Tag Archives: celebration

Frederick Buechner and Celebration

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 14, 2017

laugh more

Frederick Buechner and Celebration

I have heard of Frederick Buechner, but never read anything by him. It was interesting to read the short introduction about him. Presbyterian minister, accomplished writer of both fiction and non-fiction, this particular excerpt features Peculiar Treasures, appreciating the humor of the Bible. This book is a particularly apt way of celebrating with God.

Laughter, outright. Laughter in a sly way, in a shy way. Out and out hoots and hollers of laughter. Ironic laughter, and hesitant laughter instead of tears of sadness and frustration. All of these kinds of laughter are found in the Bible, and Buechner wrote about them.

One example is the laughter of Sarah. (And, Abraham.) Sarah was over 90 years old when the heavenly visitors come to visit their tent as their guests. No one is more surprised than Sarah and Abraham when the guests tell them that the old lady Sarah will have a baby before a year is up.

“Abraham laughed ‘till he fell on his face.’ (Gen 17:17), and Sarah stood cackling behind the tent door so the angel wouldn’t think she was being rude as the tears streamed down her face. When the baby finally came, they even called him Laughter.” [1]

A number of other biblical references are mentioned. Such a gathering of references to laughter, in so many forms, causes me to smile. The Bible is truly a gathering place for a multitude of emotions. This article and excerpt shows us how we ought to enjoy the breadth of these happy times—or, at least, positive situations.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the gift of laughter.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 315.

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 16, 2017

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Breathe. That’s right, feel your breath flowing in and out of your lungs. Intentional, mindful. Now, breathe more deeply. Slowly. In and out. Be exquisitely aware of each breath in, and each breath out.

You got all that? You—I—we all are celebrating being alive as we become mindful and aware of each breath we take. What a marvelous gift from God.

As I read another short section in the slim book How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh, I came across a significant insight. (Or, if you choose, it’s the most obvious statement.) He says: “If you are breathing mindfully in and out, you already have insight.” [1]

When I sit and meditate, take my time and pray, I have the opportunity to deepen and slow my breathing. I can take the time to relax my muscles, loosen the tension in my neck, shoulders and spine, and become quiet. Restful. Mindful.

Dear God, is this what You want me to do, right now? Rest in You, I mean. Rest, and praise, and be thankful. Amen.



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 29.

Today is Tuesday – Dry Bones and Prayer?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 7, 2015

dry bones Ezekiel 37 word cloud

Today is Tuesday – Dry Bones and Prayer?

A rainy day. Raw, gray, sad day. What an appropriate reading for such a day, I thought. Ezekiel 37:1-14, the valley of the dry bones. As I read in the liturgical daily prayer book, I felt dry, even a bit spiritually parched. Odd way to feel, immediately after Easter. After the big events of Holy Week, capped by such a wonderful Easter celebration.

But, maybe, not so odd.

There is often some let-down, after such a celebration. So much hype, such anticipation. And then, the nosedive in the aftermath. (The weather outside might have had something to do with my gray, negative attitude, too.)

“Hear the word of the Lord!” Ezekiel was told to preach to the bones. As a preacher myself, I suspect that Ezekiel did his very best, especially since the Lord ordered him to! I know I try my best to preach, too. I don’t always hit the mark, but I try. I try my best. (You know I do, Lord! )

I feel akin to Ezekiel. Preaching to a little congregation, doing the best I can, with the Lord’s help. Whatever God wants me to do, I strive to do my best.

What about you? In your case, it might not be preaching. However, God may very well be calling you to do something. Be the best YOU you can be. Do the best job at whatever your hand finds to do. Just like Ezekiel.

Dear Lord, gracious God, give us a spirit of willingness. A spirit of thoughtfulness. A spirit of humility. And some honesty and openness wouldn’t hurt, either! Thanks for providing all of us with help, whenever we cry out to You like Ezekiel did. Thanks for Your presence with me, every day. Help me as I prepare for the various services and bible studies, week by week. And provide for our needs. Please. In the risen Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Easter Sunday – Gift of Generosity. Freely Given.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 4, 2015

BK wherever there is a human

Easter Sunday – Gift of Generosity. Freely Given.

Today marks the celebration of Easter.

However, three days ago, we remembered the torture, trial and sentencing of our Lord. We remembered the way to the cross, the Via Dolorosa, as well as the Seven Last Words spoken from the cross. As the words of the Apostles Creed tell us, “He was crucified, dead, and buried.”

But that was Friday—this is Sunday. In churches and other sanctuaries around the world, we celebrate the blessed fact that Jesus is no longer dead. Death is conquered, and He is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed!

Today is also the end of the 40 acts of Generosity, the end of doing 40 generous, kind acts for Lent. In this effort, we were instructed to do generous acts, even small things of kindness, to try to change our surroundings. Change our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods. If each of us who signed up for #40acts did even 20 generous, kind things (not the whole 40, but only half that many), just think of what a groundswell of good feeling and positive energy will be generated. Has been generated, already!

In the short video put out on the www.40acts.org.uk website (and Facebook page), a brief celebration of the #40acts of generosity was posted. At the end appeared the catchphrase “Do Lent Generously.” Except . . . with a difference. The phrase read, “Do Life Generously.”

What a marvelous opportunity to make a regular difference in my home, my workplace, my community. Even, making a daily difference! What a challenge to me. To us. To strive to be a kind, generous person, thinking of others before I think of myself.

Dear God, help me to think in this way. Encourage me—encourage each of us to think of good, kind, generous activities and words and even thoughts for others. What a way to continue being generous and kind! Thanks, Lord.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Celebrating Someone Special! Praying All the Way.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 7, 2015

grateful for everything

Celebrating Someone Special! Praying All the Way.

What a wonderful thing, celebrating God’s gift to me—of someone special! I immediately thought of someone perfect for this prayer suggestion. And, there is going to be a big birthday bash for this big guy next Sunday at my church!

Yes, our church has a very special boy. He was a miracle baby, and he has grown into a miracle big boy. Levi was a tiny, tiny premature baby when he was born. Through and because of many people’s prayers, good thoughts, support and encouragement, Levi will be two years old next Sunday. And—we all will be having a wonderful birthday luncheon after the service.

I’ve already taken part in the preparations for the service before the luncheon. I’ll be doing the usual things, readings and prayers—except we will have a time of prayers and thanksgiving for Levi during the service! So, for sure I will be planning that.

Today’s prayer suggestion is such a joy. Imagine, planning a celebration of gratitude for God’s gifts to some particular person or persons you know.

Let’s pray for Levi and his parents.

Dear God, what a wonderful occasion. Thank You for Levi and his parents. We pray for this growing, loving child. We thank You that by pointing to Levi, we are also pointing to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your creative hand describing what happened in His life, death and ascension.  We pray Your blessing on Levi and his parents.

God, in Your mercy, hear all of us as we pray. And celebrate!


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

Teeter Totter and—Be Quiet. Be Prayerful.

matterofprayer blog post for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PRAY believe hope

Teeter Totter and—Be Quiet. Be Prayerful.

My life has been full lately. More often than not, I’ve felt like I’ve had to hurry up and do the next thing on the schedule.

At my work, my co-worker transitioned out of his position as interim co-pastor over the past several weeks. So, he and I have been going over the transitional tasks, hoping to make the passing of the baton as smooth as possible. The first Sunday of the month was his last Sunday with this church. We had a wonderful celebration of his interim ministry. He is now transitioning into a new position with his denomination, and I wish him the very best! Still—a big change, and lots to do, to take care of, and make sure it all gets done in a timely fashion.

In several other areas of my life, as well, things have been hopping! On top of everything else, my son’s cold two weeks ago and my subsequent cold last week (I caught it from my son . . . he shared!) added to the distraction and upset. I felt like I was on a big teeter totter, like I remember from the park near my house as a child.

Huge teeter totters made of metal, welded to a sturdy metal pipe structure in the center. The seats were wooden, painted gaily in bright colors. I liked going on the teeter totters well enough, but I did not enjoy being held up in the “up” position for a long time. Sometimes two of the other children would sit on the other end together, and there would be nothing I could do about it except holler and yell and wiggle my legs. (Much to the amusement of the others in the playground, I am sure.) And then, down-down-down, boom! Crash, on the ground! I’d finally get back to earth, with solid ground under my feet.

My transition time hasn’t been quite that traumatic—with booms and crashes—but it has been a time of adjustment. I have felt a little like I was up in the air on a teeter totter, even though my colleague Gordon was and is wonderful. He is older and wiser, and has transitioned in and out of quite a number of positions. He’s an old hand at this, and he couldn’t have been more supportive.

But still, there was that teeter totter feeling. Sometimes.

Good thing I have my prayer time! I was able to get quiet, calm myself, be present to God and have God be present with me. I love being able to focus on God’s compassion and openness, as well as the abundant care and encouragement that comes from being in the presence of the Divine, the Holy, the Lover of my soul. Thanks be to God!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your special presence with me these past few weeks. I praise Your name for Gordon, such a wonderful colleague! Please bless him in his future ministry. But God, there is still that teeter totter feeling! I still can feel it inside. Please, God, give me—give us the assurance that You will be with us even though we are unsure whether there is solid earth or quicksand under our feet. Whether our co-workers are great people or not-so-great people, I know without a doubt You are here, right by my side. Right by our sides. What a blessing. Thank You, God!


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink:

Like a Refiner’s Fire

refiner's fire

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 23, 2013

Like a Refiner’s Fire

It’s almost Christmas Eve. I want to scoot ahead to the time of the Christmas celebration, but we aren’t there yet.

Today, in my Advent reflection, I read Malachi 3:1-3. I was especially struck by the words “For he is like a refiner’s fire . . . and he will purify . . . and refine them like gold and silver.” Yes, I am still waiting, as the practice of Advent encourages me to do. I am watching and waiting for the messenger of the covenant to prepare the way before me, true. But I’m afraid of that other image, too.

I understand the image of the refiner’s fire in principle. But I do not like going through the fire. It’s the being-refined-part that I object to. It hurts! Ow! What gives, God?
I’ve been there, especially in the past number of months with my employment situation. (or difficulty with, or total lack thereof) I understand that I am supposed to reflect God. I’ve heard the analogy of a silversmith melting silver in his shop. He knew that the molten silver had all the impurities taken away when he could see his face in the silver. Gee, silver must really get hot for that to happen! I guess that‘s similar to my situation(s). I earnestly am trying to be faithful, and to follow. Even when the situation’s too hot to handle.

Help me wait for the coming of the Baby in Bethlehem. Soon! Very soon!

Let’s pray. God, I try to follow You. I know You are there by my side, and Your purposes are good and gracious. I know You want me to be faithful, too. Even when I forget You’re there, or get angry because things aren’t going my way, or just get sick and tired of waiting for You. God, forgive me. Help me to continue to wait. Be with me when things get too hot to handle. Protect me when I’m being tried by fire. God, thanks for Your constant presence through every situation, even in this almost-Christmas, still-waiting time. Amen.

Solstice Observation–Midwinter Celebration?

Centuries ago, in the time before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, this time of the waning year was a time of darkness. And a time of light. The darkness comes from the lessening of sunlight each day (here in the Northern hemisphere). The light comes from the varying celebrations that many cultures, tribes and language groups feature, throughout the world. Different religions have different expressions of the death and rebirth of light and life. Different understandings recognize the death of the old year and rebirth of the new.

On this Midwinter day, I know several people here in my town who are observing the Winter Solstice. This weekend is their celebration, instead of Christmas. The origins of the Midwinter festival reach back to pre-Christian times, and are seeing a resurgence in some places today.

God, You’ve implanted this deep desire for Light, for Hope, for blessing and celebration. I think it is counter-intuitive for God to send Light and Hope into the world as a little Baby. (It just doesn’t make sense!) Yet, that is just how God decided to work. The Old Testament book Isaiah also mentioned Light. Isaiah 9:2 reads: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.” As Advent draws to a close, the time of celebration of the Light and Hope of the world draws near, too.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for this deep desire implanted in so many. Not only is there a desire for Light and Hope at this time of darkness and little hope, but You provide an answer for those searching. Not only have You placed a God-shaped void in the human heart (as Augustine said), but You have followed through with the promise of Someone to fill that empty place. Thank You for the coming of the Light of the world, the Hope of all nations. Amen.


(also posted at http://www.matterofprayer.net)