|New Book now Available|
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.
Included is both a subject index and an index of authors-- an ecumenical collection of about 300 different sources.
| Title: Brief Prayers for Busy People.|
Author: Bruce D Prewer
Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site www.acresources.com.au
or by order from your local book shop
or online on amazon.
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 (Sermon 1: “Things That Get out”)
James 1:17-27 (Sermon 2: “Interview With Brother Jim”)
Song of Sol 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
ENTRY INTO WORSHIP
The beauty of the Spirit of Christ be with you all.
And also with you.
My heart overflows with a wonderful theme,
I dedicate my songs to the King of love.
You are the fairest among all humanity,
words of grace pour from your lips,
for God has blessed you for ever!
Worship is one of the most awesome things
of which the human mind and spirit are capable,
God is Spirit, and those who want to worship
must worship in spirit and in truth.
It is time for us to start focussing;
not on our personal needs but on God’s beauty,
Not on the things we want,
but on what we can offer to God.
Your realm, O God of Christ, endures forever!
Your sceptre is the shepherd’s rod of equity.
My heart overflows with holy melody,
I will praise you with the most sincere words I can find.
PRAYER OF APPROACH
Through your lovely Christ, we come to you, most loving God.
We come to worship you in the holiness of your beauty which we glimpse in the majesty of the stars above us and the glories of earth around us.
We praise you for the unique embodiment of your holy beauty in Jesus Christ, who did not only speak of your loveliness but lived it to the fullest degree.
We delight in you, we worship you, we glorify you with our loftiest songs and our deepest prayers.
In the name of your beloved Son.
HYMN: “Fairest Lord Jesus, Lord of Creation,”
CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE
It is time to remember the grace by which we are saved, and entrust ourselves, “warts and all,” to that saving grace.
Let us pray.
God of the beautiful Christ, we bring to you the story of our lives, some of it written in gold letters but much of it written in grey, and some in the red ink of shame.
Help us to cherish the golden times, and to reinforce our desire to serve you better by remembering those good times with gratitude and pleasure.
Help us to face up to the grey and the red with ruthless self honesty,
neither making excuses nor languishing in guilt
but repenting of our sins and accepting from you the saving grace
which totally forgives even the most ugly of our deeds or words.
O Saviour-Friend, please increase your restoration work in us,
so that more of the loveliness of Christ may shine through our daily-ness.
For your love’s sake and to your eternal glory.
Let everyone take heart! Though your sins be as scarlet you shall be washed whiter than snow. If we confess our sins, God can be relied on to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all the ugliness of evil.
Thanks be to God!
PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
we know how important it is
to wash our hands properly,
and to clean our teeth and finger nails.
But we sometimes neglect
about our slimy thoughts
and our grimy feelings.
We need a good clean up!
But we find it hard,
to do this by ourselves.
Thank you for the Spirit of Jesus
who washes us thoroughly from grubby sins,
and cleanses us from all the grime of evil.
Please make us clean today,
tomorrow and for ever more.
PSALM 43:1-2, 6-9
My mind overflows with a new theme.
I dedicate my song to the only true king,
to the man with the crown of thorns
whom my tongue is honoured to praise.
You Jesus, are the fairest soul of all,
the grace of God pours from your lips.
Your cross is enthroned forever,
your wounded hands deal justice.
You love things beautiful and good
but hate the ugly ways of wickedness.
God, your God, has made you Messiah,
anointed you above all other leaders.
Your robes spread fragrance all around,
lute and harp delight to please you.
Those who serve you feel like princesses,
those at your right are as gilded queens.
© B.D. Prewer 2002
THE ZOO KEEPER
I said to the guard with the wounded hands,
‘Is it hard to keep the beasts inside?’
He replied as one who understands,
‘Only when love has withered and dried.’
I said to the guard at the gate of my soul,
‘How many thieves break in here at night?’
He answered me in a tone that was droll,
‘Much less than those that slip out in the light.’
I said to the guard at the gate of my mind,
‘What brings that shadow across your face?’
He sighed, then said with eyes sad-kind,
‘A soul that is too proud for grace.’
© B.D. Prewer 2002
Most holy Friend, with you there is always life and light in abundance. Be to each of us, we pray, the guide on the road and the guard on the door, that in all our going out and our coming in, we may know that we never travel without purpose or rest without peace. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, who with you and the Holy Spirit are to be trusted and adored, One loving God, world without end.
SERMON 1: THINGS THAT GET OUT
Mark 7: 14-23
Jesus again called the people to gather around, and said to them: “Listen carefully and understand: there is nothing outside a person that can corrupt them; it is the things which come out of them that corrupt....For out of the human heart come evil thoughts, promiscuous sex, theft, murder, adultery, money lust,, wickedness, deceit, wild lusts, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. When these things come out, they defile a person.” Mark 7: 14-15, 20-23.
Tough, huh? Who can escape that list of bad stuff without a stab of recognition?
Jesus says these things come out of the heart. In Jewish understanding of his time, the heart was the seat and source of all thoughts. They used heart as we would use mind. For both the conscious thoughts that focus in our awareness, and the deeper levels of the mind where many good and bad memories, regrets and hopes, wants and yearnings, old scars and new wounds, nameless anxieties strident fears, stalk together in a kind of psychic zoo. The key thing is that these wild things are within us all. Even in the most righteous and the most loving person, some of them are there.
THE GUILT ROUSERS
At this point there would be some preachers who would launch into a tirade against the wickedness which spawns within the human psyche. They would castigate those of you who have any of those vices simmering under your smooth Sunday exteriors, boring into your personal potential for sin, and shouting: “Bad, bad, bad bad. Shame, shame shame.” Such preachers want to make to you feel guilty; the more guilty the better.
When you became suitably guilt-ridden, and the fear of God thoroughly pumped up in you, cunning religionists can manipulate you into obeying the creeds and the practices of their liking. What is more, such preachers feel better when they have off loaded their guilt on to the congregation.
I freely admit that some people actually like to feel guilt ridden. They want to be verbally flogged. After enduring a good dose of condemnation and guilt, they begin to feel better. Guilt orientated preaching will always draw a large congregation of the neurotic. I would go further and suggest that the more vigorous the preacher’s verbal assaults against the evils contained in Jesus’ list, the more it might well betray the preacher’s own inner turmoil. Often a preacher’s vehemence is a measure of the battle they themselves are waging with those same, particular temptations.
That does not mean there is no place for open confrontation, self examination, clean guilt, repentance and forgiveness. We need to heed the hard words of Jesus as well as the comforting ones. There are many social and personal evils in which we participate that need exposing. Painful repentance (not the same as guilt-wallowing!) is a very healthy thing.
An evangelist was asked to conduct a mission in a rural town in Australia. He first sent friends to find out what was going on in that place. They reported a grave racist gulf between those of European heritage and the local aboriginal community, and that the church was as prejudiced as the rest of the town. The evangelist arrived and preached to a packed gathering of well washed, white people about the sin of racism. He insisted that any penitence was superficial unless they repented their participation in this evil which was so pervasive in their community.
Many of the good people of that place were shocked. This was not the religion they wanted. They might have applauded is he had spoken against sexual laxity, gossip, drug use, adultery, theft, deceit, envy and pride. They could have nodded their heads, shouted Amen, and thought about their sinful neighbours they could bring along to the next gathering. And there would be some would have wept over their adultery, bad language, envy, or deceit, or lust, and then repented, and thoroughly enjoyed a good mission. But not this message about racism. They practically ran that evangelist out of town. The mission was considered a flop, and those who chose the evangelist came in for some cutting comments.
Believe me, there is a place for John the Baptist type preaching, but not the kind that avoids the endemic evils in favour of a good dose of easy guilt. Nor that which off-loads the preacher’s insecurity or guilt on to the congregation.
THINGS THAT COME OUT
“Listen carefully and understand: there is nothing outside a person that can corrupt them; it is the things which come out of them that corrupt.
I am not here to make you feel guilty this morning. Rather I want to lift the burden of guilt from those who have been taught that to even think an evil thought, to be tempted to do something, is a bad as actually committing the evil. That is never so.
In the Gospel reading this morning Jesus did not say that you are defiled if you have thoughts and feelings about illicit sex, slander, envy, greed, theft, murder, deceit etc. What Jesus says is: if we let these things out, let them be expressed in actions, then we are defiled. It is the evils that come out of a person that defiles them. It’s the things we let loose on the world.
There is in all of us, as there was in Jesus himself, an unruly zoo of fears, lusts, envy, anger, prejudice, desire for revenge, racism, greed, pride. This is no cause for guilt. It is how you deal with those things that become a matter of good or evil, gratitude or guilt.
Please don’t be afraid of that cauldron of nasty possibilities that exists within you. They do not defile you. They do not make you dirty. It is what you do and say that counts.
SAD CONSEQUENCES OF MISREADING JESUS
“Listen carefully and understand: there is nothing outside a person that can corrupt them; it is the things which come out of them that corrupt.
Only the things that come out corrupt. Get this wrong and we cause ourselves and others to suffer. As I see it, there are at least three sad consequences if we misread Jesus.
The first sad consequence is the one I have already mentioned: a perpetual load of guilt that burdens people and turns the life into a cringing affair of trying to appease God. There are some tortured souls who make a new “decision for Christ” with every evangelical mission held within a forty kilometre radius of where they live, each time hoping that the decision will deliver them from any more evil thoughts and temptations. I yearn to help deliver these folk from this unnecessary self flagellation.
There is a second sad consequence of misreading Jesus. Other folk just get depressed about it all, and decide that Christianity is an impossible dream. Some have told me “I’m afraid I’m not good enough to be a Christian. I am a lost cause.”
The third sad consequence is found in those folk who are so revolted by the evil thoughts and feelings within them, that they blot out the awareness of it all. They won’t admit it even to themselves. They repress the knowledge and lose touch with what is really going on inside them. They dam it all up within, unacknowledged. This can, in some cases, lead to a virulent self-righteousness and outright attacks on “the ungodly.” (Note again the verbal violence of some self righteous preachers) In other cases, this loss of self honesty can lead to a moment when the dam wall breaks and they find themselves committing an evil they thought impossible until it happens.
To be honest with ourselves and to recognise what is happening inside our private psyche, puts us in a good position to deal with temptation before it gets out of hand.
It is important to know yourself and to accept yourself as a human being. Jesus himself was sorely tempted. He was thoroughly human as we are human. He knew the full gambit of temptations from the unruly zoo within. That does not mean he was defiled.
Many of the things he warns us not to let out are tied up with the natural raw drives and instincts which make us human. Take just three examples: sexual promiscuity, love of money, and pride.
Our God-given sexual nature, with its powerful drive, is not evil. It is when we express that drive in unloving, destructive ways, that it becomes a defiling thing.
Behind covetousness and greed is our natural human longing for security in an extremely insecure existence. That longing for security is not defiling us. It is when we allow that longing to drive us towards accumulating possessions, and often doing so at the expense of others, that we become defiled.
In a similar way our propensity to pride is linked to our basic need to feel good about ourselves and therefore not self destruct. That is not a defiling thing. But when we set that drive loose, putting others down, gossiping about them, being judgemental, craving self importance and clout at the cost of others, then we are certainly defiled.
The potential evil within us is just that: potential. Evil thoughts, unsettling lusts, angry mutterings in the soul, wanting to have wealth and never a moment’s financial worry, thoughts about how would like to hurt or denigrate an opponent, adulterous phantasies, wishing someone would drop dead, being aware of opportunities to deceive others: potential evil! These inner thoughts and feelings are not wickedness. It is only when we permit them to move out of us into deeds, that we become corrupted.
SUMMARY: FIVE CONCLUSIONS
“Listen carefully and understand: there is nothing outside a person that can corrupt them; it is the things which come out of them that corrupt.
In the name of Christ Jesus, I want to underline five things.
1/ Be honest with yourself and know what is going on inside. Forewarned is forearmed. The most dangerous thing you can do with yourself is to pretend.
2/ Do not wallow in guilt, or mentally berate and flog yourself as a wicked sinner for having these thoughts and feelings.
3/ Let the Spirit of Christ, who “in all points was tempted like we are, yet without sin,” help you deal with these inner pressures.
4/ Accept the fact that at times some of these inner pressures may break out into our words and deeds. Then we must face up to what as happened, and accept the healing grace of Christ, allowing Jesus to forgive you and restore us.
5/ When other Christians around you do let those nasties out and sin in ways that alarm you, be merciful even as God is merciful with you.
SERMON 2: INTERVIEW WITH BROTHER JIM
* This is massively too long. I suggest breaking the dialogue int to 2 or 3 sections.
As I was looking at the set Bible readings for today and the following Sundays, I noted that there will be five passages from the brief Letter of James.
Before long I seemed to overhear a conversation between an Old Testament judge named
Deborah and a Christian named James. If I heard it rightly, it went something like this.
------------------------ ------------------------- ------------------------
DEBORAH : Thank you, Mr Benjoseph for giving me some of your precious time. If you will allow me, I would like to ask a number of questions so that I can put some accurate information on record. I would prefer to get it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
JAMES: Ah! Then please note that this horse wears a special bridle. One designed by the Master. Deborah of Ephraim, please call me Jim, and may I call you Deb?
JIM: Actually I am chuffed at meeting you. Your fame as one who makes clear judgements and gets to the truth has become legendary. If anyone is going to write an article about me, I am delighted that it is to be you.
DEB: Thanks for the vote of confidence, James...I mean Jim. I take such words from your lips as and honest assessment. I realise that these days, you are not one for speaking idle words are you? You don't rush into pious prattle, but weigh the words you do say.
Is that because you are afraid of your numerous critics from the old faith, who are always ready to pounce on any slip of the tongue?
JIM: No. Well yes, Deb; because any sane person would be cautious about those who are out to get you. But that is not the chief reason for the bridle now imposed on my tongue. My caution goes back to my big bother, Josh. When he first became famous, or infamous depending on what camp you are in, I thought he had grown too big for his boots. An embarrassment to our family. I made some hasty comments to Josh and then about him.
DEB: Yes, I did hear about that. You did “shoot your mouth off,” as my grandchildren might well describe it.
JIM: I make no excuses; I was most judgmental.
Later, Deb, I decided that he had lost his reason, and I publicly said so. “I recall referring to him as “my loony big brother.”
I even came after him with my Mum and other brothers to try to shut him up, and take him back home. Failed, of course. You may remember how he surrounded himself with some “heavies,” those fishermen and tax collectors? Well they would not let us get near him. Josh called them his real brothers. That hurt Mum, and it did not exactly fill me with pleasure! O how my sharp tongue ratted on after that.
DEB: Yes, I do remember some of that story, Jim. You certainly had a falling out with your big brother. What is more you seemed convinced that you were correct and he was in grave error. What changed? How come you are now, in your own way, one of his “heavies” as you called his disciples?
JIM: Much changed. Changed a hell of a lot, and I use the word ‘hell’ advisedly. What he went through was sheer hell You know? When Josh was betrayed, arrested, abused and tortured, and sentenced to death on that shameful, bloody cross, that shook us all up. Especially poor Mum, who was up there on Skull Hill when it happened. God I am still ashamed that I was too proud to admit being related to Josh. I let her go up there alone with young John and a few other women!
DEB: Understandable, Jim. Your brother did not make things easy for himself, or his family, did they? But that is old history, surely? You have made amends; more than made up for your regrettable absence since that black Friday? You have taken a lot of abuse yourself in recent years. Your current loyalty to your late brother is commendable.
JIM: Not my “late” brother, Deb. He still is my brother. What is more, Deb, I have not made up for the way I spurned Josh. I cannot put things right
That is one thing I have learned about evil and goodness. None of us can make up for past stupidly and sin. No amount of goodness can atone. However, we can recover from it, solely by God’s bonus love, what we call saving grace.
God puts things right. We can’t. Unless People understand that, they have missed the whole point of what my big brother Josh was on about
DEB: (Chucking and with a mischievous glint in her eye) Hey Jim! Now you are beginning to sound like your old sparring partner Paul? Don’t tell me you have become of his school? “I am Paul’s man” and all that competitive stuff that happened in the church over in Greece; at Corinth wasn’t it?
JIM: Paul’s man? Cut it out, Deb-or-ah! If you are only teasing, okay. But if there is even a whisker of suspicion in your mind that I follow any of the apostles, then get rid of it right now. Let the record show that I am now the disciple of one person. Only one Lord.
You must already know that, Deb. Otherwise you would not be here asking me these questions. It is not just me, or Paul that you are really trying to understand, is it? Messiah Josh has begun to get you hooked, eh?
DEB: Not yet, James, not yet by a long way. Your brother fascinates me, but I am no disciple.
JIM: You are closer than you think, Deborah of Ephraim. Truly know yourself, and you will begin to be free, sister
* Possible break in the dialogue?
JIM : Thinking about Paul, As for Paul? Deb, let me assure you could do a lot worse than becoming a disciple of Paul? He’s got a lot going for him, that guy .A genius in many ways. We owe him much.
DEB: (her pen moving quickly) Cool! I’m glad I got that on record. I thought you and Paul were running a different agenda. Still at it, in fact. That’s the story I get around the pubs?
JIM: Then you have been asking in the wrong places. Contrary to popular opinion, dear Deb-or-ah, what you heard in pubs is not the most accurate of sources. What starts out as a gnat in a pub, soon ends up as a camel. You sound as if you have swallowed a complete camel train?
DEB: That’s more like it! That’s the old and fiery James Benjoseph we used to know. We will come back to Paul later, let’s return to your brother Josh. What changed things for you?
JIM: If I tell you, what then? Will you publish my truth? Or will you write that I am back to shooting off my mouth again? Do you want to really know what changed me, or is this just grist for your investigative mill?
DEB: I really do want to know, Jim. I have a reputation as a just investigator. I want to keep that record. I really want to know. What did cause the dramatic about-face in your life? Why did you start believing in your big brother? How did you end up as bishop of the Jerusalem Church?
JIM: Okay, I’ll tell you plainly. But first let me clear up one of your misunderstandings. My position as head of the church here in Zion, is not an exalted one. Among our people (these emerging communities of the new world) no one is more important than another. Among us the first is last and the last first. I may be President of the Assembly here in Jerusalem, but that means I am not master, yet I am every member’s servant.
DEB (Deb shakes her head) If you say so. But you do seem to carry a lot of clout.
JIM: (With a big sigh) If that is how you see it, Then I suppose I can’t change your values. But it is not our way of thinking or working together.
Debra of Ephraim, you are rightly renowned for your insight, wisdom and justice. You have deserved that fame. But (please don’t take offence at what I will now say) the lowliest member in our community, the very least person in this new realm of God, has more insight than you. Even little children, have it Deb.
DEB: (She shrugs) I suppose I asked for that. Not that I understand it. So let’s get back to your story, huh? What turned your life around?
JIM: Josh of course!
First, it was they way he really lived the things he taught, lived his own sermons right up into those last hours while he hung dying in agony. That got at me in a deep way. He lived his truth right until the end.
DEB: Not like the Scribes and Pharisees, huh?
JIM: That’s it. Not like the scribes and Pharisees who teach one thing but do another. Not like me, either. I have never been able to fully live my beliefs. and neither have you Deb.
(Debra nods and sighs.)
Anyway, first my brother’s faithfulness to the death shook me.
Then came the big shock. I met him alive again.
Yes Deb, don’t look so bemused, I did! He paid me a special visit; showed me his hands and his side. Tom The Twin was not the only doubter to fall at Josh’s feet crying: “My Lord and my God.”
DEB: You really expect me to believe that, Jim? Don’t you think you may have become a victim to mass hysteria, like the others did? You wanted Joshua to be alive so your mind conjured up a vision.
JIM: Look me in the eye, Deborah. Good. Now read my lips: I saw him. He came to me. He was real. He is real. That is what completely changed me. I can’t make you believe it But is the truth.
Moreover, consider this: Not one person who has seen the Living Lord has any doubt. They saw him, heard him, touched him, and watched him eat some fish.
In my own case, I did not expect, nor did I want, Josh to rise from the tomb. I had no hopes, no high expectations.
Frankly, a part of me welcomed his death- not his mode of dying but his actual death. I thought once it was all over things would settle down. He was dead. Now perhaps we could all get back to what I then called reality. But I was so wrong.
I tell you, Deb, there is another reality; Josh now leads us from within that reality, help us every day. I will gladly die for him, just as my namesake, the disciple James, did when our enemies beheaded him.
We die for the truth, Deb; not for an illusion.
DEB: (in a much quieter voice) I hear you, Jim. But it’s hard for us outsiders; you know? I would love to be able to believe as you do. I have watched the change in your lives since you folk started preaching the cross and resurrection as God’s decisive moment of salvation.
I see how much less impulsive, you have become, James; and you’re so much more tolerant. I don’t wish to be rude, but you used to be known as a fellow who took yourself too seriously, and who had a caustic tongue. Now you seem more.... laid back? You speak much less, yet when you do it carries much more grunt? I envy you.
(A lengthy silence, while James looks compassionately at Deborah and she shakes her head in puzzlement)
* Possible second break in the dialogue?
DEB: Tell me, Jim, brother of Josh, how would you sum up the essence of the religion you Christians are living?
JIM: Impossible. Impossible to summarise in a way that doubters like you would comprehend. Unless we just use the words: “Jesus is Lord”. But I realise you want more than that.
DEB: Help me here. I am on the level, I do want to understand.
JIM: Perhaps I can put it this way: every good gift I now have received from my brother and Lord, dear Joshua, every insight, each moment of grace, my very faith: these come directly from the Father of Light, in whom there is no shadow and no change.
DEB: You are saying that your brother is divine? That his message echoes the word of the Holy One, the Lord of hosts, whose name we dare not utter?
JIM: Yes. Something very like that.
Yet we are not people who have merely heard a special word. We have, but there is more.
We are people who try to live the message.
This world could benefit from less talk and more deeds. We talk too much. Maybe we should all put a bridle on our tongues? Keep silent until we are ready to practice what we preach?
How we treat one another is basic. Religious types can focus too much on themselves; on what is in it for them. Their religion may become cloyingly Narcissistic.
DEB: Narcissistic? Heh there! You even know your Greek mythology! How about that.
JIM: (chortling) You thought of me as a country bumpkin? I tell you my dear Deborah; the children of Mary and Joseph do not lack a good education. (More chuckling)
Back to the main point. Self absorbed religion is not for us.
DEB: My apologies, James Benjoseph. But help me here. Help me to grasp what your lot are
on about. If you, the bishop of the Assembly in Jerusalem can’t tell me, then who can?
JIM: Stop it, Deborah. Forget the titles. As I said earlier, a little child could tell you if you desperately wanted to hear and receive the good news. Honestly, there are prostitutes and tax collectors streaming into faith while good people like you, Deb, stand outside looking in on the fun.
DEB: I find that hard to accept. But I know you mean it. That’s what unsettles me. Can you tell me more about why your people live the special way you do? Is it your religious duty?
JIM: We are not religious. Our life style flows from our faith in Josh. It is not those who make the biggest noise that have the secret. It is those who are the doers of his works.
I reckon you can tell the real thing: The only religion that in God’s eyes is pure and uncorrupted is this: To look after one another. To visit and care for vulnerable people like orphans and widows in their distress, and always keep yourself untarnished by the false values of this greedy old world
DEB: Now that’s very interesting! Aren’t you contradicting Paul? Isn’t he always saying that faith is the only thing that matters? Isn’t what you say going to be an ongoing rift between you two leaders?
It seems to me that the rift remains, a visible as it was years ago when you had Paul dragged before the Assembly to give account of himself?
JIM: Deb-or-ah, there was no rift. There is no rift.
What is more, Paul was not “dragged” before me and the Assembly. He travelled up from Antioch of his own accord. We did not send for him; he came to us for guidance.
Paul agreed to me being arbiter. We did not impose any significant restrictions on his work. Far from it, we affirmed what he was doing with his passionate outreach for those who were once outside the holy covenant. We praised God that through him our Lord was breaking down the old walls, and was preaching peace to those who were near and to those who were far off.
There was no rift. There is no rift. If there ever is, it is neither our doing nor our wish.
DEB: You could have fooled me!
JIM: Someone has, Deb. That’s for sure.
There are many opponents who want us to look foolish. Don’t be taken in by them. They are like waves tossed about by the wind. Look here Deborah, there is no debate among us concerning what is the corner stone of our lives. Faith in our Lord Joshua. That is the key.
Faith in our Lord; he who was dead but now lives. This is central to my hope, my peace and my happiness.
But such a faith without action is worthless. Our faith leads to certain religious practices and outreach in the community. Our faith inspires us how to treat each other in the fellowship and how treat strangers in the wide world.
DEB: But which is the hen and which is the egg?
JIM: I have already tried to explain. If I had time I could expand on this.
But right now, Deb, it is the hour for our koinonia. I must go and join my sisters and brothers for the breaking of bread. Do you wish to speak with me again?
DEB: I would like that, Jim, perhaps when I am next in town?
JIM: Maybe on another day, then, if the Lord so wills.
Peace be with you. Deborah of Ephraim.
DEB: And also with you, James Benjoseph.
---------------------- ---------------------------- -------------------------
As James the brother of our Lord Jesus walked away, I overhead him singing;
chanting a psalm I think:
Fairest of the sons of dawn
my brother and my Lord and friend.
Grace is poured upon your lips,
and truth is with you without end.
God your God has chosen you,
you my Lord have chosen me.
You my Prince are always true
your sceptre is my liberty.
Thrones are not your meeting place,
ivory palaces not your scene,
common tables are enough,
peace and joy your common theme.
Widows and orphans are your friends,
the least and last at your right hand,
no soul in need must go unserved
till earth becomes the promised land.
I will serve you while I live,
I will love you as I die.
You share with me your common cup,
in me your praise shall magnify.
THANKS FOR SCIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND THE INEFFABLE BEYOND
*This is slightly adapted from page 78, “Jesus Our Future” B.D.Prewer
Sooner or later, amazing God, our adventurous race may one day explore everything which is within your universe. We may uncover the last secret of our remarkable brains and chart the final stars of outer space.
We thank you, for the curiosity your have placed within us
But You we cannot explore or measure: no maps, no theories, no mathematical formulae, and no microscopic or telescopic photos. We see nothing of your Mystery unless you choose to reveal it. We have no knowledge of you unless you chose to teach us.
We thank you for the ineffable boundaries we cannot cross.
Humbly and gratefully we give thanks fort the revelation you have given, for the little yet profound things you have chosen to teach us from Jew and Gentile. Most of all, we thank you for Jesus of Nazareth, who is the mirror image of your truth and grace.
We hold on to your Christ with love and adoration.
Through him we offer you ourselves, with the elementary science we now possess, and all the staggering discoveries that are to come. To you all thanks, praise and glory belong.
Through Christ Jesus our Lord.
PRAYERS FOR OTHERS
TRANSFORMING MISFORTUNES: “Australian Prayers” revised, Page 112, B.D.Prewer. © Open Book Publishers:
FOR THE END OF TERRORISM page 123
SENDING OUT: PRAYER AND BLESSING
Saviour Christ, increase our faith:
that we may trust the unseen truths as more important
than bland or trivial physical possessions.
Loving God, increase our hope:
that we may reach out for a better tomorrow and be
undaunted by temporary setbacks.
Inspiring Spirit, increase our love:
that we may put into the world something of the joy
and compassion which you put into our lives.
For the sake of your new world,
and to your praise and glory. Amen!
The grace of............
My Best Mate, (first edition 2013)
ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:
ISBN : 978-1-937763-79- 4: USA
Third edition May 2014
ISBN 978-1-62880-033-3 Australia
Jesus Our Future
Prayers for the Twenty First Century
Second Edition May 2014
|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.||
Australian Prayers has been a valuable prayer resource for over thirty years. These prayers are suitable for both private and public use and continue to be as fresh and relevant today as ever. Also, the author encourages users to adapt geographical or historical images to suit local, current situations.
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.