Meditation : Strength

I climb up high above the tree line

‘Cause I want to see Your face

The mountains high, and the valleys deep

But You’re waiting there in the clearing

With fire in Your eyes

Fire in Your eyes

You wash me clean, with clear bright water

Running down my soul

You clothe me in the oil of laughter

And joy begins to take control

Like fire in Your eyes

Like fire in Your eyes

 

Chorus

Strength

You give me strength

You lift my weary heart

You’re the fire in my veins

Strength -You give me strength, you give me strength, you raise me up again  Oh You, God -Never grow tired or faint

You’re never gonna change the way

You give me strength, I will never be the same

 

You love me, Jesus

And Your love

Knows no height or depth

It knows no length or width

And it’s changing me

Chorus

 

Strength

I see You on the cross, I see You in the grave, I see the pain and tears

That You freely gave,  I see You standing up

I hear You call my name, I see the fire in Your eyes, I see the fire in Your eyes

I see the fire in Your eyes

I’ll never be the same, I’ll never be the same

 

~  by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser

 

Strength (Official Lyric Video) – Jonathan & Melissa Helser | Beautiful Surrender

Strength, Official Lyric Video from “Beautiful Surrender.” Get it on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beautiful-surrender or the Bethel Music Store: http://www.bethelmusic.com/store/product/beautiful-surrender Bethel Music’s collective of worship leaders aim to write and record songs that carry the culture of heaven and the heart of God. We exist to pursue the heart of God.

 

Meditation : Psalm 47

1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

2 For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.

3 He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.

4 He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.

6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.

7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.

8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.

9 The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

Meditation : Joy

As I began thinking about this year’s meditation two questions came to mind.  What have I been doing in my everyday life to express my joy in knowing Jesus Christ as my personal Savior? And how can I share that joy with others?

Then it hit me…several times a day I spontaneously burst into song, not out loud of course, but I do have a full repertoire of my favorite hymns looped in my brain, and go to this “playlist” often.  One of my favorite hymns is “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” Regardless of what is happening in my life, I can always find joy in the words of this song: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” That song helps me find joy in the midst of challenges. Although I am in no way a songbird I have sung my way through 43 years of LIFE, the loss of family and close friends and global unrest.  Growing up, music (especially hymns) meant a lot to me.  It not only moved my spirit, but renewed my soul and faith on a daily basis.

Now that I’m older, I’ve come to understand that singing is a way of expressing the joy I’ve found in my fellowship with God. It is a joy that the trials of the world cannot diminish.  As the old folks used to say, it is a joy that “the world didn’t give and the world can’t take away.”

As we enter into the season of Lent I will continue to sing with a joyful heart to my lord and savior Jesus Christ and to continue to pray…Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer. Fill my heart with Your love and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.

Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. Give me new life by Your Sacraments. Father, our source of life, I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand; let me walk more readily in Your ways. Guide me in Your gentle mercy, for left to myself I cannot do Your Will. 

Father of love, source of all blessings, help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life of grace.  Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

AMEN

A Meditation for Our Children and Grandchildren

Dear Children,

You are gifts to us from God and are loved beyond all measure.  Yes, you are God’s gifts, but you are not “The Gift“.  We celebrated His birthday on December 25th.  So always remember to ask God each and every day to help you to be a blessing to others, whether with a kind word, a helping hand, a hug, or a smile wherever it is needed.

These small acts don’t cost anything, and are a way to show and share God’s love in the world.  God needs all of us to do this very important work.

You may feel small, but God’s love within you is a superpower.  

Don’t forget to use it!

 Amen

Readings and Sermon for the First Sunday in Lent

 

All of this week’s readings, including the Collect, are available on The Lectionary Page website.

Genesis 9:8-17

Psalm 25:1-9

I Peter 3:18-22

Mark 1:9-15

The sermon for the first Sunday in Lent was given by Father Manny.

Click here to listen or download.

Meditation : Strength Provided by our Family of Faith

STRENGTH PROVIDED BY OUR FAMILY OF FAITH

Blessings come to us through the Lord and those who love Him.

 

I have been so fortunate to be nurtured by Church homes:  In New York, in Texas, in Colorado, in Washington, DC, In Bangkok, Thailand, and in Maryland. 

Each one provided critical help at different times in my life. As a child growing up in a suburb of Albany, my parents still returned to the inner-city church of their youth. There I was hugged, listened to, praised, encouraged and guided into my future by the “old ladies” of the St John’s Episcopal Church. In my youth, my Godparents truly committed their lives to my spiritual upbringing and to my education. They corresponded with me frequently even though they moved to Texas, which in the 1950’s was in another part of the world.  They came to visit yearly and invited me to live with them during college. I returned to St John’s for my wedding and for refuge in difficult times. God always seemed to place just the right person in my path. After my niece’s sudden death in a car accident, I sought out the new Rector from Tennessee for consolation. She had lost her own young adult son to a violent death and personally knew the agony and soul searching of grief.  On returning after my Mother’s burial, I encountered two sisters that I had known in Sunday school, who ran over to embrace me.

In college, I was introduced to St Andrew’s Church in the Heights, Houston. Church attendance was not a choice, but an obligation to the Lord. A new set of loving people entered my life. I was given advice and incorporated into their world. There my parents had their marriage blessed on their 25th anniversary. Leadership was modeled and expected in the future. Youth were highly valued. Also, during this time I was warmly welcomed into the Campus Ministry at the University of Houston with study groups, friendship and warm advice by the Episcopal priest.

After the birth of my first child, I returned to Church. I worshiped with St Thomas Episcopal Church. They had Preservation Jazz Band advocates for musicians. It was a   fully-integrated parish, joyous and determined to change society. The Nursery staffed by loving women volunteers gave me the freedom to concentrate on worship. I really needed that time. I was inspired by the congregation’s dynamism and its social conscience.     

A sermon by the Rector opened my eyes to seek a part of Jesus in everyone that we meet. He said that the Lord’s spirit resides in each of us and that connecting to another person brought us into closer contact with the Lord. I have never forgotten that advice and it gives me new perspective on the unity of mankind.

In Washington, DC, we worshipped at the National Cathedral Folk Mass held Bethlehem Chapel in the undercroft of the building. There we sat on the carpeted stairs and had an informal contemporary service with guitars, recorders and heart- felt newly composed songs. We had a small group of regulars that gathered for coffee, talked about our lives, our concerns and met each other’s needs. There my 2 older children were baptized at 4 years old and 6 months of age. We had Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund and her family worshiping with us, before she became famous. Her impassioned pleas were impressive on behalf of poor kids in the area. 

Our next Parish was the International Church of Bangkok.  It was a very actively engaged group of foreigners involved in community service to the indigenous Hill Tribes of Thailand and to the prison population.  Each year my home was filled with beautifully handcrafted goods meticulously made by isolated, desperately poor women in order to support their families. Our church brought together 50-75 people for an all-day event open to the public. We had 10-15 booths and customers galore. The time and dedication of a united group was exciting and the compassion that it represented was amazing.  I travelled upcountry every week, so I was unable to visit the desolate, crowded prisons and bring a little hope, prayer and some nourishment to the prisoners confined in stifling heat and darkness with long sentences to face. The prisoners were so grateful just knowing that someone cared enough to visit. My twins were baptized in this Church and my son played the shepherd in the live Nativity play produced every Christmas Eve.  This made a lifelong impression on a little 4-year-old boy.

“Why don’t you try out the little historic Episcopal Church in Columbia?” my sister-in-law asked.  Her Pediatrician friend had recommended it as his parish. For 32 years we have worked together towards common goals and been nourished by the warmth and sincere friendship offered by all. 

Every aspect of our family’s life was touched and positively influenced by members of my parish. Selection of my children’s school, book club and investment club, vacations-from Church auctions, rotating dinner invitations in homes, excursions to Washington or Baltimore, tracing genealogy, attending theatre performances and a Oratorio dedicated to Christ Church marking 200 years of history, visiting and teaching in a woman’s prison, running the rapids with young teenagers, reading to homeless preschoolers in Baltimore, who craved a warm lap and hugs, Easter sunrise service followed by a delicious brunch, Friends –in-the-Spirit meditation sessions,  teacher Bible studies  to prepare for Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, yearly fancy afternoon teas, welcoming an elderly parent into the Parish and incorporating her into numerous activities, Baptism and weddings of family members,  emotional support at times of loss-death and child’s divorce (over 100 cards after my niece’s  accidental death),  Renewal of Marriage Vows, monthly chamber music performances, Children of Uganda dancing and singing, Sioux Indian Prayer dance by a sponsored teenager from Standing Rock reservation, a Contemporary Christian music concert, serving food and providing services for the homeless and destitute in the community, experiencing the struggles and joy of constructing a new Church building adjacent to our Colonial edifice, the excitement of calling 2 new Rectors to serve and of witnessing 2 of our Parishioners being ordained as Priests.  Our diaspora continues in the life of Christ beyond our community.  Growth and change are part of God’s creation and are marvelous to see, as the new unfolds and becomes reality.

The 2018 Lenten Season Services & Gatherings at Christ Church

Here are some of the services and gatherings that will be held at Christ Church during the 2018 Lenten season. We hope that you can join us often.

 

Daily Lenten Meditations
Copies of the 2018 Christ Church Lenten Meditation Book “The Joy of Our Lord is Our Strength” will be available in the Narthex beginning Sunday, February 11th. Check back each weekday and Saturday morning, as daily meditations will be posted here on our website, as well as on our Facebook page, throughout the Lenten season.

Ash Wednesday : February 14th
Please join us for services on Ash Wednesday:
7:00 and 12:00noon in Old Brick – Imposition of Ashes with Holy Eucharist
7:30pm in New Brick – The Reverend Emmanuel Ato Mercer leads us in a Holy Eucharist Service with Hymns and the Imposition of Ashes.

Stations of the Cross, and Mindfulness Meditation – Fridays
Christ Church will offer a weekly Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. Join us at 7:30pm on Fridays between February 16th and March 30th. Each time, we will end our worship with collective, mindfulness meditation.

Lenten Reflection Day : Saturday, February 17th
Lenten Reflection Day takes place in Old Brick with Rev. Earl Mullins, who will lead us in prayer as we examine “The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength”.  A light breakfast will be served at 8:30am with the program to follow, and then concluding by 12noon with an informal Eucharist. You are welcome to join us for any or all of the morning program, so please do.

Wednesday Morning Bible Study –  the Gospel According to John
The Gospel of John is inspiring, and in this gospel story we encounter the divine God in human-Jesus. All are welcome to join this study of John in the Vestry Room at New Brick every Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. You don’t have to know anything about John or the Bible, for we will explore this gospel together. All you need for this class is a Bible.

Our Wednesday Evening Lenten Supper Series
The Spiritual Life Commission invites all to attend the 5 Wednesdays in Lent Wednesday Supper Series based on our 2018 Theme : “The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength”. We have scheduled 5 weeks of speakers for our Lenten Supper Series:

February 21, 2018 – The Reverend Barbara Searas
February 28, 2018 – The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen
March 7, 2018 – The Reverend Kirk Kubicek
March 14, 2018 – Pastor Katie Saari
March 21, 2018 – The Reverend Emmanuel A. Mercer

The Potluck Suppers will be generously provided by a number of Church groups. Each evening’s schedule is as follows: we have a Potluck dinner from 6:30-7:15pm, followed by our presenter from 7:15- 8pm, then an informal Eucharist from 8:00-8:30pm. We usually have 30-35 people attending these sessions, which is held in the Lower Level of New Brick. Please join us for this time of fellowship, discussion and prayer.

Christ Church’s Lenten Adult Forum Series – Sundays
During our Lent, the Adult Forum will explore a Lenten course – Living God’s Love, developed by the Diocese of St. Albans, in the Church of England. The course is divided into five sessions; for our Adult Forum purposes, we will have one of the sessions each Sunday during Lent. The qualities that will be explored are taken from the Living God’s Love prayer: generosity, joy, imagination and courage. Each Sunday during Lent, we will gather in New Brick-LL at 9:30 am to explore together. Join us!

 

Meditation : Glorious Day

GLORIOUS DAY

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

CHORUS:  Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

CHORUS

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

CHORUS

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

CHORUS

 Songwriters: J.Wilbur Chapman / Michael Bleecker / Mark Hall

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns Video and Lyrics “Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)” From the album “Until the Whole World Hears” Download on itunes today! I love it!!!

 

Meditation : Unconditional LOVE

“I believe that grace is love where love does not have to be, where there is no reason for love.  I see grace in acts of affection that occur without explanation – just as the grace God bestows on us every minute of the day with every breath we take.  Grace is the love, unconditional and whole, that God gives us for no other reason than we are alive in this world, and we are who we are.

This love – this radical and all-consuming love – carries me through my days.  I ride it like a river coursing through my being.  Because I am loved in this way, I am open to love.  And now my heart is as exposed and vulnerable as a child without a coat in the rain.  We’re supposed to love everyone.  I’ve come to the point where I have no choice in the matter.  My heart loves.  It is frightening.  It is exhilarating.”

 ~ Sophronia Scott, FORWARD DAY BY DAY

Meditation : Prayer for Joy and Strength

Prayer for Joy and Strength

Lord Jesus, help me not to let frustration produce stress and anxiety in my life. Let me be patient with myself and with others. When life is hectic and demanding, show me how to not let frustration rob my peace and steal my joy. Lord, help me to maintain a peaceful spirit and a good attitude even though the circumstances around me are not ideal.

When faced with challenges and obstacles in my life, help me face them with a resolute determination. Empower me to press on with confidence, knowing you have promised to give me strength to overcome any situation. When things don’t go as expected, let me remain calm, trusting you and not giving in to frustration.

Grant me clarity of thought, mental focus and comprehension. Give me wisdom and guidance on how to navigate through the storms of life and arrive at a place of complete victory. I will not be unsettled, distraught or frustrated. Instead your peace will rule in my life.