Dear Friends,

You are receiving this email because you have made a commitment to spend fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, in solitude and silence, so as to draw near to God. A special thank you to Rev. Steffi Miller who is helping write these reflections!

We want to hear how this is going for you! Please respond to this email and tell us what you are learning, what God is saying, and how this commitment is going.

Also, who else do you know who might want to make this commitment? Forward this email to them. They can receive these emails by registering here.

We are praying with and for all of you!

Blessings as you spend time in solitude, study and prayer,
Cindy and Chuck

P.S. Have you picked up your Drawing Near Resource Guide and Prayer Journal? They are available for pickup in front of the church offices. These weekly emails will soon start referring to prayers and practices that are in the resource guide.
Drawing Near
See below for General Instructions

Reflections for This Week:

As we gather this week around our nation to give thanks, our sermon this week centered on Psalm 126, a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the past. The psalmist remembers how God has delivered the nation Israel from misfortunes in the past, and prays for God to continue to restore the nation. The psalmist lifts us from lament to praise and reminds us that God will find us, restore us and lead us into joy. Consider this faithfulness of God in your reflections this week. Remember the NEAR resource booklet and be picked up outside the church office or downloaded here [Gloria – include link].

Lectionary readings:

Try to read this passage with the mindset of a shepherd and pastures. Ezekiel joins the psalmist and reminds us that God will bring justice to those who are lost, who have scattered, who are injured, and are weak. God will save the ravaged and give them a shepherd leader who will care for them. When have you felt far away from God’s care? Who do you think is feeling forgotten, lost and injured today? Write a prayer for the lonely and scattered in your prayer journal.

This is a short psalm, possibly very familiar to you. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord …
Come with thanksgiving,” and praise, with the assurance that “the Lord is good.” When do you remember God intersecting your life with an enduring love, and faithfulness to to you and to generations? With whom can you share stories about God’s faithfulness? What other ways can you express your thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness? Use Ted Loder’s prayer from Guerillas of Grace on page 15 in the NEAR resource booklet (Remind me of your steady power…) to help you reflect on God’s faithfulness. 

A liturgy of God’s sovereignty, beginning with a celebration of God’s power (and concluding with a warning against disobeying God’s laws.)  It’s a summons to worship God because God created the world.  The Psalmist continues the imagery of God’s pasture and we are God’s sheep v. 7.  Reflect on how a shepherd cares for his sheep. What are the ways that you notice that God is caring for you in this time? Try writing a poem of coming to God with thanksgiving or a gratitude prayer as described on page 37 in the NEAR resource booklet.

A prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer for wisdom and revelation, as you come to know God. How can the church, as the body of Christ at work, help others to know about God’s faithfulness?  Write down your ideas (possibly as a prayer) about how you can be Christ at work in the world, the nation, your community, and your family. Think of someone who you might pray this prayer for.

A picture of “the great judgment.” How are we to prepare? Name some of the “least” among you that God wants us to help. Who might God be calling you to help? Read or sing the hymn on page 29 of the NEAR resource booklet, “If You Will Trust in God to Guide You.”
Drawing Near
General Instructions:

  1. Be patient and give yourself grace. This is new for many of us! 
  2. Decide which days and what time you will enter into solitude and silence. Consider putting these times on your calendar, and, if needed, share this commitment with those you are living with so that they can support you.
  3. Find a quiet place, free from distraction, where you can be comfortable.
  4. Consider lighting a candle so as to claim the space as “holy ground.”
  5. Begin each time by letting your spirit and mind settle, and asking God to guide your time with him.
  6. Consider keeping a journal so as to record how God is leading you.