Listen Beyond the Tweets to the Deep Peace of the Still Small Voice

Inner Peace KempisOn this quiet summer morning, I arise to find the airwaves clamouring with the sound of Tweets. As news of war and rumours of war penetrates my consciousness and awaken me to the surreal clamouring of madmen who hold the power of life and death in the grasp of their tiny hands, it is so very tempting to give in to the cynicism of the talking heads. While our hearts grieve for our broken world, let us remember that while we cannot control the actions of others, we can, however, control the way we react to the actions of others. Let us not fall into temptation. Let us live in hope. Let us pause in the gentleness of this summer morning to turn our being toward the dream of peace. Shalom, Salam, Santi, Pax, Udo, Santi, Axsti, Salmu, Sith, Paix, Peace….Let us open ourselves to the sound of the still, small voice, the Daughter of a Sound, the Bat Qol who calls us Beyond the Beyond and Beyond that also toward the Deep Peace…. 

Two videos which present John Philip Newell’s interpretation of the Celtic prayer for Deep Peace

St. Patrick’s Day Blessings: The Inner Landscape: John O’Donohue

Blessing for Love pastordawnOn this St. Patrick’s Day it is fitting to receive a blessing from a grand Irishman whose writing reaches into my soul. Followers of this blog know that John O’Donohue is one of my favourite sages. I am indebted to a follower of the blog for sending me this podcast of Krista Tripett’s interview of John O’Donohue recorded shortly before his death in 2008. O’Donohue’s words continue to open my soul.

Treat yourself to a listen:

Baptism Opens Us to MORE – a sermon on Psalm 139 and Luke 18:15-17

wesleyListen to the sermon here

Copy of the Baptism Liturgy here

Prayer: 21st Century Questions – There’s an App for that! Luke 11-1-13

prayer appJesus’ teaching on prayer in the gospel reading Luke 11:1-13 leaves me wondering what an enlightened 21st humanoid is supposed to do with Jesus 1st century ideas???

Cast you minds back to another time and place and tell what the numbers 33, 45, and 78 have in common??? Vinyl Records anyone? When I was a kid music came from a portable RCA record player. The sound quality wasn’t all that great, but somehow we didn’t seem to care. Later when I was a teenager, my parents got a fancy state of the art Phillips stereo cabinet and suddenly sound seemed to be coming from booth ends of the room. I never did understand how those old record players managed to pick up sound from the grooves in the vinyl to45 produce music. I still remember my father’s first reel-to-reel tape recorder, and then there were the eight-tracks, followed by cassettes, followed by CD’s.  I can remember these things, but I have no idea how they made music. It doesn’t matter how many times people try to explain it to me, I still think it’s a miracle that such beautiful sounds can come out of machines.

These days I don’t use records, tapes or CDs to listen to music. My music is stored in “the cloud” and when I want to hear I song I make sweeping motions on my iphone screen and presto, I can make music fill the room. I don’t know what the cloud is. I asked the personal assistant on my iPhone, her name is Siri and she told me she was sorry but she couldn’t tell me because Steve told her not to tell anyone. Some people think the cloud is located in a 225-acre facility that Apple built in North Carolina. Continue reading

Deep Peace: John Philip Newell

Inner Peace KempisAs news of wars and rumours of war penetrate our consciousness, it is so very tempting to give in to the cynicism of our age. While our hearts grieve for our broken world, let us remember that while we cannot control the actions of others, we can control how we react to the actions of others. Let us not fall into temptation. Let us live in hope. Let us pause in the gentleness of this summer morning to turn our being toward the dream of peace. Shalom, Salam, Santi, Pax, Udo, Santi, Axsti, Salmu, Sith, Paix, Peace….

Two videos which present John Philip Newell’s interpretation of the Celtic prayer for Deep Peace

The Inner Landscape: John O’Donohue

Blessing for Love pastordawnFollowers of this blog know that John O’Donohue is one of my favourite sages. I am indebted to a follower of the blog for sending me this podcast of Krista Tripett’s interview of John O’Donohue recorded shortly before his death in 2008. O’Donohue’s words continue to open my soul.

Treat yourself to a listen:

Prayer for the Earth: Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee draws together Christian and Sufi traditions of mystical prayer to offer up a prayer for creation from creation. His book Prayer of the Heart is a rare find which I treasure. I beg your pardon for the robotic voice in the youtube video review of the book.

You – What Worship Might Be?

youI have often wondered why hymnody prevails on Sundays in most Christian sanctuaries. Perhaps its because the alternatives on offer with their praise bandy shallowness insult the intelligence of those who have made the effort to gather together on the off chance of an encounter with the Divine. Radical theologian, Peter Rollins has suggested that worship leaders ought to consider inviting musicians who sing the blues into our churches to facilitate worship that includes all of life. When I consider the plethora of musical styles that could be employed in worship to open us to the breadth and depth of our abundant lives, I wonder if those of us employed in the art of worship planning need to look beyond our hymnals and song sheets to discover the endless possibilities that might facilitate worship that opens us to the deepest mysteries of this life.you kh

As a teaser, I offer two videos that interpret the work of English folk rock musician, Keaton Henson’s piece “You”. Both interpretations, the first by the poet himself, the second by the brilliant actor Derek Jacobi, function as both prayer and praise. Can I get an “Amen”???

Children Praying a New Story by Michael Morwood

Children PrayingMichael Morwood is an “Adult Faith Educator” whose various books help adults to “re-imagine and re-evaluate their faith in light of the contemporary ‘story’ about our universe.” In Children Praying A New Story, Morwood turns his attention to the task of education children from the perspective of a thinking twenty-first century Christian. Morwood offers insights about teaching children to pray, not to an external, listening Deity but to the Source and Ground of our being. This book has helped me as I craft the prayers of our congregation and I know that parents, grandparents and anyone who is engaged with children and their spirituality will find inspiration in Morwood’s approach. We are looking forward to hearing from Michael Morwood in person; when he visits Holy Cross the weekend of May 2-4. 

As Evening Approaches

John Phillip Newell’s “Prayer for Mystery” and “Chant: Hidden Things” provides a gentle transition into the evening.

Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi

On this the Feast Day of Saint Francis, an evening prayer service with texts from St. Francis. The liturgy was developed for use during Lent. But on this rainy autumn afternoon St. Francis’ words provide warmth and peace. Enjoy!

Evening Prayer Service Bulletin which is to be printed double-sided

Evening Prayer Audio – the silences are intentional.  Enjoy!

Prayer: the Perspective of a Process Theologian – Catherine Keller

quantum thoughtToday, preachers all over the world (myself included) will be tackling what the writer of the gospel of Luke had to say about prayer in Luke 11:1-13. It is a daunting task for any preacher, let alone for those of us who have given up images of the Divine that conjure up notions of a super-hero in the sky who interferes in our lives. Catherine Keller is a process theologian who teaches Constructive Theology at  Drew University (New Jersey). Her comments about prayer as a kind of allurement are enlightening. 

Preparing to Preach on Prayer: 21st Century Questions – There’s an App for that!

prayer appAs I continue to work on this Sunday’s sermon, (see earlier posts here … here …and here), Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the gospel reading Luke 11:1-13 leaves me wondering what an enlightened 21st humanoid is supposed to do with Jesus 1st century ideas???

Cast you minds back to another time and place and tell what the numbers 33, 45, and 78 have in common??? Vinyl Records anyone? When I was a kid music came from a portable RCA record player. The sound quality wasn’t all that great, but somehow we didn’t seem to care. Later when I was a teenager, my parents got a fancy state of the art Phillips stereo cabinet and suddenly sound seemed to be coming from booth ends of the room. I never did understand how those old record players managed to pick up sound from the grooves in the vinyl to45 produce music. I still remember my father’s first reel-to-reel tape recorder, and then there were the eight-tracks, followed by cassettes, followed by CD’s.  I can remember these things, but I have no idea how they made music. It doesn’t matter how many times people try to explain it to me, I still think it’s a miracle that such beautiful sounds can come out of machines.

These days I don’t use records, tapes or CDs to listen to music. My music is stored in “the cloud” and when I want to hear I song I make sweeping motions on my iphone screen and presto, I can make music fill the room. I don’t know what the cloud is. I asked the personal assistant on my iPhone, her name is Siri and she told me she was sorry but she couldn’t tell me because Steve told her not to tell anyone. Some people think the cloud is located in a 225-acre facility that Apple built in North Carolina. Continue reading

The Wisdom of God Is Deep Within Us – John Philip Newell

dear longsLast night I had the privilege of attending a lecture by John Philip Newell who spoke about his recent book, “New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and The Human Soul”. So many images and phrases linger in my imagination. Newell’s gentle, provocative, prophetic call to live into what Thomas Berry calls this “moment of grace” in order to heal the Earth moved me beyond words. I am so grateful to Newell for uncovering Wisdom who lives in the Christian Household; especially Julian of Norwich’s conviction that “we are not just made by God, we are made of God.”

This video contains a Prayer for Presence, followed by the chant: As the Deer Longs, by Newell. For more on Newell follow this link

The First Book of God

sad Eckhart

It has been said that there are two books that reveal the nature of our Creator, the second of which is the Bible. The first and foremost book that reveals the nature of our Creator is creation itself. Folksinger Peter Mayer’s “The Play” strikes me as a prayer of gratitude for this most splendid revelation of the ONE WHO IS, WAS, and EVERMORE SHALL BE, our CREATOR, CHRIST and SPIRIT, ONE. I offer it here in preparation for Sunday’s onslaught of machinations on the Doctrine of the Trinity.

Pentecost Tongues Aflame with the Prayer attributed to Jesus

flaming tonguesIt was the first prayer I ever learned. I suspect my Mother taught it to me, but I have no memory of ever learning it. It is part of who I am. I suspect that the origins of this prayer are as murky as my own memory of learning it. Many New Testament scholars have disputed the historicity of Jesus’ authorship of this prayer. While I agree that the prayer’s antecedents can be found in the Jewish tradition, I’ll leave those arguments to another post and turn my attention to the various interpretations of the prayer. All translations are in and of themselves translations. The festival of Pentecost with it’s images of speaking in tongues provides an excellent opportunity to explore some of the many interpretations of the prayer.

In the language of Aramaic, Jesus is said to have taught his followers the prayer we know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It was then translated into Greek and recorded in the Gospels (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).  Since then this prayer attributed to Jesus has been translated into hundred’s of languages. Most familiar to many of us are the English translations based on adaptations of the King James and NRSV versions of the Bible. The fact that language continues to change over time, means that the work of translation is never complete. Jesus’ prayer is alive and well in all the world and many translations embody the breath of life that this rich Word of God inspires.

For several years our Pentecost liturgy has included a cacophony of voices as our worshipping tongues pray this prayer using an interpretation of their choice. A selection of interpretations is printed in a folder and while the presider prays the prayer in Aramaic the congregation prays an interpretation. Follow this link for a copy of the interpretations (designed to be printed double-sided and folded together in a booklet) and enjoy the video which will give you an idea of how the Aramaic may have sounded.

This Pentecost practice moved our community beyond the “contemporary versus traditional” arguments over which translation of the “Lord’s Prayer” ought to be used in worship. We know have a plethora of choices!