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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Fool for Christ

Photo by Beth McLean, Community of Faith, St Thomas Anglican Church, Upper Ferntree Gully
Miss Eagle is part of the Community of Faith which gathers at St Thomas's at Upper Ferntree Gully in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
To-morrow is the first day of Autumn in the southern hemisphere as can be seen by the beautiful golden leaves.

Photo by Beth McLean, Community of Faith, St Thomas Anglican Church, Upper Ferntree Gully

The theme for Lent at St Thom's is "A Fool for Christ".

St Thom's priest, Susanne Chambers, has opened the pulpit to a number of guest speakers during Lent.
They are listed below and will speak at two services each day: 8.00am and 9.30am.

Lent 2
Sunday 4 March
The Rev’d Jonathan Chambers
Senior Chaplain, Anglican Criminal Justice Ministry, Victoria/Anglicare Victoria

Lent 3
Sunday March 11

David Spitteler, Facilitator of The Asylum Seekers Centre (Dandenong)

Lent 4
Sunday March 18

Marlene McGrath, Spiritual Director, Heart of Life Spirituality Centre

Lent 5
Sunday March 25

Seasons of the Soul: Repentance

Repentance by Randall M. Hasson
For more details go here.
Lord, I confess my sin is great;
Great is my sin. Oh! gently treat
With your quick flower, your momentary bloom;
Whose life still pressing
Is one undressing,
A steady aiming at a tomb.

Man's age is two hours work, or three:
Each day does round about us see.
Thus are we to delights: but we are all
To sorrows old
If like be told
From what life feels of Adam's fall.

O let your height of mercy then
Compassionate short-breathéd men.
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression
I do confess
My foolishness;
My God, accept of my confession.

Sweeten at length this bitter bowl,
Which you have poured into my soul;
Your wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather:
For if you stay,
I and this day,
As we did rise, we die together.

When you for sin rebuke each man,
Forthwith he waxeth woe and wan:
Bitterness fills our bowels; all our hearts
Pine, and decay,
And drop away,
And carry with them th’ other parts.

But you will sin and grief destroy;
That so the broken bones may joy,
And tune together in a well-set song,
Full of His praises,
Who dead men raises.
Fractures well cured make us more strong.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Incessant prayer : unceasing prayer

A Christian tradition that is become more and more widespread is The Jesus Prayer. The words are above. To read more about The Jesus Prayer, how it is said, and how you can take it into your life to express your love, read here.

Related reading:
The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God 

Prayer of the Heart: The Contemplative Tradition of the Christian East 

The Way of a Pilgrim: The Jesus Prayer Journey—Annotated & Explained (Skylight Illuminations)

The Prayer of Jesus: Secrets of Real Intimacy with God

Remembrance of George Herbert

To-day, February 27,
in the Anglican liturgical calendar,
Love Took My Hand: The Spirituality of George Herbert 

Seasons of the Soul: Business/Busyness

Photo by Denis Wilson at The Nature of Robertson
See his posts and photos of bees here

Canst be idle? canst thou play,
Foolish soul who sinned today?

Rivers run, and springs each one
Know their home, and get them gone:
Have you tears, or have you none?

If, poor soul, you have no tears,
Would you had no faults or fears!
Who has these, those ill forbears.

Winds still work: it is their plot,
Be the season cold, or hot:
Have you sighs, or have you not?

If you have no sighs or groans,
Would you had no flesh and bones!
Lesser pains 'scape greater ones.

But if yet you idle be

Foolish soul, Who died for thee?

Who did leave His Father's throne,
To assume your flesh and bone;
Had He life, or had He none?

If He had not lived for thee,
You had died most wretchedly;
And two deaths had been your fee.

He so far your good did plot,
That His own self He forgot.
Did He die, or did He not?

If He had not died for thee,
You have lived in misery.
Two lives worse than ten deaths be.

And has any space of breath

'Twixt his sins and Saviour's death?

He that looses gold, though dross,
Tells to all he meets, his cross:
He that sins, has he no loss?

He that finds a silver vein,
Thinks on it, and thinks again:
Brings your Savior's death no gain?

Who in heart not ever kneels,
Neither sin nor Saviour feels.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Miss Eagle's Morning Prayer

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 14:5,6
Lord Jesus Christ
You are The Way, The Truth and The Life.

You are The Way.
Guide me.
Plant my feet firmly in your path
That I may not deviate either to left or to right
But follow you closely:
Just an arm's length away that I might touch the hem of your garment:
Within earshot that I might hear your word and your will for my life.

You are The Truth
Teach me, Guide me, Illuminate me.
Teach me to worship you in Spirit.
Teach me to worship you in Truth.
So grace me and discipline me, Lord,
That I may exhibit your Truth and Your Spirit
In my daily walk.

You are The Life
The Life given for me on Calvary
Grant that I might not live
But that you might live in me
Dreaming your dreams through me
Tasting, touching, sensing, the world
Through me.

Come, Lord Jesus, come in glory.

A life hidden with Christ

The Hidden Cottage - Thomas Kinkade

[For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.]

My words and thoughts do both express this notion,
That Life has with the sun a double motion.
The first Is straight, and our diurnal friend,
The other Hid and does obliquely bend.
One life is wrapped In flesh, and tends to earth:
The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth
Taught me to live here so, That still one eye
Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high:
Quitting with daily labor all My pleasure,
To gain at harvest an eternal Treasure.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Seasons of the Soul: First Sunday in Lent - 2

Picture from the site of The Church of our Saviour, Secaucus, NJ, USA
To-day is the First Sunday in Lent in Year C.

The readings below come from

Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.

Luke 4.8

Prayer of the Day

O saving God,

who led your people through the wilderness

and brought them to the promised land:

so guide us that, following our Saviour,

we may walk through the wilderness of this world

and be brought to the glory of the world which is to come;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.



Deuteronomy 26.1-11

Psalm 91.1-2, 9-16

Romans 10.4-13

Luke 4.1-15

To-day's reading of the Good News of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ tells of the tempting of Jesus by Satan after Jesus has spent forty days in the desert or the wilderness.

1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” 9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘ He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 and, ‘ In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. 14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. 15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (New King James Version published by Thomas Nelson)
For further thought and meditation, you may like to look at these commentaries.

Seasons of the Soul: First Sunday in Lent - 1

As he that sees a dark and shady grove,
Stays not, but looks beyond it on the sky;
So when I view my sins, mine eyes remove
More backward still, and to that water fly,
Which is above the heav'ns, whose spring and vent
Is in my dear Redeemer's piercéd side.
O blessed streams! either you do prevent
And stop our sins from growing thick and wide,
Or else give tears to drown them, as they grow.
In you Redemption measures all my time,
And spreads the plaster equal to the crime.
You taught the Book of Life my name, that so
What ever future sins should me miscall,
Your first acquaintance might discredit all.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Seasons of the Soul: The Sacrifice (1)

My Sacrifice

Oh all you, who pass by, whose eyes and mind
To worldly things are sharp, but to me blind;
To me, who took eyes that I might you find:
Was ever grief like mine?

The Princes of my people make a head
Against their Maker: they do wish me dead,
Who cannot wish, except I give them bread;
Was ever grief like mine?

Without me each one, who does now me brave,
Had to this day been an Egyptian slave.
They use that power against me, which I gave:
Was ever grief like mine?

Mine own Apostle, who the bag did bear,
Though he had all I had, did not forbear
To sell me also, and to put me there:
Was ever grief like mine?

For thirty pence he did my death devise,
Who at three hundred did the ointment prize,
Not half so sweet as my sweet sacrifice:
Was ever grief like mine?

Therefore my soul melts, and my heart’s dear treasure
Drops blood (the only beads) my words to measure:
O let this cup pass, if it be your pleasure:
Was ever grief like mine?

These drops being tempered with sinners’ tears
A Balsam are for both the Hemispheres:
Curing all wounds, but mine; all, but my fears:
Was ever grief like mine?

Yet my Disciples sleep; I cannot gain
One hour of watching; but their drowsy brain
Comforts not me, and does my doctrine stain:
Was ever grief like mine?

Arise, arise, they come. Look how they run!
Alas! what haste they make to be undone!
How with their lanterns do they seek the sun!
Was ever grief like mine?

With clubs and staves they seek me, as a thief,
Who am the Way and Truth, the true relief;
Most true to those, who are my greatest grief:
Was ever grief like mine?
Over at LenTree for George Herbert there is a note that "The Sacrifice" continues for the next six Saturdays. The six readings can be used for a Tenebrae Service with appropriate scripture and hymns. Each to be concluded by extinguishing one candle.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Creator, creation, and re-creation

Women are crafty souls - their crafts come in all shapes and forms. Their domestic crafts reach beyond their homes into museums and galleries and, these days, on to the internet. To-day specialist stores spring up to meet the specialist demands of crafts.
The blogosphere has a strong coterie of craftswomen exhibiting, writing, photographing, swapping, meeting, moving up to join with other women in more global craft-encompassing blogs. Some - like Jane Brocket over at yarnstorm - are offered book contracts by major publishers.
Meanwhile, over at Photo Friday, the topic of the week is Texture.

The picture above reflects the lives of two women: Miss Eagle and her daughter, Herself. The baskets in the photograph are in the collection of Miss Eagle. Cane baskets and Miss Eagle seem to have an affinity and finish up painted in a shabby chic palette of colours. The larger basket contains a range of fabrics: some belonging to Miss Eagle, some to Herself. Some are used in upholstery, some are used in soft furnishings such as cushions. Sitting in the smaller, blue basket is a collection of old knobs and locks belonging to Herself. They have a utilitarian beauty.
Miss Eagle thinks of God's presence in her life: refashioning the raw materials; stripping away the gaudy paint and opting for a softer finish; sanding and smoothing the bumps and rough edges; and making the creation of the Creator beautiful and useful.
It is something Miss Eagle has thought of often over the years as she has made shabby old pieces ignored by other people useful and beautiful enough to find pride of place in the home. It is a reflection of God at work: and no-thing, no-one is ever so worn or shabby that the tender loving Spirit of God cannot make some-thing, some-one beautiful and useful.
Miss Eagle is so thankful that this is the case!

A Way of Working: The Spiritual Dimension of Craft 
A Way of Working: The Spiritual Dimension of Craft 

Seasons of the Soul: Employment

Fly on Boobialla - Photo by Denis Wilson
Employment (I)

If as a flower does spread and die,
You would extend me to some good,
Before I were by frosts extremity
Nipt in the bud;

The sweetness and the praise were thine;
But the extension and the room,
Which in your garland I should fill, were mine
At your great doom.

For as you do impart your grace,
The greater shall our glory be.
The measure of our joys is in this place,
The stuff with thee.

Let me not languish then, and spend
A life as barren to your praise,
As is the dust, to which all life does tend,
But with delays.

All things are busy; only I
Neither bring honey with the bees,
Nor flowers to make that, nor the husbandry
To water these.

I am no link of your great chain,
But all my company is a weed.
Lord place me in your consort; give one strain
To my poor reed.

George Herbert

Seasons of the Soul: Fasting and abstinence

Fasting and abstinence is an ancient tradition of the Christian church. Since Reformation times, some Protestant churches have moved away from the practice but the late 20th century saw many of these churches and individuals return to the practice. Much of this return to tradition could be attributed to the writing of the Evangelical Quaker, Richard Foster, and his Renovare movement.

Traditional Lenten practice in the Christian Church in the western tradition is that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence and all Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. Fasting means one main meal during the day and, if necessary, two smaller meals to keep up one's strength. These smaller meals should not exceed the main meal. Abstinence means abstaining from meat. Beef and poultry are out on days of abstinence but fish is permitted. From this tradition of fasting and abstinence during Lent comes the tradition of "giving up" something for Lent i.e. children might decide to give up lollies, men might give up alcohol and so on.

The purpose of such practices is to encourage a penitent way of life during this season of the soul remembering our dependency on God and how sinful human nature impeded, and continues to impede, our relationship with our Creator and brought Jesus to the Cross.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Seasons of the Soul: Lenten reflection

The Pulley
When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by;
“Let Us,” said He, “pour on him all We can:
Let the world's riches, which disperséd lie,
Contract into a span.”

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honor, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all His treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.

“For if I should,” said He,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore My gifts in stead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.”

George Herbert


A Litany of Penitence

Eternal God, maker of heaven and earth
Have mercy on us.
Incarnate Word, redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Abiding Spirit, give of light and life,
Have mercy on us.
For turning away from y our presence,
For disobeying your word and commandments,
Forgive us, Lord.
For trusting in our own strength instead of yours,
For betraying your trust and the trust of others,
Forgive us, Lord.
For resisting your grace and refusing your blessings,
For holding back from proclaiming our faith in you,
Forgive us, Lord.
For damaging this earth and exploiting its creatures,
For neglecting and wasting the gifts you have give us,
Forgive us, Lord.
For failing to forgive as we have been forgiven,
For judging others and bearing grudges,
Forgive us Lord.
For skimping on our commitments and relationships,
For failing in hospitality,
Forgive us, Lord.
For tolerating oppression, injustice, and wrong,
For keeping silent when we should have spoken up,
Forgive us, Lord.
For turning away when others have offered us love,
For closing our hearts when others have needed compassion,
Forgive us, Lord.
For all we have done unkindly, unjustly and dishonestly,
For our careless speech and hurtful words,
Forgive us Lord.