Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationSabbath Keeping FastingPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelPersonality Type in CongregationsBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Draw near: Feeling unworthy as an obstacle to prayer

Lynne Baab • Tuesday August 9 2022

Draw near: Feeling unworthy as an obstacle to prayer

“For many years I believed I couldn’t even approach God in prayer until I had dutifully catalogued a litany of the sins I had committed since the last time I had prayed. Quite often the process of prayer made me feel unworthy, unholy, and exhausted by my own inadequacy. And I was taught, and indeed believed, that these were the things I was always supposed to feel – inadequate and unworthy – so that I could be properly grateful for the extension of divine grace. The consequence was that sometimes it simply felt better not to pray.” —Britney Cooper, professor at Rutgers...

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Draw near: Tune our hearts

Lynne Baab • Tuesday August 2 2022

Draw near: Tune our hearts

Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it mount of God's redeeming love.

Robert Robinson was 22 years old when he penned those words in 1758 as a hymn for Pentecost. He was in transition from his work as a hairdresser in London to the preacher he would become. Notice the two things this verse asks for: “tune my heart to sing thy grace,” and “teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above.” Jesus’s...

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Draw near: Learning from Celtic Christian thankfulness

Lynne Baab • Tuesday July 26 2022

Draw near: Learning from Celtic Christian thankfulness

A look at some of the themes attributed to Celtic Christianity can enrich our thoughts about gratitude. What we call “Celtic Christianity” flourished from about the fifth to ninth centuries throughout the British Isles, but was particularly concentrated in the west and north: Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. There were also Celts in Brittany in France.

The Celts were described briefly in Greek literature in the centuries before and after Jesus, but very little is known about the pre-Christian Celts. We do know that in the Roman Empire the Celts were renowned for their ability to learn very long stories and poems...

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Draw near: O Antiphons

Lynne Baab • Tuesday July 19 2022

Draw near: O Antiphons

O God of words and music, we give thanks for psalms and hymns and spiritual songs connecting us to long-ago believers. We thank you, Lord of sound and harmony, for the Church’s many voices raised in praise. Sing your Spirit in our hearts and voices, that our gratitude might brim and overflow.

O Lord of leaves, O Maker of the trees, O Rooter of all life by living waters, Pruner of branches, Ripener of fruit, Lord who sweetens sap and reddens berries, help us through the season of cold hearts. When bare of fruit, build us firm in faith. Feed our hidden roots until the spring. —Diane Tucker, from “One Winter: Forty New O Antiphons”

O...

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