Prayerful Tuesday – “I the God of Israel will not forsake them”

 

God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; by Wm Cowper Picture by NASA
God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform        words by Wm Cowper
Picture by NASA

Isaiah 41:17-20
17
When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

18I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.

19I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,

20so that all may see and know,
all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it. 

Advent, a time of waiting, a gestation time of new beginnings, I have heard those words many times over many Advents.  And, while all this waiting is important I have a confession to make, I hate waiting!  Yes, my impatience frequently gets me into trouble, with G-d and with those around me.  I begin before the preparation has been completed and my task, while not a total failure, does not live up to its potential.  Patience is not one of the gifts G-d has seen fit to give me. It is something I have been trying to learn for 66 years and I am still not very good at it.

I admit to being one of those thirsty people in the desert who wants to have water and I want now!  If I had been with the Israelites in the Sinai I would have marched right up to Moses and said “I’m thirsty, I need water and I need it now!”  And I am sure Moses would have looked at me with a jaundiced eye and said “get a grip; learn some patience for crying out loud.  You are out of Egypt so be grateful for what you have and quite complaining!”  Yep that would have been me hearing those words.   Yet in Isaiah we hear that G-d will provide water and more to those who are poor and in need and it is not lost on me that G-d came through with food and water during the Exodus.  So yes I do believe G-d, in Her own good Time and Way, will provide.

The key to this waiting is “in Her own good Time and Way” G-d will offer the drink and food we need and it’s always in that perfect moment.  The moment when we not only need it the most but the moment when we are open the widest for hearing G-d’s voice speak the Word we so desperately thirst and hunger for.

For the last two and half years I have been in my own time of Advent, walking in a wilderness of my own making as I waited for G-d to give me a Word I could respond to about where my ministry would take me.  And in that time there have been many impatient moments.  Many times I have tried to hurry G‑d.  I have tried to guess what She will speak and tried starting a task with no direction from Her.  It rarely works out because you cannot hurry G-d.  G-d will speak when the time is right, when my heart is open the widest to hear G-d speak and not before.

Through out this time G-d has been allowing a ministry to begin gestating within me.  To grow in concept piece by piece, step by step while at the same time letting G-d open me up to whom I am and who She is. I am learning that G‑d is my greatest counselor, friend, lover, supporter, confidant, comforter, and confessor.  All I have to do is live a life that puts G-d first, keep our relationship strong and allowing the counselor, friend, lover, supporter, confidant, comforter, and confessor work through me in a working partnership with Her.

It seems as if it would be easy to do what G-d asks of us doesn’t it?  But it is not.  Ask the Israelites how hard it was to follow the path G-d laid before them.  Ask the disciples how hard it was to walk the path Jesus laid before them.  Each one will tell you it is not easy.  Yes G-d will provide for the poor and needy but verse 41:20 of Isaiah says it best.  We are to “… see and know … consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” We fail hopelessly in that understanding.  All too often we take G-d’s handiwork for granted and do not see what the Lord does for us.  I, just like the rest of the human race, all too often think we are entitled to the abundance we see around us.  We forget just where and who it comes from, where and from whom we come from.  It has taken me a life time to understand in a small way the meaning of verse 20.  And, it has only been in the last year and half that I have worked hardest to be patient and to let G-d speak when She is ready and not me.

And now G-d is bringing me closer to an understanding of what my role as Her partner will be.  And, somehow I feel it is appropriate that G-d picked Advent for this to happen, the time for me to begin to feel the movement of a baby ministry within me.  I am excited and scared about bringing into reality this ministry of my very own.  It takes courage for me to step out and claim my role as G-d partner a courage I do not always have.  I have many fears; will I be worthy of G-ds trust, will I hurry this up and as a result rush to completion what needed time to grow, will I give up saying “sorry G-d this to hard for me,” will I simply not be enough for the task.  There are so many fears, so much excitement, and so many hopes.  The future I do not know, only G-d does, so I will keep waiting, and listening, and moving with G-d’s time and moments.  Patience is really hard but I continue to learn to lean into the open arms and let G-d teach me.

This Week’s Spiritual Practice

Do you have something waiting to emerge from you?  Waiting is hard (just ask any 4 year old) but it can be done. So this week I simply ask that each day you find yourself a quiet place and sit in silence for 5 to 20 minutes.  Listen for a Word from G-d.  It might be a Word about doing something, or it might be G-d whispering “I love you.”  Just remember whatever happens let it happen in G-d’s time not yours and be grateful for the time spent with G-d.

Ruth Jewell, ©December 10, 2013

PRAYERFUL TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2013

A PRAYER FOR PEACE

Genesis 9:13
Genesis 9:13

I have set my bow in the clouds and it will serve as a sign
of the covenant between Me and the Earth Genesis 9:13 (Torah)

This last past week has been especially disturbing with gun violence in so many places that I have lost track of where they all are.   I can’t even be sure that all have been reported by the ever present Sad News Division of our national media.  There have been simply too many acts of violence to report.

All I can do is offer prayers of comfort and safety for every person on the planet because I can’t name all the communities, families and individuals affected by gun violence this week.   I don’t think that has ever happened before.  One of my greatest fears is that massive gun violence, or violence in any form will become the “new normal” for our lives and we will begin to ignore these incidents because they become common.

Every day I pray to the Divine Spirit of us all that we will stop killing each other long enough to recognize we are brothers and sisters.  I pray that, knowing that while my prayers may be heard by the Spirit there is little hope of them being answered unless we all of us, hear that prayer and yell “ENOUGH!”   The killing will not stop until we, the people, say we have had our fill of guns in the hands of the mentally ill, of the glorifying war and banditry to entice our children into these acts as play, and of having our children shot, bombed, starved, and abused all for the glory of some pathetic so called religious or political despot.   So today on this our Prayerful Tuesday I would like to offer the following prayer of peace, petition and intercession. It is called the Caim, the encircling prayer, a form of prayer used by early Celtic Christians.

Circle Prayer of Peace, Petition and Intercession

Putting Ourselves in the Holy Spirit’s presence

Circle me, O Holy Spirit;
encircle me with your presence.
Keep joy within, keep bitterness out;
Keep generosity within, keep greed out;
Keep wholeness within, keep sickness out;
Keep wisdom within, keep folly out;
Keep strength within, keep weariness out;
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep hope within, keep despair out;
Keep peace within, keep turmoil out;
Keep love within, keep self-seeking out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.

In the name of the Sacred Three, the Parent, Child and Holy Spirit, Amen

Prayer for those in my heart

Circle, O Holy Spirit, (name[s]),
encircle them with your presence.
Keep joy within, keep bitterness out;
Keep generosity within, keep greed out;
Keep wholeness within, keep sickness out;
Keep wisdom within, keep folly out;
Keep strength within, keep weariness out;
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep hope within, keep despair out;
Keep peace within, keep turmoil out;
Keep love within, keep self-seeking out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.

In the name of the Sacred Three, the Parent, Child and Holy Spirit, Amen

Prayer for Peacemakers

Circle, O Holy Spirit, those who work for peace,
encircle them with your presence.
Keep wisdom within, keep folly out;
Keep strength within, keep weariness out;
Keep generosity within, keep greed out;
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep hope within, keep despair out;
Keep love within, keep self-seeking out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.

In the name of the Sacred Three, the Parent, Child and Holy Spirit, Amen

Circle those who are victims of violence and injustice

Circle, O Holy Spirit, (name people and places),
encircle them with your presence.
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep strength within, keep weariness out;
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep courage within, keep fear out;
Keep peace within, keep turmoil out;
Keep love within, keep hatred out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.

In the name of the Sacred Three, the Parent, Child and Holy Spirit, Amen

Circle those who commit acts of violence and injustice

Circle, O Holy Spirit, (offer name[s]),
encircle them with your presence.
Help them to see the truth and to turn away from falsehood;
Help them to learn compassion and leave hard-heartedness behind;
Help them find the courage to turn away from evil;
May they feel your love in a world filled with hate;
Help them to see your light in the darkness.
In the name of the Sacred Three, the Parent, Child, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Prayer of Blessing
The peace of the earth be upon you
The peace of the sky be upon you
The peace of the sea be upon you
The peace of the holy Spirit be upon you
upon you and all of G-ds creation

The love of the earth be yours
The love of the sky be yours
The love of the sea be yours
The love of G-d, Christ, and Holy Spirit be yours
and all of children of the Holy One.

AMEN

Ruth Jewell, ©September 24, 2013