10 Days of Unity!

The 10 Days of Prayer are over for another season. These 10 day shows of unity have grown from a once a year, in the spring leading to Pentecost, to a two a year round of 10 days. The second one we just finished, in the fall lands in the Jewish calendar between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

I have been involved with this for a few years now and this one seemed to have the sweetest unity to it.  Each night there were between 30 and 60 in attendance from 8 to 15 churches. What I found encouraging was the consistent presence of Pastors. At least six to eight pastors each night! And I am talking about different denominations. We all came to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to “Lift High the Cross” as the hymn goes. We came together to celebrate what we agree on!

Where were the flocks? With that many pastors you might think there would be more lay people. I’m not too concerned about that right now. The feel and flavor of unity was genuine and palpable. I believe the word will spread and the numbers will grow as the leadership grows in relationship with each other. As we all come together to worship and share communion we demonstrate the Church is healing. Besides, at this point it is much more about quality than quantity. The quality is here.

I am blessed to be in a position to be in many different church buildings and even more gatherings for prayer than most believers get to participate in. That gives me a unique vantage point to see what is going on in the larger spiritual picture. I am encouraged. God is doing a new thing. Hearts are warming and there seem to be both a drawing of the lines and a softening. What do I mean by that? I have a sense that those who will be coming to the Lord are having their hearts softened. Others are getting more anti-Jesus. Is that the wheat and the tares growing up together? Is that people like Saul who persecuted the Church, but had a dramatic encounter with the Lord on the road to Emmaus was transformed into arguably the most influential Apostle?

Many have been praying for revival and awakening for a REALLY long time here in New England. I have been in on it for nearly 20 years. I am very much a late comer. I believe it begins with an awakening of the churches…of His Church. It is beginning here on the North Shore.

I pray we all awake to the beauty of His Holiness in every aspect of our lives. The times are changing. It is not always pretty or pleasing but God is in the midst. The church, at least here in New England is beginning to wake from a long hard sleep. Let us all prepare for the harvest. (Fitting for this fall season=}….

Season to Grieve

I wrote this two weeks ago but did not post it because I was in the middle of so many things I could not handle the emotions and the editing. I took a few days out-of-town after the sale and 10 Days of Prayer. I slept 10 hours the first night out, and 9 the next two.

How could I forget…every year!?!

My dad died in August, 9 years ago. My older brother’s Birthday is September 4th. He died 5 & 1/2 years ago. He had a clotting disorder that blocked the veins in his brain. The blood could get into the brain, but not out. The doctors called it a soggy brain. Charlie was severely brain-damaged by the blockages. Because my dad had a stroke 20 years before he passed, we all knew what that meant to live with brain damage. After 20 years of major disability dad said enough when his colon blocked. He was with the Lord within hours.

Charlie told my younger brother 6 months before his “event” that if he was ever brain-damaged he did not want to be kept on support. We honored his wishes in spite of the hospitals desire to experiment. I’ve been though cross cultural moves, repeatedly, saying good-byes, many that were final at that transition point. All my grand parents have died. Losing my dogs was really hard too! I’ve lived through coup d’etats and many other really stressful situations. Letting go of Charlie, “pulling the plug,” is still the hardiest thing I have faced in my 55+ years.

If that is not enough, September 11th is, well, 9/11, but it is also my parent’s wedding anniversary. It would have been 59 years this year! I think it hit me harder than usual this year because I am approaching the first anniversary of my divorce court date. I never planned to be divorced, but I could not live with the abuse any more. So I am healing, and I am grieving. I just read a blog by Jen Pollack Michel siting Jerry Sittser in A Grace Disguised, he “describes his own journey through grief as an amputation. Just as one learns to live without a limb, one can learn to live with loss.”

With that reminder, I think I sometimes have the phantom syndrome where an amputee feels the lost limb that really is not there. It’s not denial, I am moving forward. I forget my dad and brother are gone, that I no longer have a life mate. Then I hit August, September and October. I am having a yard sale to begin to clear out so I can be ready to move when the time comes. I forgot, then I feel blindsided! I was not expecting to face the emotions of sorting and basically assigning value to so many things that have had a place in my life. I am exhausted and I am still trying to participate in the 10 days of prayer that goes through this Saturday.

It’s not all bad. As I get to places in closets that have apparently not been touched in 15 years I often discover things, like a container of sand from Timbuktu. I collected it when I was there 20 years ago. Why keep the sand? Just to let others feel a bit of my exotic life=}….and to remind me our earthly bodies are all but dust in the long run.

I also found my dad’s cufflinks. Bitter sweet. Alex will enjoy them. Even though both Kathryn & Alex have been through recently to sort their things, I have been sending photos by text for days to my adult children to verify the ownership and intent of items I find. Keep? Sell? Trash? It has been a walk down memory lane for us all, full of smiles, tears and sighs. I have more highs and lows because I am in the thick of it.

We are also in an intense spiritual season. As I type it is the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement on the Jewish calendar. Believers across the North Shore, in Boston and about 10 other areas across the US have been celebrating 10 Days of Prayer. (10days.net) See my previous post to learn more, but know that meeting for worship and prayer across denominational lines for 10 days is both beautiful and intense. This adds to the intensity of grief since these days on the Jewish calendar area about self-examination and our need for Messiah, Jesus!

We all have things to grieve, not all are deaths of humans or relationships. Some are dreams or hope deferred. How do you process? What has helped you get through those recurring seasons? What can you/I do so next year so we are a bit better prepared, or at least not blindsided?

The sale is over and the 10 Days of Prayer too. More on both of them soon. I am back to “normal” life, if there is such a thing for me. Still seeking HIS face. The days out-of-town allowed me to breathe a bit and begin to hear from Abba. More to follow….

 

10 Days of Prayer September 4-14, 2013

10days_FINAL (Web)

Beginning Wednesday September 4th, which is also Rosh Shoshanna, the Jewish New Year, to September 14th, which is also Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. There are coast to coast gatherings each evening to pray and in some locations, day time prayer as well. On the Jewish calendar these are known as “the Days of Awe,” days to mourn our separation from God. But we as Christians get to do this knowing that the Atonement is complete in Jesus!

I have worked alongside others over the last few years to organize 10 days leading into Pentecost. They have all been blessed times of unity among the various churches that participate. I expect this fall 10 Days to be no different!

The events that affect our country, at home and around the world right now are only part of the motivation to pray. This is about so much more than current events. We are asking God to help us to fall more in live with him. We attempt to realize the price He paid for us and to mourn our distance from Him, our loving Abba. But the entire exercise is built on the hope of the Cross and our redemption. Our desire it to live life to the full, drawing others to eternal life. We can only do that as people who are love-sick for our God.

Crucifix from the monastery of Poor Claire in Assisi Italy.

Crucifix from the monastery of Poor Claire in Assisi Italy.

I am involved with organizing gatherings across the North Shore of Boston, from Salem to Gloucester. Please see our local calendar below. If you are interested in a 10 days devotional that has just been assembled, please email me and I will forward a copy to you. If you are in the area, stop in any one or all of the nights.

Inviting the Church of the North Shore to
10 DAYS of Prayer, Fasting, & Worship – September 4-14, 2013
Church Wide Festival of worship on Saturday September 14th
7-9 PM Evening Locations for Worship and Prayer

North Shore of Boston Fall 2013 Schedule 10days.net
Wednesday, 9/4 Calvary Baptist – 4 Coolidge Rd Peabody, MA 01960
Thursday, 9/5 Wesley UM – 8 North St Salem, MA 01970
Friday, 9/6 North Shore Messianic Fellowship 284 Bay Rd, Hamilton, MA 01982
Hamilton Community House
Saturday, 9/7 Eagle & Dove 436 Washington St, Gloucester, MA 01930
Sunday, 9/8 Day Off
Monday, 9/9 TBA
Tuesday, 9/10 Bridge NS 79 Turnpike Rd Ipswich, MA 01938
Wednesday, 9/11 Immanuel (w/ Harbor Church) 140 Bridge St. Beverly, MA 01915
Thursday, 9/12 Pilgrim 300 Cabot St. Beverly, MA 01915
Friday, 9/13 Living Hope Church of the Nazarene & Christian Renewal Church 556
Cabot St, Beverly, MA 01915

Church Wide Festival of Worship
Saturday September 14th
Immanuel Congregational 140 Bridge St. Beverly, MA
7-9PM