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Psalm 100Each morning the lectionary for that day arrives in my email.  It includes two morning Psalms, a Gospel reading, another passage and two evening Psalms.  I have to admit that my favorite part is the Psalms, perhaps because they are prayers.

Recently, I saw a prayer exercise in Alive Now that asked you to rewrite a Psalm as your own prayer.  I did this with Psalm 100.  This is probably my all-time favorite scripture because of the reminder that we didn’t create ourselves.  We belong to God; see the original scripture to the right.

Holy Lord,

Here us as we praise you from many lands.  Help us remember that you are the Creator.  You made us all.  We are all part of your creation.  We did not create ourselves. We owe what we have and are to you.

Blessed are you, oh Lord – the source of all that is good, the source of saving grace, the source of Truth for all mankind yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Amen

That doesn’t look much like the original, does it?  I tried to “translate” the Psalm verse by verse but the end result was repetitive and disjointed feeling.  It was only when I took notes about what the Psalm meant to me and set aside the original that I could create my prayer.

It would almost certainly be easier to simply read the Psalms with a Holy Father at the beginning and an Amen at the end.  But somehow, I don’t think it would resonate as deeply with me as does this prayer inspired by a Psalm.

What about your favorite Psalm?  Would you rather pray it as is or create a prayer with it as an inspiration?

–SueBE

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Advent -- Lighting the third candle.

This third Sunday of Advent, we light the the Joy Candle.

Have you felt Joy yet this Christmas season?  Pastor Helen reported seeing it in the faces of the parents as their preschoolers put on a Christmas program.  I saw it yesterday when I handed my son a loaf of homemade bread — his great-grandmother’s recipe and a Christmas tradition.  Wednesday we went to my son’s first choir concert and I heard it as one of the two soloists cut loose and sang from the heart.

For me, that’s the easiest place to find Christmas Joy.  In music.  Apparently, I’m not alone — here are just a few of the joyful songs I found to share with you this week.

Joy to the World

Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

What is it that brings Joy to your life this holiday season?  Scripture?  Then perhaps you’d enjoy Psalm 100.  You know something?  The Psalms were meant to be sung.

Share the Joy that you feel during the Advent season.  Some people don’t find it as easily as others.  There will be days you have troubles finding it.  Connecting with another  joy-filled heart is one means to light your way.

–SueBE

This is hands down one of my favorite Bible passages.  We even sang it when I was in Youth Group.  And what a great message for the Christmas season.

Psalm 100

1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I’ve been noodling this question over since Ruth asked it several weeks ago.  What is my ministry?  The message that I carry with me out into the world?  I’m not sure why it has been so difficult for me to articulate but this is attempt #3.

If I had to put it on a t-shirt it would say “Let Them Be Who They Are.”

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 100:3.  “Know Ye that the Lord is God,It is He that hath made us,And not we ourselves,We are His peopleand the sheep of his pasture.”

Then there is this from the Holy Quran.

“[35:27] Do you not realize that GOD sends down from the sky water, whereby we produce fruits of various colors? Even the mountains have different colors; the peaks are white, or red, or some other color. And the ravens are black.

“[35:28] Also, the people, the animals, and the livestock come in various colors. This is why the people who truly reverence GOD are those who are knowledgeable. GOD is Almighty, Forgiving.”

God loves us in our variety — our variety of cultures, our variety of languages, the various ways we approach him, and the various traits that we all possess.   Why?  Because that is the way that God made us, each and every one.

I spent summers in West Texas where my grandfather worked in the mercury mines.  When we were at the mines, I was very often related to every English speaker there.  Everyone else spoke Spanish.   The language flowed around me like the mountain air.  Sometimes they spoke to me, bending down to look me in the eye, speaking slowly before showing me whatever wonder they had found to share with Susita.

In college, I worked the campus pow wow.  The beat of the drum pulsed through the ground.  Tents, pulled from trunks and pick up beds, sprouted up around the drum circle.  I hauled supplies and ran errands until the women pulled me into the circle to join them in the women’s dance.

Thai spring festivals, wiccan weddings and more.  Maybe it was because of my childhood, often among people who spoke another language.  Maybe it is my Faith that God truly did make us all and we all carry a bit of that goodness within us.  Maybe it is just my insatiable curiosity that drives me to be around people who aren’t just like me.

But I truly believe that everyone has the right to be who they are.  To speak their language.  To love who they love.  To approach God down the path on which they have been placed.

Doing what I can do to see that they retain this right is my mission.  To you, it may look like I’m simply keeping the beat with a group of women as we circle the drum one more time before dinner.  On another day, you would only see me serving dinner to a couple who cannot legally marry in my state, but who have chosen to raise children together none-the-less.  But I am seeing them for who they are – children of God who loves us in our variety.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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