"'My soul pants, yea, thirsts after the living God.' Not after Creed regarding God, not after an idea of God, not after a remembrance of God, not after a Divine Majesty, that, far removed from the soul, stands over against it as a God in words or in phrases, but after God Himself, after God in His holy outpouring of strength and grace, after God Who is alive, Who . . . in holy exhibition of love reveals Himself to you and in you as the living God. You feel that all learning falls away, all dogma, all formulas, everything that is external and abstract, everything that exhausts itself in words. . . . It is not your idea, not your understanding, not your thinking, not your reasoning, not even your profession of faith, that here can quench the thirst. The home-sickness goes out after God Himself. . . . It is not the name of God but God Himself whom your soul desires and cannot do without." Abraham Kuyper
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Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? and why are you so disquieted within me? Put your trust in God; for I will yet give thanks to him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:14, 15 You made it. It's Friday. Whatever your week has been like-good or bad, or just a time to do the next thing on the list-it's almost finished. (Of course the weekend has its own list!) Sometimes the best we can do is just get through it, just find a way to get through it. My husband calls that the basic ambulatory goal of life: just keep walking. In those times, the psalmist tells us to give thanks to God. Paul also calls on us to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:18 NIV). When it is hardest to be thankful, when we are stuck in the mud of everydayness or the quicksand of pain or sadness, giving thanks becomes a command. Giving thanks to God in the middle of it all can become the rope that we can hold onto to help us get out of the mud, or just to help us to the next step. Whatever your circumstances, look up, look around, and thank God. If it helps, make a list. Just to get your started: 1) You are breathing. 2) The sun came up today. 3) You are loved by the infinite creator of all things. Your turn: 4) . . . 5) . . . 6) . . . 7) . . . -Linnae Peterson
The LORD grants his loving-kindness in the daytime; in the night season his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:10 Some people are larks, some are owls, and some of us are insomniacs. It's hard to deal with, when I waken out of a sound sleep at2AM. I'm wide awake and no stern instructions to myself will allow me to go back to sleep. So up I get. In the past I would occupy my mind with some old movie and my hands with knitting until I could (hopefully) crawl back in bed, tired and ready for sleep. Lately I've tried something else. The house is quiet and dark. I sit in my favorite chair and pray. There is no one and nothing that will interrupt me. I can listen to evening prayer, I can let my mind wander and pray my way around the globe, praying for whatever comes to my attention. And I can pray for those who are connected to me: friends, people I work with, churches I know or know of. I have found, despite the lack of sleep, the mornings are much easier. Take a quiet moment and say a prayer for anyone or anything that God brings to mind. -Linnae Peterson
One deep calls to another in the noise of your cataracts; all your rapids and floods have gone over me. Psalm 42:9 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:7 I often live life on the edge of over-commitment. Try as I might, there are always things I want to do, projects I want to complete. Most of them bring me great joy. I love my work, and usually the days sail by, until. . . . Until that one last thing tips me over the edge. The car breaks down, someone gets sick, the project hits a snag. That is when this carefully balanced boat begins to sink. The waters pour in and I'm flooded, again. Yet, if I stop bailing for a moment, stop and listen, I can hear the voice of my Creator in the raging waters, I can breathe deep and know that I can float, that I can be upheld by the waters themselves. Many waters cannot quench the love of the Creator of the Universe for the creation, and for me, in my floundering rowboat. How is your Creator sustaining you? -Linnae Peterson
My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long they say to me, "Where now is your God?" Psalm 42:3 The writers of the psalms echo the gamut of emotions that we experience; delight and devastation, confusion and joy are reflected in their writing. There are times when all we can do is cry. Try as we might to go about our daily tasks, to do what needs to be done, the tears rain down, in our hearts if not in our eyes. At times like that the doubting voice within us taunts us, "Where now is your God?" Where is God in the midst of sorrow and pain and death? Where is God in the middle of betrayal and abandonment? We want thunder and lightening and miracles. We want the power of God to overturn everything, to take the world by the throat and take away all that is evil and wrong. Yet what we are given is a nail-scarred hand to hold throughout the long days and nights. How has God been with you in those times of pain and devastation? -Linnae Peterson
As the deer longs for the water-brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God. My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; * when shall I come to appear before the presence of God? Psalm 42:1, 2 I've lived many places in my life, California, Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Oregon, and Delaware. One of the questions I dreaded for years was "Where are you from?" Where am I from? Where is home? Home is where your heart dwells, it is the place that nurtures you and challenges you, the place that you always leave from and return to. We are all a bit homeless, no matter how rooted we are in our community, in our families, because our heart's true home is in God. It is only in God that we can be completely content, most wholly ourselves. We long for our home in God, for that place of ultimate welcome. May you experience the welcoming of God's generous heart. -Linnae Peterson
"That is what worship is all about. It is the glad shout of praise that arises to God the creator and God the rescuer from the creation that recognizes its maker, the creation that acknowledges the triumph of Jesus the Lamb. That is the worship that is going on in heaven, in God's dimension, all the time. The question we ought to be asking is how best we might join in." N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
Today and each Saturday you are invited to join with the faithful people around te world by saying Morning or Evening prayer at http://thetrinitymission.org orhttp://dailyoffice.org. You can find these daily prayers in the Book of Common Prayer as well. Morning Prayer begins on page 75 and Evening prayer on page 115. If you have specific prayer requests, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and the prayer team will include them in their prayers on Sunday morning before worship.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness, because of those who lie in wait for me; make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:8 Lead me, O Lord! There are so many times when we just want to grab onto God and demand the answer. Just lead me! Tell me what to do!! Sometimes a way opens up, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the answer is what we want to hear, and sometimes what we dread. The best news in it all is that Christ is present, that God's Holy Spirit will never abandon us, that in the end, and at our end, God has led us, because we travel and arrive in Christ's loving presence. May you know Christ's love and presence in all you do this day. The Psalms Every Sunday one of the readings is from the Psalms. Sometimes it is said in unison, sometimes as a call and response, sometimes it is chanted, sometimes sung, yet the words of Israel's song book are there. The reciting of the Psalms has been for centuries a central aspect Christian's daily connection with God. Like the rest of the Bible, these poems contain the whole of human life, the light and the dark. This week's meditations are on the psalm that we will hear this upcoming Sunday. I pray that they may water your soul, and help you enter more deeply into your life in Christ. -Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
"But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will go into your house; I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you." Psalm 5:7 "Praying for mercy doesn't just mean 'I've done something wrong, so please forgive me.' It's a much wider petition, asking that God send his merciful presence and help in a thousand and one situations, despite the fact that we don't deserve such aid and never could." N. T. Wright, Simply Christian I came across this quote recently. (I commend the whole book to you, it's wonderful.) It opens up to me a whole new way of both thinking about and praying for mercy. One of the oldest prayers we use on Sunday's are the phrases Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. In them we pray beyond ourselves, we pray God's mercy on the whole world in those thousand and one situations, some of which we know and some of which we do not. Lord have mercy. Join us in praying that God have mercy on our world. The Psalms Every Sunday one of the readings is from the Psalms. Sometimes it is said in unison, sometimes as a call and response, sometimes it is chanted, sometimes sung, yet the words of Israel's song book are there. The reciting of the Psalms has been for centuries a central aspect Christian's daily connection with God. Like the rest of the Bible, these poems contain the whole of human life, the light and the dark. This week's meditations are on the psalm that we will hear this upcoming Sunday. I pray that they may water your soul, and help you enter more deeply into your life in Christ. -Linnae Peterson, M.Div.