Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tuesday and Wednesday - Retreat and Forgiveness

Tuesday  March 26
Before you begin the prayer and devotional today,  take time to prepare yourself.   Sit in a comfortable chair.   Focus upon Jesus. 
As you breath in,  repeat in your mind the phrase “the love of Jesus is within me”.
As you breath out,  repeat in your mind the phrase,  “the love of Jesus is with everyone I meet today”.

Prayer:  “Comfort, Lord all who cry to You.  Transform the sorrows of our faults into the joy of pardon, and in Your goodness hasten for us the return of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.” (Taize,  “Praise in all our Days”  Mowbray,  1981,  pg. 197).

Read St. Luke 19: 45 – 48

Then Jesus entered the Temple and began driving out those who were selling items at a profit for themselves and for the High Priests.    

Earle Ellis in his commentary on the Gospel of Luke states “the temple tax, required of all Jews, had to be paid in special Jewish coinage.  At certain times money-changers set up counters for his purpose in the courtyards of the temple.  In the same ‘court of the Gentiles’  the temple administration handled the sale of offerings and sacrifices.  These practices and the profiteering involved in them created great resentment among the visiting pilgrims”  (Earle Ellis  “The New Century Bible Commentary:  The Gospel of Luke”  Eerdmans,  1974.)  

While making offerings and sacrifices were all part of Judaism,  what Jesus objected to was the sellers and High Priests were making a profit.    Profit.  That is the key word.  

The Temple and  the Synagogue were places of prayer,  but some sellers and Priests were making God’s houses a place of profit.

What about our Churches today?  Are our Churches a place of prayer or places of profit?

Prayer:  Holy God,  Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One  grant that our Church is a place of prayer.   Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One grant that our Church is a place of love.   Use me today to further Your kingdom, the Church hear on earth.  Amen.

Wednesday  March 27
Prayer of Forgiveness

In order for each of us to be able to say “thank you God”, we need to forgive ourselves and others.   The Forgiveness Prayer exercise today is an easy one but a thorough exercise.
Fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise.   On the left hand side  write the name of the person and  what they have done to you.  Add anyone you can think of on this list…. From the driver who didn’t stop to let you cross the road to the sister that forgot your birthday.
The more we forgive the more healing can be done. 

Name of Person                                                    Forgiveness

When you are done writing the names on the left hand side of your paper, start writing on the right hand side this phrase

 Dear _________, I do forgive you for _____________ and I set you free.  I do forgive myself for feeling hurt/ angry/  violated and I do set myself free.

Wait until you feel different in anyway when you think about that person.  Then go to the next name on your list.  Sometimes the list is a few names and sometimes the list is pages long.   But remember,  the more we forgive the more of God’s love we share. 

End your  Forgiveness Prayer exercise with this  prayer: 
God of all Graciousness,  I thank you that I can come to You with heavy burdens and You take all my burdens  from me.  Thank you Great God that You have taken my sorrows and anger and replace them with Your forgiveness and love.   Help me to find blessings and opportunities even in the most challenging experiences.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.   Amen.

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