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Archive for November, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Collect

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

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Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving. Well, it’s 10:15 on Thanksgiving night. We spent the day with my mom and step dad at their house. It was a good day. Everyone enjoyed one another – the conversation, the laughter, the play. It was a good day with people I have known for a very long time. The thing about lengthy relationships is that familiarity breeds contempt. The more and the longer you know someone the more you are aware of their faults, foibles, and shortcomings. So it was indeed a blessing to have such a good day.

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Sunday Mornings

Sundays are strange days. I both look forward to them and dread them at the same time. It’s wonderful to work in a church and prepare to lead the people of God in worship and sacrament. But working in a church that’s a church plant can be very challenging because there is so much that goes into setting up for Sunday morning. We meet in an elementary school. Our worship space is a cafeteria. It requires a set up team to arrive at 8 AM to set up things – from the sanctuary to the hall with tables for coffee, bulletins, visitors, and special events. Then there are the children’s classrooms. It makes for a busy morning with a lot of work. There have been relationships forged and established through this process. But it’s also challenging as a pastor because you want to preserve the flock…not overwork them.

Lord, thank you for the place you’ve provided for us. Help us use it well to your glory until you open a door for us elsewhere. Amen.

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Silence and Solitude

silenceHenri Nouwen said that “solitude is the furnace in which transformation takes place.” I think he was right. I find that when I practice silence and solitude, I am able to form thought, soliloquy, and prayer together into a profound experience of God, his Creation, and my place in his will. In the quiet God allows me to connect in an undeniable way with what is happening to me – my struggles and pain as well as my joy and the blessings I have received. At some deep level, being silent and removed from routines, distractions, and responsibilities allows me to square things away so that I am not so preoccupied with my self. Through the process of time spent quiet and alone, God frees me to be more available to others.

I was able to practice a 24 hour period of silence and solitude this past weekend. It was a sweet time of slowing down, savoring the beauty of a cold morning sunrise, deer, the warmth of the sun, grass, good food eaten with good brothers.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I listened. I watched. It was a great time. I need to practice this discipline more regularly.

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