Thy Kingdom Come, Day 5

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A Short Reflection on Day 5 of Praying Thy Kingdom Come

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For today’s theme, “Offer,” we are told to read today’s text with an open mind. It follows:

“They brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” She left him there for the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:25b-28).

The subject of this passage is Hannah  who, throughout her life, had been childless. Her husband had two wives, and the other wife made fun of Hannah for having no children. Prior to her son Samuel’s birth, she had gone to the temple, heartbroken and ridiculed, to pray for a child. In her grief, she was mistaken for being drunk by Eli, the priest. When he rebuked her for what he thought was her drunkenness, Hannah replied,

“Not so, my lord…I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer, I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.”

What a beautiful sentiment: “I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” In times of great grief and sorrow, we pour out our souls to the Lord. In this 10 days before Pentecost, we are pouring our souls to the Lord, too. With hopeful anticipation, let’s pray that what we pour into our prayers will be poured out by God in return.

A Collect for Today’s Passage:

Lord, of your mercy, you listened to Hannah as she poured out her soul to you, and then blessed her with her request. Bless those who feel empty and whose prayers seem impossible, for you will fill them with the possible. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

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Thy Kingdom Come, Day 3

I hope that you are all praying for 5 people that they may come to know Jesus. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then another. Visualize your 5 people. Focus intensely on these friends and breathe deeply. Begin to pray.

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

Pray that your friends will soon find comfort in that passage and come to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Enjoy this beautiful day that the Lord hath made!

Thy Kingdom Come, Day 2

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited people to pray from the 10th of May, Ascension Day, through Pentecost, in whatever way they want, with whomever they and want and whenever they can, so that others might know Jesus Christ. In order for this to not be a general evangelical prayer, he suggests praying for 5 people that you know, for the ten days that they bring Christ into their lives. The guiding theme for this year is Changed Lives – Changing Lives.

The Daughter’s of the King will be sending daily messages to encourage St. Mary’s to pray daily. We invite you to take part in a few activities during this time of intensive prayer. 

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Today’s reflection is in the form of a haiku, and focuses on the theme of friendship and fearlessness: 

 

Pray fearlessly, friend

For where we pray together

The great I AM is.

Reflections for Thy Kingdom Come, Day 1

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited people to pray from the 10th of May, Ascension Day,  through Pentecost, in whatever way they want, with whomever they and want and whenever they can, so that others might know Jesus Christ. In order for this to not be a general evangelical prayer, he suggests praying for 5 people that you know, for the ten days that they bring Christ into their lives. The guiding theme for this year is Changed Lives – Changing Lives.

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The Daughter’s of the King will be sending daily messages to encourage St. Mary’s to pray daily. We invite you to take part in a few activities during this time of intensive prayer.

Come Holy Spirit: Thy Kingdom Come

Almighty God, your ascended Son has sent us into the world to preach the good news of your kingdom: inspire us with you Spirit and fill our hearts with the fire of your love, that all who hear your word may be drawn to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Join us for Our Next Book Study: The Way of Tea and Justice

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Join the Daughters of the King for an evening of conversation and refreshments as we discuss:

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What started as an impossible dream-to build a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction-is helping to fuel an astonishing movement to bring freedom and fair wages to women producers worldwide where tea and trafficking are linked by oppression and the opiate wars.

Becca Stevens started the Thistle Stop Café to empower women survivors. But when she discovered a connection between café workers and tea laborers overseas, she embarked on a global mission called “Shared Trade” to increase the value of women survivors and producers across the globe.

As she recounts the victories and unexpected challenges of building the café, Becca also sweeps the reader into the world of tea, where timeless rituals transport to an era of beauty and the challenging truths about tea’s darker, more violent history. She offers moving reflections of the meaning of tea in our lives, plus recipes for tea blends that readers can make themselves.

In this journey of triumph for impoverished tea laborers, hope for café workers, and insight into the history of tea, Becca sets out to defy the odds and prove that love is the most powerful force for transformation on earth.

Everyone is welcome – tea and refreshments provided!

We’ll also discuss ways that similar ministries might be developed within our area.

A copy of the book is available in the undercroft of St. Mary’s.

February 13, 2017, at 6:00pm EST

St. Mary’s Guild Hall

Prayer and Service Come Together at St. Agnes’ House

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Let me tell you a story.

It begins in a Cracker Barrel in Middlesboro, Kentucky. There, three women gathered. Two were Daughters, and the other was a dear friend to St. Mary’s. One Daughter had previously said to another, “You are on the board at St. Agnes’ House, right? Is there anything we can do?”

“Oh, yes,” said the second. “There is always something that can be done.”

“Let’s pray about it,” they said together.

And so, they met that day to see what it was that could be done after offering up their prayers. The Daughter who asked the question and the third woman were brilliant decorators who loved to brighten others’ lives. The women talked and decided that, between them and their love of decorating, they could remodel one room at St. Agnes’ House, a hospitality mission that gave a place to stay in Lexington, Kentucky for those in medical crisis. The second Daughter made the arrangements to travel.

“Let’s keep praying,” they said to one another.

A few days later, the three women and another parishioner of St. Mary’s took a road trip. As they moved through the home, the eyes of the two decorators began to light up. Plans for additional work on other rooms were made. It would take far more funds, however, and time was limited.

“Let’s pray,” they said to one another.

Then, donations began to come in once others heard what the women were doing. The parishioners of St. Mary’s responded with generosity and loving heart by donating gently loved furniture, lamps, and other items. They responded with their wallets. Community members responded in kind, too, and one Daughter’s uncle donated the extra wood from his carpenter business for the creation of extra headboards. As the two decorators combed antique shops for good deals,  the owner asked what they could possibly want with twelve lamps. After explaining the reason, the shop owner nodded. She sold them the lamps for the cost of $1.00 total. Suddenly, it looked as if more rooms could be completed.

“Something’s happening – we must keep praying!” they said to one another.

The Daughters and their friend worked together to paint the wood, make art, and sew curtains. Then, the week of Easter, parishioners saw to the transport of items to Lexington. The first Daughter and her friend, the genius decorators, went to Lexington for the week. With students from the University of Kentucky and the Interim Director of St. Agnes’ House, they spent late nights transforming not one room, but all nine rooms of the house. One night, the first Daughter called the second and noted how she wished there was extra money for comforters. The second Daughter gave her good news – new donations had just increased the number in their account. The comforters could be purchased. The women marveled that their prayers had been met in such a spectacular way.

And so, with what began as a question of what could be done, prayer and service brought the project at St. Agnes’ House together. To our St. Mary’s family, to the outside community, and most especially to God, from whom all blessings flow, we give thanks!

Pray. Serve. Show/Tell. The Song of Mary

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Pray. Serve. Show-Tell. Mary's SongAs I learned from a Facebook post from our priest, today is a rare event in our religious calendar. In modern times, the Annunciation and Good Friday rarely fall on the same day – in fact, it will be 141 years until the next occurrence. Earlier in our history, however, the two days were traditionally celebrated on the same day, marking the day that Christ was conceived with the day he would die. His mother, Mary, of course, is intimately connected with both of those events. It was to her that the angel delivered the news of what was to come…

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

-Luke 1: 26-38 (NIV)

…and it was Mary who also witnessed her son crucified.

Could Mary have understood what would happen to Jesus so many years later after she received this message from Gabriel? I admit, I can’t fully comprehend what she might have thought or have known. I do know that finding out that you are unexpectedly pregnant comes with a certain amount of worry and anxiety, even if the news is welcomed after the initial shock. It should be noted, though, that I live in the 21st century, and I was already married when I discovered my surprise – a marked difference from Mary’s experience. Also, my news came via a pregnancy test and not an angel!

I also know, though, that we find plenty of other examples of people throughout the Bible who were asked to do big things, and they initially hesitated. Moses worried about his speaking ability. Jonah did not want to preach in Ninevah. Esther was hesitant to appear before the king without being called for. Mary, though…..Mary was brilliant (and I mean this in the best British usage of the word). “I am the Lord’s servant,” she said. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” The prayer she sang while with her cousin Elizabeth is a model for us all:

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.

– Luke 1: 46-56

Her Savior is our own. Though the sun sets on this Good Friday, it will soon be time for us to rejoice.

A Collect for Mary

Most merciful God, you announced the birth of our Savior to your servant, Mary. Help us to follow her obedient path, marveling in what has been decreed, and yet willing to let it be. Grant this for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Our St. Agnes’ House Project is in Full Swing!

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EVERYTHING

During the week of Easter, the Daughters of the King will be taking a trip up to Lexington, Kentucky to show a little love to St. Agnes’ House, a hospitality ministry that aids those who are in need of a place to stay during a medical crisis. St. Agnes’ House is a blessing to those who live in our area of Middlesboro, who due to the two and half hour drive to Lexington are often in need of a place to stay while either going through cancer treatments or while staying with a loved one who is in the hospital.

Daughters, as you tackle your spring cleaning, consider what gently used fabrics, lamps, bedside tables, and etc. that you might donate. At our monthly service meeting at 7:00pm on Wednesday, March 16, we will work at brightening up picture frames, assembling cork boards that can be used in rooms for guests to keep images of their loved ones on, and other crafty things!

If you are not a Daughter, but are interested in this project, we’d love to have you join us! Several have asked about donating items, and we thank those who have volunteered to take part in this either through donations and/or hands with us! Working together, we can really show what Christ’s love is all about!

Pray. Serve. Show/Tell: An Unknown Daughter

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Pray. Serve. Show-Tell. Daughter.

The Bible is full of numerous, nameless women. Sometimes, the most we have to go on to know their stories is a description of their condition. Such is the story of the unknown woman who appears in the Book of Luke, Chapter 8:

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

No one else in the crowd had witnessed this moment; indeed, it was the woman who eventually revealed herself within the crowd. She might have exited the crowd without being detected, without anyone to point a finger at her. Instead, she stepped forward. She was fearful of the response; we are told that she trembled. Did she tremble for being in front of Jesus, or for speaking in front of the crowd? We do not know, but we do know that she witnessed to the crowd, “in the presence of all the people.” She told them what she experienced. She revealed her faith. In doing so, Jesus proclaimed her “Daughter” and sent her out into the world where she could share her story with others.

A Collect for this Unknown Daughter

Merciful God, you revealed the power of your Son through the witness of one He called “Daughter.” Help us to share with others the good news of what you have done for us, even when it seems extraordinary, and even when we are afraid. Grant this for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

Pray. Serve. Show/Tell: Hannah’s Prayer

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Copy of I was Pouring

While only a few passages before this one we saw Hannah weeping in the temple, a short while later we find her praying this prayer of thanks to the Lord. He had given her a son. Between, she took the child, Samuel,to Eli the priest, saying,

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.

Her prayer in whole might remind us of Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat, which was given many years later. What similarities do we see if we look closely? What do these women teach us through their prayers? We might see that God fulfills his promises, and we might note both women’s emphasis on God’s strength and his lifting up the lowest in society.

Hannah’s Prayer (1 Samuel: 1-10)

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
    in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.

There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.

Do not keep talking so proudly
    or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows,
    and by him deeds are weighed.

“The bows of the warriors are broken,
    but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
    but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
    but she who has had many sons pines away.

The Lord brings death and makes alive;
    he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
    he humbles and he exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
    and has them inherit a throne of honor.

For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
    on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
    but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
    the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

He will give strength to his king
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.

As you go through your day today, carry Hannah’s prayer with you.

A Collect for Hannah and Mary

Lord, you teach us through the prayers of your servants Hannah and Mary that those who humble themselves before you will be redeemed. Keep those who place their trust in your deliverance and your plans. Grant this for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.