With the rising sun

With the rising sun
as with the rising new year:
may your faith be bright-eyed
with hope;
may your voice
be quick with song;
may your every breath
take in grace;
may your eyes see wonder,
your ears hear the trees whisper,
and your hands open wide
to convey welcome;
and may your load be light —
not because you are without cares,
but because you remember
that God is enough.

~ New Year’s Blessing – by Rachel Hackenberg

Good Lord, it’s the last day of 2012…

Good Lord,
it’s the last day of 2012…

Only a few hours left in this old year
which seemed so new
oh, not-so-long ago…

Where has the old year gone, Lord?
And how did it go?

And how did I go with you,
make my way with you, Lord,
these past twelve months?

I remember the times
we walked and talked together,
side by side,
you and I…

And I remember the times
when I forgot, somehow,
that you were right there by my side,
and the times I tried to pretend
that you weren’t there,
always within arm’s reach…

I remember the times when you took delight
in my words and my work
and I remember the times I ignored and forgot you
– but still you loved me
and in your mercy, you forgave me…

Nothing I’ve done, Lord,
merits what you’ve given me:
all your love is grace,
an unearned gift
from your heart to mine…

In return I offer so little
and I have so little to offer…

But there comes now a new year, Lord,
and with it my prayer
to live a life more worthy
of all you so freely give me…

In this new year, Lord,
make strong my resolve to be faithful,
make deep my trust in your presence
and make sure my hope in your promise,
for without your help
I will fail…

Lord, you offer me only
what is true and pure,
good and just, strong and graced…

In this new year, help me recognize
what is false, cheap and sham…

Help me to settle for nothing less
than what comes from your heart and hand…

Nourish me, Lord:
give me a hunger for what is genuine,
a thirst for what is holy,
a wisdom for discerning your gifts…

It’s the last day of the old year, Lord…

Shake from my heart what has no place there
and wake my heart
to the gift of your grace
and the dawn of a new beginning…


~ Concord Pastor, Austin Fleming

Happy 52nd Anniversary

Happy Anniversary – Ruth and Jerry Montgomery were married 52 years ago on December 30 at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester, Minnesota!

May God bless you with discomfort

A Franciscan Christmas Blessing for Justice and Peace

May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvation, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.

— from Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine, published by the Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005.

Lord, inspire us

Lord, inspire us

to be credible witnesses of your love,

and good shepherds

towards those

you have entrusted to our care.



O Source of Light and Darkness,

Instill in each of us a deep knowing that we are containers of Light:

our sorrow holds our joy,
our despair holds our hope,

our fears hold our courage,
our anxieties hold our trust,
our indifference holds our love,
and our clutter holds our yearning for the Eternal

In spite of our sometimes disordered lives,

all the brightness within us
is kept safe for us–safe for that moment

when we joyfully claim it as
part of our inheritance.
We are containers of peace and joy,

hope and faith, forgiveness and love.
We are containers of the Divine.

We Are Containers of The Light.

~ Macrina Wiederkehr


Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.

Nativity Blessing St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153).



Come, and linger awhile

with ancient prophets who hear whispers of a

wonder they will never see, a

wisdom beyond their understanding

and that their words can never fully express…

and yet that they believe in hope.

Come, and linger awhile

near a simple virgin girl who is

overwhelmed when an angel announces

(with terrible calm) that she will be

overshadowed by the Most High and bear a Son Who will

reign over all people and all things for all time.

Come, and linger awhile

through the restless night of a grizzled carpenter who was

shocked by the seeming betrayal of love’s sweetness,

reassured when an angel appeared in his dreams, and

stunned into faith that the Son His beloved carried would

save people from their sins.

Come, and linger awhile

in a shepherd’s night-darkened field, at first

muffled in the ordinary quiet of snores and sheep sleep,

awakened by one angel, a messenger blazing with Glory, joined by

resounding songs & shouts of an angel battalion bringing

good news of great joy to all people.

Come, and linger awhile

by a rough feeding trough in a dead-end stable, where a

Baby lies, God’s glory in skin, proof that

Love arrives, heaven in our broken world, and from there

Hope eyes the promise of peace, joy, life forever.

So, this Christmas…

Come and linger awhile with Jesus.

Be breathlessly quiet,

kneel amazed, awestruck and grateful,

wonder-full and captivated by

Mercy in a manger.


and linger awhile.

~ David Head


My soul magnifies the Lord!
All is ready
Stable prepared
Shepherds working
Magi journeying
Gifts are chosen
My soul magnifies the Lord!
A city awaits
Crowded and bustling
Stars are shining
People expecting
A drama unfolding
My soul magnifies the Lord!
The Lord is coming
To save his people
Mary’s obedience
Jesus’ willingness
Your gracious gift to us
My soul magnifies the Lord!

~ FaithandWorship.com