Come, Lord Jesus

In the ancient Christian practice of centering prayer, one chooses a word or phrase and uses it to bring focus to the mind and heart. The monastics called these “breathing prayers” and are meant to span a breath. We sit quietly, breathe our prayer, and attune ourselves to the presence of Jesus within and around us.

I’ve used different breathing prayers in my practice. “Abba, I am Yours alone” is a favorite. “I am my beloved’s and He is mine” is another.

In this advent season, “Come, Lord Jesus” seems fitting.

I find it a very useful prayer to deal with mental distractions.

Worried about the day?

Come, Lord Jesus

Concerned about a friend?

Come, Lord Jesus

Today in the quietness my heart is reaching beyond the walls of our little community house.

To the working girls, shivering on street corners on Barton,

Come, Lord Jesus

To seniors trapped in powerless and heat less high rises in the GTA,

Come, Lord Jesus

To folks stuck in airports in the Maritimes, facing the prospect of Christmas without loved ones,

Come, Lord Jesus

For friends of mine who lost children this year and for whom grief threatens to swallow holiday joy,

Come, Lord Jesus

To those caught in the crossfire in South Sudan,

Come, Lord Jesus

To an earth full of groaning, awaiting His coming,

Amen, Come Lord Jesus!

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The Hobbit and Spiritual Warfare

Like many others, I watched part one of the Hobbit this weekend, in preparation for seeing the Desolation of Smaug in theatres next weekend (a belated birthday celebration).

Here’s some wisdom from Gandalf (aka Tolkien) that I have found to be true in the world of urban missions and new monasticism. Like the saint Therese of Liseux, who knew she couldn’t do great things, but could do little things with great love, we can all be heroes in God’s epic story.

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Felting Night at Greenaway

I invited a couple of friends over last night, put out a plate of goodies, and spilled my wool all over the table. I like the riotous tumble of color and texture.

Nicola was into making fuzzy animals, sheep from the wool that she plucked from barbed wire in Northumbria. Gwen wanted to make a picture of Noah, her son, and Myrah, her housemates daughter. Myrah and her folks are heading off to missions in warmer climes, so Gwen wanted them to remember playing in the snow together.

I’m still exploring tree themes, this time on a lovely wool sweater I found at value village. I started with an acorn, then a sprout, then a sapling, then the whole wang dang tree! It’s my felty meditation on the work of God in GOHOP and in the city…

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The View From Here

Today I gathered a group of a Hamilton leaders for a working lunch where we discussed where we saw God at work in the city. It’s the first of a series of lunches we are calling “the view from here”. Each person got five minutes to share their perspective, after which the rest of us could ask questions.

As we munched on Indian Dahl and naan bread, several themes began to emerge. Here are some highlights.

– the key role of coffee shops as third spaces in the city, where relational connections amongst the body, and beyond the body, could occur. Freeway Cafe, Mulberry, Homegrown, the emergence of 541.

– people feeling the call of God to move to the city.

– a recognizance of the foundation laid by present and active collaborations, which makes it a fertile ground for new ministries and church plants to establish. A hospitable and supportive atmosphere.

– an increased practice of mission and prayer fused together.

– Christians actively involved in Neighbourhood hubs, being agents of shalom in their neighbourhoods.

– a proliferation of intentional community houses, and intentionality in community in tight knit neighbourhood groupings.

– a strong cohort of 20-30 something’s actively engaging in bringing shalom to the city, both Christian and not yet believers.

– greater awareness, prayer, and now increasingly collaborative action around the issues of trafficking and street level prostitution.

– a greater openness and hunger for different streams of the church to flow into one another and learn from one another.

– the appointment of Pope Francis bringing hope, life and vitality to the Catholic Church, and bringing hope and inspiration to Protestants.

There was lots more as well. It was so encouraging to get the view from different perspectives! We’re going to do it again in January with another cohort, and maybe Middle eastern food this time….

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Weber Christmas Newsletter

Just in case you’re not on our email list for our quarterly missionary newsletter, here it is in blog form!
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Everything Old is new Again
Our trip to the British Isles was a valuable time of researching old and new monastic communities in England, Scotland and Ireland. The Celtic monastic model has much to inform the modern prayer movement. Unlike the remote and cloistered Roman monasteries, the Celts situated their lives of prayer in the centre of their communities. Celtic monasteries became hubs of prayer, hospitality, learning and creativity, and launching pads for justice and missions. This is particularly relevant to GOHOP in this season, as in the heart of Hamilton, we are exploring these expressions with an ever widening group of friends from churches across the city.
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On the Home Front at the Community House
Worship Jams.
Daily Evening Prayer.
Lively conversations around the dinner table with our varied and many guests.
Spiritual Direction in the “Upper Room”.
New friends crashing overnight on couches.
And of course, Spaghetti Tuesday!
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The Blog
They say that storytellers create culture. Although I (Jill) have been blogging for a few years already, we sensed that in this season, storytelling was going to become more strategic in shaping the prayer movement locally and beyond. Consequently, I have upped my blogging to five days a week, and through my writing am exploring the themes of New Monasticism. You can click on the link below, see the blog, and even subscribe so that you can receive it daily.
www.gohopchick.wordpress.com
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Kirk & Bert Web Designs
Kirk has been feeling for some time that he wanted to pick up some work to supplement our income. He’s researched and taught himself web design and this month he completed his first commercial web site for a client! He’s been enjoying the creative aspects of the work, and loving working from home where Bert can supervise him. In addition, the work gives Kirk the flexibility he needs to pastor our Community House, run and host Spaghetti Tuesday, work with the Salvation Army Soup Truck, and help with the Chapel at Mission Services. And of course, oversee nightwatch for our 24/7 prayer events. So if you know anyone who needs a website developed, connect them with Kirk!
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We’ve Got a Wide Bench!
We are very grateful for the group of extraordinary men and woman that God has brought to GOHOP. On our core team we have three seminarians, three ministers, and now a Doctor of Theology! We are teaching in homes, churches and ministries across the city, running our second year of the “Studies in New Monasticism” Internship, and mentoring many exciting young leaders in Hamilton. We are also helping to launch “Lectio House”, an urban retreat centre in Hamilton. I (Jill) find myself in a season of “quarterbacking” this fine team, making sure they have all the resources and support they need, developing networks and charting the course for the future.
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Of course, none of this would be possible without your partnership in prayer and financial support. If you would like to invest in the prayer movement in Hamilton or beyond, you can give online at www.canadahelps.org or email us at jill@gohop.ca. It’s been twelve years of full time prayer missions for us, and God has been unceasingly faithful to provide. Thanks so much for your part in that!

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Urban Missions and Sustainable Rhythms

I feel good.

Better than I have in a long time.

And it’s the routines,

The rhythms of sustainability that have brought me into this spaciousness,

Where the boundary lines are set in pleasant places.

I walk every day.

Take my vitamins.

Learning to drink more water.

I rise before dawn, nestle into my prayer chair. Journal, read, pray for a couple hours before my day begins.

Most days I’m in bed at the crack of 9:15, just after our household evening prayers.

Kirk and I have a “family meeting” weekly. Just the two of us, checking in with each other and talking about life and ministry.

Followed up with a date night. We still hold hands. :o)

I take two days off a week. Back to back. A proper weekend.

Consisting of a day of preparation and a sabbath.

I bake and do felting.

Working quietly with my hands.

Sounds a bit rigid, routinized.

But is allowing me more freedom than I could ever have imagined.

Carving space to allow my soul to be nurtured and prosper.

I can breathe now.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

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