GPS: God Positioning System

Wednesday, October 22

10-22By Joann Condit of Phoenix Arizona, USA

Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I. …Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.

—Isaiah 52:6, 8 NRSV

It was a matted and scruffy-looking toy fox, the beloved and constant companion of our 5-year-old grandson. The fox went with Tyler; his brother, Stephen; his parents; and Pa; and me to California to visit relatives. The house was full of family, and all the beds spoken for. Our grandsons slept in our sleeping bags.

Tyler and 8-year-old Stephen played hard all that day. By bedtime Tyler was tired and cranky. He needed to cuddle his fox and go to sleep. Alas, the fox was nowhere to be found, and Tyler was inconsolable. First Pa and I looked, then brother, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins joined the foxhunt. We thoroughly searched the house and the big backyard—even the tree house.

Outside lights shone brightly, and flashlights probed the corners. No fox. Tyler cried himself to sleep. His beloved fox had vanished from sight but not from his heart. He mourned.

Some 10 months later, I went to a women’s retreat and unrolled my sleeping bag onto a top bunk. When I climbed up, I found a large lump in the bottom of the bag. I hoped no one had put some unlovely object in there! Cautiously, I unzipped and folded back the bag to reveal…yes, the fox! The lost was found and gratefully and lovingly received home by Tyler.

We humans don’t resemble lost toys, but we do lose sight of God and become inconsolable. We are assured that God continues to love us, to search for us when we are lost, to make the divine voice known to us. Listen, for it is God who speaks. We reunite in love.

Prayer for Peace We are listening, God. Speak so we may find our way back to you.

Spiritual Practice: Voices of God What is the voice of God saying to us? Do we hear the whispers of God’s longing for shalom, God’s dream of beauty and wholeness for all creation? Do we hear the voice of God calling to us in faces and eyes, in the sounds of suffering and joy, in scripture and sacred word, in tears and laughter, in silence and noise?

Spend a few moments reflecting on when and how God’s voice speaks to you. When did you first feel called to join God in the pursuit of peace and justice? How does that call to shalom continue to come to you through the many “voices” of God?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be guided by your voice and consoled by your Spirit.

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♫ Year End Hymn: “Here from This Place”

Monday, December 30

12-30By Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

…Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.

—Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a

I have always enjoyed Marty Haugen’s hymn, “Gather Us In.” I wanted to write a hymn with matching gusto to send us out after gaining strength at the center. To me, these two hymns represent the journey inward and the journey outward. I combined these thoughts with language from Doctrine and Covenants 163. We are transformed from the lost and forsaken in “Gather Us In” to the found and forgiven in the new hymn. With hope, a hymn to journey into a new year.

1) Here from this place, a journey beginning,
Here from the center, outward we go.
Divinely inspired by breath of the spirit,
To share Christ’s Shalom by the love that we sow.

Refrain:
Send us now forth the found and forgiven,
Seek those in need and burdens they bear.
Aware of our calling, our mission, our purpose,
Send us now forth as disciples to share.

2) As we now leave this space that is sacred,
Make of us sanctuaries, we pray.
Turn not away from fathers and mothers,
Who plead for the lives of their children each day.

3) From silence of prayer and deep meditation,
Carry the awe and wonder abroad.
As the Divine has graced us with presence,
We will be present to others for God.

Prayer for Peace
God of beginnings and endings, let us gather in our worship community and journey out into the new year as one, to share the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice
Contemplate this hymn as a poem (or sing to the tune of Gather Us In).

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will seek to share the peace of Christ as you send me from my place of comfort.

Rejoice! The Lost Is Found!

Sunday, September 15

9-15By Jane Gardner, High Priest Quorum president

“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? …And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

—Luke 15:4–7

One morning before sunrise I arrived at the Temple in a hurry to prepare for an early worship gathering. As I reached the front doors of Temple, I heard a voice call out, “Hey Lady!” I was alone and debated whether I should just go ahead and enter the building and be safe, but decided to turn and engage the person calling to me.

He ran down the hill and asked if he could go into the Temple and use the phone. I told him the building wasn’t open yet, but if he would give me the number he could use my cell phone. He said he needed to call his boss to tell her that he would be late because the busses were running late. He proudly showed me his work shirt and said he was just starting a new job.

He had a short phone conversation with his new boss, asking that she be patient—he really was trying to get there. She must have encouraged him, and he hung up. Then he said, “Could I make one more call?” Again, I dialed the number and handed him the phone.

He began, “Mom, I have a new job and a new shirt and I want to stop by and show it to you.” His next statement broke my heart, “Please, Mom, can I just stop by? I won’t stay long, I promise. I just want to show you my shirt.” She must have relented. He said, “Lady, I don’t know who you are or anything about this place, but today you have been my angel.”

There are times in our lives and in our congregations when human boundaries get in the way of ministry. There are times when we too feel like the least, the last or the lost. The good news of today’s scripture is that when we feel unworthy or when others label us as unredeemable, God’s grace still pursues us, like the shepherd searching for the lost sheep. As disciples of Jesus, we are called into mission outside the boundaries, sometimes needing to make choices that, in the end, are a cause for celebration. Who knows? You may be somebody’s angel.

Prayer for Peace
Tender Shepherd, we praise you for never taking your eyes off us when we wander. We rejoice when your sheep are found. We go to find your sheep and share Christ’s peace with them.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons
Sense the intimate knowledge God has of you and every child. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How are you invited to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will join in the search for your lost sheep and rejoice when they are found.