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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 2/16

I don't enjoy doing laundry, Lord,
least of all washing sheets and pillow cases
- but yesterday was the day...

I pushed myself to strip my bed,
throw the linens in the washer,
move them to the dryer,
and fold them well enough to avoid wrinkling
on the way back to my bedroom...

It was while I was grumbling
about making the fitted sheet fit my bed
that I caught myself,
brought myself up short -
or was it you, Lord,
you who helped me see myself
in my privileged first world mirror?

I caught myself grumbling about washing and drying
clean fitted sheets and pillow cases
when I might have been giving thanks for:
a large comfortable bed
in my own bedroom,
in a toasty warm house...

I might have been giving thanks
for sheets to launder in working appliances,
right in the basement of my house,
with plenty of detergent, bleach,
fabric softener and Bounce dryer sheets...

I might have been giving thanks
for plenty of warm blankets
to spread on top of my 400 thread count linens
- not to mention the extra sheets and pillow cases
on shelves in my closet...

I might have been giving thanks
when I found myself grumbling...

You know better than I, Lord,
that my problem's bigger than just
sheets and pillow cases:
open my eyes and make me grateful
for so many things I take for granted
every day and every night
and every time I do my laundry...



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Pause or Prayer: SATURDAY 2/15

 February Late Afternoon From Bordeaux by Roger Colson

On Friday mornings I set out for Bridgewater,
returning on 24 North, late in the afternoon...

On yesterday's homebound drive
I couldn't miss or fail to be grateful, Lord,
for the lengthening of days:
sunset now a full hour later
than back on late December's solstice...

Earth's slow, shadowed sun dance reminds me, Lord,
of the sure and steady way you live and stir and move
in my mind, my heart and soul...

I may not notice all the ways your faithful presence,
your light and warmth,
bless me from the inside out and all around
- so open me to moments, Lord,
when your grace reveals the sure and steady way
you accompany my journey
day by day, week by week, month by month
through all the seasons of my life...



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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 2/14

When you pause for prayer today,
read these ten Valentines from God
sent to all of us, intended for each of us.

Perhaps you'll forward or share this post with others 
who might be grateful for reminders of how loved they are... 

God's Valentines for YOU!

  No one has loved you longer than I have:
        I loved you before you were conceived,
           before you were born,
              before all time began... 

  No one holds you closer than I do:
         I'm right by your side 24/7/365,
            I'm truly your BFF...

  No one loves you more faithfully than I do:
         my love for you is unfailing,
            I never give up on you,
               I love you with no strings attached...

  No one loves you more wisely than I do:
        I guide you through all of your troubles
           and my wisdom and counsel are my gifts to you...

  No one loves you more mercifully than I do:
        I freely forgive you - again and again,
           always offering you a second chance,
              a clean slate,  a new beginning ...

  No one loves you more deeply than I do:
           I make my home in the depths of your soul,
              in the mystery of your thoughts,
                 in the secrets of your heart of hearts...
No one loves you more joyfully than I do,
        I delight in the person I made you to be,
           I love you more than you can know or imagine...

  No one loves you more passionately than I do,
          I gave my Beloved Son out of love for you:
            now I call you my child, my chosen, my own...

  No one loves you more graciously than I do:
           I love you more than anyone ever has,
              ever can, ever could or ever will...
No one loves you more fully than I do
         for indeed, I Am Love!
      I abide in you and you in me, 
         for ever and ever.  Amen.  

Questions to prompt our prayer...

"Which of these ten Valentines from God
   did I most need to receive?"

"Which of these Valentines is the most difficult for me to believe?"

"Which of these Valentines brings me the most joy?"

"For which of these Valentines am I most grateful?" 


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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 2/13

The approach of Valentine's Day is exciting for many but difficult for those who are alone, lonely or brokenhearted.  Perhaps you've experienced a heartbreak... a loss... a grief...  a disappointment... or perhaps you'll share this post with another whose heart needs healing...  Here's Jan Richardson's blessing for the brokenhearted...

A Blessing for the Brokenhearted
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
– Henry David Thoreau

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still

as if it trusts
that its own stubborn
and persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us

Jan Richardson in The Painted Prayerbook


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Just sayin...


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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 2/12


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 2/11

Take My Heart by Gwen Meharg

Who doesn't long and pray
for peaceful days and restful nights?

Who doesn't hope
for a day without worries,
an evening brimming with contentment?

Whose heart doesn't ache
to be known, accepted and loved
- no strings attached?

Who among us knows another
whose heart's greatest desires
are any different than our own?

We are all much more the same than we are different:
in  the depths of our souls
our similarities far outnumber our disparities...

From the same place within
all of us need and hunger
for the same love
and only one who knows that hunger well
can feed another's heart...

Gracious, loving God,
help us know and nourish
the hearts of all around us
and open our hearts
to all who would, with love,
feed and nourish us...



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Monday Morning Offering: 2/10

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

Got some upside-down, inside-out,
turned-around sideways thoughts, Lord
- and I'm not sure how to sort them out...

Some days I'm thinking one way,
the next day another way
- and sometimes the difference is hours, not days!

Sometimes I'm strong and confident
- until I start feeling hesitant, timid, unsure...

Sometimes I know exactly what to do next
- and some times I just don't have a clue!

My thoughts and feelings zigzag back and forth,
spiral up and down and around and around
- like a puppy chasing its tail!

Some days my thinking flirts with wisdom,
and some days my thoughts are naive and foolish...

Sometimes I think I've got things all figured out
- and then comes a day of total confusion... 

Sometimes I'm certain:
"God's in heaven, all's right with the world!"
And sometimes I don't know where you are
- and the whole world seems really screwed up!

So this morning, Lord,
I offer you the jumble of thoughts,
the mishmash of feelings,
the tangle of sentiments,
the patchwork of doubts
and the mess of emotions
that make up my life!

I offer all this with a prayer
for your wisdom and counsel,
your understanding and healing,
your consolation and compassion...

Help me, Lord,
in any and every way,
help me sort out my thoughts,
clear up my confusion,
make sense of my misgivings,
unravel my doubts,
resolve my dilemmas
and discover that peace of mind and heart
that's only yours to give...



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Homily for February 9

Salt and Light by Bernie Rosage, used with permission

Homily for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass

Sometimes it’s just as important to be aware of what Jesus doesn’t say
as it is to pay attention to what he doessay.
For instance, in the gospel we just heard,
Jesus doesn’t tell us to BECOME the salt of the earth,
he doesn’t tell us to be LIKE the salt of the earth  -
rather, he tells us we ARE the salt of the earth.

We are the salt

Salt adds to and brings out the flavor in food
- it brings out the best in what it seasons - in several different ways.
Salt can suppress bitterness…  it can increasesweetness…
and in higher concentrations it will enhancethe savory.
Salt can also preserve and keep food from going bad.
But when salt goes flat - it’s of no use -
or if there’s too much salt, it can overwhelm and spoil a dish.

And Jesus says: you and I are the salt of the earth.

Notice, too, that Jesus doesn’t tell us BECOME the light of the world,
he doesn’t tell us to REFLECT the light of the world -
rather, he tells us we ARE the light of the world.

We are the light

Light allows us to see what there is to be seen:
to see what is beautiful and what is true - and what is not.
Light helps us to discover, discern and distinguish
between the good and the bad, between the true and the false,
between the authentic and the imitation.
Light rescues us from the danger of darkness.
Light brings us the warmth of the energy which is its source.
But when light dims, we see only in shadows, at best,
and the world around us begins to chill.

And Jesus says: you and I are the light of the world.

Salt and light…
These are strong, powerful, vital images Jesus uses here
and he uses them to describe US,
he uses salt and light as images
to illustrate who we were made to be for others
and what we were created to do for others.

Let me ask a question… who’s been “salt” in your life?

Whose love and friendship, whose advice and help,
whose very existence and companionship
have flavored, have seasoned your life?
Who has helped suppress some bitterness you’ve known?
Who has sweetened your life?
Whose interaction with you has made your life more savory?
more appetizing?  more appealing and palatable?
Whose “saltiness” has helped preserve your life?
has kept you from spoiling, from going bad?

Who comes to mind as you hear those questions?
Who has been salt for you in your life?

And I wonder… who’s been “light” in your life?

Whose light has helped you see more clearly
and especially to see more clearly what’s true, good,
beautiful, honest - and loving?
Whose light in your life has helped you distinguish
right from wrong, bad from good, the genuine from the fake -
and whose light has helped you live by those distinctions?
Whose light in your life has preserved you, rescued you,
from the danger of darkness? from the hopelessness of despair?
from the shadowy clouds of anxiety and doubt?
Whose light, with its heat and its warmth,
has kept you from the chill of loneliness,
saved you from being frozen by fear,
and preserved you from a winter of endless worry?

Who has been light in your life?

I hope you’ve known people who’ve been salt and light in your life.
And if those who were salt and light for you are now gone,
I hope that remembering and treasuring who they were for you
will restore the flavor and light and warmth they gave you.

And this morning I especially hope and pray that each of us knows
that just as some have been salt and light for us,
so are we called, every single one of us is called,
to be salt and light for others.
That’s what Jesus is telling us in the gospel today.

We ARE the salt of the earth…
We ARE the light of the world…

But if the salt of who we are has gone stale, has lost its taste,
and if our light has grown dim
and fails to illumine and warm the lives of those around us
then we’ve forgotten who we are and who we were made to be:
we’ve forgotten what Jesus has asks of us:
Jesus who is the salt and light of our lives and of our faith.

As you know, in March, on the first Sunday of Lent,
we’ll be celebrating only one mass at St. Luke’s on Sunday mornings.
That’s hard news to hear:
there aren’t enough people here on Sunday mornings
to justify two masses on the schedule.

The good news, I hope and pray,
is that those of us who come together at one mass
will find in a larger gathering
a greater, regenerating experience of faith and community.
AND that together we can begin again to work
towards welcoming home those who’ve drifted away
and inviting in those who’ve not yet shared our parish experience.

If we understand the challenge of the schedule change in this way
then we’ll be understanding ourselves as salt and light for others
especially for others who are no longer, or are not yet, with us.

The more seriously we take our call to be salt and light for others,
the more the inconvenience of the schedule change
has the potential to give way to the joy of growing our parish.

On the other hand, if we let our salt lose its flavor…
our light to dim…   and our warmth to cool…
then a very different story may play out here at St. Luke’s.
I trust and I hope
that we’re all praying for and that we’ll all work towards,
the former, not the latter.

I say all this,  aware that I’m new here.
I’ve not been part of the history of St. Luke’s
that runs deep in the faith and blood lines of you and your families.
I’m new - but I already love being here
and being here for you
and being, as best I can, salt and light for you.

In the season of Lent, just ahead,
I’m going to be celebrating all the weekend masses at St. Luke.
I’m very much looking forward
to praying and living through Lent with you
as we prepare together to celebrate Easter.

So, I’m hoping and praying that once the schedule changes,
you’ll still be here,
that the Lord and his Spirit will renew within  you, within each of you
the desire to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

We turn now, as we always do, to the altar.
Already nurtured by the Lord’s word in the scriptures,
we go to his table to be nourished with his life and love,
his Body and Blood, broken and shed for us on the Cross
and now shared with us in the Eucharist, in Communion.

May we become, more and more,
the salt and light we were created to be.
May our service of our neighbor seasonthe world around us
and may we share the light and warmth of our faith
with any and all we meet and know.


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 2/9

Make known to me your ways, O Lord, 
and teach me your paths...
- Psalm 25

Left or right?  
Straight ahead or double back?
Proceed with caution or come to a stop?
Highway or the scenic route?
Stay the path or fnd a new route?

Even if I don't leave my house, Lord,
at least a couple of times today
I'll need to decide which way to go,
which path to take...   

Teach me your way, Lord,
at every turn,
and show me the path to take...


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