Food for Though-A Devotion on Isaiah 56:1-8

A Devotion on Isaiah 56:1-8

By Richard Bryant

56 Thus says the LORD: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.

I meditate on the words: Maintain and Justice. I pray to do what is right. I ask for my salvation to come. I wait for the revelation of my deliverance. I ask, what will the revelation of my deliverance look like? Am I prepared for what I’ll see?
How am I maintaining justice today? Am I doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord? Am I ready for my salvation? Again, I ask, am I aware and ready to see the revelation of my own deliverance?

2 Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil.

Does my face reflect such joy and happiness? Do I go about my day with happiness by holding fast and keeping the Sabbath? Am I honoring God by honoring my life and God’s commandments? Do I take time, even in the midst of this busy summer season to give myself a break and give God a few minutes? Do I turn the cell phone off, shut down the computer, and step back from the world so I can step toward God?

Again, I meditate on the words: Maintain and Justice. I pray to do what is right. I ask for my salvation to come. I wait for the revelation of my deliverance.I listen to the words of the prophet. I do not put words into his mouth. I let his images fill my mind.

3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”; and do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the LORD: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

Meditate and pray upon this: what the Lord has given will not be cut off. We are connected to God. We can try to cut ourselves off from God but God will not disconnect from us. We become monuments to what God has done in our lives. Pray upon God’s connections and monuments in your life.

6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 8 Thus says the Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

Will I do as he says and live as he says? Will our house be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
Again, I meditate on the words: Maintain and Justice. I pray to do what is right. I ask for my salvation to come. I wait for the revelation of my deliverance.

Food for Thought-An Evening Prayer of Blessing

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Evening Blessing,

Gracious God, it has been a long and fruitful day. From the rays of sunshine which broke over the water, your presence has been known in our lives. Now, as the pace has lightened and the breeze is felt, we pray blessing on the night which approaches. We thank you for the day that has been.
May tonight be peaceful, safe, and full of meaning.
May we welcome you into our lives and homes through fellowship, conversation, and love.
May those who travel be brought safely to their destinations.
May those who mourn be granted comfort.
May we be guided through the darkness by your Holy Spirit, our sustainer, and friend.
May the paths we tread at night, provide a road for the pilgrims who follow us tomorrow.
May we seek forgiveness for the sins we have left floating at the water’s edge.
Hear us now,

Amen.

-Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Take Me to The Margins

Take Me to The Margins

Take me to the camps,
The margins,
The edges,
The swamps,
The shacks,
Where the forgotten people live,
Where God has called us to go and see,
To live and be,
Prophets of love and hospitality,
Of radical grace,
Not bound by race,
Or time and space,
To preach and teach,
Across visible lines,
To show the signs,
Of God’s reconciliation,
To a divided nation,
Walking a tightrope of despair,
Gasping for the Spirit’s fresh air,
Take me there o Lord, take me there,
For what the world calls rotten,
You have not forgotten,
Place me there,
To do you will,
At your mercy,
I can only hope
To try and fulfill.

Amen.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Morning Prayer July 9th, 2014

Morning Prayer

Blue, orange, white,
Colors diffuse in the water’s light,
God’s warmth surrounds,
Pamlico Sound,
The Holy Spirit’s wind,
Blows in
Through the trees,
I can sense,
Through Christ’s gift,
We are free,
From yesterday’s
Malaise
Open to
Today’s grace,
So we may offer,
Unending praise,
While we walk, talk,
Crawl and scrawl,
The name of Jesus
For one and all.

Amen.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-5 Signs You May Not Care About the World Cup

1.  You have no electricity.

2.  You do not have access to television, newspapers, or other media.

3.  You have no access to running water or adequate food supplies.

4.  Your very daily existence is threatened by militias, gangs, or a repressive government.

5.  You are dying of a terminal disease and lack access to medicines that are easily obtained in the west.

Pray for those who suffer, pray for those who work to alleviate their suffering; aid workers, missionaries, diplomats, and all whose tireless efforts go unnoticed while the world diverts it’s attention elsewhere.

 

Food for Thought-Prayer, Learning, and Wisdom

Prayer, Learning, and Wisdom
1. Spend some time today with an elder, a wise one in the community.
2. Listen and engage the elder, ask your questions only when necessary. Let the conversation flow organically.
3. Listen for the seeds of wisdom being offered from their life to yours.
4. Ask the elder to pray for you.
5. Let that wisdom take root in you.

Food for Thought-Lectionary Prayer Matthew 13:1-23

Gracious God,

We want to be the right kind of soil, do we not? We hear this story, a parable we know all too well. This tale of barren land, rocky soil, and thorny ground rings so true in our ears. We do not hear ourselves in your words. We see others as the barren land that withers. We do not think of ourselves as those who take quickly to the tasks at hand then fall away when the demands grow great. Nor do we see ourselves as those who choke out the essence of your message by drowning out the essential nutrients that feed the Good News. This is not us. Why should we listen? We are the good soil, aren’t we? Help us to realize and come to terms with you today that there are thorns, rocks, and barren places inside each one of us. Help us to hear these words not solely as a call to evangelism but as a call to examine how we have received your message in our own lives. It is too easy to hear your parables and look outward, give us the courage today to look inward.

Amen.

Food for Thought-Hurricane Devotional Prayer

Hurricane Devotional Prayer

Gracious God,

The winds are blowing and it’s very dark. The rains are falling all around. What a visible reminder you have provided us of what we can and cannot control in the world around us. At moments like this we can only wait. We wait with our families and friends. Sometimes we wait by candlelight. Sometimes we wait by flickering lamps. Surrounded by water bottles and batteries we pray for safety this evening. Be with us through this blustery night. May your Spirit be with those who must be in these dangerous conditions. Guide and guard us safely though morning. We thank you for the community and fellowship that extends your presence to all in need.

As the winds blow, we pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Food for Thought-The Original Hipster’s Apostles’ Creed

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The Original Hipsters Apostles’ Creed

I have no doubts about the Original Hipster,
fabricator of the cosmos and this terrestrial sphere.
I am convinced of Jesus,
the Original Hipster’s only boy, our main spiritual landlord,
who was brought into being by the movement of the Hallowed Spirit,
born of the untouched mama of all humanity, Mary,
brought way down low by Pontius Pilate,
was martyrized on the cross, dead and gone,
spent the weekend in Hell,
one, two, three days in the grave he lay,
back again to say, “Got your text.”
Then the time comes,
he rides the great elevator home
to take his seat
at the Original Hipsters
right hand side,
to make the call,
on the walking dead
and living right.
I believe in the Hallowed Spirit,
a gathering of everybody,
a party of all God’s geeks,
forgiveness that never stops,
coming back at the end,
and staying past closing time.

Amen.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Wordless Communication with God

The Gateway

The Gateway

How are you doing today? As I’m working on packing the remains of my life in Ireland, I was reminded of a sentence by Samuel Beckett, “Nothing is more real than nothing.” Beckett was arguing that the absence of material possessions (or relationships) is as powerful a reality to a person as actually owning or possession items themselves. People with nothing, in a world where everyone has something (often too much of something), know very well how little they have.

Beckett’s quote has also been rolling around in my recently as I think about prayer. How do we make prayer more real and yet less of a shopping list, a request list to God, and more of a conversation between two people? It bothers me when I see my prayer life becoming overly one-sided. I go to God (though I know God doesn’t mind) with item after item and then I seem to stop listening after I’ve shared my list. I say “Amen” and go about my business. I do this almost unconsciously at times. Have you ever fallen into this prayer trap? What I’ve been wanting to move toward, for sometime now, is this conversational pattern, if two people being and talking together, even about nothing, with no list involved. I come back to Beckett’s quote, “Nothing is more real than nothing”. What could be more real, as centuries of monastic practice have shown us, than just being in silence listening to God? It doesn’t get any more real that that. It’s amazing, that to our western, talking, conversational ears and minds, that the idea of silence, listening, and doing nothing with God may sound vaguely radical. This should be and can be an easy thing for us to do. How might we start?

1. Find a quiet place to pray-outside or inside
2. Take some deep breaths-let yourself be reconciled to God and the world around you
3. Hearing God-read a story from scripture or selection from Psalms
4. Wordless Communication (Listening)
5. Pray seated
6. Pray standing up
7. Pray kneeling
8. Close by asking two questions: Who does the world say you are? Who does the world say God is? Can you do something to make the impression of either better?