Bread that gives life

LENT_real_rest_FRONTPAGE

 

John 6:52-59

Prayer for the day:
Listening God,
Help me to rise to the challenge of following you. May my commitment to you grow like leavened bread rising on a warm day.

Question for reflection:
What are areas in your own community that could use leavening?

~ Katie Cummings, National Youth Conference Coordinator

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lenten Devotional written by Duane Grady, pastor of Cedar Lake Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Duane’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

 

 

No time to be alone

LENT_real_rest_FRONTPAGELuke 22:39-46

Prayer for the day:

For our frailness and for our strength, which are so intertwined, we give you thanks, Great Comforter. Work through us to touch the lives of others, even when we are completely unaware of your movement. Help us to help each other, Lord.

Question for reflection:

Think of a time when someone unknowingly said just the thing you didn’t know you needed to hear. What did that feel like? Once you became more aware of the burden you were carrying/your own humanity, was Jesus present to you in that moment? What did that feel like?

~ Becky Ullom-Naugle, Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lenten Devotional written by Duane Grady, pastor of Cedar Lake Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Duane’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

 

Significant sacrifice

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res  Matthew 2:13 -15

Prayer for the day:
God of us all, open my eyes and heart to those near neighbors and the wider global community to those who are building new lives for themselves among strangers –as immigrants, refugees, travelers, and searchers. May I welcome them as you have you have welcomed me.


Question for reflection:

Once upon a time, it was not uncommon for generation after generation of a family to live in the same town, surrounded by the same neighbors, extended family, and attend the same church or temple. However, our modern society is much more transient as we travel for education, jobs, and other opportunities. I cannot help but imagine Mary and Joseph, parents of a newborn, in a new neighborhood, and missing home. They were probably in desperate need for a casserole. It is easy to remember to give to soup kitchens, family shelters, and gifts for children programs during the holidays but the need is year round. Who is new in your neighborhood, sacrificing the familiarity and safety of home for their children? How can we support them through our congregations and charitable donations?

~ Gimbiya Kettering,  Intercultural Ministries Coordinator

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Tim’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Mutualizing

Lent 2013 Cover    Hebrews 10:19-25

Question for reflection:
Who do you worship with? Who do you gather with to play? To eat? To work? Who is in your community? Who would you want to welcome into your community?

Prayer for the day:
O God, your faithfulness and forgiveness extends to me, to my family, to my community – and beyond. Enable me to see those I meet as You would see them and to welcome them as You would welcome them. Amen.

~ Gimbiya Kettering, Intercultural Ministries Coordinator

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lenten devotional, The Practice of Paying Attention, written by Dana Cassell, Minister of Youth Formation at the Manassas Church of the Brethren. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats) Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Dana’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Lift up your hearts

Lent 2013 Cover   Romans 2:12-16

Question for reflection:
Who do you know that lives outside of a faith community but seems to follow the ways of Jesus better than many Christians? How might you develop a relationship with them?

Prayer for the day:
God of mystery, you often choose interesting people to do your work. Help me to see you in everyone, to hear your voice in places I don’t expect it.

~ Donna Kline, Director of Denominational Deacon Ministry

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lenten devotional, The Practice of Paying Attention, written by Dana Cassell, Minister of Youth Formation at the Manassas Church of the Brethren. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats) Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Walt’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

The heavenly host: Waiting in the wings

Luke 2:10-14

Question for Reflection:
How/do you expand your community during Advent and Christmas?

Prayer for the day:
O God, you who created us to be in relationship, help us to feel the joy found only in community. Encourage us to join in with the multitudes singing praise to you, and to invite others to sing along.
Amen

~ Donna Kline, Director of Denominational Deacon Ministry

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Walt Wiltschek, campus pastor of Manchester University. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats) Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Walt’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Praying the Psalms in Lent

Basin, Towel, and Bible for LentDietrich Bonhoeffer titled one of his books The Psalms: Prayerbook of the Bible. As part of his seminary experiment the students and teachers would pray the psalms together. Though it might seem innovative to some, the book of Psalms has been a hymn and prayer book for the people of God for centuries.

This approach to the book of Psalms stands in pretty stark contrast to our current ways of reading scripture. Rather than reading the Bible for themes, or ideas, or theological concepts, praying scripture teaches us to present the range of our experiences to God. Invariably, while praying these prayers, the reader will encounter emotions or images that say nothing to their current experience. This is not such a bad thing. The language and images of these old hymns refuse to leave us at the heights of praise or the depths of despair. As Don Sailers has said, the psalms speak of humanity at full stretch before God. That is to say, humanity stretched out between the postures of lament and of praise. Praying these ancient words lets us call out to God without reservation. At the same time, they offer words of comfort and challenge from the same God we invoke. In all, the psalms work on our inner life through spoken and read words, shaping us into more Christ like persons with each refrain.

For this season of Lent, I am not going to give something up. Instead, I am going to add something to my daily routine. For the forty days of Lent I will pray through the entire book of Psalms. So that means, six days a week from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday I will be praying at least four Psalms.

If you are new to this way of reading scripture, here is a short article from Christianity Today to get you started. To guide us through the season, a calendar has been posted on our website.

I invite you to join me in this practice. It really does not matter which translation you use, simply find a rendering of the psalms that leads you into prayer. There are many fine translations, some good paraphrases, and multitudes of musical settings.

Let’s take this time as a church to pray together, and not just in our own familiar words, but with the very words of scripture. Let’s let the prayer book of the Bible be our teacher this lent.

 

The Days Are Surely Coming

Prayer for the Day

Creator God, to whom all time is present, we stand in the constant flow of minutes passing into history. Just as we remember the days gone by, we long for the days yet to come. This waiting hope, however, unsettles us. Grant us peace in this day to wait, both remembering the coming of your Word and longing for the day of Christ’s return. Amen

Question

Are you person comfortable with waiting, or are you a go out and get it done kind of person? What does this season of waiting reveal to your personal style?

-Joshua Brockway; Director, Spiritual Life and Discipleship

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent devotional written by David W. Miller. (Available from Brethren Press) Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, David’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

War No More

Prayer for the Day

Lord of heaven and earth, forgive us for limiting the age of your peace to heaven alone. Stir in us the vision of your present and emerging reign so that we may find the courage to take part in your work on earth as it is in heaven. Amen

Question

Where have you witnessed the transforming presence of Christ? How have you limited your understanding of Christ’s peace to heaven alone?

-Joshua Brockway; Director, Spiritual Life and Discipleship

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent devotional written by David W. Miller. (Available from Brethren Press) Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, David’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Theological Basis of Personal Ethics

In the report from the Congregational Ethics Study Committee it was suggested that consideration be given to updating and revising the 1966 Theological Basis of Personal Ethics.

That document can be downloaded here.

What do you think of its content?

Do you think it still speaks to our current understanding and living of Christianity in a Brethren Accent?