Hope

By Allison Snyder

Allison Snyder

Allison Snyder, BVS unit #304

Hope should reach down into a person
and sing the desires of their heart.
It should inspire poets and painters
to strive for artwork where their pens tread.
Hope should inspire nations
to abandon nationalism and self-interest
for a better world for all.
Hope is not crazy or idealist
it is the yearning in our hearts
that tells us that magic and wonder are possible
that we are possible.
When we hope
we let others know that we exist
and believe so much even when it seems futile.
We hope, the daydreamers and wishers
that we might find a slice of Eden
hidden within our days.

Since April is National Poetry Month, we are featuring poems by volunteers. If you are a past or present BVS volunteer, share a poem by e-mailing it to bvs@brethren.org or adding it in the comments section!

A woman teaches Jesus

LENT_real_rest_FRONTPAGE

For Even a Crumb is Enough

Mark 7:24-30

Prayer for the day:
I come before You needing healing –not just for myself but for those I love. I have tried everything and asked so many people for help. Now, I come with a need greater than my faith, greater than my patience, and greater than my hope. I come because others have said I must turn to God, must return to faith, and must believe. I come with thanksgiving in my heart, because you will not turn me away. Amen.

Question for reflection:
Syrophoenician – I can barely even say it. I certainly can’t point to Syrophenicia on a map. Yet, the Syrophoenician woman is my sister. Her daughter, frightening in the fits that held her, is beloved to my heart as my family. When I read this story, I am with her, barely tolerated, before another tribe’s leader. I am frightened Jesus will turn her away for her impertinence. Instead, her daughter is healed and I am as grateful as if it were my daughter.

The Syrophoenician woman is you sister too, for this is how we all come to Jesus, not by birth or by family, but by faith. And by desperation, needing to be healed, wanting to save our families, and finally ready to believe.

  • When have you asked God impossible, impertinent questions out frustration and fear?
  • When have you come to God needing a miracle?
  • Do you return, as if with an untested faith, again and again?

 

~ 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 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.

Learning to wait

LENT_real_rest_FRONTPAGE

Luke 4:1-13


Prayer for the day:

God, we have found in you a dwelling place. Your faithfulness gives us hope and confidence.

Question for reflection:
What experiences have taught you about waiting, including challenging times and less dramatic experiences? How might you help others learn patience and trust in God’s faithfulness?

 

~ Stan Dueck – Director, Transforming Practices

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.

Doubt

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res Luke 1:18-25

Prayer for the day:
Adamant Lord, I praise you for your constant presence, even when my belief becomes mute. Let me cling to you in my darkest hour. Not turning my back to you, the candle of hope.

Question for reflection:
What could your world look like if you cast your doubt aside?

~ Sarah Neher, 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 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.

Do not be afraid

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res Luke 1:13-17

Prayer for the day:
Present spirit, move within me to quiet my fears. For Lord you have already heard my prayer. Give me patience in my anticipation of what is yet to come.

Question for reflection:
What is your deepest fear? Where do you see hope that washes way your fear?

~ Sarah Neher, 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 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.

 

Barrenness

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res  Luke 1:5-7

Prayer for the day:
God, help us to have eyes to see those places in our lives where your Kingdom is breaking in, and let those glimpses fill us with joy and hope, even as we wait for the Kingdom to come in all its fullness. Amen.

Question for reflection:
In what areas of your life are you still waiting for God’s promises to be realized?

~ Tim Heishman, 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 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.

Scarcity and abundance

Lent 2013 Cover     2 Kings 4:1-7

Question for reflection:
Where are there signs of abundance in your congregation and life that offer hope and vitality?

Prayer for the day:
Lord God, help us to care for one another and for your world. Remove our fear and tendencies to assume scarcity. You are the one from whom every family in heaven and earth takes its name. We pray, O God, that according to the riches of your grace we may be strengthened in our inner being to be vessels of your abundance and grace.

~ Stan Dueck, Director for Transforming Practices

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 next act: Rainbow connections

Luke 3:15-18

Question for Reflection:
Recognizing that a “sign of hope” may appear much before the “reality of hope,” what was the most recent “sign of hope” you’ve sensed?

Prayer for the day:
Jesus I am grateful for the signs of hope you give me this day. Make my senses perceptive to your nudging. I pray for the ability to understand the ways in which you are encouraging me today!

~ Becky Ullom Naugle, Director of Youth & Young Adult 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.

The gifts: They keep on giving

Matthew 2:11-12

 

Question for Reflection:
What about this season and the Christmas story overwhelm you with joy? What brings you to your knees with hope and wonder?

Prayer for the day:
Heavenly father, may we always be in awe of you and your wondrous ways. We hope to continue to see your glory in special moments throughout the whole year, not just at Christmas time. Help us to take time to pause and fall to our knees in these moments and praise you for the gifts before us. Amen.

~ Rachel Witkovsky, National Junior High Conference 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 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.

 

Mary: Motherhood

Luke 2:33-35

Question for Reflection:
How is it that children teach their elders about life? What have you learned through the eyes of a child?

Prayer for the day:
God, the promise of a new baby is one of your signs of hope in this world. But that hope is challenged daily, sometimes through deep sorrow like what we feel for the children and families of Newtown, Connecticut. Thank you for sharing in our grief. Grant us peace and courage through the rising and the falling of our daily living. We, like Mary, covet your blessing.  With expectation we pray, amen.

~ Jonathan Shively, executive director, Congregational Life Ministries

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.