The Candle of HOPE

First Sunday of Advent – The Candle of HOPE

advent-1-candleFaith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This means that hope must precede faith. Our faith in God revealed in Jesus is rooted and grounded on the deepest hopes of our hearts and minds. The dreams of a better world that stir our imagination. These are the dreams of Abraham and Sarah, the dreams of King David, the dreams of the prophets, the dreams of Joseph and Mary and the Shepherds and the Wise Men. These are the dreams of Jesus and the Apostles – the dreams of God’s kingdom manifest on earth as it is in heaven.

You and I, by virtue of our calling and baptism into Christ, are co-creators with God of bringing this dream to reality. This church exists so that we can hear the dreams of old, have our own imaginations stirred, and invite our neighbors to work alongside us for the healing of the nations – the way of God’s shalom.

As you enter into this Advent season, what are your dreams? What is your hope, of which your faith in God will be the assurance?

As a prayer for God’s fulfilling these hopes and dreams, we light the candle of Hope.

(The first purple candle is lit as the hymn is sung.)

Text (c) Ken G. Crawford 2016
Photo credit –

911 – A Litany of Remembrance

Today we remember not only those who died on that horrific and unforgettable day in our nation’s history, but all the losses of these years since then.

For those who were passengers and crew in the four airplanes, those in the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and on the ground, and the loved ones they left behind…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For all the first responders and everyday heroes who ran in as others ran out, and the loved ones they left behind…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For the terrorists whose minds and lives were twisted by hatred and bad theology, and for the loved ones they left behind…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For us in the long distance we must travel between revenge, justice, safety, and your call to love our enemies…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For our active duty military and veterans, those who have fallen and those who are broken in body and spirit, and all their family and friends…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For our national and global leaders who seek to balance freedom and security, who seek common ground across chasms of culture, history and religion…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For those today whose minds continue to be twisted by hatred and fear of the stranger, whatever their cultural or religious roots or justifications…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For each of us, as aspects of our own sinful greed, consumption and wanton destruction stir fear and anger in the hearts and minds of others.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

For the children of today and tomorrow, that they may one day know your kingdom of peace on earth as it is in heaven…

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer


Moments of silence marked by the ringing of bells

Daily Prayer Through Psalms and Proverbs


Daily Prayer through
Psalms and Proverbs
Date Psalms Proverbs
1 1, 31, 61, 91, 121 1
2 2, 32, 62, 92, 122 2
3 3, 33, 63, 93, 123 3
4 4, 34, 64, 94, 124 4
5 5, 35, 65, 95, 125 5
6 6, 36, 66, 96, 126 6
7 7, 37, 67, 97, 127 7
8 8, 38, 68, 98, 128 8
9 9, 39, 69, 99, 129 9
10 10, 40, 70, 100, 130 10
11 11, 41, 71, 101, 131 11
12 12, 42, 72, 102, 132 12
13 13, 43, 73, 103, 133 13
14 14, 44, 74, 104, 134 14
15 15, 45, 75, 105, 135 15
16 16, 46, 76, 106, 136 16
17 17, 47, 77, 107, 137 17
18 18, 48, 78, 108, 138 18
19 19, 49, 79, 109, 139 19
20 20, 50, 80, 110, 140 20
21 21, 51, 81, 111, 141 21
22 22, 52, 82, 112, 142 22
23 23, 53, 83, 123, 143 23
24 24, 54, 84, 114, 144 24
25 25, 55, 85, 115, 145 25
26 26, 56, 85, 116, 146 26
27 27, 57, 87, 117, 147 27
28 28, 58, 88, 118, 148 28
29 29, 59, 89, 119, 149 29
30 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 30
31 Readers choice 31


Prayer in the stream – dealing with distraction

Often while praying I become distracted by thoughts entering my mind. I want to focus on God, on an image, on a person or situation, but the cares of the day or my grocery list come pressing to the fore. Entering the stream is a way of receiving and letting go.

As you begin your prayer time, imagine that you are walking down into a clear and gently flowing stream. You find it refreshing and comforting. The temperature is perfect, your feet feel steady, and the water enfolds you in its embrace.

This stream is the continual flow of prayers being offered around the world. Conscious prayer is not something you stop or start, turn on and off. It is constantly there for you to enter and exit as you are ready and able.

Prayer Leaf FloatingOnce you find yourself in the middle of the stream, allow your prayers to join those moving toward and around you, surrounding and holding you. Any extraneous thought that comes will be like a large leaf floating on the water. Do not try to reject, ignore or hold it at bay. Simply take it up from the water in one hand. Notice briefly its size, color, texture, and anything else that stands out. Turn it over into your other hand, and place it gently back on the surface of the water, allowing it to ride slowly away. Return your attention to the water.

We cannot keep the thoughts away. Nor do we want to focus on and follow them. This visualization technique allows us to acknowledge, note, and then release these thoughts back into the stream. If they are important and worthy of our attention, they will come back to us when we have time to deal with them. For now, our goal is simply to be fully present to this moment of prayer. Enjoy the experience of standing in the stream for as long as you like. Then return to the bank and whatever awaits you in the day. Remember that the stream of prayer continues for you even when you can not be fully in it. And allow the water of prayer that has soaked into you to transform how you experience and engage your world until you return to this place again.

Discerning, Choosing and Acting with limited information and limited control

Download Discerning, choosing and acting with limited information and limited control
We often are faced with situations in life where we feel a need to choose and act without all the information and answers, and where various elements are beyond our control. At the same time, we do not want to be reactive or reactionary. We believe faithful and fruitful require us to consider, pray, reflect, discuss, discern, choose and act as best we can, individually and collectively, “trusting God with the rest” whatever that may mean. One way of building our capacity for this discernment work is through the Ignatian Prayer of Imagination. In this prayer method, we hear a biblical story and place ourselves within it, thinking, feeling, sensing, and experiencing it. Most often Ignatius invites us to pray with stories of Jesus acting in the world. At other times we are with Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, and the disciples, as they respond with a Yes to God’s call on their lives. We can also learn from those in the Hebrew Scriptures who were called to make choices in the world and trust God along the way. Following are some scripture passages with which to practice this form of prayer. You might use them, one each day, Monday through Friday, or take several days to hear, experience and discern the wisdom in a particular text for you. You may also select texts of your own choosing – keeping in mind that this form of prayer is more effective when used with stories than with lessons, teachings, rules or theological discourses. Other resources may be found at:;; . For more reflection on Choosing and Discernment, see Joseph A. Tetlow, SJ, beginning with this prayer:

A Week of Abraham and Sarah
Abram is called to Journey – Genesis 12:1-9
Abram, Sarai and Pharaoh – Genesis 12:10-20
Abram, Sarai and Hagar – Genesis 16
Abraham, Sarah & three visitors – Genesis 18:1-15
Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar & Ismael – Genesis 21: 1-21

A Week of Moses
Birth and childhood of Moses – Exodus 2:1-10
Moses – Prince of Egypt – Exodus 2: 11-15
Moses from prince to shepherd – Exodus 2: 16-25
Call of Moses – Exodus 3:1-14
Moses negotiates with God – Exodus 4

A Week of Exodus
Israelites at the Red Sea – Exodus 14
The Israelites Thirst – Exodus 15:22-27; 17:1-7
The Israelites Hunger – Exodus 16
Israel measures the challenge – Numbers 13
Israel rejects God’s invitation – Numbers 14

A Week of Women
Tamar – Genesis 38
Deborah – Judges 4
Ruth – Ruth 1
Esther – Esther 4
Judith – Judith 8