Prayerscapes is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church in WV and the Christian Church in PA.  It is made possible for your free use because of your faithful support of Disciples Mission Fund,  for which we all give thanks.

 

Read Matthew 21:1-11

After the crowds disperse

After the cloaks are gathered

After the colt is tethered

After the stones grow silent

 

After a cloak is stripped

After a back is striped

After the nails pierce

After the body hangs

After the stone rolls away

 

After fronds are stripped of blades

After a child’s hands enfolds a cross

 

Then holy fire consumes

all things crossed

wood and frond and flesh

 

Grey ash is mixed with blessed water

and marks our lives with grace

Then

rising incorruptible

we join the procession

triumphant!

                            Larry Grimes

Bethany College, Bethany, WV

Read Philippians 2:1-11

I had a New Testament professor who taught and lived Christian JOY:  Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.  I suppose some people, by nature or nurture, can live this JOY without effort.  I know I can’t.  I’m just too self-centered.  Always have been.  Probably always will be.

Lord knows I want to set aside ambition, conceit, and my own interests.  I know how divisive they can be.  I’ve seen it in churches just as much as anywhere else.  Especially when my interests are ignored.  I don’t want to be a humble, obedient slave… even to God.

Lord knows I want to be tender and compassionate.  But it seems the only time I can follow through is when I am driven by love – the discipline of love.  Only then, when I’m totally concerned about the “other” (or the “Other”), am I not concerned about what happens to me.  Often instead I have selfish agendas, hidden even to me, until God reveals them.

You know, Lord, you know.  You know all about me, yet you show me such grace and mercy, and you work to make my hard heart ever softer.

Help me to make your heart – mind connection.

Don Gaffney

Beaver Falls, PA

Read Psalm 23

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want. He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: He leadeth me the quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again, and me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness, e’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale, yet will I fear no ill:
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod and staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished in presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint, and my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life shall surely follow me:
And in God’s house for evermore my dwelling-place shall be.

(Scottish Psalter, 1635)

Prayerscapes is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church in WV and the Christian Church in PA.  It is made possible for your free use because of your faithful support of Disciples Mission Fund,  for which we all give thanks.

 

Read Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Hosanna to th’ anointed King, to David’s holy Son;
Help us, O Lord; descend and bring Salvation from thy throne.
Blest be the Lord, who comes to men with messages of grace;
Who comes in God his Father’s name to save our sinful race.
Hosanna in the highest strains the church on earth can raise;
The highest heav’ns, in which he reigns, Shall give him nobler praise.

(Isaac Watts, Public Domain)

Read Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Giving thanks is a spiritual discipline—a deepening of the relationship between the saved and the Savior.  Yet it is also witness!  The Psalmist encourages us to remember our story, remember our struggles, and to remember how God has delivered us.  This remembering isn’t only for the sake of “me and God,” but when shared as testimony gives witness to the very nature and character of God.

Every Sunday, we remember in great thanksgiving.  When our Lord was betrayed he took bread and cup and said, “Remember.”  Remember when we were sick, and God healed us.  Remember when we were broken, and God mended us.  Remember when we were outcasts and unloved, and God received us anew.  Remember when we were lost and forgotten, and God remembered us.  “Thank you, Lord,” are always the words that pour forth from the lips of the redeemed.

In this Psalm, you’ll find a litany of specific dangers from which the redeemed were saved.  Perhaps this Lent we should prepare such litanies for ourselves at the Lord’s Supper, for Communion is a private devotion, and it is public witness!  It is a sign to the world, and in a very particular way our testimony of God’s very nature—savior, redeemer, lover and friend.

Remind us, O God, of the particularity of our salvation, and embolden us to share our witness with the world that needs it so. 

Kenneth Hardway

First Christian Church, Wheeling, WV

Associate Regional Minister for Youth and Young Adults

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

O sacred head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded with thorns, your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory and blessing you have known!
Yet, though despised and gory, I claim you as my own.

My Lord, what you did suffer was all for sinner’s gain;
mine, mine was the transgression, but yours the deadly pain.
So here I kneel, my Savior, for I deserve your place;
look on me with thy favor and save me by your grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank you, dearest Friend,
for this, your dying sorrow, your pity without end?
Lord, make me yours forever, a loyal servant true,
and let me never, never outlive my love to you.

(Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th C.)

Read Jeremiah 31:31-34

At the lowest point in my life, after the death of my husband, I asked God to walk with me as I maneuvered the tunnel in darkness.  My feet kept going, one foot in front of the other, and the stuff of life got done, piece by piece, but my heart was empty.  I am thankful God took me by the hand and led me out of my Land of Egypt which held me captive in my grief.

As the days stretched on and the sunshine slowly began to return, I continued to go to God in prayer.  Now my prayers are for purpose and meaning. I yearn for God’s instruction, engraved in my heart, as I find my new self.  I trusted God in the tough times when my heart was broken, and God was faithful to lead me.  Now, in the sunshine, I know God continues to be faithful as my path unfolds before me.

O God of love and care, thank you for your presence.

Robin Norsworthy

Central Christian Church, Fairmont, WV