God of Winter, Springtime
Summer and Autumn,
God of Light
God of Warmth
God of Love
God of Potential
God of Hope
Who in the darkest days
Enters our lives
As you entered this world
Healing and Wholeness
All: We praise your glorious name!
– Author Unknown
making life alive,
moving in all things,
root of all created being,
cleansing the cosmos
of every impurity,
You are lustrous
and praiseworthy life,
You waken and re-awaken
that is. Amen.
– Author Unknown
Praise YHWH, all you servants of YHWH
who minister by night in the house of YHWH.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise YHWH.
May YHWH bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.
I wait for the Lord,
my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
– Psalm 130:5
I love this blessing from Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is one of the earliest and most important rituals within Christianity. Have you ever been curious as to how early Christians practiced baptism?
The Didache is one of the earliest Christian documents not found in the New Testament. “Didache” means teaching, and is short for “The Lord’s Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”. It describes early Christian ethics, practices, and order, including how they practiced baptism. It provides instruction as follows:
“And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.”
What I find fascinating about this instruction is its flexibility. There is an obvious preference for full immersion in cool, running water, but if circumstances don’t permit that, no sweat, just use what you have available, the simple act of pouring warm water upon the head is enough. It may not have quite the same symbolic resonance as full immersion but what matters most is the intent. How refreshing. I wish all Christians would take such a gracious attitude.
A prayer from Knowing Jesus that I hope will brighten your day.
Prayers For Joy And Laughter
Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many sad and troublesome things to face in the world today, which too often cause our hearts to become weighed down with difficulties and doubts – but I pray that Your joy would fill my heart and strengthen my soul.. and that times of joyful laughter would replace those seasons of weeping and hardship.
I pray that in Christ I may be clothed in strength and dignity, wisdom and grace and that I may be enabled to laugh in the storms and not to fear the future, knowing that our times are in Your hands and You have promised to draw near to each one of us.. and be with us in every circumstance of life that may come our way..
I pray that Your joy and laughter may flow through me to others who are facing similar difficulties and hardships – and that together we may maintain an ever deepening trust in You as we look for Your any day return to take us to be with Yourself – this I ask in Jesus name,
Interacting with Pagans prompts me on occasion to consider the function and efficacy of ritual. I am not entirely comfortable with Catholics sacramentalism but I’m also seeing limitations with the way Protestants speak of “ordinances” and wonder if we’ve sometimes tossed the baby out with the bathwater. If we see mental assent as sufficient for salvation we’re being awfully dualistic. Shouldn’t we be approaching it more holistically? I am beginning to wonder if preaching the gospel, praising God, breaking bread together, gathering together, and baptising one another should not all be considered “expressions of faith”, and as such, “means of grace”. It’s not that God can’t confer grace through other means, it’s just that it pleases God to frequently act through these means. I am not at all comfortable with the way that the sinner’s prayer and/or altar call seem to have gazumped baptism in many baptist churches. Something is seriously wrong with that picture. When I think of baptism as a kinaesthetic expression of faith it kind of makes more sense for me though. Baptism isn’t a work or the law, it’s an act of gift reception.
May you be blessed
With the spirit of the season, which is peace,
The gladness of the season, which is hope,
And the heart of the season, which is love.
Some creative prayer ideas from Methodist.org.uk:
1/ Rock of salvation
Hold stones or glass beads to symbolise a hard problem; place it near a cross.
2/ Light of the World
Scented tea lights placed in front of a newspaper (to pray for those in the news)
3/ Fruit of the Spirit
Drink fruit juices which have been re-labelled joy, peace, love or patience, and as you drink ask God for that gift of the Spirit