DAILY PRAYERS: December 1, 2015

The season of Advent marks a time for inner reflection, a time for being present in the darkness, a time for anticipation of what is to come.  As we await the coming of the birth of Jesus and the return of the Sun’s light, let us sit mindfully where we are right now, undistracted, and bask in the Love of The Divine.

Hope be with you.

2015-04-27 08.19.29

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, you order all things with strength and greatness: Come now and accompany us on the journey.

O Adonai, rising as a sign for all the peoples, before you earthly rulers will keep silent, and nations give you honor: Come quickly to deliver us.

O Lord, protector of the nations, you open and no one can close, you close and no one can open: Come to set the prisoners free.

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, Sun of justice: Come, shine brightly on those who live in darkness.

O Prophet, teacher of the ages, sage of the wisdom of loving-kindness: Come teach us the way of truth.

O Immanuel, God with us, you are the cornerstone uniting all humanity: Come be with us.

God of grace and Love, the earth rejoices in hope, awaiting the coming of your promise, anticipating the loving gift: We give thanks and praise. Amen.

(Adapted from the Litany for Advent – O Antiphons in the Book of Common Worship, p.67-69)

Today’s lectionary readings:

Morning Psalms 33; 146

Amos 3:1-11

2 Peter 1:12-21

Gospel: Matthew 21:12-22

Evening Psalms 85; 94

 

 

 

Morning Prayer Meditations Prayer Resources SU STM Daily Prayers

Snapshots: Special Morning Prayer – February 11, 2015

This morning, one of our Muslim Transformational Leadership students, Qasim, shared prayers in a special gathering with faculty, staff and students. Below are the words shared.

At Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, we are committed to deepening in our own traditions while honoring and learning from the traditions of others–working together for a better world.

Special Morning Prayer

§ The Prayer of Prophet Moses (Musa) (Qur’an 20:25-28; Chapter Taha [Surat Taha])

Oh my Lord!  Open my chest [i.e. remove fear from it, or fill it with Your light]. 

And ease my task for me.

Remove the impediment from my speech

so that they may understand what I say.

§ The Prayer of Prophet Jesus (Isa) (Qur’an 5:114; Chapter The Table Spread [Surat Al-Ma’idah])

Said Jesus, the Son of Mary,

“O God, our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven

to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You.

And provide for us, and You are the best of providers.”

§ The Prayer of Prophet Muhammad (Hadith/Statements)

He ended every prayer (salat) with al-Salaamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you), and then recited the following:

O God, You are Peace,

and peace emanates from You and to You peace returns;

so greet us, Lord, with peace, and admit us by Your Mercy,

into Your House, the Abode of Peace (by the religion of peace).

Blessed are You, my Lord, O Possessor of Majesty and Honor.

O God, none can prevent what You have bestowed,

and no wealth can benefit anyone against You.

O God, assist us in remembrance of You,

having gratitude towards You and excellence in Your worship.

Morning Prayer Meditations Student Reflections

FRIDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — January 6, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Hindu and Buddhist religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those sacred writings this week.

In Buddhism, hospitality (sakkāra) is the act of being welcoming and helpful to guests (atithi or pāhunaka), strangers (āgantuka) and travellers (addhika).  For the Buddha, hospitality should be shown to all, whatever their caste, religious affiliation or status. The Tipiṭaka often says that the Buddha was “welcoming, friendly, polite and genial” towards everyone who came to see him (D.I,116).  The Milindapañha said that, if a guest turned up at a person’s house after all the food had been eaten, more rice should be cooked in order to feed him and allay his hunger (Mil.107). The Buddha considered failure to reciprocate hospitality to be very bad form. He said: “Whoever goes to another’s house and is fed but does not feed them when they come to his house, consider him an outcaste.” (Sn.128). The Jātaka says: “If for even one night one stops in another’s house and receives food and drink, have no evil thought, for to do so would be to burn an extended hand and betray a good friend.” (Ja.VI,310).

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of the Eastern religions, let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Hindus and Buddhists,

Jews, Christians, and Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for Joanna Owen, staff; Maureen McLaughlin-Crawford and Norma Melo, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

THURSDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 5, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Hindu and Buddhist religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those sacred writings this week.  Swami Tyagananda tells a story from Hindu mythology which highlights the dual role of God as guest and teacher.

Disguised as a wandering mendicant, Krishna visits a wealthy family, who welcome him warmly and offer him hospitality that matches both their devotion and prosperity. When it is time to leave, he blesses his host profusely, promising him even more wealth and glory. Krishna’s next visit is to a poor widow, whose only possession is a cow. She too welcomes him with great devotion but all that she can offer him is a glass of milk. When it is time to leave, Krishna blesses her and tells her that her cow will die soon.

Arjuna, who has accompanied Krishna to both the places, is horrified. He asks Krishna, “Your wealthy hosts lacked nothing and yet you blessed them with even more wealth. Whereas your blessing to the poor devotee accompanied the ominous news that she will lose her cow. This is unfair and unacceptable.”

Krishna smiles and tells Arjuna, “My wealthy host is insanely attached to his wealth and his reputation; he has a long way to go before he becomes spiritually awakened. On the other hand, this poor devotee is already far advanced on the spiritual path. The only thing that is separating her from the highest freedom is her attachment to her cow. I removed the hurdle from her path.”

The insights that this story provides are obvious. God can enter our lives in any form and at any time, often in most unexpected circumstances. The blessing that the divine guest bestows upon us can be difficult to decipher at first glance.

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of the Eastern religions, let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Hindus and Buddhists,

Jews, Christians, and Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Integration Clinical II class taught by Christie Eppler; Lizzie Young, staff; Ann Mayer and Andrea McCabe, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

WEDNESDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 4, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures this week.

In Surah 6 of the Holy Qur’an, for example, we read these words: “It is Allah who produces gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilled soil with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar in kind, and different in variety: Eat of their fruit in their season; render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah does not love those who waste” [6:17:141]. And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is remembered as saying this: “Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated with the company” [Ibn Majah].

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Systemic Treatment of Addiction and Abuse class taught by William James; Mark Taylor, faculty; Simone Winston, staff; Jonathan Martin and Richard Martin, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

TUESDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 3, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures this week.

In the Gospel according to St. Luke, for example, we read that Jesus the son of Mary (peace be upon him), after he was raised from the dead, fell in walking with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they failed to recognize him [Luke 24:13-35]. The three conversed together as they walked, talking about the scriptures and Jesus’ life and death and resurrection. Although their hearts began to burn within them, still the two did not recognize Jesus. Only sitting at table, at the end of their journey, when Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, were their eyes opened.

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Theology in an Ecumenical Context class taught by Michael Kinnamon; Mike Raschko, faculty; Catherine Smith, staff; Tina Alvarado, graduate assistant; Andrew Lundquist and Gretchen Luoma Cohan, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

MONDAY IN INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK — February 2, 2015

Meditation and Prayer

by Mark Lloyd Taylor, Ph.D.

 

My brothers and sisters, may God be with you! The sacred scriptures of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions all tell stories or pass along sayings about hospitality. I invite us to muse on those scriptures the first three days of this 2015 Interfaith Harmony Week.

In the Torah, for example, we read that our ancestor Abraham (peace be upon him) was visited by the LORD when he showed hospitality to three men who arrived at the entrance to his tent by the terebinth trees of Mamre [Genesis 18:1-15]. Abraham invited the visitors to get out of the blazing sun and sit in the shade. He offered water so they could bathe their feet. He asked Sarah to bake bread, while he had a choice calf prepared. The guests feasted, as Abraham waited upon them. Their conversation turned to Sarah and one of the men promised that upon his return a year later, old Sarah and older Abraham would have a child.

Sisters and brothers, these words from our holy books encourage me and challenge me this week. Guided by the stories of Abraham and Sarah, of Jesus, and of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all), let us pray:

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of the universe and our maker.

You bestow upon us from your bounty the gifts of food and fellowship.

Surprise us this week with the birth of new and unexpected beginnings.

Open our eyes this week to all that is holy, hidden right in front of us.

Call us back this week from our wasteful ways;

send us out in compassion to those brothers and sisters

whom we have deprived of food and conversation.

O Holy One of Blessing, teach us all, Jews, Christians, Muslims,

that eating and talking together can create harmony among our peoples.

Grant this, most merciful God, for the sake of your righteous name.

Amen.

 

School of Theology and Ministry Prayer Cycle: We pray today for the Science and Religion class taught by Mike Raschko; Erica Martin, faculty; Beth Smith, staff; Steve Childress, graduate assistant; Louise Locke and Catherine Lucia, students.

Faculty Reflections Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 Morning Prayer Meditations SU STM Daily Prayers

A BRAZILIAN REFLECTION ON JESUS AND THE SAMARITAN WOMAN

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

 

Halfway through the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it has already been powerful and transformative to engage the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4 – at morning prayer, through guest reflections posted to this blog, and in preparation for the regional evening service tomorrow night at Plymouth Church United Church of Christ in downtown Seattle at 7:00pm. Our sister and brother Christians from Brazil were invited by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to create global prayer and worship resources for 2015 – they chose the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. The following is the reflection the Brazilian folk prepared for today, Day Four, especially on John 4:25-28.

Blessings,

Dr. Mark Lloyd Taylor, Director of Worship

School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University

§§§

The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman shows that dialogue with the different, the stranger, the unfamiliar, can be life-giving. If the woman had followed the rules of her culture, she would have left when she saw Jesus approaching the well. That day, for some reason, she did not follow the established rules. Both she and Jesus broke with conventional patterns of behavior. Through this breaking forth they showed us again that it is possible to build new relationships.

As Jesus completes the work of the Father, the Samaritan woman, for her part, leaves her water jar, meaning that she could go further in her life; she was not confined to the role society imposed on her. In John’s Gospel she is the first person to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. “Breaking forth” is a necessity for those who desire to grow stronger and wiser in their faith.

That the Samaritan woman leaves behind her water jar signals that she has found a greater gift, a greater good than the water she came for, and a better place to be within her community. She recognizes the greater gift that this Jewish stranger, Jesus, is offering her.

It is difficult for us to find value, to recognize as good, or even holy, that which is unknown to us and that which belongs to another. However, recognizing the gifts that belong to the other as good and as holy is a necessary step towards the visible unity we seek.

Morning Prayer Meditations Week of Prayer 2015

Celebrating St. Francis of Assisi

October 4 is dedicated to celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi.  At this morning prayer service, Dr. Mark Taylor shared a short reflection on the life of St. Francis.  Below is an excerpt of the reflection

 

Francis, the son of a prosperous merchant of Assisi, was born in 1182.  His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory.

Various encounters with beggars and lepers pricked the young man’s conscience, and he decided to embrace a life devoted to Lady Poverty.  Despite his father’s intense opposition, Francis totally renounced all material values, and devoted himself to serve the poor.  In 1210 Pope Innocent III confirmed the simple Rule for the Order of Friars Minor, a name Francis chose to emphasize his desire to be numbered among the “least” of God’s servants.

The order grew rapidly all over Europe.  But by 1221 Francis had lost control of it, since his ideal of strict and absolute poverty, both for the individual friars and for the order as a whole, was found to be too difficult to maintain.  His last years were spent in much suffering of body and spirit, but his unconquerable joy never failed.

Not long before his death, during a retreat on Mount La Verna, Francis received, on September 14, Holy Cross Day, the marks of the Lord’s wounds, the stigmata, in his own hands and feet and side.  Pope Gregory IX, a former patron of the Franciscans, canonized Francis in 1228, and began the erection of the great basilica in Assisi where Francis is buried.

Of all the saints, Francis is the most popular and admired, but probably the least imitated; few have attained to his total identification with the poverty and suffering to Christ. . . .

(Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints.  Church Publishing, 2009, 622)

 

Morning Prayer Meditations

Sermon from Morning Prayer: May 27, 2014

Margaret Rodgers

Morning Prayer Sermon

Chapel of St. Ignatius

Seattle University

May 27, 2014

I sometimes forget that Jesus was a teacher.  Of all the roles Jesus has played in human history, I feel that Jesus as teacher might be the least lauded.  Perhaps because in our scriptures his words are often cryptic and contain several layers of meaning.  We brush over them, get to the good stuff.  And I wonder now in reflecting on our text today, Matthew 13:18-23, why I haven’t paid just as much attention to the things Jesus said as I have for the things he’s done.  Or that have been done to him.

Take for instance Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower.  I never really paid too much attention to it – it seems pretty clear, cut and simple.  Those that do not understand divine revelation are susceptible to losing even what they do know of the kingdom.  Those that do not have strong roots into divine revelation quickly fall away when questions arise of its paradoxes.  There are also people that may understand and believe, but then get caught up in the cares of the world or the lure of wealth.  As such, their understanding and belief in the word of the kingdom does not bring about the kingdom.

And then there are those that know and understand, and their efforts are multiplied, thirty, sixty, hundredfold.

Even here in this explanation, upon closer inspection, I see questions arising from what I initially thought clear, cut and simple.  For instance, I think of Galatians 5:22-23 which describes fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  So when I read our passage for today, I’m assuming this is the “fruit” Jesus is referring to.

If you understand and believe in the word of the kingdom then these things will be multiplied in your life.  Sounds like a self-help book when I say it flatly like that.

Just before this explanation, in the previous passage of our biblical text, Jesus also says he keeps his words cryptic to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah which is in some ways quite disturbing.  One certainly is because even though Jesus explains this parable, there is plenty others that I’m not sure I “get.”  I’m not sure I fully get this one either, considering the flat understanding I just stated.

So understanding and believing is not so clear, cut and simple, right?  Hence, the importance of the role of the teacher.  In my own personal life, from a child up into now,    a bigger child, it has been the teachers in my life that have illumed existence for me in a way that helps me better understand it and my place in it.  Often times, just like Jesus’ cryptic messages, it’s not the clear, cut and simple stuff, but the stuff that really made me think.  Made me lay awake at night constructing and deconstructing how this new knowledge could fit in with my other knowledge.  Sometimes this required me to reject old knowledge, sometimes reject the new.  But always, learning.

Today, I’d like to commit to listening better to the words of Jesus, our teacher, our guru.  If you don’t already, I invite you to listen deeper as well.  Let us both never forget that Jesus still has much to teach us concerning the kingdom of God.  And when we learn together in community, our teachers can help us truly hear and understand.  Amen.

Morning Prayer Meditations Student Reflections