Tag Archives: wonder

Celebrate with Christina Rossetti

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 12, 2017

little lamb

Celebrate with Christina Rossetti

Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin have done a wonderful thing by giving us snapshots of all of these diverse believers from many different faith traditions, including Christina Rossetti. I have loved Christina Rossetti’s poems for decades, ever since I discovered them as a teenager. (The last verse of this particular hymn has been precious to me since then.) However, I never knew very much about her, other than the fact she was an invalid for much of her life.

Her father was an impressive man: a refugee from Italy, he became a professor of English at King’s College, London during the 1800’s. Their family was part of the artistic creativity of that time. Rossetti was a devout Anglican, and her poems reflect her deep beliefs.

This excerpt is a poem (also the words of a hymn, tune CRANHAM, written by Gustav Holst). It shows the deep, reverent feelings Rossetti has about the Nativity. I appreciate Foster and Griffin’s placement of this in the “Celebration” part of this anthology, since this poem is at once celebratory, wonder-full, and prayerful.

Yes, the setting of the first verse is striking and sets the scene of midwinter in England exactly. However, on this reading, I was struck by Rossetti’s prayerful wonder. True enough, “Angels and archangels /May have gathered there,/Cherubim and seraphim/Thronged the air/.” All of heaven’s glory must have stood in watch and wonder at the birth of God’s Son. But—but— “But only his mother/In her maiden bliss/Worshipped the Beloved/With a kiss.” [1]

Indeed, what wonder.

And, the last verse of this hymn always brings me to tears. “What can I bring him, poor as I am?/ If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,/If I were a wise man I would do my part—/Yet what can I give him, Give my heart.” [2]

Dear Lord, sweet Jesus, these words come from deep inside of me, and deep inside of many. Hear us, dear Lord. In Your sweet, loving name we pray, amen.



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[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 310.

[2] Ibid.

God-Moments with the Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 5, 2015

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

God-Moments with the Soul

The writer of today’s chapter, Marion Woodman, is an analyst. Her focus is on the individual moments that go into a soul-filled day. God-moments.

Actually, “God-moments” is a word I’ve just coined. That is, unless someone else thought of it first. I am only five chapters into this book, Handbook for the Soul.

Woodman speaks for herself. “We all experience ‘soul moments” in life. . . . During those moments, our body, as well as our brain, resonates as we experience the glory of being a human being.” [1] The word picture she paints of the glory and wonder of it? As the young people today might say, awesome.

Soul is important to Woodman, for without soul there cannot be a bridge between “spirit” and “body.” That is her way of arranging it. God (or Higher Power, or Eternal Source) remains intimately involved in her life.

A great big “Yes” to the fact that God is intimately involved in my life! I, on the other hand, still have mixed thoughts about the unseen. Some would say that I have some open-mindedness concerning my soul and its exact purpose. In short, I am not sure exactly what the soul’s purpose is. However, I think both Woodman and I agree that our souls need nourishment. Beneficial treatment.

“If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning. Life becomes boring; it has no dimension.” [2] Yes! Souls need nutrients, nourishment. A great starting point on which to agree.

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 33.

[2] Ibid, 34.


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 .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 7, 2013

I must be getting older. (News flash!) No, seriously. Sometimes, I find myself reflecting on the past with some fondness and nostalgia. And then there are the times I reflect on the past with sadness and grief. Like today. I read in the news that today was the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Fifty survivors of the attack gathered there today, along with many other people. Looking back. Remembering. Grieving the deaths of so many, at Pearl Harbor and in the rest of the war. I thank God that my father and his three brothers came back after World War II to their wives. They raised families and led fruitful, productive lives.

Just today, I saw several photos through email and on Facebook, displayed by some friends of mine—all proud grandparents! These photos showed busy toddlers, happy babies, curious children. Almost all of these children are looking forward to the holidays (except for the youngest babies, of course). They and their families are looking ahead. In expectation and excitement.

On the other end of the spectrum are my older teenagers. They are “too old” for the wide-eyed wonder of the coming holiday. Yes, they both acknowledge the coming One. They intellectually realize this season is, indeed, a special time. However, they are more in the “meh” or “whatever” camp, trying to stay outwardly calm and unflappable. (All for outward display purposes, of course.)

So, here I am, in the middle. Looking back, and looking ahead. I need to pray all the more earnestly. I am trying to follow an Advent devotional booklet, with some success. But, outward circumstances are dragging me down. God, please help me to a sense of wonder. Give me a sense of Your presence, each day. Help me follow You.

Let’s pray. Dear God, help me take the necessary and needed time to be with You. As I look back, I remember all those who have lost loved ones in the service of our country. Looking ahead, I remember all those with children (and grandchildren) who are gladly awaiting the holidays. Thank You for this Advent time of waiting. Please, God, be with me as I intentionally set aside time each day to pray and wait upon You. Amen.