"Just to live is a blessing Just to live is holy" Rabbi Abraham Heschel People of goodness do not need to bestow blessings; instead, they become a blessing. Their presence is goodness and they engender new life, strength, healing, courage and new vitality by their presence. That was exactly how Jesus blessed the people around him. The words above taken from a spiritual daybook "Gardening the Soul" really struck home with me as I thought about all the goodness that emanates from our parish family and enriches my life and the lives of so many others within our Goffstown community and beyond. Today, and each day, be aware of the "blessings" you meet and the blessing YOU are to them. Barbara Carbonneau Outreach, Pastoral Care, Music Ministries
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"Though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him." - C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity
I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother's womb you have been my strength; my praise shall be always of you. Psalm 71:6 When I was pregnant I spend a lot of time praying for my children. I prayed that they would be healthy. I prayed that they would be happy. I prayed that my husband and I would be wise parents. I prayed that they would know the love of God in Christ. I prayed through the morning sickness, and the uncomfortable nights. I prayed for them as they kicked and turned and made their presence felt. I prayed through labor and as I saw them for the first time. And I have prayed for them every day as we have negotiated middle of the night feedings, and toddler bumps, wooden trains and Legos, math tests, midterms and college applications. May God go with your children and mine - and with you who were once a child as well. Pray for a child in your life.
For you are my hope, O Lord GOD, my confidence since I was young. Psalm 71:5 Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. Martin Luther Hope sustains us. Even in the darkest times it is hope that we cling to in order to keep going. We get up in the morning hoping for a good day. We go to bed at night looking for the dawn. We end the week hoping for a good week ahead. We end the year looking forward to a better one to come. Hope is what drives us forward. Although we may not be aware of it, it is our hope in God that keeps us going. It is our confidence that God loves us, that God is for us, that allows us to keep going, to keep hoping and moving forward. Don't give up hope, no matter how bleak things seem. God is on your side. God's love for you is constant. There is nothing you can do or not do that will take you out of the circle of God's love for you. Let your confidence in God's love be the ground of your hope for today.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor. Psalm 71:4 This kind of language sometimes seems archaic and out of touch with my world, until . . . until I widen my circle, until I look beyond my immediate world. My college friend Dave Batstone has become one of the leading crusaders against the worldwide scourge of slavery. Through him I've come to know about the poor families who send their children to a "better" life in the cities, only to have them used as sex slaves or set to working 12 hours a day in a garment factory, with little food and no hope of release. As Dave would say: "Infuriating!!" So now I look closely at what I buy. I do what I can to support those who are trying to end this oppression. At the very least I need to be aware of its existence and add my prayers for their deliverance "from the hand of the wicked, from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor." Learn more about modern slavery at www.notforsalecampaign.org or thesoldproject.com. -Linnae Peterson, M. Div.
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; you are my crag and my stronghold. Psalm 71:3 I've seen a lot of castles this summer, especially in England. It's interesting that all of these castles were perched on the top of a hill. In addition, each of them has at least one tower perched on top. The stairs to the top of these towers are daunting, more like stone ladders than anything else, but from the top of these towers you get a new perspective. You can often see for miles, into the next town or out onto seas or valleys beyond. At the top of the tower you can see what lies around you; You can adjust your plans and expectations. So too being in the presence of God can help us to have a new perspective on things, to adjust our expectations, to have a better sense of what it is important, and what is not. Our view is not obstructed by the underbrush of everyday expectations. Up there in the tower, we can see the lay of the land, and also know that we are safe, protected from whatever might come our way. What is the view of your life like from the top of God's tower? -Linnae Peterson, M. Div.
In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be ashamed. In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; incline your ear to me and save me. Psalm 71:1-2 I've very good and sticking my foot in my mouth. In fact the more important the occasion, the more likely I am to do it. Every time I say something foolish I instantly regret it. I long for a delete key on my mouth, so that I can undo whatever it is I have just done. As a result, I can certainly pray this psalm with all my heart, "O Lord, let me never be ashamed! Deliver me! Save me!" There is a bit that I tend to skip over: "In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge." As much as I long for God to rescue me, often from myself, part of me wants to be independent. I want God to rescue me in my own way, in my own time, in the way I want to be rescued. I don't really want to take refuge in God, to be at the mercy of God's timing and decisions. In taking refuge I am surrendering myself to God's actions. Perhaps surrender is the only way for God to set me free. How do you need to be set free? How do you need to surrender yourself to God's actions? -Linnae Peterson, M. Div.
"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking." - George MacDonald
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved. Ps 80:18 I love old stuff. Old furniture, old tools, old textiles, old books and even old advertisements- I love it all. I long to make them useful again, to restore them to a useful life. Now it may not be the same use that they were intended for, but it is fun to find a way to incorporate them into the lives we live today: an old bed is remade into a bench, old wooden crates become a nightstand, pages from an old hymnal become Christmas ornaments. Everything has a use, nothing is wasted. So too in my own life, I trust God that nothing is wasted. I trust that even the skills and experiences that seem to have been tossed in the corner with the dust bunnies, will someday be dusted off and repurposed. I trust that in God's economy nothing goes to waste. What talents or experiences in your life are not being used? Lift them to God and be open to how God may be restoring or repurposing them. -Linnae Peterson, M. Div.
And so will we never turn away from you; give us life, that we may call upon your Name. Psalm 80:17 What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. from the Westminster Catechism dated 1648 Despite the archaic language there is something that rings true about this quote from the Westminster Catechism from the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland. The psalmist comes about it in a slightly different ways. Both point to the fact that our very lives are grounded in our relationship with God. Twist and turn as we may, ignore God or shout at God, or just engage God in debate, whatever we do or do not do we live in relationship to God. God gives us life, and delights in us and in our relationship. We live and have the opportunity to delight in our relationship with God. How do you delight in God today? -Linnae Peterson, M. Div.