November 15, 2015

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“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.”
Psalm 16:7 (NRSV)

God doesn’t go off duty at sundown. The psalmist understands from experience that praise and gratitude are present-moment activities regardless of time of day or circumstances. Counsel and change of heart appear. Something astonishing happens when I take this seriously.

The “nowness” at the center of this verse grabs my attention. I know counting blessings is a better sleep aid than counting sheep, but wakefulness isn’t my real concern when I am frightened or stuck on a problem large or small. I crave reassurance and counsel now.

For example, early in my career I was at odds with a coworker over a project we were assigned. I don’t remember the details of the disagreement, but a confrontation loomed the next day. I wanted to be ready for it and began rehearsing what I wanted to say. I still couldn’t get to sleep and began remembering other middle-of-the night conversations with God that transformed something I was stewing about into a blessing.

On this particular night God reminded me that my coworker and I were on the same side and I should start the conversation next day with that piece of information.

Why was I sure this came from God? The unexpectedness of it. Such a notion hadn’t been on my radar. In light of previous unpleasantness it would take a bit of courage. But I did it.

What happened? Letting my coworker know at once that I valued her abilities completely defused the confrontation and set the tone for getting the best work out of each other. There were a few bumps and disagreements along the way but we were delighted and proud of the results.

I call that one more blessing to count next time. And I have.

Prayer:
God of the present moment, we give thanks for your counsel and instruction of our hearts whatever the hour, but especially on a sleepless night. Amen

Question:
What current worry awaits God’s transformation?

Written by Nancy Alice Morton

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul (815 High Street) and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

September 20, 2015

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The Meeting Place

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
James 4:8a (NRSV)

I’m drawn
to love so great
with thanks and humble heart,
renewed in God’s healing presence
with joy.

I’m drawn
where silence reigns.
A welcoming place for me
to listen, let go, be changed and
to change.

I’m drawn
to tell folks how
meeting God draws us in
community to love, to share,
to serve.

Writer’s note: This is a Cinquain, an American form of poetry in which each verse contains five lines of counted syllables, 2,4,6,8,2. The meditation is meant to be read aloud.

Written by Nancy Alice Morton

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul (815 High Street) and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

September 6, 2015

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September 6, 2015

“Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever.”
Psalm 146:5-6 (NSRV)

Happy is the perfect word to describe my mood and state of mind when Jeff and I recently vacationed in a restored late 1800s log cabin north of Decorah. We hoped to “do nothing,” or rather we to do nothing, in the interests of a much-needed rest.

Taking with us enough groceries for several days, we settled in with ease, noting the four plates, four sets of silver, two coffee cups, and a stack of board games and books. Our cell phones went dead and the place lacked any media—television, radio, Internet. No bombardment from advertising, e-mails or phones. Just what we had in mind.

The front porch featured two bentwood rockers with a clear view of the sunset and the sunrise, the gentle sloping hills, and hummingbird feeders that attracted regular visitors. In the ensuing days, I rocked and relaxed on that porch, sipping coffee as the sun rose and wine as it set.

I rested in what God laid before me, the heaven and earth and all that inhabited it.

Prayer:
In the midst of daily life, remind us, Creator, to seek our help and hope in you. Amen

Question:
How can I relax in God’s arms by taking in the beauty of the natural world?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul (815 High Street) and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com