New Sermon Series –

“Cry of My Heart” a prayer experience with the Psalms

God created humanity with a whole host of emotion: joy, sorrow, anger, fear, hope, etc. The book of Psalms is a series of prayers that are cries of the heart of the author, David. God is big enough to handle all we are feeling, even those times when we are really angry with God. 

 

Week One – May 31

Psalms of Lament – Pastor Chris Carr
 
Week Two – June 7
Psalms of Praise – Pastor Karen Bruins
 

Week Three – June 14

Psalms of Trust -Pastor Karen Bruins
 

Week Four – June 21

Psalms for the Future –  Pastor Karen Bruins
 

Week Five – June 28

Psalms of Thanksgiving – Pastor Karen Bruins

 

Join Pastor Karen for “Cry of My Heart,” a daily prayer blog using the Psalms.
Each day a new Psalm will be posted with hints on how to use it to center your prayer. 
 
 

Cry of My Heart 06/28/2020

Hello Friends,
Tonight is the final Cry of My Heart blog.
 
The focus of Sunday worship was Psalm 40.
Brandy Fiddelke read this passage for us so beautifully today.

Psalm 40:1-10 (The Inclusive Bible)

Unyielding, I called to you, Yhwh,
now at last you have stooped to me
and answered my cry for help.
You have pulled me out of the Pit of Destruction,
out of its mud and quicksand;
you set my feet on a rock
and made my steps firm.
You put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to you.
Many will look on in wonder
and so will put their trust in you.
Happiness comes to those
who put their trust in Yhwh,
instead of in human egos
or people blind to the truth!

How many wonders you’ve worked for us,
Yhwh, my God!
How many plans you’ve made for us;
you have no equal!
I want to recount them again and again,
but their number is too great.
You don’t desire sacrifice or oblation,
instead you made my ears receptive to you;
you asked no burnt offering
or sacrifice for sins from me.
And so I declared,
“Here I am! I have Come!
In the scroll of the book
it is written about me.”
I desire to do your will, my God,
and your law is written in my heart.
I’ll proclaim justice
in the Great Assembly,
and I won’t keep my mouth shut,
as you well know.
I have never kept your generosity to myself,
but announced your faithfulness and saving action;
I have made no secret of your love and faithfulness,
in the Great Assembly.
 
Here is a link to U2’s song “40” which is taken directly from this Psalm.
The Psalms have been quite impactful on U2. Click on the link below.
 
 
May the God of the miry bog sustain and strengthen you in whatever situation you face today and this week.
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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Cry of My Heart 06/25/2020

Hello Friends,
Psalm 41 is a psalm of awakening.  
It is a recognition that we have turned a blind eye to those in need. 
Nan Merrill in this psalms refers to God as the “very Heart of Love”.
 
In this time of awakening in our nation,
to the reality of systemic racism,
to white privilege,
to our own internal biases,
may we turn with our hearts broken wide open
to our brothers, sisters and siblings in Christ,
and to the Very Heart of Love.
 
 

Psalm 41 – Nan Merrill in Psalms for Praying, an Invitation to Wholeness

Who among us hears the cry of the poor?

            How many open their hearts

                        and heed the call?

The plight of the world is a wound

            to the very Heart of Love,

                        a scar on our own souls.

Blessed are those who lovingly respond!

            The Friend, who knows all hearts,

                        will remember their kindness.

They will know joy, peace, and deep

            fulfillment working in harmony

            with all who serve toward healing

                        the needs of this troubled world.

 

As for me, I prayed, “O Soul Mender,

            be gracious unto me.

For I have been deaf to those in need;

            my fears paralyzed me.

I am bound like a prisoner held

            in my own house

            alone and abandoned.

Each fear I push away or deny

                        rises up with power;

            feeling anxious, lies and deceipt

                        take the place of truth.

I can hide no longer; my confusion,

                        the way I blame others,

            have turned even my friends away.”

 

“O Divine Healer, help me face the fears

                        that threaten to overwhelm me;

            without your guidance, they will

                        bring about what I most fear!

 

I am on my knees asking forgiveness;

            give me strength to turn all

                        that separates me from You

                        into love and kindness.

You, who are Unconditional Love, You

            so not judge our weaknesses;

            raise me up, that I may be renewed

                                    in body, mind, and soul!

 

By this I know that You have

                        graciously forgiven me;

            fear did not triumph over me,

                        though my heart was broken open

                                    so the light could enter in.

You upheld me, filled me with integrity,

            and opened my heart to the poor.

 

Blessed be the Beloved, loving Presence

            to all hearts open to Love,

            from everlasting to everlasting!

                        Amen.


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Cry of My Heart 06/24/2020

Hello Friends,
What is your favorite Psalm?  Psalm 100 is one of mine.
 
Spend some time today listening to this beautiful version of Psalm 100. 
 
What words impress you as it is sung? Why do these words speak to you?
 
In many churches Psalm 100 is used as an Introit, a sung call to worship.

 

Psalm 100 – Virtual Choir

 

Psalm 100 (The Inclusive Bible)

Acclaim Yhwh  with joy,  all the earth!

serve Yhwh  with gladness! 

enter into God’s presence with a joyful song!

Know that Yhwh  is God! 

Yhwh  made us, and we belong to the creator; 

we are God’s people  and the sheep of God’s pasture.

Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving  and the courts with praise! 

Give thanks to God!  bless God’s name!  for Yhwh  is good;

 God’s steadfast love endures forever,  and God’s faithfulness  to all generations.

 

Psalm 100 (New Revised Standard Version)

A Psalm of thanksgiving.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he that made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

 

 

 

Rest in the goodness of God,

who is faithful.  Amen.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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Cry of My Heart 06/23/2020

 
 
 
Here is a link to a video discussion between BONO and Eugene Peterson.  Bono is of course from the rock group U2, whose music often has deep spiritual themes.  Eugene Peterson is the pastor/theologian who wrote the Message Translation.
 
 
The video is about 21 minutes long, but it is well worth the time.
 
Here is the song Bono wrote about Psalm 40.
 

U2 – Psalm 40

 
 

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Cry of My Heart 06/22/2020

Psalm 150 – In Memory of Leonard Cohen

This beautiful version was done on November 7, 2017 which was the one year anniversary of the passing of Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest Jewish poet-songwriters of the 20th century.Here is one of his most famous songs, Hallelujah, with the Hebrew lyrics of Psalm 150 which is recited daily in Jewish prayer. May the memory of Leonard Cohen be for an eternal blessing.

 

Hallelu El b’kodsho, Halleluhu birkia uzo. Halleluhu vig’vurotav, Halleluhu k’rov gudlo. Halleluhu b’teika shofar, Halleluhu b’nevel v’khinor. Halleluhu b’tof u-mahol, Halleluhu b’minim v’ugav. Halleluhu b’tziltz’lei shama, Halleluhu b’tziltz’lei tru’ah. Kol ha-n’shamah t’hallel Yah – Halleluyah!
 
(English Translation)
Praise God in the sanctuary; praise God in the powerful heavens. Praise God for the mighty acts; praise God for infinite greatness. Praise God with shofar calls; praise God with harp and lyre. Praise God with drum and dance; praise God with flute and strings. Praise God with crashing cymbals; praise God with resounding cymbals. Let all that breathes praise Adonai – Halleluyah! [Psalm 150]

 

Cantor Azi Schwartz of Park Avenue Synagogue Arrangement: Raymond Goldstein Music Director: Colin Fowler Cello: Alexander Scheirele Production Manager: Gil Smuskowitz Recording engineer and audio editing: Doug Yoel Video production: WIWU Productions From “Moments of Awe, Music of the High Holidays”, 2017


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Cry of My Heart 06/18/2020

Hello Friends,
 
I love the fresh produce that is available right now.
Have you ever gone to a strawberry farm and picked berries?
There is nothing better than fresh off the vine fruit.
The sweetness and goodness as they hit your tastebuds is amazing.
 
God’s love is like that; sweet, amazing, creative and powerful.
Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good!”
 
As you eat your meals today, and especially as you taste a bite of ripened fruit,
pause and give thanks to God for God’s goodness.
 
Spend some time reading and praying through Psalm 34.
 
 
Psalm 34 – Common English Bible
Of David, when he pretended to be crazy before Abimelech, who banished him so that he left.
 
34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be in my mouth.
2 I praise the Lord—
let the suffering listen and rejoice.
3 Magnify the Lord with me!
Together let us lift his name up high!
4 I sought the Lord and he answered me.
He delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to God will shine;
their faces are never ashamed.
6 This suffering person cried out:
the Lord listened and saved him from every trouble.
7 On every side, the Lord’s messenger protects those who honor God; and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see how good the Lord is!
The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!
9 You who are the Lord’s holy ones, honor him,
because those who honor him don’t lack a thing.
10 Even strong young lions go without and get hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, children, listen to me.
Let me teach you how to honor the Lord:
12 Do you love life;
do you relish the chance to enjoy good things?
13 Then you must keep your tongue from evil
and keep your lips from speaking lies!
14 Turn away from evil! Do good!
Seek peace and go after it!

15 The Lord’s eyes watch the righteous,
his ears listen to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord’s face is set against those who do evil,
to eliminate even the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry out, the Lord listens;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he saves those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous have many problems,
but the Lord delivers them from every one.
20 He protects all their bones;
not even one will be broken.
21 But just one problem will kill the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be held responsible.
22 The Lord saves his servants’ lives;
all those who take refuge in him
won’t be held responsible for anything.


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Cry of My Heart 06/17/2020

Hello Friends,
One of the most beloved of all the Psalms is the 23rd Psalm.
It is a psalm that gives us courage and strength.
It is prayed by the bedside of those who are dying,
and recited at funerals.
 
Enjoy this lovely version written by Howard Goodall, recorded by the Smith Ensemble.
 
 
 
May you rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Karen Bruins

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Cry of My Heart 06/16/2020

Hello Friends,
This week we have been focusing on Psalms of trust.
At a time when the world seems to be spinning out of control, we are all looking for something solid.
Christ is for us that sure foundation.
 
Psalm 91 is a psalm of trust.  Read these words from Nan Merrill’s book, Psalms for Praying – an Invitation to Wholeness.
copyright 2007 Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.
Those who dwell in the shelter of 
Infinite Light,
who abide in the wings of
Infinite Love,
Will raise their voices in praise:
“My. refuge and my strength:
in You alone will I trust.”
For You deliver me from webs
of fear and illusion,
from all that separates and divides;
You protect me as an eagle shields
its young,
Your faithfulness is sure, 
like an arrow set upon the mark.
I will not fear the shadows of the night, 
nor the confusion that comes by day,
Nor the dreams that awaken me from 
sleep,
nor the daily changes that
life brings.
 
Though a thousand may deride this
radical trust,
ten thousand laugh as I seek
to do your Will,
Yet will I surrender myself to You,
abandoning myself into your Hands
without reserve.
 
For You have sent your angels to 
watch over me,
to guide me in all my ways.
On their hands, they will bear me up,
lest I dash my foot against 
a stone.
Though I walk among those who
roar like a lion,
or are as stealthy as the adder,
in your strength will I endure.
 
“Because you cleave to Me in love,
I will deliver you;
I will protect you, who
When you call to Name I will answer you;
I will be with you in times
of trouble,
I will rescue you so that 
you will know my Peace,
All through the years, will I dwell
in your heart,
as Loving Companion Presence,
forever.”
 
May you trust in God with all your heart today.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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Cry of My Heart 06/15/2020

Yesterday in the sermon I told the story of riding my bike on a very dark and twisty path.
It was scary because the little headlight on my bicycle could not penetrate the darkness.
Life feels like that sometimes; dark, scary, with the path ahead unclear.
 
The promise of God in Psalm 27 is to be our light. 
Even though difficult things will come our way, God will be with us.
 
Last fall I bought a new light. This one has 1100 lumens.  It is so bright that I have to be careful not to shine it in people’s eyes.  But with this 1100 lumens shining from on top of my bike helmet, the way ahead is visible, even when the path may be dark and twisty.
 
God is that 1100 lumen headlamp.  Where do you need God’s light to shine in your life today?
 
“The Lord is my light and my salvation,
of whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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