Celtic Prayer

columbaI have always been drawn to all things celtic. I am an avid lover of celtic music…especially the alternative kind (hee-hee), I own 7 kilts and I think the most beautiful language to sing a song in is Gaelic. Over the last few years as I have become more and more aware of ancient Celtic christianity and a lot of it’s history and such, and I have found that much of my heart resonates with it. I am a celt at heart (and some blood) and I find a mystical connection to the Celtic Christian way of life. That being said, I’m gonna share celtic prayers and thoughts every so often here just to expose the world to the beauty of the world of the Celtic saints. This is a prayer of St Columba while he was living in the monastic community of Iona, the small island off the coast of Scotland:

Let me bless almighty God,
whose power extends over sea and land,
whose angels watch over all.

Let me study sacred books to calm my soul:
I pray for peace,
kneeling at heaven’s gates.

Let me do my daily work,
gathering seaweed, catching fish,
giving food to the poor.

Let me say my daily prayers,
sometimes chanting, sometimes quiet,
always thanking God.

Delightful it is to live
on a peaceful isle, in a quiet cell,
serving the King of kings

For more info on St Columba, go here

Who Understands?

jesus loveDoes anyone ever feel like no one understands you? Why is it that when we do the things we know we are to be doing, it always gets misunderstood. Jesus was extremely misunderstood…by the religious people…by the Roman government…even by His own disciples. How that must have felt to be God in the flesh and be completely misunderstood by the very people that you created and came to rescue. As the son of God walking the earth, I’m sure at times, His only friend was the Father. Even those closest to Him often times didn’t understand Him. I guess that is part of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. It seems that maybe the more you become like Christ, the more everyone around you misunderstands you. Maybe in some extremely small and insignificant way, when we are misunderstood, we can relate to Jesus at the crucifixion when He looked at those who were mocking Him and asked His Father to forgive them, because they didn’t know what they were doing. They misunderstood who Jesus was and what was going on, and what did Jesus do…He prayed for their forgiveness. Wow, that makes even the worst situation we’ve ever been in suffer by comparison. The good thing is that He knows exactly how it feels when we go are misunderstood by others…even those close to us. He suffered the same. Even though it sucks when people don’t get you or what you’re doing or trying to do, it kind of connects you with Jesus and the same type of suffering He went through. And, I think He still is greatly saddened by the many people in the world who have completely misunderstood Him and continue to do so; especially those who call themselves His disciples today. Thanks be to Jesus for His grace and that He understands what it means to be alone and misunderstood.

Our Job…

dove
“This work is not about making sin more clear- but beauty more obvious.” Dan Allender-Mars Hill Graduate School. This is a quote I took off my friend Matt’s blog that when I read it…it brought some things to mind. We spend a lot of time trying to point out the sins of others, and even though I think that there is a time in relationships where we might have to confront someone who is living a sinful life, I believe this should be done through personal relationships and through people who are walking life together. We need to be careful not to stand up from our church podiums, pulpits or soapboxes and make condemning remarks about people who “indulge in” what we would consider “the bigger sins”, because the reality it that we are only one decision away from standing condemned by our own words! The bigger reality is that we ALL stand condemned in a greater way by the things that we are NOT doing (Matt 23:23). I believe this is the “greater sin” if sin needs to be graded.
Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him that the world would saved (John 3:17). He also did not in turn tell us to then go and condemn the world of their sin either. No, He told us to preach the Gospel…Good News…God’s Grace for the world. We need to make the beauty of God’s Grace more obvious to all those who are in the world. It is the kindness of God that leads people to repentence (Rom 2:4). Where have we gone so wrong to think that it is our job to condemn sinners (of which we are one) when Jesus never did! (but he did condemn the religious leaders who judged others lives yet thought they were righteous). We need to be pointing people towards the beauty and stop pointing our fingers at the ugly. (Just some thoughts…that I am sure some will condemn me for… but that’s ok)

MLK

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In early 1967, in an historic speech at New York City’s Riverside Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. eloquently spoke of his opposition to the growing war in Vietnam and it’s effect on the domestic war on poverty. Forty years later, as we honor the birthday of Dr. King today, let us reflect on his words for our time rather than the daily news headlines.

“Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam [Iraq]. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission — a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men…?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.”—MLK

A Second Child (part one)

Teng Wan Pavilion, Nanchang, Jiang Xi, ChinaWell to start of the new year right, my wife and I have decided to begin the process again to adopt another child from China. (YEAH!!) We have been spending the last several months settling in to the Seattle area after our move from VA and we have been talking about going back ever since we were in China in June of 2005 when we got our now 2 and 1/2 year old daughter, Fiona. Things in China have been changing a lot since then. There is now much more demand for adopting children then there are children available (available for adoption, that is…there are thousands and thousands of children in China that I am sure could be adopted, but have not been, and may not ever be, “available” for adoption…which is very sad! I hope this will change), and a lot of the reason is China is now encouraging adoption within their own country. So because of this, a lot of the requirements for adopting have changed, making them a little more restrictive. Also, the time frame from China getting your documents to when they place you with a child, has almost tripled since we went in 2005 (going from 6 months time to 13-16 months and increasing). So, since the time had increased, we thought that we might not go back to China, since we were hoping to have our children within a year or so in age (they will end up being about 3-3 1/2 yrs apart). But after some thought and prayer we both kind of simultaneously came to an agreement that we wanted to adopt from China and that the age gap was not that much of a concern for us. So here we are! We just sent in our application last week and once we get accepted (which should be no problem) we will begin the great paper chase of getting all of our documents together, notarized, certified by the Dept of State and authenticated by the Chinese Consulate. Last time this process took us about a year…this time we are hoping and striving for more like 3 months. So look for future updates of our process and please pray for us during the long wait and for our future child, who is most likely not born yet (maybe not even conceived), since we are requesting a child up to 14 months old.

New Year’s Resolution

slacker
Ok ok… I am such a slacker! My buddy Matt has admonished me for my serious lack of blog posts on my site. So due to this, I am resolving to write more in 2007. I will write a minimum of once a week…even if I have to write just nonsense. I will try to be more diligent in putting up more of my thoughts, especially for those of you who hang on my every word and wait in eager anticipation for my next post (you know who you two are!) 🙂 So I will post something of significance before the weekend is over. I must start 2007 off on the right foot and I greatly appreciate my dear friend for his stern rebuke! Until later please don’t forget to…ROCK ON! — jeff