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By Michael Moore

Love, Justice, and Mercy… these are qualities that are much needed in today’s world. The first time I visited the Civil Right’s Memorial outside of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama was in 1990 when I was attending a course at the USAF Chaplain Service Institute. The monument (designed by Maya Lin who also designed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC) reminds me of the dream of Dr King and the call of Jesus to be instruments of God’s blessing and reconciliation.

As I visited with the young Security Guard that evening, I had a lesson in the experience of hatred and fear… this was, of course, decades before the #BlackLivesMatter movement. He described to this naive young Minnesotan how the Center which fought for the rights of Black men and women in the South (and also in the rest of the US) had glass windows that were bomb-proof, not just bullet-proof! He told me about the cars that would occasionally drive by slowly with white racists who sought to intimidate him. It truly was an eye-opener for me.

A few weekends ago, my wife and spiritual partner Denise and I co-led an Officer’s Retreat for the Ruling Elders and Deacons of Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. One of the myriad of subjects we explored was the Book of Confessions which is Part I of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Constitution. Two that hit close to home given the current environment (Walls, Barriers, Hatred, and Fear-Mongering)) in parts of the US and World were the Belhar Confession and the Confession of 1967. In South Africa, where the Belhar Confession was born, Apartheid was the law of the land. In the US, Racism and Segregation were the law of much of the land and lynchings were the methods of such Terrorist Organizations as the KKK.

It was in such a time that the voices of prophets such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr arose. What struck me particularly about Dr King’s voice was his commitment to Non-violence. In examples such as Dr King’s, I saw the difficult challenge of the words of Jesus from the Gospel Reading for the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany lived out — But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. (Luke 6:27-29)

Today so much of christianity (lower case is intentional) does the polar opposite of what Jesus calls us to do and to be. The racist terrorists of the KKK called themselves christians (again, lower case is intentional) yet they were filled with hatred for anyone who was different from them.

The message I hear from the Lord is not one of exclusion or hatred or fear. It is a message of Love, Justice, and Mercy. As I consider the Contemporary Confessions of the PC(USA), I think of movements for inclusion… movements for love versus fear or hatred… movements which seek to bind us together in the love of God.

At the closing worship for our Retreat, I shared this prayer of Dr King’s: We thank you for your church, founded upon your Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon you. Help us to realize that humanity was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace. Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God’s children — Black, White, Red, Brown and Yellow — will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the reign of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.

May God give us the strength and resolve, dear reader, to be that difference in this world filled with hatred and fear. May we live out the vision of such prophets as Dr King. And may we work towards the day when, as the prophet Amos said in one of Dr King’s favorite passages from Amos 5:24 — Justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

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By Ana Lisa de Jong —

I walk the labyrinth to you.
Catching sight of your smile,
as though across a room.

I make my way but
my feet are slow,
tied to the ground.

While you are there, I realise I am far,
and the labyrinth that I walk
turns me away,

that I must cast
a look behind,
to see your face.

And I must go back
to where I begin,
again.

But you’re still there,
your gaze a beacon of light
in which I’m held.

And as I walk,
I realise both in shadow
and in sun,

this path is a spiral
leading on,
though I might appear to retrace my route.

And my heart all the while
is safe in yours,
in this grace which surrounds.

And I see how
this centre I’m seeking,
this face I love

is my own looking back
in the bosom
of your love.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry

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I came across this beautiful ancient prayer in my files today and could not resist sharing it again. It is such a soothing prayer. Take a couple of deep breaths in and out. Sit quietly in the presence of God and repeat it several times, allowing the peace of God to seep into your soul.

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God, for centuries we have imagined that between us and you

Were distance and difference,

Silence and judgement,

And ultimately, walls.

But now we’re learning that wall-building

Is a uniquely human response

To fear,

To pain,

To vulnerability,

To a feeling of separation.

If we can forget the idea of separation,

Perhaps we can stop building walls on its behalf.

Oh God, may we let love have free reign

To build something more imaginative than walls.

See, we think our separateness is a given,

But you are constantly urging us toward a different perspective:
That nothing can separate us from you

Nothing created, nothing imagined, nothing contrived –

That you are, always and forever, for better and for worse,
In every circumstance, in every situation

Together with us.

You are God-With-Us.

And that togetherness, that persistence,

That in-it-for-the-long-haul relentless with-ness,

Is part of your personality, a characteristic of you;

Part of your everlasting love,
That is always building new spaces

And breaking down walls. Amen

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by Christine Sine

Jesus has come to transform people not to exclude them (Richard Rohr Wondrous Encounters 21)

It was these words of Richard Rohr that held my attention this week long before the tragic shootings at the mosques in Christchurch New Zealand. This horrific event shook many of us up with the urgency of our need to embrace those who have often been excluded. It was these words that revolved in my mind as I broke down the second wall in my Lenten garden today. So many thoughts have tumbled through my brain since then.

Lenten garden with 2 walls broken down

How often I wonder do we create walls with our hate, our greed, our violent language and our narrow mindedness? We love to get caught up in the boundaries we feel the Ten Commandments set for so many of us. They can make us feel that our moral codes make us acceptable to God to the exclusion of others. Sometimes they make us feel justified in hating those who think, act or look differently than us.

Become Like Jesus

This Jesus we follow often pushed beyond the “acceptable” boundaries of Jewish behaviour. He included the misfits and the outcasts, the despised and the outsiders, the vulnerable and the untouchable in his embrace, together with the wealthy and the healthy and the acceptable. He invited us all to sit down together, to eat with him, to follow him and to be a part of his family so that they could transform each other.

This is the kind of God I can believe in. The God who in the person of Jesus Christ embraces the stranger, the immigrant, the excluded and the rejected and expects his disciples to do the same. In the process I believe all of us will be transformed.

Transform Your Attitudes

It is easy for all of us to create walls of fear. Fear that we will not have enough for our future, fear that someone else will invade our land and take what we have, fear that our world will change or that climate change will destroy the environment. Our fears may differ but we all struggle with fear.

More than anything we need to see fear transformed into trust. And trust in God opens new possibilities. One of our biggest struggles is trusting that just as God is working within us to unveil the divine image so God is working in the lives of those around us. Yes, even those of different race or faith or social strata, or sexual orientation. Make no mistake, all of us do need to be transformed and we shouldn’t seek to transform others until we have been transformed into the loving, caring, generous and forgiving person God intends us to be. Transformation is God’s business. The only person we can take responsibility for is ourselves.

As I think about this today, I am reminded that when I visited St Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai desert, the oldest monastery in existence, I was astonished to find a mosque in the middle of it. Evidently Bedouin tribes would attack the monastery so Muslims, wanting to protect the Christians built a mosque in the monastery, making it into a sacred space. Wow! I am reminded too that after the September 11th terrorism, Christians formed a circle of protection around our local mosque and prayed for their brothers and sisters of Muslim faith. The Muslims in return started holding an annual feast to which all were invited. Maybe it is time for Muslims and Christians to learn to protect each other again. Maybe it’s time for us to find new ways to gather together in hospitality rather than hostility and reach for understanding and acceptance rather than rejection and exclusion.

Transform the Way You Relate

From We Welcome Refugees

This beautiful image from the Facebook page We Welcome Refugees is a beautiful one to meditate on as we consider our need to embrace rather than exclude. What if we replaced hostility with hospitality, criticism with concern, greed with generosity and consumption with stewardship? Lent is a great time to reach out to those in our neighbourhoods who are different. Think about inviting a family of another ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation over for dinner, not with the desire to see them converted but with the desire to develop friendship and understanding and acceptance.

Jesus invites all of us to reach beyond our comfort zones and embrace those we have previously excluded.

Transform the Way You Act on Social Media

One of the horrific things about the attacks in Christchurch was that they were live streamed on Facebook with the expectation that the video would go viral as people around the world watched to massacre. It is easy for us to say “I would never do something like that”, yet sometimes even though we do not live stream our hatred, we can incite hatred and violence in others by the language we use. It horrifies me to see how often people of faith respond with hateful and sometimes violent language to those whose viewpoints they disagree with.

I think that all people of faith should choose language that embraces, not excludes, reaching out with acceptance and love to those they disagree with. What if we resolved to only make comments that built up others and showed them love and acceptance? What if we left the transformation work up to God, and trusted in God to change people’s hearts and minds, not into the people we want them to be but into the people God wants them to be?

What is Your Response?

Take time today to contemplate your own responses to those who are different from you – be it religious differences or racial differences or differences in sexual orientation. How loving are you towards these people that you have excluded from your circle? In what ways could you work this week to change that?

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By Michael Moore

On November 9th, 1989 the Wall which symbolized The Cold War came down. Actually, the Wall remained but the gates were opened between East and West Germany. The official demolition began in 1990 and this section pictured above stands at Ramstein Air Base where I spent a fair amount of time as a United States Air Forces in Europe Chaplain Corps Inspector from 2005-2008. I remember the incredible feelings that swept throughout the world and in my own heart when the wall came down. I also remember the feelings I had as a young USAF Chaplain when our nuclear weapon loaded bombers stood down from their 24-hour alert status at the end of the Cold War in 1991. Walls were coming down and there was even a discussion about a Peace Dividend. Sadly, walls and weapons are racing up again as the nation and world retreats behind walls of fear and mistrust.

So what does this have to do with Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland? Patrick was a young man who was kidnapped by Irish pirates in Scotland and sold into slavery. He was a herdsman/shepherd in Ireland for six bleak years. During that time, he turned to his faith to sustain him. He was able to escape out of bondage and return home to Britain. After a period of time where Patrick wrestled with God’s call to ministry, Patrick returned to the Island of his enslavement. He came, not to build walls, but rather to tear down walls as he brought Christianity to pagan Ireland. I can’t even imagine the struggle within his heart as he wrestled with God’s call to return to Ireland. Despite having the odds stacked against him including brief periods of imprisonment at the hands of the Druids and local chieftains, he was successful in building bridges between the Celtic Pagan faith and Christianity. The walls were indeed torn down as Bishop Patrick shared the Gospel with the people of Ireland who had once enslaved him. Instead of bringing a sword, he brought a message of peace.

Sadly, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated today as a day to drink too much, eat too much, and basically do just about the opposite of what Patrick must have taught centuries ago.  Yet, for some reason, as I contemplated this blog for GodSpace, I saw the connection between tearing down walls and building bridges. As President Reagan said to Prime Minister Gorbachev, “Mister Prime Minister, tear down this wall,” at the end of the Cold War, I sensed the call of God to Patrick, “Patrick, tear down the walls of hatred and fear in Ireland. Bring my Good News to the Island and its people.”

As a Christ-follower, I believe that I am called to be a part of the mission to tear down the walls which have been thrown up in the name of fear and so-called religion. As Patrick came to Ireland to build bridges, aren’t we who claim the name of Christ called to build bridges and tear down walls?

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GERTRUDE OF NIVELLES

Patron Saint of Cats

626 AD-March 17, 659AD

By Rev. Brenda Griffin Warren

St. Gertrude of Nivelles is best known as the Patron saint of cats. Now, that intrigues me as I love animals of all kinds, yet I  have two cats who share their life with me or should I say they let me serve them. Yet, interestingly, no one knows why Gertrude is the Patron Saint of Cats, as there is nothing written about her with felines. The only guess for this designation is that there are some medieval depictions of her surrounded by mice. It was not even until the 1980’s that St. Gertrude became the Patron saint of cats.

So, let’s take a look at what we know about this saint who is not as well-known as some other female saints. St. Gertrude of Nivelles was born into aristocracy in Belgium in about 626AD. She was the daughter of Pepin of Landen, the mayor of the Austrasia palace (whose descendants through his daughter Begga’s marriage to Ansegisel later became the founders of the Carolingian Empire) and his wife Itta of Metz.  There must have been strong-willed genes in that family as Gertrude herself was strong-minded from childhood.

One day when Gertrude was ten years old, King Dagobert I, King of Austrasia, king of all the Franks, and king of Neustria and Burgundy came to have dinner with her family. A young man who was the son of the Duke of Austrasia was at a dinner party with the family. He asked the King to grant him Gertrude’s hand in marriage. When Pepin asked his daughter if she agreed to this engagement, she angrily rejected the proposal and with an oath said that she would neither have him nor any other earthly spouse, only Christ. Yes, she was only ten!

As Gertrude grew older, she and her Mother Itta set up an Irish- inspired monastery in the ancient Sonian Forest at Nivelles. It is said that it was filled with treasured handwritten books.  Itta was the first Abbess and then Gertrude followed in her footsteps. This Mother and daughter became good friends with the famous Irish missionary St. Fursey and his brothers Foillan and Ultan who first served in East Anglia  in southeastern England and then in France.

Gertrude soon began to assign her abbess tasks to others so that she could spend more time in spiritual tasks such as in prayer, in reading, and in scholarly study. She began to build and to support numerous churches that she dedicated to the saints and she ministered to orphans, widows, captives, and pilgrims.

Page from Manuscript with St. Gertrude and mice. National Museum of the Netherlands

When Gertrude became fatigued and ill at age 33 in 659 AD from extensive caring for others, she appointed her niece Wulftrude (the daughter of her brother Grimoald I) as Abbess. That same year, Gertrude asked a pilgrim (likely Ultan) from Fosses Monastery when she would die and he prophesied that she would die the very next day on March 17, 659 on Irish St. Patrick’s feast day. He also said that Patrick along with the angels would greet her and just as he prophesied she did die on St. Patrick’s feast day.

Gertrude left instructions on how she wanted her nuns to bury her in an old veil that a pilgrim nun had left at Nivelles along with a scratchy hair shirt. Her vita says that at her death there was a most pleasant odor,” a s if a burning mixture of scents, and it perfumed that little cell where the holy body lay. And we, having gone out from there, still sensed the sweetness of that wonderful scent in our nostrils.”

Her *vita beautifully describes this good Abbess:

“Gertrude did not cease to speak in constant praying and in preaching the word of God to her people. Rejoicing in hope, bearing up in tribulation, devoted in her heart, and calm in her appearance, she longed for her last day to be present,  the day of her heavenly journey.”

Notice the mice on St. Gertrude of Nivelles’ staff.  console oudegracht_321. photo from KATTENKRUID VIA WIKIMEDIA // CC BY 3.0

It was recorded that even after Gertrude’s short life of 33 years on earth, that she continued her charisma of caring for the suffering of others from the other side of the thin veil. Gertrude’s compassionate care from the heavenlies included saving lives at sea; stopping a fire in a monastery; curing a girl of her blindness; helping a young boy escape kidnappers; rescuing a man in chains; and resuscitating a servant boy  along with many other good works.

And Jesus said, “when you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me.”  Well done, good and faithful servant St. Gertrude of Nivelles.

*Vita Sanctae Geretrudis (The Life of St. Gertrud) and the Additamentum Nivialense de Fuilano (the Nivelles Supplement to the Vita Fursei concerning Foillan) in Fouracre, Paul and Richard A. Gerberding. Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography 640-720.Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996.

Rev. Brenda Griffin Warren is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Pastor who now serves in Interim Ministry. She is married with two grown sons, a daughter-in-love, and two Maine Coon cats who bear Celtic names. She writes on the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon saints at www.saintsbridge.org.

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ST. GERTRUDE OF NIVELLES

Patron Saint of Cats

626 AD-March 17, 659AD

By Rev. Brenda Griffin Warren

March 17th is not just St Patrick’s Day it is also the feast day for another Celtic saint, Gertrude of Nivelles. Interestingly, Gertrude asked an Irish monk on March 16 when she would die and he said tomorrow. She knew that was St. Patrick’s feast day and she was elated. The monk told her that St. Patrick and the angels would be greeting her.

St. Gertrude of Nivelles is best known as the Patron saint of cats. Now, that intrigues me as I love animals of all kinds, yet I  have two cats who share their life with me or should I say they let me serve them. Yet, interestingly, no one knows why Gertrude is the Patron Saint of Cats, as there is nothing written about her with felines. The only guess for this designation is that there are some medieval depictions of her surrounded by mice. It was not even until the 1980’s that St. Gertrude became the Patron saint of cats. 

So, let’s take a look at what we know about this saint who is not as well-known as some other female saints. St. Gertrude of Nivelles was born into aristocracy in Belgium in about 626AD. She was the daughter of Pepin of Landen, the mayor of the Austrasia palace (whose descendants through his daughter Begga’s marriage to Ansegisel later became the founders of the Carolingian Empire) and his wife Itta of Metz.  There must have been strong-willed genes in that family as Gertrude herself was strong-minded from childhood. 

One day when Gertrude was ten years old, King Dagobert I, King of Austrasia, king of all the Franks, and king of Neustria and Burgundy came to have dinner with her family. A young man who was the son of the Duke of Austrasia was at a dinner party with the family. He asked the King to grant him Gertrude’s hand in marriage. When Pepin asked his daughter if she agreed to this engagement, she angrily rejected the proposal and with an oath said that she would neither have him nor any other earthly spouse, only Christ. Yes, she was only ten! 

As Gertrude grew older, she and her Mother Itta set up an Irish- inspired monastery in the ancient Sonian Forest at Nivelles. It is said that it was filled with treasured handwritten books.  Itta was the first Abbess and then Gertrude followed in her footsteps. This Mother and daughter became good friends with the famous Irish missionary St. Fursey and his brothers Foillan and Ultan who first served in East Anglia  in southeastern England and then in France. 

Gertrude soon began to assign her abbess tasks to others so that she could spend more time in spiritual tasks such as in prayer, in reading, and in scholarly study. She began to build and to support numerous churches that she dedicated to the saints and she ministered to orphans, widows, captives, and pilgrims..

Page from Manuscript with St. Gertrude and mice. National Museum of the Netherlands

When Gertrude became fatigued and ill at age 33 in 659 AD from extensive caring for others, she appointed her niece Wulftrude (the daughter of her brother Grimoald I) as Abbess. That same year, Gertrude asked a pilgrim (likely Ultan) from Fosses Monastery when she would die and he prophesied that she would die the very next day on March 17, 659 on Irish St. Patrick’s feast day. He also said that Patrick along with the angels would greet her and just as he prophesied she did die on St. Patrick’s feast day. 

Gertrude left instructions on how she wanted her nuns to bury her in an old veil that a pilgrim nun had left at Nivelles along with a scratchy hair shirt. Her vita says that at her death there was a most pleasant odor,” a s if a burning mixture of scents, and it perfumed that little cell where the holy body lay. And we, having gone out from there, still sensed the sweetness of that wonderful scent in our nostrils.” 

Her *vita beautifully describes this good Abbess:

“Gertrude did not cease to speak in constant praying and in preaching the word of God to her people. Rejoicing in hope, bearing up in tribulation, devoted in her heart, and calm in her appearance, she longed for her last day to be present,  the day of her heavenly journey.”

Notice the mice on St. Gertrude of Nivelles’ staff.  console oudegracht_321. photo from KATTENKRUID VIA WIKIMEDIA // CC BY 3.0

It was recorded that even after Gertrude’s short life of 33 years on earth, that she continued her charisma of caring for the suffering of others from the other side of the thin veil. Gertrude’s compassionate care from the heavenlies included saving lives at sea; stopping a fire in a monastery; curing a girl of her blindness; helping a young boy escape kidnappers; rescuing a man in chains; and resuscitating a servant boy  along with many other good works.

And Jesus said, “when you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me.”  Well done, good and faithful servant St. Gertrude of Nivelles.

*Vita Sanctae Geretrudis (The Life of St. Gertrud) and the Additamentum Nivialense de Fuilano (the Nivelles Supplement to the Vita Fursei concerning Foillan) in Fouracre, Paul and Richard A. Gerberding. Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography 640-720.Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996.

Rev. Brenda Griffin Warren is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Pastor who now serves in Interim Ministry. She is married with two grown sons, a daughter-in-love, and two Maine Coon cats who bear Celtic names. She writes on the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon saints at www.saintsbridge.org

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March 17th is St Patrick’s Day and while many here in the US think only of green beer with corned beef and cabbage some are aware that this is a day to remember one who helped to spread the gospel in a time of darkness and oppression.  It seems a very pertinent celebration for the season of Lent and as we grapple with our responses to those who are enslaved and abused in our society.

Brad Culver tells us:

In Patrick’s Letter to Coroticus he speaks out against Croticus a British slave trader whose soldiers were raiding along the Irish coast slaughtering men and taking women and children back to England to be sold as slaves.   The Letter is an especially important document because it shows St. Patrick as the first to speak out against slavery and in defense of women. As one who had been enslaved himself, Patrick proclaims his authority as a Bishop and speaks out against the kidnapping and murder perpetrated by his Roman countrymen. Read the article here

St Patrick prayers are particularly powerful tools to help us focus our faith and draw closer to God. Though St Patrick’s breastplate is the best know of these, there are others like the one above that are equally as powerful.

Going Green For St Patrick’s Day

If you really want to go green for St Patrick’s Day in honour of St Patrick who often used examples from creation to illustrate his points, consider these ideas:

  • Eat locally grown corned beef and cabbage or better yet consider a vegetarian option like potato leek soup and soda bread made from local grains. Scientific American reported in 2009 that producing half a pound of corn-fed hamburger releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000 pound car nearly 10 miles.
  • Drink only local brews
  • Toss green bird seed instead of confetti at your St Patrick’s Day parade.
  • Plant something green in the garden or buy a green plant for the house.
Read Through Patrick’s Breastplate

Or you may like to read through Patrick’s Breastplate listen to this beautiful rendition of Patrick’s breastplate

"The Deer's Cry", or St. Patrick's Breastplate, sung by Angelina, (EWTN) - YouTube

Or listen to this wonderful retelling of the story of Patrick and the beautiful harp guitar music that goes with it.

Irish Blessings: St. Patricks Breastplate John Doan Harp Guitar - YouTube

And just because I could not resist adding my own stamp to St Patrick’s Day here is my rendition of the prayer in a responsive litany:

We bind unto ourselves today

the strong name of the trinity,

By invocation of the same,

the Three in One and One in three.

We bind this day to us forever, by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;

His baptism in the Jordan River; his death on cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way;

his coming at the day of doom; We bind unto ourselves today.

We cast off the works of darkness today,

And put on the armour of light,

Light before us and behind,

Light within and light without,

Light to guide and to lead us,

Let us clothe ourselves with Christ.

Christ behind us, Christ before us,

Christ beside us, Christ to win us,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath us, Christ above us,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love us,

Christ in mouth of friend & stranger 

Let us wrap ourselves around with the belt of truth,

And strap on the breastplate of righteousness,

Let us clad our feet with the gospel of peace,

place the helmet of salvation on our heads.

And take up the shield of faith.

Let us clothe ourselves with Christ.

We bind unto ourselves today, the power of God to hold and lead,

God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay, God’s ear to harken to our need,

The wisdom of our God to teach, God’s hand to guide, and shield to ward,

The Word of God to give us speech, God’s heavenly host to be our guard. 

In the love of God who shelters us,

In the light of Christ who walks beside us,

In the power of the Spirit who dwells within us,

We place ourselves today.

Let us clothe ourselves with Christ.

We bind unto ourselves today the strong name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal God, Spirit, Word;

Praise to the God of our salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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As we all grieve for our friends in New Zealand today in light of the terrible tragedy of violence and hate in Christchurch let us pray that hate will become love, fear will be turned to caring and violence become peace. My thought have turned to this wonderful prayer which I find myself praying this morning, not just for the people of New Zealand but for all of us who live in this world where fear and hate and violence seem to reign.

It is my favourite alternative rendition of the Lord’s prayer. It was written by Jim Cotter and has also been made into a meditation chanted by chanted by Ana Hernandez and Helena Marie, CHS.

Eternal Spirit — a video meditation - Vimeo

Eternal Spirit — a video meditation from DioCal on Vimeo.

Many of us have rewritten this beautiful and most popular gospel prayer in language that suits our situation. It is a great exercise and one that I heartily recommend especially in a time like this when all who are followers of Christ need to show our solidarity with those outside the Christian faith.

There are many adaptations of the Lord’s Prayer that you

Here is a collection of some of my favourite interpretations

This adaptation is published by the Society of the Sacred Heart but no longer available but no longer available on their website.

I have also spent quite a bit of time reflected on the Lord’s prayer and writing my own prayers adapted from it. Here is one that I wrote a couple of years ago:

Our father, our mother
Not mine alone but stretching beyond family, race, class, and religion,
Reaching to everyone everywhere.

Our father, our mother
The One who has placed the divine image within all of us
Calls us by name and takes responsibility for all humanity as family,

Our father, our mother
The One who excludes none, is always loving and caring and embracing
and cannot do anything but the loving thing,

Hallowed be your name.
May we reverence in thought and word and deed your name, your character,
May we see as holy the very nature of who you are.

Your kingdom come,
Your new world of peace, justice, wholeness and abundance.
May it come because we seek it above all else,
And put it in our prayers where Jesus did, first in consideration and allegiance.

Your will be done,
Your will for the only way that life is meant to work,
Your will for abundance and generosity and peace to be revealed,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
Not bread for me alone but for everyone, your entire human family
Not bread for the rest of my life but for today,
For we know that when we seek first your kingdom,
all these things – food, clothing, all we need- shall be added,
As and when we need them.

And forgive us our sins,
Forgive us our desires for luxuries that make others do without necessities,
Forgive us our holding onto tomorrow’s bread that should be shared today.
Forgive us as we forgive others, not resenting what they have, who they are,
how you have gifted them,

Lead us not into temptation but away from evil,
Guide us, all of us, until evil is not longer a temptation for us.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,
You still rule, now, in our world today,
You rule with kingdom power and kingdom glory.

Amen

Do you have other adaptations of the Lord’s prayer? Please share them in the comments below.

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