Mary

nativity

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”  Luke 1: 46-55
Lord God,

I’m just Mary.

All of my life I’ve listened to stories

of Your miraculous “right arm”

–battles won, babies born to barren women,

seas parted, sick people healed,

the dead brought back to life.

Pondering them fanned my hope

that You are still with my people,

that you still love us and have not forgotten us.

You have not forgotten!

I don’t know what lies ahead,

but I know that You will be with me,

just Mary,

your bondservant,

forever.

To You I give all my thanks and praise.

Amen.

We remember Mary, the mother of God and give thanks for the miracle of motherhood that came to her– a virgin– chosen and blessed.

The Big Reveal

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“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”    Matthew 1:18-25

 

Truth is revealed by God alone

Can’t take the virgin’s word

She’s too young.

An angel comes instead

“Joseph, Son of David

You’re going to be a Dad

Of miracle begun

Your wife will bear

A son.

 

Holy Spirit seed

Is growing

Is holy

Is now

‘God With Us.’

 

Don’t be afraid.

You’ve done nothing wrong.

Innocent is she.

Please take her home.

Guard and love her

And

‘Trust in the Lord

With all your heart

And lean not on your own

Understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him

And He will make your paths straight.’

 

And be sure to name your little one

Jesus

For He will save his people from

Their sins.”

 

Truth is revealed by God alone.

A babe receives

Through water and the Word

The saving name of Jesus

In Triune unity.

‘God With Us’

Immanuel

Now resides within her breast,

Her genesis of faith begun.

 

All glory be to God the Father

All glory be to God the Son

All glory be to God the Spirit

Named us as sons and daughters

To live with Him as One.

 

Truth revealed by God alone

To Joseph

To you

To me.

God is with us.

~LJ

Lord God Heavenly Father,  thank you for revealing Your Son Jesus Christ first through the angel who spoke to Joseph and then to us through our Baptism.   Thank you for giving us the eyes of faith to see what miracle of life has taken place through simple water and Your Holy Word.  Just as the big reveal changed Joseph and Mary’s lives forever, so too our lives are forever changed and we are awed.   We take our place in the lineup of sons and daughters of the King of King and Lord of Lords.   Forgive us when fail to live as Your sons and daughters.   Grant us your peace.   In the name of Jesus, Immanuel, God With Us, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art

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“This is uncanny, Lord:

a rutted sandy road

running through grass

to a railroad crossing,

a semaphore

against a blue sky

and a white cloud,

a little water color

on a piece of rough paper.

I’ve seen this all a thousand times,

but here it is,

trapped and alive and held:

the golden hue of every glorious summer day,

the everlasting simple grass and sand and sky,

a bit of the first morning,

when the morning stars sang together

and the sons of God shouted for joy.

Adam could walk across this railroad track

and eve, still nude and unashamed.

Uncanny is hardly the word for it;

call it a miracle.

I thank you Lord

for the miracle

of this artist’s eye of innocence,

this deep adoration of Your handiwork

that lets me look upon Your world again

as once Your Son could look

on lilies of the field

growing in Galilee.”

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray for Joy

 

 

A Citizen’s Prayer

 

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Photo by Laura Jostes

“Purge us, O God,

of cynical distrust,

of party passion,

of the deafness

of our rebellious bent.

Teach us, O Lord, the meekness

that would rather be deceived

than be encrusted

with perpetual distrust.

Teach the charity

that will interpret

all uncertainties

toward the side of goodness.

Create in our world

an air in which

the truth can freely breathe,

a sea on which

the ships of truth can sail,

an earth on which

the feet of truth can walk unhurt.

Your Son, our Lord,

would not speak ill of Caesar

even when Caesar’s power

nailed Him to the cross.

Give us the Spirit of Your Son.”

For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen

~Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

“Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good…  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:9, 17-18, 21

 

Honor

tree

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Almighty God,

You have ordained the authorities that are;

You have clothed them in a majesty

   that is higher and stronger

   than the given facts of their history,

a majesty that wakens fear in us

   and claims honor from us.

O God, remember in Your mercy

   the men who bear the burden of this majesty,

   men like us, easily bent

      by the pressure of temptation,

      by the impact of expediency.

Remember them and strengthen them

      when they are moved

   to shade the truth to their own ends,

   to withhold what should be told,

   to distort what must be told,

   to disclose what does not serve

      our common weal.

Keep intact their honor and their credibility”

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God…Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom is due; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”  Romans 13: 1, 7

altars

Our God is a jealous God. Where do your loyalties lie? Seek the Lord and sing His praise; Let everyone know what He has done. He has come to save us from our sins and give us life everlasting!

cookiecrumbstoliveby

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator
as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You.
Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us.
Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”

Augustine of Hippo

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(altar tomb in the Rock of Cashel, the Cathedral of St Patrick / Co Tipperary, Ireland/
Julie Cook / 2015)

A thick blanket of smoke hangs heavy in the air.
It’s not the result of burning effigies or burning communities
but rather from the woods of North Carolina and northern Georgia which are on fire…
and the winds have shifted…

The sinking grey smoke is a somber reminder that there is a dangerously severe drought…
and the parched land is now beyond thirsty…

Yet there…

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