Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/27/08


Love bade me welcome

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.

-- George Herbert


Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our God and King, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 119:97-120; PM Psalm 81, 82
Gen. 45:16-28; 1 Cor. 8:1-13; Mark 6:13-29

From Forward Day by Day:

Mark 6:13-29. Herod said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."

Mark's gospel began with the story of John the baptizer. Now John appears again, though off-stage, in a rear-view mirror: Herod has heard about Jesus' teaching, healing, casting out demons--and he fears that John, whom he beheaded at the whim of a dancing girl, has come back to haunt him.

He doubts his own power to silence inconvenient truth. As well he should.

In the infancy narratives of Luke's gospel, we learned of an earlier Herod (the father of the one who ordered John killed) who also tried to eliminate a
political threat through murder. He failed to kill the newborn Jesus, though he slaughtered many innocent children in the brutal attempt to secure his power.

Soon, in the gospel story, Jesus himself will be put to death. But (as my little daughter explained to me when she first heard the story of Aslan, the great Lion King of Narnia, who is killed in another's place), "The bad people can't make him stay dead."

In the mystery of grace, the powerful rulers of this world may seek to silence goodness, to extinguish light, but the light still shines.

Thanks be to God.

Today we remember:

George Herbert
Psalm 23 or 1
1 Peter 5:1-4; Matthew 5:1-10

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Benin (Bendel, Nigeria)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Read the day's news from a different angle (i.e. from an oversees source) to try to see how other people perceive events. Choose one of the following from a country different to yours – all these sites are in English...

> Al Jazeera (Qatar)
> China Daily (China)
> The Statesman (India)
> Daily Independent (Nigeria)
> AFP (France)
> Spiegel (Germany)
> Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
> Los Angeles Times (USA)
> The Guardian (UK)

And a lot more...

Idea by: Hazey*Jane

"Be good, keep your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." – Thomas Merton

Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan
Read Excerpts from the Church Fathers during Lent

St. Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church (Treatise I): Secs. 10-18

Speaking to the Soul:

Daily Reading for February 27 • George Herbert, Priest, 1633

Herbert had a particular fondness for the imagery of bees and herbs. Bees represent productive lives not least when Herbert expresses his deep desire to serve God usefully (‘Employment I’) or when he laments his spiritual weakness (‘Praise I’). Bees also become an image of the natural wisdom that all creatures have that enables God’s providence to express itself effectively in the world’s workings.

Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise
Their master’s flower, but leave it, having done,
As fair as ever, and as fit to use;
So both the flower doth stay, and honey run.

Heaven may be compared to a hive to which our lives are drawn like laden bees.

Surely thou wilt joy, by gaining me
To fly home like a laden bee
Unto that hive of beams
And garland-streams.
(‘The Star’)

For all that Herbert relishes natural imagery and offers a positive view of the created order, his vision is not merely romantic or a form of nature mysticism. Creation is the second book of revelation precisely because it draws us to the deeper truth of God’s reality, loving presence and powerful action.

From Love Took My Hand: The Spirituality of George Herbert by Philip Sheldrake (Cowley Publications, 2000).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

In trying to control everything, we make our world smaller. Instead, we can open into a larger world where we are not in charge, but are a part of something much larger — something deeply wondrous.
— Philip Martin in The Zen Path through Depression

To Practice This Thought: Give up trying to control things — be a conduit instead.
++++++++++ Reflections

He is within me at each moment; He is guiding and inspiring me with what I must say and do.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking
yourself inferior to all creatures.

Abba Tithoes

Daily Meditation from

Readings for Day 27

February 27

Psalm 84:10; 85:8 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 85:8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints-- but let them not return to folly.

Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

John 21:2–5 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Creating Space for God

Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.

Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God's gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Twenty Seven - The Second Note, cont'd

The Third Order is Christian community whose members, although varied in race, education, and character, are bound into a living whole through the love we share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will become, as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. In our relationship with those outside the Order, we show the same Christ-like love, and gladly give of ouselves, remembering that love is measured by sacrifice.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Make Me Merciful
February 27th, 2008
Wednesday’s Reflection

HOLY JESUS, your forgiving love saves and disturbs me.
Without it, I am lost,
Yet, if I receive it, I must practice it.
By your mercy, make me merciful;
By your forgiveness, help me to forgive as I have been forgiven.

- Peter Storey
Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross

From p. 24 of Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey. Copyright © 2004 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Make Me Merciful
February 27th, 2008
Wednesday’s Reflection

HOLY JESUS, your forgiving love saves and disturbs me.
Without it, I am lost,
Yet, if I receive it, I must practice it.
By your mercy, make me merciful;
By your forgiveness, help me to forgive as I have been forgiven.

- Peter Storey
Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross

From p. 24 of Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey. Copyright © 2004 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

The wealth of Christ's love for us

If, having been made in the image of God, you wish to be like him, follow his example. Christians, whose very name is a profession of love for everyone, should imitate the love of Christ.

Consider and wonder at the wealth of Christ's love for us. When he was about to show himself to us in our own nature, he sent John the Baptist to preach repentance by word and example. Before John he sent all the prophets. They too were to teach people to amend their lives. Then he came himself and with his own voice cried out: Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. And how did he receive those who listened to his call and followed him? He readily forgave them their sins, instantly relieving them of all their cause for grief. The Word made them holy, the Spirit set his seal on them. Their old self was buried in the waters of baptism and a new self born; their youth was renewed by grace. And the result? Enemies of God became his friends, strangers to him became his children, idolaters became worshipers of the true God.

Asterius of Amasea

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"From whence then hast Thou that living water?" John 4:11

"The well is deep" - and a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! Think of the depths of human nature, of human life, think of the depths of the "wells" in you. Have you been impoverishing the ministry of Jesus so that He can not do anything? Suppose there is a well of fathomless trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says - "Let not your heart be troubled"; and you shrug your shoulders and say, "But, Lord, the well is deep; You cannot draw up quietness and comfort out of it." No, He will bring them down from above. Jesus does not bring anything up from the wells of human nature. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and by saying, "Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing." The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus as Comforter or as Sympathizer, but we will not come to Him as Almighty.

The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying - "Of course He cannot do any thing," and we struggle down to the deeps and try to get the water for ourselves. Beware of the satisfaction of sinking back and saying - "It can't be done"; you know it can be done if you look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness is deep, but make the effort and look away to Him.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 27, June 28, October 28
Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery

If the community is a large one,
let there be chosen out of it
brethren of good repute and holy life,
and let them be appointed deans.
These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
observing the commandments of God
and the instructions of their Abbot.

Let men of such character be chosen deans
that the Abbot may with confidence
share his burdens among them.
Let them be chosen not by rank
but according to their worthiness of life
and the wisdom of their doctrine.

If any of these deans should become inflated with pride
and found deserving of censure,
let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time.
If he will not amend,
then let him be deposed
and another be put in his place who is worthy of it.

And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.

Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

St. Mark 14:43-15:1 (2/27) Gospel for the
Wednesday of the Week of Meatfare

Responses to Christ's Passion III ~ I Denied Thee! St. Mark
14:43-15:1: Lord Jesus, I behold them, a great crowd coming with swords
and clubs. It's raw and brutal power, but I cannot move. I can only
watch. It is wrong and inverted. Why does Judas lead them to Thee?
How can he? This night is a bad dream; it is not real. Listen to him!
"Rabbi, Rabbi," and, besides, he even greets Thee with a kiss! O Lord,
God of our Fathers, save us!

Men put their impure hands on God's pure One. No! No! No! Let there be
no bloodshed. O, my brother, the Master does not want it so. Put back
thy sword. It is not His way. Please, Lord! Stop them! Why do they
come out at night as if Thou wast a robber? Why? Let them answer
Thee! Take away all these swords and clubs! Did these men not hear
Thee in the Temple? Do they not see the hand of our Almighty God upon
Thee? Why swords and clubs? Are they coming for every one of us? Lord
Jesus, save me!

Thou saidst that they would beat us also in their councils and the
synagogues. No! Let them not take me, too! They have taken Thee,
Master. Save me, O God by Thy Name. Where can I hide? I am utterly
naked. O God of my Master, let no harm come upon Him! Lord, forgive
me. I am a sinner. I am afraid. I have deserted Thee. Lord, have mercy!

See, they have taken Him to the high priest's residence. All of the
chief priests are inside with the elders and scribes also. What are
they going to do? And Peter has even gone into the courtyard. Maybe he
will find out what is happening! He had better be careful! They may
take him, too. What a terrible night! Who could believe this? You
warned us, Lord. O God, Who didst deliver our fathers at the Red Sea,
save and help us we humbly beseech Thee!

Look, Peter is talking to one of the servant girls. Why is he shaking
his head? She must suspect that he is one of us! May God Who watcheth
over all keep thee safe, Peter, my brother. What is that servant asking
thee now, Simon? He has upset thee. Peter is really angry. He is
coming out. He is weeping. What does he know?

Peter, my beloved brother. Our Master trusted thee above all the rest
of us. And, look, my brother, I too ran away. We all are seized with
the fear. Yes, I remember, Peter: thou didst say that thou wouldst die
with Him, but Simon, we all denied Him. Thy tears are mine. We all ran
like startled sheep! The Shepherd has been taken. They have stricken
Him. Do you hear? Dawn is coming. It is the rooster's crow. I love
thee, my brother. I weep with thee.

Now what word is there from the Council? What have they done? What are
they doing? Is He safe? No! No, say it is not true! They cannot be
trying Him! The witnesses lie! He never said He would destroy the
Temple, only that the Temple would be destroyed. They must not condemn
Him for that! Let them be truthful, and they will not condemn Him. Do
you hear that? Not even their paid witnesses agree! Did He actually
tell them openly that He is the Christ? They should have believed Him!
They think He has blasphemed God. They are the ones who have gone too
far! When will He come in power on the clouds of Heaven? When He does,
they will be the ones to hide. How long will He permit them to
blaspheme God this way - spitting on Him, beating Him, condemning Him?
Forgive us, O, Holy One!

Look, here is the Master. They are coming out with Him. Blessed is He
that cometh in the Name of the Lord. Bound like some criminal! Why
does He permit this? Will He not stop them? He stopped the storm on
the sea. Where are they taking Him now? They are so rough. Oh, no!
They are not going to Pilate's headquarters. Not for death, Lord
Jesus! Not for death!

Refrain not Thyself, O God, but save us!


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