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A PRAYER FOR HAITI

January 2010

Most Holy Creator God, Lord of heaven and earth,

we bring before you today your people of Haiti.

It is You who set in motion the stars and seas,

You who raised up the mountains of the Massif de la Hotte

and Pic La Selle. It is You who made her people in your very image: Their gregarious hearts and generous spirits,

their hunger and thirst for righteousness and liberty.

It is you, O Lord, who planted the rhythms of konpa, Twoubadou,

and zouk in the streets of Cite-Soleil; You who walk the paths

outside of Jacmel and Hinche. Your people, O Lord, cry out to you.

Haiti, O Haiti: The world’s oldest black republic,

the second-oldest republic in the Western world.

God, You are the One who answers the cries of the suffering.

You are a God who sees, frees, and redeems your people.

“I too have heard the moaning of my people,” you spoke to Moses.

Now, Lord, speak again to Chanté, Agwe, Nadege, and Jean Joseph.

Speak now, O Lord, and comfort Antoine, Jean-Baptiste,

Toto, and Djakout. Raise up your people from the ash heap

of destruction and give them strong hearts and hands,

shore up their minds and spirits. Help them to bear this new burden.

As for us, Lord, we who are far away from the rubble and the dust,

from the sobbing and moans, but who hold them close in our hearts,

imbue us with the strength of Simon the Cyrene.

Help us to carry the Haitian cross. Show us how to lighten

their yoke with our prayers, our aid, our resources. Teach

us to work harder for justice in our own country and dignity in Haiti,

so that we may stand with integrity when we hold our Haitian families

in our arms once again. We ask this in the name of Jezikri,

Jesus Christ. Amen.

(c) Rose Marie Berger (reprint freely)

http://www.cacradicalgrace.org/getconnected/articles/APrayerForHaiti-RoseMarieBerger.pdf

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This poem is actually a several hundred year old Mennonite rendering of the Lord’s Prayer, meant to make it memorizable and recitable in a relevant way.  This has made it’s way to the board at our house.  I especially love the line “Free us, as we free.”.  Reciprocal freedom, not solely individual, nor solely communal but the magical paradox of intertwining of me and us.  Great prayer.  Let is be so.

Abba Father God, Bless your holy name.

Let your reign come now, Let your desires be carried out.

Bring your peace to birth, As in heav’n, so on Earth

Give us bread, daily; Free us, as we free.

When the way is hard, Be our guide and guard.

Your rule, power; and praise Reign supreme, always.

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Let it be so.

God…

Forgive in me what has gone wrong,

Repair in me what is wasted,

Reveal in me what is good.

Stages on the Way, (Wild Goose Worship)

From Mark Pierson, co-author of The Prodigal Project who wrote a great lent guide.

Download the Lenten guide here – Lenten Guide Mark Pierson.zip

Here are some great lent resources and guides to help navigate this sacred season.

Christine Sine – Mustard Seed Associates: A Journey Into Wholeness: A Lenten Reflection Guide

Richard Rohr – Center for Action and Contemplation: Journey Into Lent

Frank Ramirez – Upper Room Ministries: Lenten Devotional

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 2009 Lenten Reflections and Worship Resources

Lenten Daily Calendar: Evangelical Community Church

General Information and other great link pages…

The Text This Week

Per Christum

My only caution is this.  Do something, it is so easy to get overwhelmed by the number of great resources.  Find what fits and then wear it for 40 days and let this season change and impact your life.

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I received my son’s school newsletter and it had the following compelling information…

Of course, who hasn’t felt better after tending their tomato plants or walking in the park? But a growing body of scientific studies suggests even passive contact, like glimpsing nature from the window of a speeding car or looking at a picture of nature, can be as therapeutic as physically being in the midst of it. The bottom line: Nature can provide nurture — for the young, old, healthy, and sick. It can nurture those in a car, a hospital, a dorm room, and even a prison.

The problem is that directed attention is a finite resource-everyone has expiereinced the fatigue of taking a test or a big project at work.  Attention restoration theory suggests that walks in nature and views of green space capture our involuntary attention, giving our directed attention a needed rest.  ” We advocate that children be given views of green space from the classroom,”  Dr. Faber Taylor said.  ” We’ve done research on children in public housing that shows the ones who have a green view perform better on a broad range of tasks.”  

Why does nature have this kind of power?

“We have two kinds of attention,” says Andrea Faber Taylor, an environmental psychologist and postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “Directed, attention, which we use when driving or doing our taxes, for example, is effortful and gets tired. When directed attention is fatigued, we feel trashed and it’s hard to make good decisions and to inhibit one’s impulses.

Faber Taylor says the best way to restore directed attention is by giving it a rest and relying on our second type of attention.

“Involuntary attention is what we use when we stop thinking in an effortful way, like when we watch a fire or meditate,” she says. “Looking at nature is soothing and undemanding of our attention. This uses our involuntary attention, enabling directed attention to rest and recover.”

If you are a typical Western evangelical you are likely experiencing Direct Attention Fatigue.  You have heard so many sermons, teachings, things to do and things not to do, ways of praying, ways of not praying.  If you are a faithful church goer that means you have heard on average of 52 sermons each year.  If you have been in the church for 20 years that means that you have heard approximately 1040 sermons (this does not include Sunday evening services, podcasts, books, tapes and the list goes on).  WE ARE TIRED, FATIGUED, THEOLOGICALLY STUFFED TO THE GILLS.  

What we need is some Attention Restoration.  

It appears that God also believes in the Attention Restoration Theory.  If you begin to look at the places where God interacts and reveals himself it consistently surrounded by nature themes.

-Walking with Adam and Eve in a garden

-Moses and 10 commandments given on top of a mountain

-Jesus baptism in the middle of a flowing river

-Transfiguration on top of hill

-Teaching moments with his disciples on a boat in the middle of a terrific storm, on a hillside sharing the beatitudes, 

Our churches need some green space.  Some park benches void of all calls to new methods, ways and the latest 40 day do this and everything will be better. Our brains need some rest and our eyes need to be re-engaged again.

We serve a God who says taste and see.  Not read and think.  

Dr. Faber Taylor notes that in adults, there is also evidence that a green view is beneficial.  “Most people recognize the pattern,” she notes.  “For so long we have ignored the effect our physical environments have on our ability to pay attention.”

If our physical environment does have a profound effect our our ability to pay attention what would this means for the architecture of our churches, bible schools and seminaries, even our homes?  Most evangelical churches and seminaries are closed, cold and windowless boxes.  (in fact now that I think of it, not one of the numerous churches I have attended had windows of any sort)  

What kind of “Green space” could be incorporated into our sacred spaces?

Wishing you and yours a most wonderful Christmas season.  May you welcome the Lord and discover Him anew.

This advent presentation is from the Mustard Seed Associates and is very moving.  My sister, Sherilee shared this with us last night on Christmas Eve.

From the Hieberts to all our friends and family.  Merry Christmas!

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