Like Martha

Context: I noted down the essence of today’s prayer a day or two ago, but didn’t have enough time to work on it. However, yesterday morning I woke early, which gave me the space to finish it before starting the long journey back to Liverpool (the magnificent Lime Street Station is pictured above). Although I was nervous before setting off, it was a really good day for several reasons.

Firstly, I made a wonderful new friend on the train, and I’m hoping we will stay in touch.

Secondly, a kind friend came to visit me at my hotel, bringing the blessings of conversation, anointing, and Holy Communion.

Thirdly, remember my lifelong claustrophobia? Well, I twice used the train loo, even though it had electronic doors. I’ve avoided this type of toilet ever since they were invented. Admittedly I didn’t engage the electronic lock (my friend kindly guarded the door whilst I was inside), but shutting myself in there was the bravest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I managed it!

Today, I’ll be catching a ferry for the final leg of my journey. I already want to visit the UK again, and especially to visit Liverpool Catholic Cathedral. So, with a heart full of prayerful thanks and rejoicing, here is today’s blog:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
(Luke 10:38-9; NIV). 

1. Jesus, may I be like Martha,
Serving you in all each day,
And, Lord, may I be like Mary,
Learning at your feet each day.

2. Jesus, may I be like Peter,
Walking by your side, each day,
And, Lord, may I be like Thomas,
Touching your poor hands, each day.

3. Then, no matter what life brings,
I’ll know your presence, choose your way,
And never cease, Lord, to rejoice,
Give thanks for everything, and pray.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; NIV).


References 

1. Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

2. One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew – throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him (Matthew 4:18-20; NLT). 

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:27-8; NLT). 

3. Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20; NLT). 

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6; NLT). 

Birth to bliss

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born (Matthew 1:18; NLT). 

Birth to bliss, and bliss to birth:
Christ, Messiah, here on earth.
Bliss to birth, and birth to bliss:
Now, receiving Mary’s kiss.

Light to dark, and dark to light:
Christ, transfigured, shining bright.
Dark to light, and light to dark:
Now, in anguish, broken heart.

Sweat to blood, and blood to sweat:
Jesus, weeping, facing death.
Blood to sweat, and sweat to blood:
Crucified, his pain is love.

Death to life, and life to death:
Jesus takes his final breath.
Life to death, and death to life:
He comes again, to end all strife.

Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28; NLT).

References

Christ died and rose again for this very purpose – to be Lord both of the living and of the dead (Romans 14:9; NLT).

The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war any more (Isaiah 2:4; NLT). 

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3-4; NLT). 

I am seeking


Keep on seeking, and you will find.
(Matthew 7:7; NLT).

Jesus,
I am seeking:
Please let me feel your presence.

Mary,
I am thirsting:
Please let me share your faith.

Spirit,
I am listening:
Please let me hear your whisper.

Father,
I am searching:
Please let me see your face.

🖤

For now we see in a mirror indirectly,
but then we will see face to face.
(1 Corinthians 13:12; NET).


I want to hug you

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
(Jeremiah 29:13; NLT).

1. I want to hug you, Father,
But I can’t;
Yet when I hug a friend, Lord,
I hug you.

2. I yearn to kiss you, Mary,
But I can’t;
Yet when I kiss my neighbour,
I kiss you.

3. I long to hold you, Jesus,
But I can’t;
Yet when I hold a stranger,
I hold you.

4. I seek you, Threefold God,
With all my heart;
And when I love my foe, Lord,
I find you.

🖤

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

 


References 

1. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13; CSB).

2. Love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31; NLT).

3. Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV

4. You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1; NIV).

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-8; NIV).


 

Something unusual (9.12.20. For A.K.)


Image: Michelle Maria, Pixabay


🌹🌹🌹

Something very unusual happened today. It was a cold, grey morning, and I set off to walk the short distance to church at about 9.30, as usual. This generally takes about 5 minutes, depending on how slow I am.

I was the first person to arrive, so I sat down to pray in the stillness, whilst waiting for mass to start at 10 o’clock. I remember checking my watch, only to find that it had stopped at 9.35, so I didn’t know the exact time.

The church was quite dark, apart from a small spotlight above the statue of Our Lady of Rushen, and a dimly-illuminated panel of the Last Supper on the front of the altar. As always, the red tabernacle flame was flickering in its glass holder.

One by one, a few people arrived quietly, the silence deepening as they settled down to pray.

Hearing the priest come out of the sacristy, I looked up, and watched as he prepared for the service by lighting the altar candles, and the first two Advent candles. These were on an ornate metal stand, next to the altar. The first took several seconds to light, but the second burned immediately.

As the second flame steadied, the priest, the stand, and a small area around them were suddenly bathed in a glowing, translucent, Marian-blue light. Time seemed to stand still. I gazed in wonder, unsure of what I was seeing. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Was I imagining it? Could anyone else see what was happening? The effect was soft, yet bright; exquisitely beautiful, mysterious, and awesome. Overwhelmed and disturbed, I hid my face, and prayed, full of confusion. I had no sense of how long this continued, but it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes.

Then there was a click, and the main church lights came on. I looked up, but the radiant turquoise-blue light had disappeared. The little sacring-bell rang; we all stood up as the priest entered to say mass. I knew it was exactly 10am, as he is always very punctual.

After the service, I stayed in the church to pray, then walked back slowly, feeling very strange, and trying to make sense of the whole experience.

When I got home, I found an online message from a friend, which included the following sentence:

May you know the stirring of His Spirit within you,
guiding and sustaining you today.

The message had been sent at 9.44am, which must have been just around the time when the strange light appeared.

🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

No perfect mother

Image: AJ jaanko, Pixabay



Every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17; ESV).

1. There is no perfect mother
Except Mary –
She is the Queen of Grace,
Who loves us all.

2. There is no perfect father
Except Yahweh –
He is the God who hears us
When we call.

3. There is no perfect brother
Except Jesus –
He is the great High Priest,
Who leads the way.

4. There is no perfect friend
Except his Spirit –
He is the One who helps us
When we pray.

 


References

1.  The angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women (Luke 1:28; DRA).

Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head (Revelation 12:1; NLT).

When Jesus saw his mother standing there [at the cross] beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-7; NLT).

They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus (Acts 1:14; NLT).

2. You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48; NLT).

I am Yahweh – the Lord (Exodus 6:2; NLT).

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help (Psalm 34:17; NLT).

3. Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father is heaven is my brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:48-50; NLT).

God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever (Hebrews 7:28; NLT).

It was only right that he [God] should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation (Hebrews 2:10; NLT).

Jesus told him, “I am the way” (John 14:6; NLT).

4. You are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:15; NLT).

Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5:11; NLT).

I will send you the Advocate [or Comforter, or Encourager, or Counsellor] – the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me (John 15:26; NLT).

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26; NRSV).

May I walk with you


1. Father,
May I walk with you,
And talk with you
Today.

2. Mary,
May I pray with you,
And stay with you
Today.

3. Jesus,
May I go with you,
And grow with you
Today.

4. Spirit,
May I blaze with you,
And praise with you
Today.


References

1. The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8; NLT).

God talks with man (Deuteronomy 5:24; DBY).

2. They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus (Acts 1:14; NLT).

3. Then [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

4. What looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3-4; NLT).

We […] who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:3; NKJV).

Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Luke 10:21; NIV).

The Ark of the Covenant (with thanks to Fr. L.C.)

Image: haaretz.com, Yandex

Don’t you realise that all of you together are the temple of God
and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
(1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

1. The Ark held your stone tablets, Lord,
Three thousand years ago:
The sacred ten commandments,
Out of which the law would grow;

2. A golden jar of manna,
Made of dewfall, white as frost,
And Aaron’s rod: these precious things
Were pearls beyond all cost.

3. The Ark dwelt in your Temple, Lord,
The symbol of your might,
To represent your presence
With the people, day and night.

4. But then, in time, the Ark was lost,
So you, Lord, sent your Son,
Born of Mary here on earth:
The Christ, your holy One.

5. Through him, your Spirit lives in us,
Within each mind and heart,
So we can spread your loving care,
For we are now your Ark.


References

1. This Ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4; NIV).

2. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it (Matthew 13:45; NRSV).

3. Arise, O Lord God, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power (2 Chronicles 6:41; NLT).

4. When the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law (Galatians 4:4; NLT).

5. The Spirit of God lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Galatians 5:6; NIV).

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27; NLT).

Reconnect me (#1 of 2 linked prayers)

Image: engin akyurt, Pixabay

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb
(Jeremiah 1:5; NLT).

Don’t you realise that all of you together are the temple of God
and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
(1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

Lord,

1. Reconnect me
With the mind of Christ,
Then I’ll be perfect.

2. Reconnect me
With his Mother’s love,
Then I’ll be whole.

3. Reconnect me
With your Holy Ghost,
Then I’ll be joyful.

4. Reconnect me
With your presence, Father,
In my soul.

References

1. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NKJV).

2. I will give them one heart (Jeremiah 32:39; NLT).

3. We all share the same Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:13; NLT).

4. All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

All one

Photo: geralt

1. Lord,
You’re the Father of Jesus,
The Christ:
And also our Father within.

2. Mary,
Christ’s Mother, the Lady of Grace:
You’re our Mother;
Your children: our kin.

3. Immanuel,
Brother, born here on the earth:
You share in our frail flesh
And blood.

4. Comforter,
Spirit in all humankind:
You make us all one
In your love.

References

1. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3; NLT).

You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

2. God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favoured woman!” […] You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:28,31-2; NLT).

When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-7; NLT).

3. She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’ (Matthew 1:23; NLT).

Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NIV).

It was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:17; NLT).

4. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and remind you of all things I said to you (John 14:26; YLT).

“In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people” (Acts 2:17; NLT).

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you (Romans 8:11; NLT).

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NLT).