The Victorian Bushfires: A Prayer Cycle

PRESCRIPT:  I have been given the immense privilege this week of preparing for my local congregation a cycle of prayers to help people grieve for, and reflect upon, the tragedy of the Victorian bushfires.  What follows represents my attempt to live up to this charge.  The first three prayers in the cycle are of my composition; the last prayer is adapted from resources provided by the Victorian/Tasmanian Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia.

1. Introduction

In the Book of Psalms, the word selah marks a period of reflection; it is a call to pause, to stop and listen.  In the wake of the terrible bushfires that have inflicted such deep wounds upon so many, we gather to pause and listen: to our grief, to our anger, to our shock, to our despair.  We gather to minister to one another, to be present to each person and to our community.  We gather to give ourselves permission and space, in our anguish and distress, to cry out to God.

As I share this time of prayer with you, I will occasionally proclaim: selah.  We will use this time to stop and listen, to pause and reflect. Continue reading “The Victorian Bushfires: A Prayer Cycle”

Mark 1:29-39

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

In the midst of a passage in which the emphasis is on Jesus’ healing power, this short statement from verse 35 of today’s reading is often overlooked.  At most, it’s viewed as a kind of link between the two halves of the narrative, between Jesus’ arrival at the house of Simon and Andrew and the extension of his ministry through the rest of Galilee.  Continue reading “Mark 1:29-39”