Tag Archives: James

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

December 15, 2013

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Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
James 5:9 (New International Version)

“Wow, I can’t believe that at the last minute you would back out from going to the movie.”

“Really – you won’t eat Chinese food? Have you ever tasted it?”

“Why would you have a huge earring and an open hole in your ear?”

True confessions. These thoughts have resided in my thought bubbles. Sometimes those bubbles have popped. The words have tumbled out of my mouth with no way to re-capture them.

As I reflect on my grumblings, I am embarrassed by the judgments I imposed. I could have gone to the movie myself or gone another time. I like Chinese food; so what if someone else doesn’t? I have my own styles, and so does everyone else.

My guilty feelings are my Judge.

Prayer:
Lord of all, help us to be open to differences and to savor individuality.Amen

Question:
How can I release judgments and turn grumblings to appreciation?

Written by Ellen Fisher

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 next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue 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 30, 2012

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“Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.”
James 5:13 (NRSV)

One of my cousins shares her passion for singing with God and all those who hear her. Through singing she rejoices in the Lord from whom she gains strength. She embodies the saying, “He who sings prays twice.”

For me, dancing and writing offer creative ways to express joy and heartfelt prayers. Others I know play an instrument, garden, knit, paint, or walk.

Even though my cousin has breast cancer and undergoes heavy-duty treatment, she sings prayers of praise.

I sent her a prayer shawl knitted by a friend of mine, the color of deep-blue sky. I imagine her wrapped in the shawl, rocking in a comfortable chair, and singing a favorite song, “Rejoice in the Lord always…..”

Prayer and praise open our hearts to God’s steadfast presence, no matter what our lives hold.

Prayer:
God of All, wrap us in your comfort as we gain strength from the joy of your love. Amen

Question:
Does my prayer life include notes of praise?

Written by Ronda Armstrong

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 whichprovides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue 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 2, 2012

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“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. “
James 1:19  (NRSV)

It’s 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and I’m heading east on Interstate 235. Traffic is picking up, as anxious drivers journey home after work. I’m humming along to my favorite radio station as I think about the meeting I’ll be attending downtown.

Wait – is that a siren? I glance in the rearview mirror. An ambulance is racing towards me. The siren is getting louder. I glance to my right and quickly steer to the shoulder.  The ambulance blares past me, surging down the highway. I calmly wait for a chance to enter the flow of traffic and continue on my way.

By being an alert driver, I’m ready for surprises that can come my way; by reacting calmly, I can continue on my way safely. By being an alert listener, I am ready to focus on the message coming my way; by responding calmly and sincerely, I can continue to build strong, trusting relationships.

Prayer:
Lord of compassion, help us to listen first, so that we can truly understand the words we hear. Amen

Question:
Am I traveling through my day at the optimal speed?

Written by Ellen Fisher

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 whichprovides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue 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, 2009

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“Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?”
James 2:5 (RSV)

Poor and fearful of heart, blind and imprisoned, deaf, speech impaired.

These do not strike me as circumstances I’d gladly inhabit. Yet, every one of the readings for this week either promises or delivers our Lord’s healing touch, saving action, or eternal hospitality to ones such as these:

Isaiah 35:4, “Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come and save you.”

Psalm 146:7b-8a, “The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.”

Mark 7:32, 35, “And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him . . . And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.”

In all of these messages from Sacred Scripture, starting with the quote from James above, it is God who takes the action, who bestows gifts and graces, who touches, who comes and saves, who chooses. And isn’t it just like him to choose this lot?

It shouldn’t surprise me. For 63 years, now, it’s been when I was painfully, fearfully aware of my utter helplessness — bound and imprisoned in sin, unemployed and burdened by overwhelming debt, blind to the light and deaf to the voice of his unchanging truth — that he came most powerfully and personally to touch me, free me, grant me the grace of faith.

And it was with that pain of desperation so fresh in my memory, when I knew in my bones I’d been rescued by his powerful grace alone, that I could, at last, start loving him back.

Prayer:
Gracious God and Savior, thank you for coming to free us when we’re trapped; help us love you so that we can live in you always.  Amen

Question:
Do I forget, when I’m far from pain, poverty, and fear, to love the One who freed and healed me?

Written by Victoria Carver