Another prayer from The Oxford Book of Prayer, this time from Fr. Gilbert Shaw:
Lord, give us grace to hold you
when all is weariness and fear
and sin abounds within, without
when love itself is tested by the doubt…
that love is false, or dead within the soul,
when every act brings new confusion, new distress,
new opportunities, new misunderstandings,
and every thought new accusation.
Lord, give us grace that we may know
that in the darkness pressing round
it is the mist of sin that hides your face,
that you are there
and you do know we love you still
and our dependence and endurance in your will
is still our gift of love.
I’m reading through the “deliverance” section of The Oxford Book of Prayer this week and came across this prayer by the Venerable Bede. Join Bede and I in praying this for our world:
O God that art the only hope of the world,
The only refuge for unhappy men,
Abiding in the faithfulness of heaven.
Give me strong succor in this testing place.
O King, project thy man from utter ruin
Lest the weak faith surrender to the tyranny,
Facing innumerable blow alone.
Remember I am dust, and wind, and shadow,
And life as fleeting as the flower of grass.
But may the enteral mercy which hath shone
From time of old
Rescue they servant from the jaws of the lion.
Thou who didst come from on high in the cloak of flesh,
Strike down the dragon with that two-edged sword,
Whereby our mortal flesh can war with the winds
And beat down strongholds, with our Captain God.
I’m currently praying through the Oxford Book of Prayer (edited by George Appleton) and came across this prayer for guidance this morning:
“In times of doubts and questionings, when our belief is perplexed by new learning, new teaching, new thought, when our faith is strained by creeds, by doctrines, by mysteries beyond our understanding, give us the faithfulness of learners and the courage of believers in you; give us boldness to examine and faith to trust all truth; patience and insight to master difficulties; stability to hold fast our tradition with enlightened interpretation to admit all fresh truth made known to us, and in times of trouble, to grasp new knowledge readily and to combine it loyally and honestly with the old; alike from stubborn rejection of new revelations, and from hasty assurance that we are wiser than our fathers. Save us and help us, we humbly ask you, O Lord.”
–Bishop George Ridding (1828-1904)
Our lives are often guided by the questions we ask. Great inventors are driven by the impulse to build a better world. Explorers ask what lies beyond the edges of their map. Great philosophers question and question until they find a satisfactory answer. The curiosity of children leads them to wonder “why?” without end.
A question that has dominated my own life is, “How do I know what God’s will is?”
I’ve asked this question—in varying forms—to well over 100 different people now, including parents, teachers, pastors, professors, friends, and others. Most of the time, people do their best to answer in some form. “Search the Scriptures” said one person; “God’s will is whatever you want it to be,” said another. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that other people’s answers to this question won’t satisfy my wrestling. This is a question that I must reckon with myself. Continue reading
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.” He has blessed me with gifts beyond measure with many good things that I do not deserve.
For my wife and daughter—brings or joys, lights of life—thank you Lord!
For my family and friends—those you’ve placed in my life to guide, grow, and come alongside me—thank you Lord!
For my work and school—for the opportunity to learn and love you with my mind and hands, to contribute to your purposes in the world—thank you Lord!
For your Church—your communion of saints through space and time who have been faithful witnesses and for the local body of the faithful you have blessed me with—thank you Lord!
For opportunities for growth and maturity—those situations and events that force me to rely ever more fully on you—thank you Lord!
For all of your blessings and good gifts—especially the gift of your Son, whom you did not spare but offered up as a perfect sacrifice and through whom you offer forgiveness, life, and the restoration of all things—thank you Lord!
Your reign above all of creation, you are beyond our capacity to approach.
Let your power and reign come into our world, into our lives; let you plan and desire become our plans and desires; let our world become good, true, and beautiful like your paradise.
Bless us beyond our wildest imagination, Papa God; give us all that we need and more.
Hold not our wrongs against us; don’t punish us where we go astray, but empower us to live out your mercy, love, compassion, and forgiveness in every aspect of our lives.
Papa God, protect and preserve us—save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil; let evil and wickedness have no place or power in our lives.
For yours, Papa God, are all good things—all power, all goodness, all praise, all majesty, all glory, and all beauty—your truly are all these things, now and forevermore.
Let it be so.
Over at Conciliar Post, we’ve got a nice collection of short write-ups on the books that some of our writers have been reading. My contributions are included below, but I’d encourage you to check out what else we’re been reading by clicking here. Continue reading
Papa, you reign above all creation, you are beyond my capacity to approach.
Let your power and reign come into our world, into our lives; let your plan and desires become our plans and desires; let our world become as good, true, and beautiful as your paradise.
Bless us beyond our wildest imaginations, Papa; give us and others all that we need and more.
Hold not our wrongs against us; don’t punish us where we go astray—but empower us to live our your mercy, love, compassion, and forgiveness in every aspect of our lives.
Papa, protect and preserve us—save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil; let evil and wickedness have no place or power in our lives.
For yours, Papa, are all good things—all power, all goodness, all majesty, all glory, and all beauty—yours truly are all these things, now and forevermore.
Let all these things be so.
Based on the Lord’s Prayer.
Did God command Israel to commit atrocities when conquering the Promised Land? Does He approve when people go to war in His name? Is the God of the Old Testament truly a homicidal maniac, as some have said?
In The Old Testament Case for Nonviolence, Matthew Curtis Fleischer tackles these questions—and much more—with a thorough and contextual reading of the Old and New Testaments. Fleischer marshals evidence that says no to these queries, at least in a nuanced sense. His chief argument in defense of God’s character is the concept of incremental revelation: that in order to best reveal Himself (in the person of Jesus for the work of the Church), God incrementally revealed His ethical expectations and character throughout the Old and New Testaments. Continue reading