Tag Archives: Christ

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 7, 2015

path in Ireland

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Today’s prayer is about Longing. I chose it for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer, and this brief prayer concerns “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 176, page 65) [1]

The prayer I chose for today was written by a Bishop of Utrecht, in what is now the Netherlands, about the year 900. (Thanks to the editor George Appleton for making sure it was translated and readable.) St. Radbod (also known as Radboud) wrote this heartfelt prayer.

Each line is compact, and brimming full of meaning and earnestness.

“Hunger and thirst, O Christ, for sight of Thee/Came between me and all the feasts of earth./Give thou Thyself the Bread, thyself the Wine,/Thou, sole provision for the unknown way./Long hunger wasted the world wanderer,/With sight of thee may he be satisfied.”

Just think. Radbod said sight of Christ came between him and—everything to eat or drink on earth. That doesn’t mean simply a common meal. No, the Bishop mentioned “feasts.” Those are special, sumptuous meals, full of uncommon, fine dishes. And I assume special drinks, as well. So, Christ means more to him than eating and drinking really special foods and drinks.

Could I say that? Does Christ mean more to me than feasting? Usually, yes. But—special, sumptuous meals? Extra-special food and drink? I realize I have a weakness for food and drink. (Yes, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins I need to be particularly concerned about.) Some of it comes from my upbringing. I know food is deeply, significantly associated with comfort for me. From a very early age.

Moreover, Radbod calls Christ “sole provision for the unknown way.” I am assuming the Bishop was thinking of mendicants or pilgrims wandering through the land. They need no extra provisions, because Christ is enough for them. Christ fills them, satisfies them. With Christ as their Provision, their Companion, they are content.

Am I content with Christ as my Provision? Is He enough for me, or do I need more? And more, and more after that? I know I don’t wander the world very much. I’m pretty much a homebody, in fact. But—I ask again—am I satisfied with Christ, my Sole Provision? Dear Lord, such a penetrating question. And, I have no firm answer.

Gracious God, help me to be content. Satisfied. My “Sole Provision for the unknown way” ahead of me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my heartfelt prayer.

@chaplaineliza

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

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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 65.

Centering on the Cornerstone

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 7, 2015

CORNERSTONE chief cornerstone masonry

Centering on the Cornerstone

Each day this month I’ve committed to Centering Prayer. And, to aid me in this prayer method, I’m choosing a name of God found in the Bible. I’m using that for my word of the day. My word—Name of God for today is Cornerstone.

Last week, I chose this Name with ease. I went down the list of Names I had in front of me, initially, and this one seemed good to me. Even earlier today, as I checked my list again to see which Name I was to use as an aid for Centering Prayer, I had no expectation of what I would discover once I started to pray.

When I got into the middle of prayer, I found out how confused this Name of God made me. Yes, I knew that the Apostles Paul and Peter refer to Christ as the Cornerstone, among other biblical references. Yes, I have sung the contemporary gospel song “Christ the Cornerstone” a number of times. But—what did it mean, anyway?

This gave me pause. I really was at a loss, considering what this Name was supposed to signify.

As I prayed, my mind shifted to my good friend Stu, a civil engineer and a professor of civil engineering. He is a sincere believer. I knew he would immediately be able to tell me not only what this Name of God signified, but also the purpose and significance of a cornerstone on a large building. (I found I was still very foggy about both purposes, and needed to remedy that.)

So, I discovered the cornerstone has—for millennia—been used as an important part of a masonry foundation for a larger building. I understand that all other stones (or, bricks) will be laid in reference to this Cornerstone. That makes so much sense to me, in regards to the Name of God. Talk about the light breaking and shining through to me.

Thanks, God. Thanks for giving me wisdom. Thanks for leading me to a good (basic) source of information. Thanks for setting Yourself up as my Cornerstone. I know I need to line up with You, and You alone. In your Son’s name I pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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

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

Center on Christ. (Jesus’ Last Name?)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 5, 2015

Jesus Christ - clouds

Center on Christ. (Jesus’ Last Name?)

September means Centering Prayer. I’m choosing a name of God found in the Bible, and using that for my word of the day. My word—Name of God for today is Christ.

This particular Name struck me as a part of God’s Name I use on a regular basis. So regularly, in fact, I overlook the significance of it. This was the strong impression I received as I started thinking about this Name and praying with it.

Quick on the heels of this serious thought came a more humorous one: Christ is Jesus’ last name. Even though I had the initial, serious, almost scholarly thought in my head first, I rolled this funny one around, too. I could almost see a stand-up comedian in front of a mic on a small stage (a la comedy club) doing a routine about Jesus. His origins, a little about His parentage. And how His last name wasn’t really Christ after all.

But then, I gravitated back to the significance of Christ. I know it’s a Greek word for “anointed.” A translation for the Jewish word “Messiah.” Mark 1 and Matthew 1 both refer to Jesus as “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus called the Christ.” That’s straightforward enough for me.

I come back to the regular use of this Name. Its use is so common that I may be guilty of treating the seriousness—even the Godliness—of the Name much too lightly. Not that I think that our Lord Jesus expects me to cower at His Name, or His presence! No, certainly not. But, I need to explore exactly what Jesus’ Name (or, Names) mean to me.

Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for the wake-up call. I know You are loving, caring, nurturing and patient. (God knows You need a great amount of patience with me!) Thank You for loving me, even when I make You unhappy, or even mad. Help me as I explore these different Names of Yours this month. Continue to give me insight and understanding, too. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

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

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

What About the Day Afterwards?

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter alleluia Christ is risen

What About the Day Afterwards?

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

I suspect this was heard—and said—in countless churches around the world this past weekend. These words are the time-tested, traditional call-and-response manner of greeting on Easter Sunday.

The Lenten time of preparation before Easter is now past. This time of fasting, meditation and prayer is being observed more than ever. I might even say that Lenten observance is becoming more in fashion. (Not to be callous or flippant, but I have observed that tendency over the recent years.) And that’s a good thing!

Of course, Holy Week has been a high point for centuries, regardless of liturgy or non-liturgical observance. And Easter? Praise God, this is what everyone has been waiting for! Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death. He is risen! Alleluia! The Easter celebration is truly the high point of the entire Church Year.

My question remains, though. What about the day afterwards? What about the next forty days? Jesus did not immediately go up to heaven. No, He was here on earth for forty days until His ascension. I’m sure He met with His disciples, and told them some really fascinating things. And these conversations—which we do not have on record—must have been significant.

I happened to read a pertinent article this morning online, by Ray Hollenbach. There was one quote from the article I found riveting: “I’d love to get the podcast of everything Jesus taught in those 40 days [after Easter], but it hasn’t shown up on iTunes yet.” Isn’t it the truth? Gosh, I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in Mary and Martha’s house, or in the apartment where the disciples were staying!

I guess there is a reason why the New Testament is silent (for the most part) about the risen Jesus and His conversations during that waiting time. I don’t quite know what it is, but there must be a reason. Lord Jesus, what I do know is that we have a lot of information about You and Your love for us. And, we have a great deal of information about how to share Your love with others. So—I guess I need to do exactly that. I even have my marching orders from You.

Without any more ado, we ought to get down to prayer. Dear Lord, thank You for the reality of Easter. Thank You for loving us. You died for us. And we need to tell others about You and Your great love for everyone. Forgive me for shying away from those marching orders. Enable me—enable us to go forth and share the Good News about You! Thanks again! Amen.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink:

What Can I Give?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Only two more weeks until the Big Day. Christmas, I mean. Gift-giving, galore. Do I have presents for everyone on my list? My husband? Children? In-laws? And what about those others, the people I ought to give gifts to? Am I feeling little, niggling qualms of guilt because I am not able to give much this year, as I have in years past?

Gift-giving can be such a trap. When people use one-up-man-ship to gain a sort of superiority to others (“I gave a gift that cost twice as much as the gift I received!”), that’s when this whole business of gift-giving needs to be seriously overhauled.

Why do we give gifts, anyhow?

The custom of gift-giving reaches centuries back, before Christianity, to pagan festivals. For instance, Saturnalia—a Roman winter solstice festival—included giving and receiving of small gifts, tokens, or sweets. St. Nicholas (a bishop in 4th century Turkey) gave small gifts to children in December. This custom lessened as the Puritans frowned on excessive celebration, but came back with the popularization of Charles Dickens and his “Christmas Carol,” the increased Victorian celebration of Christmas, and the publishing of Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” All of these caused gift-giving to become firmly established once more.

So, I can give and receive gifts with joy in my heart—not with avarice or envy or bitterness. Another reason that we choose to give gifts? Because—we received the best gift of all, born in the town of Bethlehem—our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for the best gift of all. You wanted to reconcile us to Yourself, and You chose this way to do it. This Holy Child was be recognized as Emmanuel, God with us. Forgive me for not recognizing this Holy One. Forgive me for living a life that does not honor and adore Him as Christ the Lord. Thank You for loving me, forgiving me, and reconciling me to Yourself. Thank You for giving me the best Christmas gift of all. Amen.