Morning by Morning

"The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward." Isaiah 50:4-5

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Twelve Everyday Collects for Everyday People

A Collect for When One is a Miserable Twit
God, you know what a funk I am in and the causes are not hidden from you. Insofar as it is good for me, give me insight into those causes and lift me out of this mood I am in, and grant me the grace not to be a miserable twit; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One has Done Something Stupid
Lord, the Author of all knowledge, You know exactly what I did, and I’m not fooling you. Forgive me and give me the grace to do it differently next time, so that I don’t embarrass myself again; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One has Had a Great Day
God, the giver of every good thing, thank You for a great day filled with love and laughter. What more could I ask than that which You have given? Some days are just too great not to be repeated. Thanks again in Jesus Name, Amen.

A Collect for When is Dealing With a Compulsive Talker
Lord God of all patience, what am I going to do? She never shuts up! Talk, Talk, Talk; and I’m worn to a frazzle! Lord God, help me to see her as you see her; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Remembering that God is the Center of All
Lord God, You keep the earth, the moon, the sun and the stars in their orbits Help me to remember that everything doesn’t revolve around me, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Collect for a Mid-Day Nap
Almighty, Eternal God, how do you do it? You are never worn out, and I’m really dead on my feet. Help me unhook from all the stuff going on around me and take a rest, so that I can rise again and serve you better; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One is Slightly Ridiculous
God, you are sitting in the heavens and having a good laugh; grant us most graciously to have a sense of humour about ourselves, that we might truly appreciate the silly side of our frailty and not be a nuisance to others; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

A Collect for When One is Taking Things too Personally
Gracious Father, your perspective is eternal and all encompassing; grant us such a vision of the immensity and diversity of the world around us, that we might have the grace to realize when life gets difficult that it’s not all about us and that we aren’t really all that important; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One is Too Serious
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Light of lights, shine your light on us so that we can lighten up and stop taking ourselves and everything else so seriously.  We know all too well that there is some serious stuff out that there, but help us to keep things in perspective.  Grant this for sake of your joy. Amen.

A Collect for When We Think We’re in Control
Oh Lord, you are in control and we’re not.  Help us to so recognize that truth that we might give ourselves and those around us a break, and instead rest in trust on your perpetual grace; in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

A Collect for When One is Being a Jerk
Almighty God, you see the trouble I cause myself and others.  Help me to take seriously the things that I should take seriously and help me stop playing the fool when I should be doing what you want me to do.  Help me to keep the balance for the sake of your glory; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns one God for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for the Other Idiots Out There

Lord God Almighty¸ you know exactly who is on my mind again. Grant them the grace not to be a nuisance to me and to others; that way we would all have a lot more peace, and things would go more smoothly.  Which reminds me, also help me not take their inventory, I have enough trouble with myself; through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

Crusader Rabbit: A Response to a Query

There is a fine line between giving care and trying to fix the problems of others.  In our family we are well acquainted with the Crusader Rabbit syndrome.  Crusader Rabbit is large, white, fluffy bunny that takes his sword, his shield and his lance, mounts his white stallion and charges down on a problem situation (or person) and attempts to fix things.  The problem is, that fixing things is not our responsibility, but loving and giving care is.  Generally speaking, when Crusader Rabbit mounts his white horse and charges down he is about to get knocked off his horse.

Unlike the shrunken soul who said that the best advice he ever received was to never volunteer, I think it is a good thing to volunteer; You have remarked that as a child you were told not to speak unless spoken to and to that you were to wait until you were asked, before doing something.”  As a child I remember the dictum, "children should be seen and not heard", (and I might, add “and preferably not seen either!”). That kind of attitude was a vestige of those halcyon days when the governess presented the children to the parents after dinner for inspection, but for little else.  Children should be respectful, but so should adults, even of children.  On a simple level even respectful children would bless their parents by volunteering to wash the dishes or walk the dog.

As for your living arrangement.  There are so many mixed motives and emotions in any family living arrangement.  What's done is done.  However there is here a matter for some serious and persistent prayer.  The question is not "What should I have done?", but, "What should I do now?"  The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

The Bottomless Well

Some of us by nature are caregivers; it is in our blood, in the very fibre, muscle and bone of our being.  It is not just that there are those who need our care.  We ourselves need to care, to mend and heal, to rescue and restore.  I suspect that trait in one degree of another is found in most people.  Natural care givers often hold suspect those who have no apparent need to give care, and recognize as pathological those who instead of giving care, victimize those who either need care or give care.  That proclivity is not just pathological, it is wicked.

There is only One who is a bottomless well.  Through the Christ flows the water of the Spirit, the gift of the Father’s love.  All the rest of us lesser caregivers fall into one of two major categories; the shallow well that taps ground water, and the well spring that has tapped a source deeper than itself.

The caregiver that functions as a shallow well is soon drained of inner resources and only slowly filled by fresh rain water seeping through the soil.  The shallow well, giving of its own fleshly strength and human power, gladly gives all it has but then sits depleted, empty and tired, very tired of caring.  Some shallow wells are slowly repleted, others, once depleted, sit as dry holes for times upon times; their care giving days are over.

The caregiver that functions as a wellspring has tapped into the deeper artesian spring of God’s love and presence and even if depleted is quickly filled.  Contrasting the earthly and heavenly well there is One who said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13,14).

There are some limits to caregiving that must be recognized.  Even Christ the Caregiver is limited by the freedom of will that is an intrinsic right of those for whom He cares.  He allows us to say “No!”  We ourselves are bound by the same reality in our offers to care for others.  On another level there is no comparison of His ability as a caregiver with our lesser ability.  It is not for nothing that He is called the Redeemer, and we the redeemed.  His caregiving becomes incarnate in our caregiving but subject to our humanity and limitations; but by the grace of God we are what we are and His grace in us is not in vain.  Caregivers give care only by virtue of their connection with the Christ in the power of the Spirit.

Being filled with this amazing water of the Holy Spirit requires both inflow and outflow.  Without the inflow that comes through worship, praise, prayer and reflection on God’s word the well soon dries up.  It is necessary to drink daily and drink deeply.  Without outflow, without giving care the water becomes stagnant and the well itself becomes dank and drear.  The one who actively leans upon Him is like a tree planted the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  The one who drinks deeply of His Presence is like a deep well of water springing forth and giving life to those who need care.