LIFTING UP OUR HEARTS –TUESDAY
Rev. Marie’s thoughts are at the end
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving kindness to us and all who you have made. We bless you for your creation, preservation, and the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to who with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38-39
Creator of the universe, the light of our glory shines in the darkness of our lives. Make us attentive to your presence, prompt to serve you and ever eager to follow in the steps of the one who is our true light, Jesus Christ your son our Lord. Amen.
Rev. Marie’ Thoughts
I grew up in a non-liturgical church. I am so grateful for the teaching I had and for the insistence that we memorize and study the scriptures. I have rich treasures “hidden in my heart”. The Scripture today is one such treasure.
But I had little experience with “set” prayers and frankly I was uncomfortable praying words written by others. When I began to explore worshiping in an Anglican context, I struggled with this. The liturgy spoke to me in ways that were so unexpected. I wondered at that. I was surprised at how often the words of the prayers I was hearing echoed the verses I had memorized as a child.
It was a time in my life when I was wounded and deeply angry with some individuals. Had I been able to admit it to myself, I would have had to confess I was pretty angry with God too. Each week as the Lord’s Prayer was repeated, I found myself with my teeth clenched and my lips sealed shut. I could not, would not, pray “forgive them that trespass against us”. Still, I could not hide from the reality of my own stubbornness. That prayer reminded me over and over of my need to forgive.
I came back again and again to the words of that prayer, the words of the Eucharistic prayer, and the beauty of the service. The depth of the liturgy drew me into a place my soul had been longing to live. Finally I confessed my confusion to my priest. He wisely advised me to take “one of those little burgundy books home” and explore the prayers. Way at the back, on page 722, I discovered the marvelous service of Compline. I began to pray it each night.
Each time I prayed the service, I found myself lingering on the words – centuries old – of this prayer:
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Slowly, my heart began to heal as the words worked their way into my soul. I think the writer may well have had St. Paul’s words echoing in his heart as he penned the words of this prayer. Changes and chances happen to us all. Life can feel unfair and uncertain. We can feel the ground shifting under our feet. Yet in the midst of that, NOTHING can separate from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This week, as uncertainty changed the shape of my own world for a few days, these verses were so very precious and this prayer spoke to me again. And I thanked God for the words written and prayed. I thanked God for the tradition in which I now worship. I thanked God for the prayer that reminded me once again, that my hope and security lie in God’s “eternal changelessness” Thanks be to God. Amen
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise, give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16
Christ Jesus, by nature divine, did not grasp for himself a rank as equal with God. He chose to empty himself becoming a humble slave, and living the life of a man. And human in every way, He abased himself still more, obedient to death on a cross. So God has exalted him on high and given to him the name the greatest of all the names; So that at Jesus’ name every knee should bend low in Heaven, on earth, in the depths. And every tongue proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. Amen.