Sunday, December 17, 2017

Third Sunday Meditation: Joy Comes In The Morning





"The Lord is my Strength, my personal bravery, and
my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet
and will make me walk, not to stand still in terror, but
to walk and make spiritual progress upon my high
places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility."
Habakkuk 3:19






PSALM 30

A Song of Dedication of the Temple
A Psalm of David


I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to You and You healed me.
O Lord, You have brought my life up from Sheol,
the place of the dead; 
You have kept me alive, that I should not
go down to the pit, the grave.
Sing to the Lord, O you saints of His, and give
thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor
is for a lifetime or in His favor is life.
Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.
As for me, in my prosperity I said,
I shall never be moved.
By Your favor, O Lord, You have established me
as a strong mountain; You hid Your face
and I was troubled. I cried to You, O Lord,
and to the Lord I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I
go down to the pit, the grave?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth and faithfulness to men?
Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything
glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.





Deliverance From Depression
 A Teaching By Derek Prince




"For our light, momentary afflictions, this slight
distress of the passing hour, is ever more and more abundantly
preparing and producing and achieving for us an
everlasting weight of glory, beyond all measure,
excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations,
a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness!"
11 Corinthians 4:17





Friday, December 15, 2017

Winter Wonderland Friday








Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland.



Christmas Cardinals
Maureen McCarthy



In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say are you married?
We'll say, No man,
But you can do the job 
When you're in town.

Later on, we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we've made
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with Mister Snowman
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain't it thrilling
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way
Walking in a winter wonderland.



Christmas Heralds
Tasha Tudor






"Winter Wonderland"
Words by Richard B. Smith
Music by Felix Bernard
(1934)




Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Waving Girl Of Savannah



Under the light of the silver moon
We two sat, when our hearts were young;
The night was warm with the breath of June,
And loud from the meadow the cricket sung,
And darker and deeper, oh, love, than the sea,
Were your dear eyes, as they beamed to me...



Florence Margaret Martus,
(1868-1943)
  is better remembered as the city of
Savannah, Georgia's legendary "Waving Girl"  for her
 steadfast devotion in waving daily to ships coming in
and out of port on the Savannah River for over 40 years.





The Waving Girl Statue
Savannah, Georgia



Common folklore surrounding Florence's daily ritual suggests that
she waved to the passing ships while awaiting the return of a long-lost love
from an overseas war, but, Florence herself claimed her aim was
much more simple.  Often lonely growing up on Elba Island, a tiny
piece of land in the Savannah River near the Atlantic Ocean,
and the busy port of Savannah, with only her brother,
 a lighthouse keeper, for company, Florence took to waving
 to the ships as they passed by the island and was delighted
 when many of the crew members would return her daily greetings.

Nevertheless, the story of the "Waving Girl" of Savannah
became an oft-repeated tale in  sea ports around the world. 
 Florence is often called,
 "the sweetheart of seafaring men of the world" 
representing the prayers and hopes, the longing and desire,
 of countless wives and sweethearts, whom over the years
have awaited the safe return of their menfolk from the sea.




My heart, like a river, was mad and wild-
And a river is not deep, like the sea:
But I said your love was the love of a child,
Compared with the love that was felt by me;
A river leaps noisily, kissing the land,
But the sea is fathomless, deep and grand.

I vowed to love you, forever and ever!
I called you cold, on that night in June,
But my fierce love, like a reckless river,
Dashed on, and away, and was spent too soon;
While yours-ah, yours was deep like the sea,
I cheated you, love, but you died for me!




"River and Sea"
A poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox





Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hanukkah Blessings & Peace

 





"Light arises in the darkness for the upright,
gracious, compassionate, and just,
who are in right standing with God."
Psalm 112:4




An illustration by Mary Englebreit





Hanukkah Prayer


With grateful hearts we remember Your protection,
when tyrants sought to destroy Your people
and to uproot the religion of Israel.
We take pride in the valor of the Maccabees,
their faith in You, and their devotion to Your Law
that inspired them to deeds of heroism.

We commemorate the rededication of Your sanctuary,
the consecration of its altar to Your worship, and
we celebrate the rekindling of the eternal light whose
rays shone forth out of the encircling darkness as
a symbol of Your presence and the beacon of light
of Your truth for all the world.

Be with us now, with us and our children.
Make us strong to do Your will.
Help us to understand and proclaim the truth:
that not by might and not by power but by
Your spirit alone can we prevail.

Grant to each person and every nation the
blessings of liberty, justice, and peace.
Let injustice and oppression cease,
and hatred, cruelty, and wrong 
pass away so that all human beings
may unite to worship You in
love and devotion.

Bless, O Lord, the Hanukkah lights,
that they may shed their radiance into
our homes and our lives.
May they kindle within us the flame
of faith and zeal,
that like the Maccabees of old,
we may battle bravely for Your cause.
Then shall we be worthy of Your love
and Your blessing, O Lord,
our Shield and Protector.

Amen.

Chag Urim Sameakh




Antique Brass Menorah 
(c.1920)





"Hanukkah Prayer"
New Union Prayer Book

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Blasts Of Chill December



The blasts of chill December sound
The farewell of the year,
And night's swift shadow gathering round
O'ercloud the soul with fear;

But rest you well, good Christian men,
Nor be of heart forlorn;
December's darkness brings again
The Light of Christmas morn.


The Magpie
  Claude Monet
(1868-1869)


The welcome snow at Christmastide
Falls shining from the skies:
On village paths and uplands wide
All holy-white it lies;

It crowns with pearls the oaks and pines,
And glitters on the thorn;
But purer is the Light that shines
On gladsome Christmas morn.

At Christmastide the gracious moon
Keeps vigil while we sleep,
And sheds abroad her light's sweet boon,
On vale and mountain-steep;

O'er all the slumbering land descends
Her radiancy unshorn;
But brighter is the light, good friends,
That shines on Christmas morn.

'Twas when the world was waxing old,
And night on Bethlehem lay,
The shepherds saw the heavens unfold
A light beyond the day


The Angel Appearing To The Shepherds
 Thomas Cole
(1833-1834)


Such glory ne'er had visited
A world with sin outworn;
But yet more glorious Light is shed
On happy Christmas morn

Those shepherds poor; how blest were they
The angels' song to hear!
In manger cradle as He lay,
To greet their Lord so dear!

The Lord of Heaven's eternal height
For us a Child was born;
And He, the very Light of light,
Shone forth that Christmas morn!

Before His infant smile afar,
Were driven the hosts of hell;
And still in souls that childlike are
His guardian love shall dwell:

O then rejoice, good Christian men,
Nor be of heart forlorn;
December's darkness brings again
The light of Christmas morn.



Adoration Of The Child
 Gerard van Honthorst
(1620)




"The Blasts Of Chill December"
Words by Norval Clyne
(1868)

























Love Came Down At Christmas




Mary and Baby Jesus
Cicely Mary Barker
(1895-1973)




Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours, and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.




The Bread of Life
Cicely Mary Barker





"Love Came Down At Christmas"
Christina Rossetti
(1885)










Second Sunday Meditation: Praising His Absolute Truth And Justice




"You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."
Matthew 22:37







PSALM  ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN


Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!
I will praise and give thanks to the Lord
with my whole heart in the council of the upright
and in the congregation.

The works of the Lord are great, sought out
by all those who have delight in them.

His work in honorable and glorious, and His
righteousness endures forever.


He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious, merciful, and full of loving compassion.




He has given food and provisions to those who reverently and
worshipfully fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever
and imprint it on His mind.

He has declared and shown to His people the power
of His works in giving them the heritage of the
nations of Canaan.


The Walls of Jericho Fall Down
Gustave Dore
(1832-1883)



The works of His hands are absolute truth and justice,
faithful and right; and all His decrees and precepts are sure,
fixed, established, and trustworthy.

They stand fast and are established forever and ever
and are done in absolute truth and uprightness.

He has sent redemption to His people; He has
commanded His covenant to be forever; holy is His name,
inspiring awe, reverence, and godly fear.




The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the
beginning of Wisdom and skill, the preceding and the
first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet;
a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all
those who do the will of the Lord.
 Their praise of Him endures forever.


Jesus Preaching On The Mount
Gustave Dore
(1865)






Lord, with glowing heart I'd praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it throws.

Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;

Praise, with love's devoutest feeling,
Him Who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Savior God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live.

Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease;
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom's ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low below Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant's prayer to bless.

Let Thy grace, my soul's chief treasure,
Love's pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.






Lord, With Glowing Heart I'd Praise Thee
(1819)
Words by Francis Scott Key
(1779-1843)