Rejoice With All Your Heart

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Rejoice and exult with all your heart.
(Zephaniah 3:14)

Dear God,

Sometimes we scurry so hard after joy that we forget what it feels like.
Sometimes we work so hard for peace that we neglect the peace that
is sitting with us in our chair.
Sometimes we hope so much for hope that we miss the hopeful signs
that are right underfoot.
Give us this day a song. . .
one we sing in harmony with heaven and nature.
Let the song recollect joy. . . be peace itself.
Let the song express a little more hope than we feel.
You grant us joy and peace and hope;
these are not our own accomplishments.
Let this day find us rejoicing about You.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

~ Donna Schaper, in Stir Up Your Power

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Where Silence Reigns

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“Holy Spirit, You brood over all the space
where silence reigns.”
~ Donna Schaper, in Stir Up Your Power

Let me fall into this space where silence reigns
to feel the breath of the Spirit resting upon me.
In this circle of silence there is safety . . .
There is peace.

In this circle of silence, how shall I prepare the
way of the Lord?
What shall be my spiritual practice today?
What ritual shall I use to focus on the
coming of Christ . . . to understand Your grace?
Shall I sing one song – as a mantra, repeating
the message over and over until the words overcome
the distractions of the world and sing through me?
Shall I gaze upon the beauty of the new fallen snow
on yonder mountain and rejoice in the purity of grace?
One thing I know . . . in the silence there is the
necessity of emptying . . . of cleansing the beggar’s bowl
so that something new can come to me.
Empty out the rubbish . . . the negativity . . . the abuse. . .
that God’s love may fill my soul. . .
and in the silent stillness all is peace.

~ Prayers of Anna Lin, Advent Journal 2002

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Hopeful Expectation

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In accordance with God’s promise, we wait for
new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness
is at home. ~ 2 Peter 3:13

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,
come as footprints in the snow and show us Your way . . .
You who bring the scattered home . . .
You who bring streams to the desert . . .
Come softly to us in the Advent season.

Bring us home by way of Your path . . .
Open our eyes and ears.
Revive the desert places in us that we may yet blossom.
Don’t let the world be cold.
Don’t let the world be dry.
But bring Your promises close to it. Freshen it.

And let us stand on the tiptoes of expectation,
daily through Advent . . .
convinced that we will find Your footprints on our paths,
and that one day soon we may see the new heavens
and the new earth.
With gratitude for Your promises . . . Amen.

~ Donna Schaper, in Stir Up Your Power

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