Thursday, August 6, 2020

DAY 30

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A Greeting
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
(Psalm 139:14)

A Reading
For this reason I bow my knees before God, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of God's glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21)

Music


Meditative Verse
Praise God, sun and moon;
praise God, all you shining stars!
(Psalm 148:3)

A Prayer
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
- St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer,
found on patheos.com


Verse for the Day
Let everything that breathes praise God!
Hallelujah!
(Psalm 150:6)



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On this last devotional day of this season, we take a moment to reflect on the long journey of this year that we have walked together in faith. We came into 2020 with our hearts and minds on the climate emergency. The Australian and Amazon wildfires and the loss of millions of acres of forests and animals acted as more reminders of the fragility of our planet. The urgent and perilous condition of earth’s ecosystems is and will be our most enduring crisis in the years to come. The coronavirus came in the spring and taught us about our own fragility as human beings. Suddenly we were forced into deeper understanding of how inextricably woven our lives are with each other. What affects one of us, affects the whole: we have learned that our own personal everyday choices can directly affect the health and wellbeing of others. Throughout all of these months, we have been confronted by our own embedded privilege; we have learned to listen more closely to our Indigenous brothers and sisters, to hear their protests and those of other racialized peoples who experience routine systemic racism and injustice. In our faith community life we have met new challenges: when we could no longer worship in our church buildings, we sought and found new ways to be in community with each other. In each of these times, we have searched for how to draw closer to God and the Holy Spirit has guided us through the shadows and the moments of truth. Some time in March, just as we were starting to lock down, astronomers discovered a new star, one whose orbital trajectory had come close enough to the sun for its ice-and-rock filled core to begin to melt, making the ‘trail’ that defines a comet. In July, the Neowise comet became visible in North America, shooting across the early evening sky, calling us out of our homes to gaze deep into the northwestern constellations. Though we are in challenging times, we are reminded always of God’s profound capacity to surprise us with wonder. Today’s reading reminds us that God can accomplish “abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine”. God’s power to transform us is far greater than anything we can dream of. So we can dream big. We can continue to grow our own spiritual and faith journeys as we work to build the kindom of God. We can remember that no matter how challenging a year it has been for us, it has been an average and worse year for those on the margins. We can work to change that. Our baptismal call to discipleship is a rallying cry to be an ally to those in need, to uphold all of the peoples of God. In the coming months, how will you remind yourself of the wonder that is the imagination of God, even as you work for justice and peace? How can we remind ourselves that Christ is always in us and with us in all that we do?



Today marks the end of the LC† Spirit of Restlessness devotional project. Thank you to all who have followed and commented and written emails and messages of encouragement which uphold the ministry more than you know. Very grateful thanks to those who have also supported us in donations: your gifts are a blessing. Gratitude to Pastor Steve Hoffard, Catherine Evenden and Henriette Thompson, for their insight and wisdom and contributions to this project. During the coming weeks, you may wish to follow the ELCIC Facebook page where Bishop Susan Johnson is offering prayers and hymn-sings on Wednesdays and Sundays. From September 1 to October 4 the Lutheran and Anglican churches in North America are offering joint devotions for the Season of Creation. You can find them here. Two other recommended daily devotions are: the reflections of Richard Rohr, an American Franciscan writer of spirituality; and the daily podcasts of Pray-As-You-Go, a devotional resource provided by the Jesuit community in the UK. May the God of unfailing love continue to enfold you and those you love in the promise and hope manifest to us in Jesus. Peace and blessings in Ordinary Time.
See you at Thanksgiving and Advent! - Sherry Coman


Image by Deborah Lee Soltesz



During the Pentecost devotional project,
Lutherans Connect has been inviting you to make a donation to the ministry by going to this link on the website of the ELCIC Eastern Synod and selecting "Lutherans Connect Devotionals" under "Fund". While the devotions will always be freely available to all, your donations help to support the extended offerings that have taken place in 2020. It also offers a way to celebrate the tenth year of this ministry! Many thanks to those who have already contributed! We are grateful!






LC† Spirit of Restlessness is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto,

supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

DAY 29

Image by Matthias Ripp



A Greeting
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 86:4)

A Reading
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:1-8;11-13)

Music


Meditative Verse
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord.
(Psalm 84:3)

A Prayer
Bless us with love, given and received;
And bless us with your presence,
even when we know it in your absence.
Lead us into exile,
until we find that on the road
is where you are,
and where you are is going home.
Bless us, lead us, love us, bring us home
bearing the gospel of life.
- from a poem by Kathy Galloway,
found in The Flowering of the Soul: A Book of Prayers by Women
ed. by Lucinda Vardey

Verse for the Day
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
(Psalm 26:6)



Image by Alfred Grupstra



As we near the end of this devotional season, we hear again the Pauline call to be in unity, this time through working to express unique gifts that each of us has been given. In the description of ‘one body, one spirit’, there is an echo of the Jewish ‘shema’ prayer ritual of Deuteronomy 6 and other sabbath prayers, adjusted to reflect a triune experience of God. In this way, the writer is reaching out to both Jews and Gentiles in Ephesus and hoping to find threads of connection, a meeting place of traditions and the new ‘way’ of Jesus. The Greek word ‘teleios’, translated as ‘maturity’, is more deeply something which has achieved a very good end, an ultimate virtue. The gifts of teaching and witness we are each given are the means by which we can bring into fullness the good news of the kindom and build up the realm of God. Today’s music speaks of how to find home, and the road that leads to it. “There’s a voice I can hear, that will lead me home. Rise up, follow me, come away, is the call.” In today’s reading, ‘home’ is very much here and now, our everyday lives on earth in kinship with others. Over the last five months, home has taken new meaning, as we have been confined to where we live in an effort to flatten the curve of the pandemic. For some home is comforting, for many others home has become a place of conflict or being locked in relationships of abuse. Although some of our freedoms have returned now, many of us long for the fullness of relationship we had in life before the pandemic. We long to come and go from each other's homes without hesitation and offer an embrace or a handshake without thinking twice. How can we have community without these elemental ways of expressing human relationship? Today’s reading is encouraging us to carry the ‘home’ we have in the realm of God into everything we do in the new normal. In loving others as ourselves, in caring for our neighbour, in working for justice for those on the margins, in holding the health and well-being of us all in common, and in doing all of these things wearing masks and staying physically distant where required, we are building up the realm of God: we are making our ‘home’ in Christ a place of safe community in and with each other. How can you reach beyond the barriers imposed by the pandemic to show those in your community your loving care of them? How can we build up the 'home' that includes all of us always?

Image by Andreas Kretschmer



During the Pentecost devotional project,
Lutherans Connect invites you to make a donation to the ministry by going to this link on the website of the ELCIC Eastern Synod and selecting "Lutherans Connect Devotionals" under "Fund". While the devotions will always be freely available to all, your donation helps to support the extended offerings that have been taking place in 2020. It also offers a way to celebrate the tenth year of this ministry! Many thanks to those who have already contributed! We are grateful!






LC† Spirit of Restlessness is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto,

supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and on Twitter.