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New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

 

Today's Reflection

Storytelling is a form of the ancient communal spiritual discipline of hospitality. It is a communal process of transforming sojourners into kinfolk and strangers into friends. The voice of the story resonates from deep within the body and imagination of its teller, and its vibrations reach into the physical and imaginative depths of the listener. The images that linger on the outskirts of consciousness and the voices that continue to sound in the ear of the heart are the threads that connect us to those who have known and loved the story across the ages. To be invited into the world of a story is to be offered the hospitality of the community of people who live by that story.

—Michael E. Williams, "Homecoming," The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today's Question

When have you received hospitality or extended hospitality with an invitation into the world of a story? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

—Mark 6:34 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God, thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Join us for The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse. Beginning next week and throughout Advent, we will gather online for weekly guided spiritual practice sessions, group learning, and facilitated discussion. The eCourse also includes daily readings from this week’s featured book, The Wondrous Mystery. Register here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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Today's Reflection

Story reminds us to which communities we belong. Family stories tell us that we are part of a community related by blood. In some respects knowing the stories is as much a part of belonging to a family as our biological inheritance. The stories that shape who we are and what we value also define the parameters of the communities to which we belong. . . . Because we know the stories of Jesus and his followers and indeed claim to be followers ourselves, those stories form the persons we are and the decisions we make even today.

—Michael E. Williams, "A Community of Stories,"  The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today's Question

What stories have helped to form your identity? What stories form the identity of your community? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

“Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you.”
—Luke 8:39 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Join us for The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse. Beginning next week and throughout Advent, we will gather online for weekly guided spiritual practice sessions, group learning, and facilitated discussion. The eCourse also includes daily readings from this week’s featured book, The Wondrous Mystery. Register here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Thanksgiving Day, USA

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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Today's Reflection

When, like Jesus, we regularly retreat in order to attend to God’s Word in an especially focused way, then the time spent in this environment for listening will bear fruit in the many ministries of a spiritually alive life. What are these fruits? They are love and freedom, which nourish our spiritual growth and strengthen us for the work of proclaiming the Good News in word and deed.

—John S. Mogabgab, "In Retreat," The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today's Question

How often do you allow yourself time alone to pray? How can you find this time during the busy holiday season? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

After saying farewell to [the disciples], [Jesus] went up on the mountain to pray.
Mark 6:46 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God, thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Join us for The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse. Beginning next week and throughout Advent, we will gather online for weekly guided spiritual practice sessions, group learning, and facilitated discussion. The eCourse also includes daily readings from this week’s featured book, The Wondrous Mystery. Register here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

3 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

I think of that line from Edna St. Vincent Millay: “O World, I cannot hold thee close enough.” It is a mystery, a grace, and yet that is exactly how I suddenly feel, like I want to lift my arms to receive the world and hold it to my chest. I think of the people out there, waiting beyond the borders of the meadow, and I’m delivered again into the sweet and burning knowledge that they are mine and I am theirs.

—Sue Monk Kidd, "In the Ragged Meadow," The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today's Question

What insight do you find in today’s reading about how to relate to others and connect with the world? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1–2, 4 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God, thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Join us for The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse. Beginning next week and throughout Advent, we will gather online for weekly guided spiritual practice sessions, group learning, and facilitated discussion. The eCourse also includes daily readings from this week’s featured book, The Wondrous Mystery. Register here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

5 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

In solitude we discover that we are not what we do but what we are given; that we are not the result of our judgments but born out of God’s love. In solitude we find space in which God can be revealed to us as the great lover who made us and remade us. In solitude we discover that we can only do something for others because God did something for us; we can only love because we have been loved first; we can only bring freedom to others because we have been set free; we can only give because we have been given.

—Henri J.M. Nouwen, "The Gift of Solitude," The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today's Question

How often do you allow yourself to seek solitude? What gifts can solitude offer you? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
—Matthew 14:19 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God, thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Join us for The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse. Beginning next week and throughout Advent, we will gather online for weekly guided spiritual practice sessions, group learning, and facilitated discussion. The eCourse also includes daily readings from this week’s featured book, The Wondrous Mystery. Register here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

5 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

"Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4), Paul says. I keep nearby when I pray a picture of Saint Francis who took Paul's injunction quite literally. His feet are off the ground, his arms are extended to the sky as he jumps in freedom and joy. The picture portrays a man who worships with his body, who loves the creation, and who is not afraid to let the joy of the body show.

Receptivity, self-offering, gratitude, and joy—the four prayers I would embody.

I stood in my room and began to experiment with gesture and movement. What felt comfortable? What seemed natural? What gestures and movements could express my prayer, desire, and intention to live these four prayers? The process of developing body-prayer movements was like trying on shoes—some looked nice but didn't fit. Some gestures seemed like they would be perfect but felt awkward. I had to find the movements that were right for me—no one else could do this work.

—L. Roger Owens, What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality (Upper Room Books, 2015)

Today's Question

Find a place where you can be alone, and begin to experiment with gestures that express the shape of life and prayer you long for. Why did you choose the gestures you did? What do they mean to you? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
—Romans 12:1 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
“A Liturgy for Morning Prayer,” Upper Room Worshipbook
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Pause and notice God's comforting presence by reflecting on the songs of Advent. Good News of Great Joy: Advent Reflections on the Songs of Luke offers 24 daily readings that explore the context, content, and spirituality of the four canticles (“little songs”) in Luke 1–2. Learn more.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Reign of Christ

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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