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        Here is an anthology of over 1100 brief prayers and thought-starters, for each day of the year, with almost 400 original prayers by Bruce Prewer.
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Prayers for Busy People
        Title:  Brief Prayers for Busy People.
          Author: Bruce D Prewer
        ISBN 978-1-62880-090-6
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ADVENT 1   (Nov 27-Dec 3)



Mark 13: 24-37                        (Sermon 1: “Watch and Hope”)          

                                                                        (Sermon 2: “Are You Ready?”)

1 Corinthians 1: 3-9


Isaiah 64: 1-9

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19




On this first Sunday in the season of Advent, the key theme is:

            Keep your eyes open! Be alert!

      Expect Christ to come among you today.



Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be safe.

As agents of Christ, don’t let us go to sleep on the job.

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be safe.


God will sustain you to the end,

vindicated in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be safe.




Are we ready?

This question, put to us on this first Sunday in Advent,

is a very personal one.

Christ comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

Are we ready?

Revive us, O Lord, God of heaven’s countless hosts,

Let your face shine, that we may be saved.


Are we ready?

Ready for the coming of Christ Jesus

with the mercy which is judgement

and the judgement which is mercy?

Are we ready?

Revive us, O Lord, God of heaven’s countless hosts,

Let your face shine, that we may be saved.




God of faithful love, ever resourceful, ever merciful, we draw near to you because you have first drawn near to us.

You create the longing in our souls, the love in our hearts, and the faith which delivers our whole being from frustration.

May our actions honour you, our words praise you, our thoughts marvel in you, and our spirits utterly adore you.

Through Christ Jesus, who comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.





Watch out! Be alert!


Let us pray.


We recognise in your holy Presence, O God, our fallen condition. We are all sullied and twisted by evil.


Yet, thanks to you we are not without hope.

Your love which created us to be beautiful is also the Love that rescues us from the fall and will restore that lost beauty.

In Christ who comes to us, we have a precious place in the salvation of God.

Thanks be to you, God of our salvation.


Watch! Be alert. Christ comes to us full of grace and truth.


All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be saved.

The good things I want to do, I don’t do. Yet the evil I do not want, that I end up doing.

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be saved.

Christ, who offered himself once to bear the sin of many, will come again to save those who are waiting for him.

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be saved.

As with Adam all are fallen and die, so with Christ all shall rise and live.

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be saved.


I will return to my father and say: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, I am no longer worthy to be called your child.”

Bring us back, O God of hosts,

let your face shine, and we shall be saved.


But the father said: “Bring the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet..... for this my son was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found.”

You have brought us back, O God of hosts!

In Christ your face has shined, and we are saved!


Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

And also to you!



Praise God who comes to seek the lost.

Praise God who comes to heal and mend.

Praise God who comes to pay the cost.

Praise Father, Son and Holy Friend.




Dear, loving God,

you are so very big and strong

and so beautiful and clever

that it’s kind of scary to think about you.

To you we might seem

like silly and grubby little insects.


But you do not treat us that way.

You love every one of us

and know each of us by name.


You tell us to be always ready

for whenever Jesus comes again

to judge and save us.

Please help us not to be afraid

of Jesus Christ,

but to trust him always

to do the best for us.


PSALM 80:1-7 & 17-19


Turn our way, Pastor-God,

you who muster your people.

You who rule in radiance

among the saints and martyrs,

unfurl your mighty love

and come to our rescue.

Revive our hopes, God of the stars,

show us your face and we shall be healed.


Lord of the awesome night skies,

don’t rebuff our foolish prayers.

Too long we’ve eaten the bread of sorrow,

and poured a cup full of tears.

Our ineffectiveness makes us a joke,

our enemies can’t stop laughing.

Revive our hopes, God of the stars,

show us your face and we shall be healed.


Put your hand on the person at your side,

the earth-child who shares your strength,

then we will never turn our backs on you;

as you give life, so we will sing your name.

Revive our hopes, God of the stars,

show us your face and we shall be healed.

                                                   Ó B D Prewer 1998

(another version is found in “More Australian Psalms”

               page 121  Ó Open Book Publishers.)




Mark 13: 33-37


Wake up! Jump to it!

Be ready for the hour of coming.

            Where two or three gather,

            for the breaking of bread,

the Master comes quickly.


Wake up! Look alive!

Be ready for the hour of serving.

            With the stranger and homeless,

            with the poor and underfed,

the Master comes quickly.


Wake up! Get with it!

Be ready for the hour of rejoicing.

            At dusk, midnight or dawn,

            for the living and the dead

the Master comes quickly.

                                                                                                         Ó B D Prewer 1998




Lord of every hour, we thank you for those crisis times when you come, faster than light, to open up opportunities for judgement and renewal.

Give us the courage to be ready for each saving advent. Whether your coming brings pain or comfort, we pray that we may watch for you, not out of fear but from love.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.





Holy Friend, by your saving grace enable us to discard all darkness and embrace your light now, while we live in this earthly body which your Son humbly shared. Then at the end, when he comes in clouds of glory to judge the living and the dead, may we rise with him into that immortal life which is your free gift. Through Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.





Mark 13: 35-37


Watch therefore......

 for you do not know when the master of the house will come; in the         evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow or in the morning..... lest he come and find you         asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch!    Mark 13: 35-37


What do we think will happen? Tomorrow, next month, next year? Our view of the future radically effects how we live today.


I suspect most people see the future in one of two ways: bleak or bright¾

Bleak. There are many who see the future as a decadent slide into disaster; things are going downhill fast, from bad to worse.

Bright. There are some who see the future as holding bright promise. Nothing is beyond us if we will only pull together.


The bleak ones tend to live the present in a constant state of anxiety, which results in either frenetic activity (the chook running around without a head syndrome!) or inhibited and immobilised like a terrified rabbit (the Lot’s wife syndrome!). Because they have no faith in the future, the present becomes a maze of threats and struggle for survival.


The bright ones, provided they are not merely superficially optimistic, (the Labrador puppy syndrome!) can live purposeful, daring, creative lives. They have long range goals. Because they believe in the future they can dare to be relaxed and productive in the present, and be patient for that which takes time to bring to fruition.




Of course. one must admit there seems to be plenty of grounds for pessimism. There is a plethora of evidence around us to support those who see only a bleak future.

¾How optimistic dare be the 80% of the world’s population who have access to only 20%

            of the world’s resources and wealth?

¾How much optimism can the Aids ravaged countries of Africa afford?

¾How much optimism can the people sustain through the violence of Basque regions,

            Kurdish areas, Indonesian Aceh and Bali, Colombia, Laos, and Palestine?

¾How much optimism can we expect within our indigenous Australian communities,

            with their average life-span twenty years less than the rest of us?

¾How much optimism is there in the Western world following all the economic, political

            and military consequences of the terrorism which hit New York in September 2001?

¾How much optimism is there among the children of those Aussie homes (sadly more

            numerous that we once suspected) where domestic violence is endemic?

¾How optimistic dare young people be as they study for a future in a society where

             employment commensurate with ones acquired skills is by no means guaranteed?


For many people at home and abroad, the outlook does indeed appear bleak. Not to recognise this would be folly. For the church to ignore the human misery and uncertainty that exists would be a grave lack of love. Those of us whose “lines have fallen in pleasant places” cannot pretend that the miseries of others are self-inflicted, or flaunt a pious optimism which counts the unhappiness of others of no account.




However, a Christian sees something better than the bleak aspects of life. No matter how jittery we may feel at bad times, we are called to hope, Watch! “For your salvation is nearer than when you first believed,” says the Gospel. Hope is our business.


This hope is not a matter of ignoring the grim realities. It is not pretending that every cloud has a silver lining. We are not called to be hymn singing ostriches that pop their heads out of the sand during choruses. We are asked to have our eyes wide open. Watch!


In truth, our eyes should be wider open than those of our hard-headed humanist friends. It is our job to look honestly at life, to recognise evil and name it openly, yet also to see our coming Lord everywhere at work, even in the places of utter cruelty and chaos. We are called to see a Lord who dares to be redeemingly busy in the bleakest of circumstances. The cross remains forever the surest mark of his presence among his people.


God brings light out of darkness and growth out of decay. The Lord creates love where previously no skerrick of love seemed to exist.


This will only be true for us if we have a firm belief in the future as belonging to the God of Christ Jesus. From the very early days, Christians have held to the belief that Jesus Christ comes again. He comes again to every generation in judgment and mercy. He comes again at the end of time; a final return when he will bring to consummation everything he commenced at Bethlehem.


Christ is the Lord of history. He is the destination of history. He is the one true end; the one true Lord. Not chaos, terrorism, war, greed, injustice, cruelty, neglect, survival of the fittest or democracy or final world-wide self destruction. None of these negativities will rule! Christ alone is the end, the destiny of humanity. The future which will inexorably arrive with the glory of Christ who comes again.


To believe in the Christ who comes again is to live with an indomitable hope. Evil may be noisy, boastful, and blatantly busy everywhere, but it will not win the final day. The ultimate victory lies with Christ Jesus.




Such hope is a command. “Watch!” says Jesus.


Watch therefore...... for you do not know when the master of the house will come; in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow or in the morning..... lest he come and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch!”    Mark 13: 35-37


 ‘Watch’ does not mean passive waiting. Not waiting wistfully like children peering out the window begging the rain to cease so that the family picnic can go ahead. Not waiting like bored travellers for a train that never seems to arrive.


Watch means to be ready for him here and now as he confronts us in the rough and tumble of life, to co-operate with him in his saving ministry among our modern equivalent of the “tax gatherers and sinners.”  ‘Watch’ also mean seeing him at the end of all things as the last Final Word, the loving climax of history, yet to be loved and served right now.


This we are commanded to do. Get that?  Start hoping! Hope is a command from our God.

Hope is not a natural disposition which some sunny souls have in larger quantities than others. Hope is not some special feeling that we get and privately must cultivate, like growing a hot-house plant on Macquarie Island.  Hope is not related to one’s material prosperity, our outward success in life, or a remarkable propensity for good health.


Hope is a response to the word of Jesus. It is a matter of the will. It involves commitment.  Hope is obedience.  Hope is living pro-actively, creatively, lovingly, self-sacrificially in spite of all the barriers we encounter, or the darkest clouds that loom on the horizon.  Hope is being committed to fundamental optimism in a world increasingly riven by distrust and fear.


Watch! says Jesus. Be ready for me. I am the final word. Watch and join me in my mission of hope.


----- A WORD FROM TEILHARD DE CHARDIN----------------------------------------------------


On the morning on which I was preparing these sermon notes I happened to read, in my personal morning devotions, these words from that French mystic and scientist Teilhard de Chardin:

“Creative energy awaits us, ready to work in us a transformation beyond anything the human eye has seen or the ear heard. Who can say what God would fashion out of us if, trusting his words, we dared to follow his counsels to the very end and surrender ourselves to his providence.”

“To be ready has never seemed to mean anything to me but this: to be straining forwards.”


“Watch”, says Jesus. “Look ahead and see me coming to fulfil all things with love and joy.”





Mark 13: 26-27


In those days....

. they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds of glory. He will send out the angels to gather his chosen people from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 


Take care and watch. You do not know when the time [of the coming Son of Man] will happen.

It is a like a man who goes abroad. When he leaves home he puts his servants in charge, each with his work to do. He commands the doorman to keep watch.

Watch therefore because you do not know when the master of the house will come; whether it will be evening, or midnight, or cockcrow.

Don’t get caught sleeping on the job when he arrives. That’s why I say to you, and to all: “Keep watch.”   Mark 13:32-37


First question: Are you ready?

            Are you ready for the coming of the Son of God?


Second question: How do we keep our balance?

            How do we keep our balance between religious anxiety and spiritual apathy?


Our topic is what is called the parousia: The coming of Christ on earth on judgement day. The Greek word used by Mark, parousia, means “presence, or “to become present.” In the original mother tongue of Jesus, Aramaic, there is no word for “return” or “come again.” But there is a word for “appearance”.  The early Christians looked eagerly for the appearance of Christ in power and glory. At the beginning they expected his final appearance to come soon. As time wore on, they decided they would have to be more patient.


But patience did not mean sitting around saying payers but doing nothing. Nor did it mean becoming sloppy in their responsibilities as Christians.  They were to be always ready.




In the little parable that Jesus told, each servant was given work to be done while the master was travelling abroad. To watch, to be alert, meant doing the work to which they had been assigned.


The gardener was to garden, the tutor was to teach the children, the cook was to do the cooking, the secretary was to answer letters for the master, the accountant was to pay the bills, the cleaners were to clean the house, and the cook was to keep busy in the kitchen.


The watchmen, or door keepers (bouncers??) also had their tasks. While others might be having an after lunch siesta, the watchman was to keep awake. On night shift the same thing applied. To go to sleep would be to fail in his duty. It would be to risk his master’s house being robbed. Woe betide any watchman who on his master’s unexpected return should be found asleep on the job.


The same would apply to the indolent cook, or a cleaner who became slipshod, or a gardener who let the weeds grow, or the accountant who let the bills pile up unpaid.  For them to watch and wait for the master’s appearance did not mean to anxiously sit around, nor did it imply being slovenly in their work. To be ready was to be busy serving their lord. To fulfil their calling no matter how long the master stayed abroad


This parable points to the way that Christ’s followers were to live. They were to be ready for the appearance of the holy Son of God on judgment day.




Now back to my first two questions: Are you ready?


How can one keep a balance between religious anxiety and spiritual apathy?


We will look at the second question first. The balance between anxiety and apathy.


I guess that most of us have encountered some of those acutely anxious Christians who are obsessed with the immanent end of the world. They think Christ is about to make his final return. The true believers will be carried up into the heavens to meet him. The lukewarm believers and the unbelievers will be left behind. They must be on high alert for the moment of Christ’s final coming. They are terrified of missing out. Their religion becomes a matter of fear.


They quote words like those from today’s Gospel reading:

            Be on watch. Be alert. For you do not know when the time will come.”


Some of them do remember to try and serve their Lord by serving those needy people around them. But many get so caught up in their religious anxiety that they become blind to the needs of those around them. In fact in the words of the well worn adage: They become “so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” Spiritual anxiety will do that to people.


On the other hand are those who have grown careless and apathetic. They know the words of warning, but have lost their zeal for Christ Jesus. They become slovenly in prayer, and indifferent to the needs of those who need some practical Christian loving.


Other things in their lives have crowded Christ out, or demoted him down the list of their priorities. Making money, professional promotion, enjoying power, being a devotee of sport, wearing the latest fashions. Or they fix their mind on the diversions of overseas travel, entertainments and wining and dining. They allow many things to white-ant their love for Christ.


People, who will stand for two hours in wintry rain at a football match, will complain if a service of worship in a heated church last 10 minutes over the hour. People, who will travel a hundred kilometres for a game of bowls, will not travel ten kilometres to attend church. Car drivers who will spend half an hour downtown searching for a parking space, so that they can

attend a musical, will whinge if they cannot find parking within 300 metres of their church.


Even valuable things like pride in home and garden, membership of Lions or Probus,

or commitment to one’s own family, can usurp the place of Christ in their lives. What was once their first love for Jesus grows cold cool. They no longer either expect the coming of Christ, nor do they long for it.  They make their grubby peace with the grubby world, and become like those lukewarm church people of Laodicea, of whom John speaks in the Book of Revelation: those who are neither hot nor cold, these are the ones who will spew out of his mouth.


Such slovenly Christians may attend church and intellectually hear the words of Jesus:

            Be on watch. Be alert. For you do not know when the time will come.”

But they yawn and quickly get back to thinking about the share market, the out-of-fashion clothes worn by the person in the next pew,  the results of Saturday’s sporting events, or whether they will need to cut back their giving to the church in order to fund their next trip to Fiji, Paris, Disneyland or Bangkok.




Keeping a balance between these to extreme positions is not easy. But it is possible. It requires a ruthless honesty with oneself, and a daily recommitment to the Lord Jesus. It demands setting aside time for prayer and meditation. It requires a regular audit of our use of time and money.


Remember the truth that flows from the parable about the master of the house going abroad. This parable points the way for contemporary believers.


To watch and be ready it to be about your Lord’s work. Work which the Lord himself has spelled out to us: loving God as we go about loving one another. Forgiving enemies, praying for our persecutors, giving without expected reward, going the second mile, storing up treasure not on earth but building spiritual capital in heaven, seeking not the praises of men, healing the sick and releasing the prisoner, welcoming the refugee, rescuing the lost, and housing the homeless.


This is what being ready for the appearance of the Lord means.


It also means enjoying life. Celebrating creation.


It is not a matter of being so busy that we have no time to laugh and eat and play. Think of the many times when Jesus spoke about feasts, and how he went to dinner parties with all sorts of people, and turned water into wine at a wedding.  He displays a balanced life. We should never become one of those frenetic souls who are so busy trying to love others that we have no time for loving ourselves. Jesus asked us “to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.Loving ourselves enables us to better love others.




Back to the first question which Advent poses:  Are you ready?


I would not wish the religion of anxiety and fear on anyone. That is a misery you will not find in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But neither would I brush over the even bigger danger of spiritual slovenliness. Fear can handicap your spirit, but slovenliness can lead to self destruction.


If you made an honest audit of you life and its priorities, would it show you as being ready for the appearance of Christ Jesus? Only you can answer that.


Maybe he appears often but we do not see him? Maybe his parousia is an ongoing event. Maybe he comes to nurture us through others, to hug us through the arms of others, and to cry for our assistance in those who suffer the injustices of abuse or deprivation. Maybe the final judgement day is the summation of the judgement days that occur all the time?


“Are you ready” means today, because today is the moment of opportunity?


Remain faithful and alert, taking the opportunities as they arise, is the best kind of watching for Christ Jesus that we have. That means being alert to those around us, be they family members who we take for granted or strangers in the supermarket


Very recently I met up with an agnostic friend whom I admire very much. He told me of his bi-polar son, who descended to the pits of hopelessness, living rough on the streets of Melbourne.  But it seems that now this over-sensitive young man has his own life back under control, and is doing a PhD in philosophy. A critical moment came when one day, hungry and homeless and in total despair, he was standing on a platform at Flinders Street Station, preparing to throw himself under a train. He thought no one would guess his intention A little old lady (his words) approached him and said: “I would not do that, please. Here son, take this money and get yourself some lodging and food.” She walked off and left him gaping. That moment turned his life around.


The grateful father (agnostic remember!) said to me: “That is how Christ comes again to us today. That little old lady was Christ to my son.”


Are you ready? Am I ready?  If we had been there on that station, would we have even noticed the young man? Of if we had, would we have been sensitive enough to read his intentions and dare to intervene so graciously?


The business of the master’s house is all around us. It is a wonderful to be awake and ready whenever he comes.






When nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,

the end will not be determined by more violence,

for there is a God of resilient, redeeming love,

the Brighter Purpose is at work in the shadows,

and the darkness cannot smother it.

Lord we believe, strengthen our timid faith.


When there are earthquakes, famines and pestilences and collisions among the stars,

the end will not be chaos,

God the Creator of the heavens and the earth has not forsaken us,

and the harmony will still break out and gather to hasten towards consummation.

Lord we believe, strengthen our timid faith.


When believers are arrested and abused, dragged before kings and governors,

the end will not be  injustice,

the Holy Spirit is always with you in all your trials and travail,

and words will be given to confound your adversaries and shake the gates of hell.

Lord we believe, strengthen our timid faith.


When parents, brothers, sisters, relatives or friends, betray you even unto death,

the end will not be alienation,

the crucified Christ will reconcile all things seen an unseen,

and the glorious finale is much nearer than when you first believed.

Lord we believe, strengthen our timid faith.




Generous are you, most holy Friend, the origin and end of all things seen and unseen.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Generous are you, who selected this planet earth to be a place of beauty and fruitfulness.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Generous are you, who has brought forth from the earth, tree and flower, bird and beast.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Generous are you, who long ago brought to life, out of this earth’s dust, woman and man.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Generous are you, who shaped us in your own likeness and made us your stewards on earth.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Most generous are you who, when we became lost, prepared a Christ to bring us back home.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Most generous are you, who yourself drew intimately near to us from the Cradle to the Cross.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


Most generous are you, who promise to come again to gather up all things in joy.

            All thanks to you, Lord of the beginning,

            All thanks to you, Lord of the end.


God of Advent, be pleased to receive the thanksgiving that rises from our hearts and minds, and by your Spirit help us to transpose it into a grateful and generous life-style. To your praise and glory. Through Christ Jesus coming Lord.




               * For 2 voices; either one leader and congregation, or two leaders.


We need to pray for ourselves, and also for other folk around this planet.


Not many of us, loving God, get through life without some pain and some sorrow. Help us to meet such hard times as a part of the mysterious tapestry of providence, and by the initiative of your grace, turn setbacks into growth and fruitfulness.


This which we pray for ourselves, we also pray for every other person on this planet. Wherever there is disease and handicap, agony and grief, please grant to your children the ability not merely to cope, but to find some glimmers triumph even through the bleakest day and darkest night.


Holy Friend, enable us and all people of kindness and hope, to challenge the greed, violence, injustice and neglect, that so magnify the pain and sorrow of humanity. With Christ’s word and way as our guide, assist us to play our part in the ongoing work of salvation, counting no person as too insignificant, or no one as too evil, to be outside your redeeming love.


Help your church, we pray, to mend its rifts and demolish its many walls of division, that together we may be able to testify (by our own love for one another) to a God who seeks to reconcile all things through grace, mercy and peace.  Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.





Watch out! Be alert!

Christ comes when you least expect it.

            In the beggar on the street,

            In the loved one at our table,

            In the stranger in our pew,

            In the refugee on our shores,

            In the hour of birth.

            In the hour of death.

With judgement and mercy, Christ comes.

Watch out! Be alert!


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,


be with you now and always.




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Third edition May 2014

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Jesus Our Future

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Although this book was written with young people in mind, it has proved to be popular with Christians or seekers of all ages. Through the eyes and ears of a youth named Chip, big questions are raised and wrestled with; faith and doubt,  unanswered  prayers, refugees,  death and grief, racism and bullying, are just a few of the varied topics confronted in these pages. Suitable as a gift to the young, and proven to be helpful when it has been used as a study book for adults.

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This collection of original, contemporary prayers is anchored firmly in the belief that no matter what the immediate future may hold for us, ultimately Jesus is himself both the goal and the shape of our future.  He is the key certainty towards which the Spirit of God is inexorably leading us in this scientific and high-tech era. Although the first pages of this book were created for the turn of the millennium, the resources in this volume reflect the interests, concerns and needs of our post-modern world.