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From Doubt to Groundedness

Today’s Reflection

I HAVE NEVER been much on pat answers. For as long as I can remember, I have prayed — sometimes with blind faith and great confidence and sometimes with a mere sliver of hope. At times my faith in prayer would come crumbling down like a house of cards, and my doubts would spiral out of control. I hope that the old adage “Doubt is the cutting edge of faith” is true, because those times of deepest doubt have nearly always wrestled me into greater groundedness.

The searching and questioning have unsettled the soil of my soul, sort of like the springtime process of unsettling the serenity of the garden. I grab a hoe and loosen the dirt so sun and rain can probe to the roots below. Sometimes, faced with the need to till my “prayer garden,” all I can say is that I’m willing to “pick up the hoe”—just willing to begin.

– Linda Douty
Praying in the Messiness of Life

From pages 20-21 of Praying in the Messiness of Life: 7 Ways to Renew Your Relationship with God by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2011 by Linda Douty. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Describe experiences that move you to a greater sense of groundedness. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.
Luke 24:31, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those who are experiencing divorce. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Full Body Knowing

Today’s Reflection

LOSING SOMEONE SIGNIFICANT involves a loss to the body as well. Loss is a physical experience. The body has ways of knowing that seem to ignore the mind and heart. In the early years after my first wife died, I found myself becoming distressed in the springtime (near the anniversary of her death). My body would become restless and unsettled. . . . When we spend time telling the story of the loss, we are trying to cause the body to come to terms with the loss.

Loss reaches deep in the soul too. When our child dies, our soul is stripped of much of the comfort and security it had constructed for itself. The soul may have had a fundamental trust of the universe or God, but when a child is taken from us, the soul must fundamentally reorient itself. The world will never be as friendly as it was before. . . . To remember, to tell the story over and over, is the soul’s way of trying to re-understand and know itself in relation to the forces that hold life and threaten life.

It could be said that through remembering we come to “full body” knowing. When we tell of the one we have lost, we are integrating our body, mind, heart, and soul so that all of who we are fully experiences the truth of the loss.

– Dan Moseley
Lose, Love, Live

From page 62 of Lose, Love, Live: The Spiritual Gifts of Loss and Change by Dan Moseley. Copyright © 2010 by Dan Moseley. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What are ways you deal with lose and grief? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
1 Peter 1:18-19, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those who are experiencing divorce. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Sheltering God

Today’s Reflection

Psalm Prayer (Psalm 91)

SHELTERING GOD, you have made a nest among us.
Under the canopy of your wings
we make our homes and find our sanctuary.
Our trust is in you!
Bear us on your wings of love
that we might be wings of your hope to the world. Amen.

– Elise S. Eslinger
The Upper Room Worshipbook

Psalm 91 prayer, adapted by Kay Barckley. From The Upper Room Worshipbook: Music and Liturgies for Spiritual Formation, compiled and edited by Elise S. Eslinger. Copyright © 2006 Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
Psalm 116:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those who are experiencing divorce. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Right Thing To Do

Today’s Reflection

AS A THREE-TIME WINNER of the Indianapolis 500, Hélio Castroneves has probably never had a blue flag waved at him in a race. This flag means you are about to be lapped, and it tells you to move to the outside lane to make way for the car that’s a full revolution ahead of you. Hélio jokingly says a blue flag “means someone else is having a better day than you.”

Heeding the blue flag isn’t mandatory. There is no penalty for ignoring it. That’s why it’s also called “the courtesy flag.” You obey it Hélio says, because “it’s the right thing to do.” That’s his philosophy both on and off the track: Many of the important things we do in life are done not because we have to do them. We do them because they are right. “Being humble,” Hélio says, “takes you far.”

– Rob Fuquay
Take the Flag

From page 41 of Take the Flag: Following God’s Signals in the Race of Your Life by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2016 by Rob Fuquay. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What do you find yourself doing because it is the right thing to do? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Psalm 116:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those who are experiencing divorce. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Praying with Our Bodies

Today’s Reflection

JUST AS WE ARE ABLE to reach out to God with our hearts and minds …, we are able to reach out to God with and through our bodies. For it is through our bodies that we see and experience beauty, love, joy, and peace. It is through our bodies that we know the ecstasy of the divine fire burning in our hearts as we enter more deeply into prayer. It is through our bodies that we meet the One who came in a body to dwell among us, heal us, and help us to know God.

– Daniel Wolpert
Creating a Life with God

From pages 116-117 of Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices by Daniel Wolpert. Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Wolpert. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you experience God with and through your body? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
Acts 2:41, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those who are experiencing divorce. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Spiritual Hunger

Today’s Reflection

PEOPLE TODAY HUNGER for spiritual experience, for an encounter with the living God. Millennials (the increasing majority of people who do not subscribe to Enlightenment prejudice against spiritual experience) long for spiritual experience through symbols, metaphors, stories, art, music, and practices of prayer that help us listen deeply to God’s voice. Today offers a time of unprecedented opportunity for us … to reconnect with our own heritage of Christian mysticism, to reclaim the central importance of prayer and spiritual experience to the Christian life.

In our own forgotten and rejected DNA we have what it will take to reconnect us with the apostolic power of God in mission. It is time for a new generation of leaders to come forth, new John Wesleys and Phoebe Palmers, who are filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and who, like Paul, surrender their own traditions to the greater tradition of God making all things new.


God Unbound

From pages 39-40 of God Unbound: Wisdom from the Galatians for the Anxious Church by Elaine A. Heath. Copyright © 2016 by Elaine A. Heath. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where do you see evidence of spiritual hunger? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

John 20:29, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those who are experiencing divorce. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 12 comments }

The Eucharist as Sorrow’s Kitchen

Today’s Reflection

AT THE DEEPEST LEVELS, what takes place during the Holy Meal? What life-transforming dynamic occurs when your congregation celebrates the Lord’s Supper? Perhaps we can helpfully imagine the Eucharist as spending time in “sorrow’s kitchen.”

The Eucharist is sorrow’s kitchen, not only as sharing in eating the Paschal meal, which is an anamnesis of the dying and rising of Christ, but as sharing in the abiguity and struggle of the world as it reflects the dying and rising of Christ. In sorrow’s kitchen we mix the ingredients of our passage from death to life. We take, bless, break, and give the bread that is moistened with the world’s tears, including our own. We add the flour of grain crushed and pulverized by the millstone of oppression, grief, and neglect. In other words, grateful celebration of the Eucharist finds a way to include and declare truthfully that life hurts. Passage from death to life, from sin to love, from living in the dark to living in the light, is painful. …

The Eucharist is “sorrow’s kitchen” because it is where death and life meet each week. Here we partake of the realities of sickness, death, evil’s bashing of the poor and marginalized, our complicity with wrong and harm (confession and pardon), and our own suffering and lament of injustice. We can do so because we proclaim Easter’s faith: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!”


Patterned by Grace

From pages 114-115 of Patterned by Grace: How Liturgy Shapes Us by Daniel T. Benedict Jr. Copyright © 2007 by Daniel T. Benedict Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What does the Eucharist mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

John 20:29, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those struggling with addictions. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anselm (April 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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A Prayer for Earth Day

Today’s Reflection

PRAISE TO YOU, my God and Creator!
Your creativity is matched by your compassion!
Today is a new day in the life of creation.
Let me see and hear,
taste, touch, and smell
the thrill of your grace
the pulse of the Spirit
in and through all creation.

– Sam Hamilton-Poore
Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation

From page 50 of Earth Gospel by Sam Hamilton-Poore. Copyright © 2008 by the author. Used with permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

John 20:19, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those struggling with addictions. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anselm (April 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 12 comments }

Be Still

Today’s Reflection

IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, Jesus taught his disciples to “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” Fortunately, I live in a community where I am only a few steps from our chapel; I can go there and pray. In my small apartment, I have created a “cell” marked by mementos of pilgrimages to Tintern Abbey in Wales and the island of Iona. Prayer and spiritual books put me in touch with monks and mystics who show the way, who have walked the hard road that leads to life.

I also know that I can “pray without ceasing” and realize God’s presence wherever i am without being lost in my illusions. By entering the narrow gate of a disciplined life of prayer, I discover the true meaning of life in the later years.

Reflection

Go to a quiet place and spend 15 minutes in prayer, as you meditate on these words:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know
Be still
Be

– Jane Marie Thibault and Richard L. Morgan
Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life

From page 87 of Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life: 7 Gateways to Spiritual Growth by Jane Marie Thibault and Richard L. Morgan. Copyright © 2012 by Jane Marie Thibault and Richard L. Morgan. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Follow the steps outlined in the reflection, above. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those struggling with addictions. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anselm (April 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 8 comments }

Worship Moments

Today’s Reflection

MOMENTS OF SACRED discernment and mystical clarity come in just that way: moments. The recognition of holy presence in morsels of bread and sips of wine or juice are fleeting because they set us back on the road nourished with the news and hope of resurrection, however hidden that news or distant that hope may seem at this juncture. Worship is not our permanent domicile; it is our departure gate.

– John Indermark
Worship in Light of the Cross

From page 108 of Worship in Light of the Cross: Meditations for Lent by John Indermark. Copyright © 2016 by John Indermark. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Describe a time when you have been “sent forth” from worship? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5, NRSV

This Week: pray for people those struggling with addictions. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anselm (April 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 7 comments }