Jesus Loves Me

When I first taught my young sons Jesus Loves Me, I modified the words.  “Jesus loves us,” I sang, “this we know.”

© Copyright Nicolas Perez and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

© Copyright Nicolas Perez and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

I think some of this was pragmatic: the grammar stickler in me wanted the pronoun to be plural if the singers were, in fact, plural.

But part of it was my theology.  I was kind of pleased with my version, as though I was giving the cold shoulder to modern Christianity and its individualistic thinkingIt’s not all about me, I probably thought to myself.  And I don’t want my kids to think it’s all about them.

It’s like that old evangelism technique that goes: if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would die for you.  I don’t know why, but this always used to make my head explode.  Maybe it’s because I’m an American, from the country where everything is all about me.  Or maybe it was a pendulum swing against the evangelicalism that ignores the corporate identity of the church in favor of my personal Christianity.  Or maybe it’s because I swim in constant marketing that tells me I am the only person on Earth.

Or maybe it’s because the directness of Jesus’ love is uncomfortable. 

Hiding behind the words Jesus loves us reveals my inability to receive his love. The truth is that Jesus does love me.  Me, all by myself.  Standing there vulnerable and alone.  Me, who knows what I’ve done or thought about doing.  Who knows how un-lovable I am.  Me, if I was the last person on earth.  He really does.

And Jesus does love you.  You, all by yourself.  Standing there vulnerable and alone.  You, who know what you’ve done or thought about doing.  You, who know how unlovable you are.  You, if you were the last person on earth.

© Copyright J J Harrison and  licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

© Copyright J J Harrison and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

That kind of piercing, knowing love can make us squirm.  We are naked and we want to cover up.  To joke or push it aside.  To jump in a group where we can breathe a sigh of relief and shove aside the compulsion to respond to His love.

It’s a self-awareness my children don’t have.  Several months ago, I taught them the original words, and they sing it with gusto.  “Jesus Loves Me,” they shout, dancing around the living room.  Sometimes we insert their names.  “Yes, Jesus loves Elijah,” we’ll sing when it’s his turn, and he beams.

I learn from my children.  They don’t have to parse childlike faith.  They breathe it.  So join us.  Dance around your living room if you’ll let yourself.  Let’s sing it together: Jesus loves me, this I know.

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Prayers for Proper 16 – Year C (BCP), closest to August 24

Download Prayers for Proper 16 – Year C, BCP

King of all the earth,
Creator of the universe,
Holy Triune God,
From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord.

You, O Lord of hosts, are with us; O God of Jacob, you have been our stronghold;
You have been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

No matter our circumstances, your presence keeps us from fear;
You have been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

We look upon your works, O Lord, and marvel at the awesome things you have done on earth;
You have been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Who is like our God, the One who will be exalted among the nations, the One who will be exalted in all the earth?

You have been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

This is our God, the Holy One.
Come before him with thanksgiving and offer him the sacrifice of praise.

I invite you to add your own praises to the Lord.

Silence.

How worthy you are, Holy God, to receive all our praise.  We worship you in the glory of your perfect Trinity and ask for grace to steadfastly believe and proclaim your unity.

We pray for your holy catholic church;
Grant us ears to hear and accept your voice.

Thank you for giving us an eternal kingdom that cannot be shaken;
We offer you ourselves in reverence and awe.

Grant that every member of the church may truly and humbly serve you;
That your name may be glorified by all people.

We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;
That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

I invite you to add your own prayers for the worldwide church.

Silence. 

Creator of the earth, you spoke the world into existence and sustain all things by your life giving word.  Consider the toil and sorrow of the people of the earth and, in your compassion, have mercy on the world.

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;
That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

We pray for the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer;
For the refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger;
Relieve and protect them, O Lord, and grant them eternal hope in you.

Teach us how to rightly steward the gift of your creation,
That the resources of the world would be used to your honor and glory.

I invite your prayers for the needs of the world, remembering especially…

Silence.

God of all love and peace, we come to you in faith, offering you access into every area of our lives.

We pray for this congregation,
Grant us a place in your kingdom.

We rejoice in your heavenly promises, O Lord, and thank you for our inheritance in the saints;
Help us to be humble and to serve one another in love.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have given us a new covenant by the sprinkling of your holy blood;
Thank you for delivering us from death .

We look to you, Lord of all, mindful of our helplessness,
Glorify your name in the midst of our need.

I invite you to cast all your cares and concerns on the Lord, remembering that He cares for you.

Silence.

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.

We believe in you, Lord Christ.
We cry out to you, Father God.
We receive your witness, Holy Spirit.
Abide with us as we abide in you this week and always, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Allergen-Free Communion Bread

IMGP0048At Advent Anglican, we celebrate the Eucharist together weekly. We found that food sensitivities and allergies excluded some people, and the possibility of cross-contamination made it a stressful experience for others.

This allergen-free Communion bread recipe has worked well for us. This recipe is gluten, nut, legume, dairy, soy, and egg free.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup finely ground corn flour

1/2 cup finely ground white rice flour

1/2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 tsp. table salt

1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

1/4 cup lukewarm water + extra water for shaping

2 Tbsp. extra refined (low flavor) olive oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or, if eggs aren’t a problem, you can use 1 egg + 1 egg white)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine corn flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar into a bowl and mix well. For some very sensitive people, even a small amount of gluten-contamination can cause problems. To avoid this, I have a separate mixing bowl and baking pan that I use only for gluten free baking. 

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Add water, olive oil, and applesauce (or eggs).

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Stir until all ingredients are blended. The consistency should be similar to thick pancake or drop-biscuit batter.

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Take a spoonful and gently shape it into a round disc about the size of your palm. Take a little bit of water on your fingertips and smooth the batter. 

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Pat neatly into the pan. Bread should be no more than 1/4 inch thick.

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IMGP0054Gently cut the loaves to smooth the edges. You can also easily imprint a pattern into the surface.

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Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out smooth. Let cool in pan and then carefully slide off with a spatula.

IMGP0040 This batter makes five small loaves, enough to share with a congregation of about 75. While you can prepare it the night before, it is best when made fresh on Sunday morning. IMGP0042IMGP0047

Prayers for All Saints Day – All Years

Download: Prayers for All Saints Day Year B RCL

Readings: Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44

King of all the earth,

Creator of the universe,

Holy Triune God,

From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord.

 

Who is He, this King of glory?

The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

 

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it;

The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

 

Give us clean hands and pure hearts;

The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

 

Transform us by the truth of your salvation;

The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

 

Who is He, this King of glory?

The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

 

This is our God. Praise him, all you people, for he is our help and our salvation. I invite you to add your own praises to the Lord.

 

Silence.

 

You are worthy, Holy God, to receive all our praise. We worship you in the glory of your perfect Trinity and ask for grace to steadfastly believe and proclaim your unity.

 

We pray for your holy catholic church;

Prepare us to be your pure and spotless bride.

You are the one who makes all things new, the Alpha and Omega, the one who promises to dwell with His people;

We eagerly await the promise of your new creation.

 

We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;

That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

 

I invite you to add your own prayers for the worldwide church.

 

Silence.

 

Creator of the earth, you spoke the world into existence and sustain all things by your life giving word. Consider the toil and sorrow of the people of the earth and, in your compassion, have mercy on the world.

 

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;

That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

 

We pray for the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer;

For the refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger;

Relieve and protect them, O Lord, and grant them eternal hope in you.

 

Teach us how to rightly steward the gift of your creation,

That the resources of the world would be used to your honor and glory.

 

I invite your prayers for the needs of the world.

 

Silence.

 

God of all love and peace, we come to you in faith, offering you access into every area of our lives.

 

You, Lord Christ, are the Resurrection and the Life;

Enable us to respond to your call out of death and into life.

 

Grow our appetites for your heavenly promises;

Lord, stamp eternity on our eyes.

 

You are the Lord for whom we have waited;

We will be glad and rejoice in your salvation.

 

We look to you, Lord of all, mindful of our helplessness;

Glorify your name in the midst of our need.

 

I invite you to cast all your cares and concerns on the Lord, remembering that He cares for you.

 

Silence.

 

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;

May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.

 

We believe in you, Lord Christ.

We cry out to you, Father God.

We receive your witness, Holy Spirit.

Abide with us as we abide in you this week and always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.