FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Hello and welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, the links that Prasanta Verma and I chose take us from prayer and reflection through silence, a bit of church history, and the redeeming power of art. A few of these are on the long side, longer than what we usually share — one is a full-length film! But they’re worth a deep dive to bring some beauty, wonder, and joy to your day.

Enjoy, and be blessed.

***

Praying: An Invitation to Silence via Andō (Andō shares a meditative poem from Mary Oliver)

In Pursuit of Silence via Patrick Shen (this film on silence is screening free during this pandemic time — so restorative for the soul)

Reading Hope in Trying Times, with Parker Palmer via Writing For Your Life (Parker Palmer shares about the lessons of depression and hope)

Permission to Ponder via Chris Alford and Tracy Balzer (Balzer encourages us with the beauty of creation as seen through the lens of Celtic Christianity)

The Nuns Who Wrote Poems via Nick Ripatrazone (get a taste of some divine poetry from literary nuns)

The Soul in Paraphrase via Joy Clarkson and Matthew Rothaus Moser (in this podcast episode, Moser explores transforming love in the poetry of Dante, a wonderful guide for our pilgrimage through life)

 

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, Prasanta Verma and I are featuring five readings for Good Friday. May God bless you as you mark this day and journey to the resurrection.

***

Good Friday: the first 12 Stations of the Cross via Malcolm Guite (a guided experience of the stations)

When It’s Holy Week and You Don’t Feel Holy via Leslie Leyland Fields (why it’s going to be enough, no matter how you feel)

Finding Sacred Space in the Upper Room via Catherine McNeil (how do we do Holy Week in a locked room?)

Lamentation: The Weight of Grief via Shemaiah Gonzalez (experiencing the grief of Good Friday through a startling work of art)

Beneath Thy Cross via Christina Rossetti (a poem for Good Friday)

Cloister; A Poem via Ana Lisa de Jong (for our times)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! As we continue seeking hope and courage in the middle of a pandemic, Prasanta Verma and I bring you a round-up of posts and podcasts to help you on this journey. Enjoy liturgy, words of faith, writing encouragement, homeschooling tips, and more.

Blessings to you . . . and keep the faith.

***

A Liturgy During a Pandemic via Porter C. Taylor (a meaningful liturgy for groups or individuals)

Giving Up via Taryn R. Hutchison (When Lent started, Taryn knew what she wanted to give up. What she actually gave up was something altogether different; something more. You gave it up, too.)

How to Fight an Unseen Enemy via Shelly Wildman (what do we need to remember about God in these times?)

Stand Against Anti-Asian Racism in The Time of COVID-19 via Tasha Jun (every human being is made in the Imago Dei and is worthy of being treated as such; an invitation to take a stand)

Civic Housekeeping + Dietrich Bonhoeffer with Laura Fabrycky via Ashley Hales (now more than ever, we need the lessons Fabrycky brings us from Bonhoeffer’s life)

Poet Laura: Keeping Your Distance with Emily Dickinson via Tania Runyan (finding depth even in distance)

The Myth of Perfect Writing Locations via Erica Wright (do writers really need a “room of their own?”)

Tips for Homeschooling in a Pandemic…and Beyond via Ingrid Lochamire (tips for those who are suddenly faced with homeschooling)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, our round-up of great links from across the web.

This week, Prasanta Verma and I are bringing you posts that give us hope and resources for the difficult time we’re in — how to pray, how to talk to your kids, what to read, what to see, how to write. Read . . . and keep your faith burning bright.

***

A Quarantine Litany via Phoebe Farag Mikhail (a beautiful prayer)

Pandemic via Lynn Ungar (a poem for this time)

Spiritual Rhythms for Quarantine via Justin Whitmel Earley (a host of practices, good habits, and resources to keep and restore the rhythms of life)

Talking to Your Kids about Coronavirus via Shelly Wildman (gentle advice for talking to your children about fear and God’s love)

Six Books to Get You Through a Coronavirus Shutdown via Karen Swallow Prior (what to read with your extra time)

Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch via Andrea Romano (travel vicariously and see some beauty while you’re stuck at home)

One Thing Writers Can Do in a Pandemic: Document the Days via Ann Kroeker (ways to witness with your words)

 

 

Scar on the Cheek: Betrayal: A Post by Prasanta Verma

As we meditate and pray during this season of Lent, one aspect of the upcoming days of Jesus’ trial is clear: there was a betrayal. This betrayal led the guards to finding Jesus, arresting him, and eventually his dying a brutal death nailed to a cross.

What is quite remarkable, however, is how Jesus responds to Judas. Even though Jesus knew what would happen, he still kept Judas near him as one of his twelve disciples.

The same is true for Peter. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him, yet Jesus still washed Peter’s feet.

Jesus still kept them near. He did not deny them nor betray them, but served and loved them.

If it were not Judas, though, it would have been someone else. It could have been me. Or you. God’s plan will be carried out. If we are honest, we know we also betray Jesus. Have we denied him? We betray him.

“There is no one righteous, not even one…” (Romans 3:10). Even so, to all of us who are unrighteous, we are all offered the gift of reconciliation to God Himself. We are all offered the hope of restoration and redemption. The scabs of our wounds, the scars of sin, and the scratches of pain may be healed, restored, and transformed into gifts that flow from our words, hands, and feet. We are new creatures, sewn up from the inside, able to give love and shine a light into darkness around us.

We have hope to live an abundant life on earth. We have hope for eternal life spent with God. With this kind of hope, this kind of love, our pain transforms into joy, which spreads to others in this hurting world—all made possible by forgiveness. That is love. That is Jesus.

Below is a poem I wrote a few years ago, meditating about Judas’ betrayal, our betrayal, Jesus’ response, and the hope and love that flowers and blossoms out of God’s love for us.

***

 

Scar on the Cheek

The kiss on the cheek
planted swift, turns
to thorny scratch, burns
long and thin, drips

red on black dirt.
Fragile petals live a breath
away, a thin vein from death.
Roses keep distant,

far from drawn swords
ready to impale petal-skin.
Repent and attempt
to pluck stems

of delicate short-lived beauty,
for arrangements in a vase,
that fragrance may erase
the scent of love’s demise.

But watch when red drips:
seeds bloom anew,
emit ethereal perfume, transform
into wild, vibrant, hybrid,

blood-red rose. Are you a rose?
Are you a thorn?
Or one scratched by scorn
of deceiver’s kiss?

Show me your scar.

(Prasanta, 2011)

***

Prasanta Verma, a poet, writer, and artist, is a member of The Contemplative Writer team. Born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills, Prasanta currently lives in the Midwest, is a mom of three, and also coaches high school debate. You can find her on Twitter @ pathoftreasure, Instagram prasanta_v_writer, and at her website: https://pathoftreasure.wordpress.com/.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites. February 26 was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. So today, we wanted to offer you some posts and poems for this stark yet beautiful season.

Blessings on your Lenten journey.

***

Strengthening Those Breathing Muscles via Christine Sine (breath prayers and meditations — a good preparation and practice for Lent)

Lent: A Primer via Sandra Glahn (learn about the history of Lent, as well as suggestions and practices for keeping this liturgical season)

Lent via Image Journal (a collection of poems, essays, short stories, and visual art for the Lenten season)

That “Strange Season” of Lent via Erin Wasinger (learn what Madeleine L’Engle had to say about this “strange season”)

Ash Wednesday with St. Anne via Jessica Mesman (a story of Ash Wednesday, saints, and coming home)

penitents and elements via Julia Walsh (an Ash Wednesday poem)

 

 

 

The Making: A Lenten Poem by Prasanta Verma

The Making
 

Scattered, broken particles
must be remade
after life on earth snaps,
crushes each bone, sinew, organ
into first-born
molecules

Dust catches in throat
chokes irrelevancy

Smeared ashes
reconstruct
into wooden cross beams

unmade – made – remade

 

***

 

Prasanta Verma, a poet, writer, and artist, is a member of The Contemplative Writer team. Born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills, Prasanta currently lives in the Midwest, is a mom of three, and also coaches high school debate. You can find her on Twitter @ pathoftreasure, Instagram prasanta_v_writer, and at her website: https://pathoftreasure.wordpress.com/.

 

WEEKLY PRAYER: WENDELL BERRY

Today’s prayer is from Wendell Berry, the American poet, novelist, and environmentalist.

***

Teach me work that honors Thy work,
the true economies of goods and words,
to make my arts compatible
with the songs of the local birds.

Teach me the patience beyond work
and, beyond patience, the blest
Sabbath of Thy unresting love
which lights all things and gives rest.

 

Source

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites is back after a break last week. Prasanta Verma and I are glad you’re with us!

This week our links begin with a lectio divina exercise and end with a message of hope for our fallen world. In between are some beautiful, difficult, and necessary posts about spiritual crisis, exile, and healing racial wounds.

Read, be encouraged, and be blessed.

***

Daily Lectio Divina: A Broken Prayer via Laura K. Cavanaugh (a lectio divina exercise using the poetry of George MacDonald)

I Can’t Talk My Way Out of Every Spiritual Crisis via Ed Cyzewski (finding presence and comfort in silence– not more words)

The Immigrants’ Daughter via Nichole Woo (sharing, remembering, and living sojourner stories)

Healing the Scars of Racial Wounds via Heidi Wheeler (encouragement for showing up ready to love, listen, and learn)

It’s Like in the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo via Madelyn Canada (what Tolkien teaches us about living in a fallen world–and not giving up on hope)

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! It really is a joy to us to share the good posts we’ve found each week. There are so many people putting beautiful and hopeful words into the world. We hope the ones featured here will bless you today. So, without further ado, Prasanta Verma and I bring you this week’s faves…

***

The First Sunday of Epiphany–Jesus’ Baptism via Malcom Guite (a sonnet for Epiphany plus a song written by Steve Bell inspired by the poem)

Aundi Kolber: Try Softer via Aundi Kolber and Caroline Triscki (an interivew with Aundi upon the release of her book about compassion, healing, and being God’s beloved)

How the Deep, Dark Season of Winter Nourishes the Soul via Judith Valente (what spiritual lessons does the darkest season teach us?)

Koselig via Ashley Canter (you’re not wasting time . . . you’re changing the world)

What’s a Woman Worth? via Quina Aragon (what does the Bible say about women? A spoken word video)

Spring 2020 Most Anticipated Books for Christian Readers via Englewood Review of Books (make your reading lists for this spring)