site containing liturgical readings with an unusual name, The Peanut Gallery. Art Chartier is a retired pastor who lives in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Although we usually post at 5:30 PM, EST, I know many of you read this in the morning, for which it was written.

Praying the Psalms:  Psalm 25: I give my life to you

Praying the Psalms

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening(Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Morning Reading: Psalm 25 (NLT)

O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.

The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. See how many enemies I have and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.

O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles.
__________

Morning Prayer

O Lord our God: Our lives are in your hands, we trust you –

+ For you guide and teach all who seek you
+ For you care for the humble and afflicted
+ For your ways are merciful and true
+ For you give our souls rest and refuge
+ For you include us in your covenant love
+ For you will never put us to shame as we wait on you

O Lord our God: Remember us in the light of your unfailing love –

+ Erase from our memories past sins already forgiven
+ Save us from our troubles and deliver us from evil

O Lord our God: Hear the cries of your people throughout the world –

+ Deliver us from shame and embarrassment before our enemies
+ Teach us how to live godly lives no matter our circumstances
+ Grant us forgiveness and look on us with loving-kindness and mercy
+ Keep us from wandering that we might live with integrity and honor

O Lord our God: We approach your throne of grace through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grant our requests according to your sovereign purpose, that your Name may be glorified throughout the earth. Amen.
__________

“Remember Me” (Psalm 25) – The Psalm Project

__________

Blessing(Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
__________

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

July 1, 2018

Thank You, Lord: A Worship Liturgy

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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by Ruth Wilkinson

Give thanks to the Lord – He is good and His faithful love lives forever

I say, ‘Thank you’, Lord, because though You were angry, in compassion You turned your anger away from me.

Isa 12

I say, ‘Thank you’ because You answered me and became my salvation and my cornerstone.

Psalms 118

I say, ‘Thank you’ because Christ Jesus our Lord has strengthened me, to play a part in His work in the world.

1 Timothy 1

I say, ‘Thank you’ when I remember and pray with joy for my brothers and sisters, my partners in the gospel, every day You’ve given us.

Philippians 1

I say, ‘Thank you’ for the cup of blessing – a sharing in the blood of Christ. For the bread that we break – a sharing in the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10

I say, ‘Thank you’ because all of us, so poor and weak, can give as generously as You have given to us. Because everything comes from Your own hand.

1 Chronicles 29

I say, ‘Thank you’ –

  • Because You’ve redeemed us from the hand of the foe.
  • Satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.
  • Brought us out of gloom and broken our chains to pieces.
  • Broken down the bronze gates and cut through the iron bars.
  • Sent Your Word and healed us.
  • Rescued us from the Pit.
  • Turned a desert into a pool of water.
  • Given the lost a fertile home, where they can build a city.
  • And given them fields to sow and vineyards to harvest.

Psalm 107

I say, ‘Thank you’ with the trees of the forest when they shout for joy that You’re coming to judge the earth.

1 Chronicles 16

…………….
I say, ‘Thank you’ –

  • for every grace overflowing,
  • for every need provided,
  • for every good work done well,
  • for every gift shared,
  • for every obedience to the gospel of Christ,
  • for every proof of love through service,
  • for every affection received,
  • for every prayer on my behalf.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

2 Corinthians 9

September 17, 2017

Sunday Worship

While worship – acknowledging the worth of God – should be part of our everyday lives, we tend to do this best in a corporate setting. While we began this series saying that worship is more than just music; more than what we sing; we often forget that in that same corporate setting, we can ascribe worth to God, along with his majesty and greatness and power, in the words we pray.

This begs the question: Should those words be planned or spontaneous? While the terminology may differ if you’re taking a course in public speaking, rhetoric, debate, etc., in The Church we usually speak of extemporaneous worship vs. liturgy. So in prayer we’re talking about prayers which are generated on the spot, as opposed to those read from prayer books, from the prayers found in the Bible itself, or prayers simply written in advance.

Although the context is slightly different, I’m often drawn to this verse in this debate:

What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
-1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV

While I’m sure there is much to find online about the negative aspects of spontaneous prayer — “Well, uh, Lord we just want to tell you and Lord we just want to ask you from the bottom of our hearts that, um, well, Lord… I just forgot what I was going to say…” — there are times when prayers simply overflowing from a heart of both gratitude and devotion are exactly what is needed.

But instead, we want to focus today on the positive aspects of perhaps planning to use something which has been previously written. This is a small part of an article by David Bennett at the website Ancient and Future Catholics. Click the title below to read the entire article.

Objection: Why Do You Pray Using a Book

1. Written Prayers Provide a Solid Structure for Worship
The original intention of using written prayers was to provide a basic order for worship and prayer. This basic order can be traced back to the earliest church, and the words and phrases of most written prayers and liturgies (such as you may encounter in a Catholic or Orthodox Church) are practically lifted verbatim from the Bible or the writings of saints. The traditional order of worship includes the spiritually necessary parts of a worship service: confession, thanksgiving, communion, etc.

2. Written Prayers Allow for Common Prayer
The early Church was a tight-knit community. Today, thanks to Western enlightenment values, many tend to view Christianity as a highly personal matter. The early Church did not. Therefore, they often prayed many prayers together, and always would offer an “amen” after the presider said his words. The idea that everybody comes to worship to sing a few songs, hear a sermon, and pray their own spontaneous prayers that do not include the entire assembly is foreign to early Christian ideals, and was not a generally accepted way of worshipping until the latter half of the 20th century.

3. Written Prayers Allow For Real Freedom of Worship
(See # 1) I remember trying to piece together something for morning devotions, asking myself continually, “where in the heck do I start?” This became a bigger problem as I would spend more and more time just wandering during my private prayer time. Once I discovered the written forms of Morning and Evening Prayer, I found that having the structure actually gave me more freedom. Instead of wandering aimlessly, lacking any focus, I had a structure to work within. Keep in mind, written prayer forms allow for plenty of spontaneity, if not more, than structure-less prayer. Think of it like a football game. There are structures and rules…but…think of how much excitement is allowed within the structures! If we showed up to a field every Sunday and just acted spontaneously, we would rarely have as much fun as playing football, because the form of football is a proven, fun game. In the same way, liturgical form worship is proven, meaningful, and biblical worship, where a whole lot of cool things happen.

4. Written Prayers Connect Us to the Past and to the Wider Church
When we pray written prayers together, we are doing so with billions of past and present Christians. Thus, when praying written prayers we are not spiritually isolated within our own region or time period. Instead we are saying prayers that have been faithfully said throughout history. We are praying with Africans, Asians, Europeans, etc, and not just those of our same culture. Think of how many people have recited the Lord’s prayer, or the Agnes Dei, or the Sanctus. The number is certainly in the billions and includes peoples of all races and classes.

5. Written Prayers Are Time-Tested
Most well-known written prayers, including those used during Mass by Catholics, Orthodox, and some Protestants, are time-tested because of their theological orthodoxy and clearly-stated themes. I have been in many non-liturgical churches, and sometimes the spontaneous prayers are so long and rambling that I wish the pastor had written down something! Sometimes they are so theologically thin that they seem so sickly and superficial when compared to great prayers of the past.

6. Jesus Gave Us a Set Form For Prayer
When Jesus taught us to pray, he gave us what has been traditionally called “The Lord’s Prayer” or, more commonly in Catholic circles, the “Our Father.” When Jesus gave his disciples this prayer, he gave them a useful form, which they could use and build from. He did not say, “when you pray, simply speak to God like you’re his best buddy, and say whatever comes from your heart.” While spontaneously speaking to God from the heart is very important, Jesus’ model for prayer is a form, showing the value of this type of prayer.

7. Written Prayers are Scriptural
Liturgical prayer, that is, prayer mixed with ritual, is firmly rooted in ancient Jewish worship. Ancient Jewish worship was not only strikingly ritualistic, but relied heavily on written prayers (for example, the Psalms). Christian worship follows in this pattern. Catholic worship even regularly integrates a Psalm (or similar canticle) into daily and weekly prayer services and Masses, usually sung, as in ancient Hebrew worship. This shows that many written prayers used in Catholic worship are taken directly from the Bible! Thus, written prayers allow a person to “pray Scripture.” Many written prayers that are not directly taken from the Bible are nonetheless full of biblical themes and symbols. Thus, far from being unbiblical, written prayers are probably the most biblical prayers available.

Does this mean there is no value to spontaneous prayers? Of course not! While written prayers are good for a variety of reasons, their use does not exclude made-up prayers. In fact, having a written form as a basic structure allows one real freedom to be spontaneous. Yes, written prayers can be misused, and are often said by people who don’t believe them, but this is hardly the fault of the prayers themselves. Spontaneous prayers can be misused as well. So why not give written prayers a try?

May 12, 2015

The Lord’s Prayer, Expanded

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  Luke 11:1

This is another reading by Laura Steen from our worship gathering on Sunday.

Our Father in Heaven
We can call God our “Father” because he is
revealed to us by his Son, Christ Jesus,
who became man.
Lovingly, he adopts us as Children of God.

” in heaven” is Gods way of being;
majestic, transcending everything
we can conceive of his holiness.
His dwelling place is our homeland
to which we aspire.
This holy God lovingly calls us to him!

Hallowed Be Your Name
“to hallow” means we recognize God as holy,
and we treat Him in a holy way.
If we truly hallow the Father,
then we respect him in our hearts,
and he allows us to enter into
His plan for us and our salvation!
He lovingly saves us!

Your Kingdom Come
The Kingdom of God is brought near in the
Word Incarnate – the son he lovingly sent,
and it has come in Christ’s Last Supper,
death and resurrection.  “Your kingdom come”
prays  for the growth of the kingdom of God
in the “today” of our lives,
bearing the fruit of new life.
He lovingly gives us new life!

Your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
God’s expression of his will is the commandment that
“you love one another, even as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
This commandment expresses his entire will.
We ask for God’s loving plan to be fully
realized on earth as it already is in heaven.
He lovingly calls us into obedience!

Give us today our daily Bread
“Give us” expresses, in communion
with our brothers and sisters, our bond
of trust in our heavenly Father and the
covenant between the Father and all men.
The Father who gives us life, lovingly gives us “our bread,”
the nourishment this life requires, both material and spiritual.
He lovingly feeds us!

forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
We return to Him as His prodigals and begin our confession
as sinners in need of mercy. Our hope is firm, for in his Son,
whom he lovingly sent, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He lovingly forgives us!

And lead us not into temptation
We ask God not to allow us to take the
path that leads to sin.
He gives us the Holy Spirit that helps us
discern between the trials,
necessary for the growth of the inner man,
and temptation, which leads to sin and death.
He lovingly sends us His Spirit!

But deliver us from the evil one
We pray in communion with the Church
for the deliverance of the whole human family.
Victory over the dark prince of this world was
won once and for all at the Hour when Jesus freely
gave himself up to death to give us his life.
He lovingly gives us life on earth!

The Kingdom is Yours, the Power is Yours,
and the Glory, forever. Amen.
This is the final doxology of the Lords prayer.
By the final “Amen,” which means “So be it,” we confirm what is
contained in the prayer that our Lord has taught us.
Let us lovingly offer him our prayers and praise!

We invite you to sing this prayer with us now.

September 2, 2012

Ending On Affirmation

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. ~Matthew 26:30 (NIV)

Some of the most important words in a church service are spoken at the very beginning and at the very end. Like bookends, they frame everything that takes place in the middle. Michael F. Bird wrote the following at the blog Euangelion under the title After the Sermon.

What do you do in church straight after the sermon?

A. Sing the final hymn.
B. Listen to announcements.
C. Receive the benediction.
D. Run out the door for the nearest restaurant

I’m starting to think that the moment after the sermon is a great time to confess our faith by reciting either the creed or rehearsing the regula fidei.

There is a reason for this. After hearing about particular passage from scripture or listening to specific piece of God’s story, it is appropriate that we relate it to the wider story of scripture narrated in the regula fidei, or else situate the sermon in the context of the holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. In other words, the creed and regula fidei provide the prime context to accept and understand the sermon.

You can read the Apostles’ Creed here, but here is the regula fidei according to Tertullian:

[T]he Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.[1]

Now obviously Tertullian has certain specific heretics in mind here, so his rendering of the regula fidei is polemical and contextual. But the wonderful thing about the regula fidei is that it had no exact or precise formulation, though it had several common threads and recurring themes, it was variable. Which means, if you ask me, that it is possible to faithfully restate the regula fidei in our own contemporary language. I would suggest something like this:

God the Father, the maker of the universe, who, through Word and Spirit, made all things out of nothing, planned all things for the demonstration of his love and the satisfaction of his glory. He created Adam and Eve in his own image and after their rebellion, He also revealed himself as the Lord in diverse ways to the patriarchs, to Israel, and in the prophets, to call to himself a people worthy of his name, among and for the nations. When the time had fully come, He sent his Son, born of a woman and born under the Law, a Son of David, enfleshed as a man in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, and who came forth as Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was baptized and in the power of the Holy Spirit he preached the hope of Israel and the kingdom of God, he proclaimed good news to the poor, did many miraculous deeds, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he was buried and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures. Then, having made purification for sins, he ascended into the heavens, where he sat down at the right hand of the Father, from where he shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, and after the great resurrection, he shall take his people into the paradise of the new creation, and condemn the wicked to everlasting fate. The church now works in the mission of God, in dependence upon the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, bearing testimony to Jesus Christ, to preach good news and to show mercy, until the day when God will be all in all.

Would that be a good thing for the congregation to recite after each and every Sunday sermon?

November 28, 2011

Prayer Postures

This is a section from Mark Batterson’s new book The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, releasing this week in hardcover from Zondervan.  Mark serves as the lead pastor of National Community Church, one church with seven locations in Washington, DC.

Physical posture is an important part of prayer.  It’s like a prayer within a prayer.  Posture is to prayer as tone is to communication.  If words are what you say, then posture is how you say it.  There is a reason that Scripture prescribes a wide variety of postures such as kneeling, falling prostrate on one’s face, the laying on of hands and anointing someone’s head with oil.  Physical postures help posture our hearts and minds.

When I extend out my hands in worship, it symbolizes my surrender to God.  Sometimes I’ll raise a clenched fist to celebrate what Christ has accomplished for me on the cross and declare the victory He has won.  We do it after a great play, so why not during a great song?

During the most recent Lenten season, Parker and I got up a half hour earlier than normal to allow a little extra time to read Scripture.  We also decided we would get on our knees when we prayed.  The physical posture of kneeling, coupled with a humble heart, is the most powerful position on earth.  I’m not sure that the kneeling position betters my batting average in prayer, but it gets me in the right stance.  All I know is this: humility honors God and God honors humility.  Why not kneel?  It certainly can’t hurt.

One of my favourite prayer postures I learned from the Quakers.  I lead our congregation in this prayer frequently.  We begin with hands facing down, symbolizing the things we need to let go of.  it involves a precess of confessing our sings, rebuking our fears, and relinquishing control.  Then we turn our hands over so they are facing up in a posture of receptivity.  We actively receive what God wants to give – joy unspeakable, peace that transcends understanding, and unmerited grace.  We received the fruit and gifts of His Spirit with open hands and open hearts.

There is nothing magical about the laying on of hands or bowing the knee or anointing the head with oil, but there is something biblical about it.  There is also something mystical about it.  When we practice these prescribed postures, we are doing what has been done for thousands of years, and part of thinking long is appreciating the timeless traditions that connect us to our spiritual ancestors.

The church I pastor is absolutely orthodox in belief but somewhat unorthodox in practice.  Meeting in movie theaters makes it difficult to have a lot of High Church traditions.  The movie screens are our postmodern stained glass; the smell of popcorn is our incense.  But just because we don’t practice a lot of extrabiblical religious rituals doesn’t mean we devalue biblical tradition.  Just because we believe the church should be the most creative place on the planet doesn’t mean we devalue tradition.  We aren’t religious about religion, the human constructs created over the generations to surround our faith with rituals.  We do, however, hold religiously to the timeless traditions of Scripture.

 

May 18, 2011

Be Our Resurrection and Life

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Although it’s long past Easter, this Easter prayer continues to have a life of its own in various blogs.   This cut and paste is from David Neff’s blog.  The author of the prayer is Mark Galli.

Easter Prayer 2011

O Risen Lord, be our resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for us and all whom you have made.

Be the resurrection and the life for those caught in the grip of sin and addiction.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who feel forsaken.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who live as if you do not.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who do not believe they need resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life in churches that believe they are dying, and in successful churches who don’t know they are dead.

Be the resurrection and the life in us who know the good but fail to do it, who have not been judged but still judge, who know love but still live for self, who know hope but succumb to despair.

Be the resurrection and the life for those dying of malnutrition and hunger.

Be the resurrection and life for those imprisoned unjustly and those imprisoned justly.

Be the resurrection and life for those who live under regimes that seek to crush all who proclaim resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for those in the throes of sickness that leads to death.

Be the resurrection and the life in families where the weak are maltreated by the strong.

Be the resurrection and the life in marriages that are disintegrating.

Be the resurrection and the life for women trafficked and enslaved by the forces of wickedness.

Be the resurrection and the life for those whose lives are snuffed out in the womb.

Be the resurrection and the life for anyone anywhere who knows suffering and death in any form, and for Creation itself, which groans in travail.

Be the resurrection and life in the life we share and the fellowship we enjoy, that filled anew with the wonder of your love and the power of your grace, we may go forth to proclaim your resurrection life to a world in the grip of death and yet on the verge of redemption, a redemption promised by you and assured by what occurred on the first Easter morn.

Amen.

January 1, 2011

Liturgy for a New Year

If you click over to Thinking Out Loud, you’ll see that I’ve begun the new year with a strong recommendation to check out a new liturgical resource, the book Common Prayer by Shane Claiborne et al.    If the word “liturgical” scares you, this is exactly the book you might want to consider.   Take a minute to review my comments there first.

After today I’ll go back to sourcing devotional material from a variety of sources, but here is an outline of the Common Prayer prescribed reading for tomorrow, Sunday, January 2nd:

(sections in blue are repeated by the group if used in a group setting.)

Basil of Caesarea (330 – 379)

Basil was born in modern-day Turkey. His grandfather was martyred, and his brother, Gregory of Nyssa, became a very influential bishop. In an age marked by doctrinal battles within the church, Basil was a tireless defender of orthodoxy. He is known as an early developer of Christian monasticism, and an incredible preacher and writer. Among his many writings are some of the church’s earliest prayers. Basil first left the world to join the monastery, but eventually brought the monastery to the world through the city of Basiliad, also called “The New City.” This was a giant community of monastic men and women working with doctors and other lay-people to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical assistance to the poor of Caesarea. He later went on to become a priest and a bishop, but he always kept his vision of a monastic life not cut off from the world but embracing the pain and sorrow
of the world.

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you

as the day rises to meet the sun.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Come, let us bow down and bend the knee (pause) let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

Song “Steal Away to -Jesus”

Lord, help us believe (pause) that we might see you come.

Psalm 14:1 4

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” : All are corrupt and commit abominable acts; there is none who does any good.

The Lord looks down from heaven upon us all (pause) to see if there is any who is wise, if there is one who seeks after God.

Every one has proved faithless; all alike have turned bad (pause) there is none who does good; no, not one.

Have they no knowledge, all those evildoers (pause) who eat up my -people like bread and do not call upon the Lord?

Lord, help us believe (pause) that we might see you come.

Genesis 28:10 – 22

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

John 6:41 – 47

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

Lord, help us believe (pause) that we might see you come.

Basil of Caesarea wrote, “When someone steals a person’s clothes, we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to those who need it; the shoes rotting in your closet to the one who has no shoes. The money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”

Prayers for Others

Our Father (repeat The Lord’s Prayer)

Lord, you are always weaving the things of heaven with the things of earth. You dwell among us, above us, and within us. Make us expectant of angels tarrying to do your work. Form us into eager messengers, ready to speak peace in broken communities. Amen.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you (pause) wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness (pause) protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing (pause) at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing (pause) once again into our doors.


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