Blessing of Hands

aged-praying-hands.jpg The other evening, we did a hand-blessing ceremony in our home fellowship, let by one of the women in our group.

For missional communities, it is good to be reminded of our hands. Not that they require special sanctioned programs for “ministry opportunities,” but to be reminded that they are always in the process of doing things, of touching others. This is the point of being intentionally missional… or perhaps it might be better put, mindfully missional, valuing the contacts in our everyday lives.

Blessed be the work of your hands — Holy God.
You hold us in your hands.

HoMY 89: Tell it to Jesus

depressed-girl.jpg This week in my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth I’m adding another familiar hymn — at least, familiar to my youth. “Tell it to Jesus”, written by Edmund S. Lorenz and published in a German hymnal called Frö­liche Bot­schaft­er in 1876. Lorenz came from an Adventist family that emigrated from Russia to America. Educated at Otterbein, Union Biblical Seminary, Yale, and the University of Leipzig, he was ordained and later opened a music publishing company in Dayton, Ohio called Lorenz and Company. The hymn was translated into English in 1880 by Jeremiah E. Rankin.

Compline, Third Week of Advent

advent-3candles.jpg I haven’t posted much along the theme of Advent during the season this year… quite a departure from what I did last year during Advent. It being already well into the evening now (at least where I’m posting from), I thought I would share some excerpts from the Compline for the third week of Advent taken from my book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John. The book includes some original prayers and many others taken or adapted from a variety of sources, as noted below.

Advent: Resisting Christmas

adventwreath.jpg Last year I wrote a piece for Next-Wave on the theme of Advent. We talked a lot about Advent themes last year as I completed my book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John. I’m not sure yet if there are any synchroblogs planned for Advent this year, but I thought I would start taking up the topic a little eary so it doesn’t catch me off-guard like it so often does. Usually the season sneaks up on me before I know it, but this year I’m trying to think ahead. Unless you’re celebrating by the Celtic calendar, of course. In this vein, I thought I’d reprint last year’s Next-Wave article.

HoMY 62: Sweet Hour of Prayer

prayinghands.jpg Sunday once again brings the time to add another notch in my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth. This week I’ve selected “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” by William W. Walford (1845) with music by William Bradbury (1861). Walford was a blind preacher in England. On Sep­tember 13, 1845 the lyrics appeared in The New York Ob­ser­ver together with en explanation by Rev. Thomas Salmon, who was pastor of the Congregational Church at Coleshill in 1838 until 1842 when he went to the United States.

A Blessing for 2008

franciscan.jpg A Franciscan Blessing (via)

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.



Magi For the record, there are twelve days to the Christmastide season… let the feasting continue! We should know this from the famous Christmas carol, yet these days most of us may just scratch our heads as to what, when, and why the twelve days are. It turns out that the 12 days song actually has some relation to a variety of theological themes. Coming to the point thought, we’ve moved out of the Advent season and into the Christmas season. In my Advent book, I have included an extra set of daily offices for use during the Christmas season… kind of a bonus for those who made the purchase. Although the Advent synchroblog has ended, the daily office and the celebration of Christmas go on. The extra office is designed to keep the Christmas themes present in our minds throughout the season. In the book, I introduced it this way:

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all who’ve visited and/or left a comment here in the past year. Thank-you from me and the ten penguins for your virtual friendship, your support, and for just plain stopping by.

Loving Father,

Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.