Holy Week at The Upper Room

Such an honor to be leading The Upper Room in worship during Holy Week. I hope you will consider joining me Wednesday or Thursday.

For Friends Far Away
An online gathering on Holy Wednesday: Prayer and Practice

9:00 a.m. (Central Time) – Prayer and practice using Zoom, an online tool for meeting with others. Join us: https://zoom.us/j/191740575. (That would be 10:00 a.m., Eastern; 8:00 a.m., Mountain; 7:00 a.m., Pacific)

For Nashville Area Friends
Services in the Chapel

Holy Wednesday:
10:45 a.m. — Morning prayer in the chapel

Maundy Thursday:
10:45 a.m. — Service of Eucharist in The Upper Room Chapel

1908 Grand Avenue, Nashville, TN.

Jack’s New Book of Celtic Blessings

Get a copy from Amazon: Jack’s Book of Blessings: Celtic Poems by a Scottie Dog

When I was preparing for the release of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings, I started writing a companion book with my Scottie dog, Jack, in which he would offer his own blessings. Now, three years later, Jack’s Book of Blessings is available! It was released on March 16th and, starting on the 17th, has been running #1 in Amazon New Releases in the category of Irish and British poetry. At least for now it is ranked above works by Seamus Heaney, Mary Robinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Blake, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. (I can see Jack’s smile from beyond the rainbow bridge and his questioning gaze, asking, “Can I have a Special Treat?”)

More about Jack’s Book:

Jack the Scottie tells you about his day with poems for every activity from breakfast to going to sleep. Jack’s Celtic-style blessings lead us through each moment of the day: the walk, the leash, the treats, the lap, the dog park (and even the not-so-enjoyable bath). The book features original drawings of Jack, drawn by his companion and co-author of the book, Beth A. Richardson.

Introduction by Roberta Bondi

The introduction of this special book is written Roberta Bondi and Curly, her white-haired Bichon Frisée. Dr. Roberta C. Bondi is professor emerita of church history and spirituality, Candler School of Theology. Roberta writes, “These are such great prayers, which the world always needs, especially in these hard times, but they were also written by a dog. Everybody knows that dogs are especially good at blessing others as well as asking others to bless them. Jack, of course, was always particularly articulate in his own canine way, and as a true lover of God, others, and the everyday world he lived in, he was perfectly suited to write this book.”

Praise from Cats and Dogs:

At last! A book that goes beyond affirming we non-humans bless God, to one that translates those blessings! Jack’s Scottish Celtic heritage proves ideal for framing this universal expression of praise. As a Norwegian Forest cat, my prayers are more reserved than Jack’s, and I certainly do not have his sort of co-dependent relationship with my humans (“Mom,” p. 3, really?!). But the nap, the bed, the treats, the lap, these are universal in relationships with domesticated humans, every one of whom should read this book to strengthen their often inconstant faith.
– Pepper Allen, Norwegian Forest cat

Jack has penned such lovely blessings for the life of us dogs. We treasure all the things that matter–our families, our food, the smells, the walks. Jack rocks!
– Graford and Fiona Earle, border collies

About the Authors

Beth A. Richardson, is a writer, photographer, editor, cartoonist, and lover of dogs. She is the author of a companion book to Jack’s Book of Blessings called Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.

Jack, a Scottish Terrier, was born in Indiana and lived with Beth and her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Jack the Scottie was a “real dog.” (Cartoon Jack, however, was much more cooperative than “real Jack.”) Jack passed away suddenly in October of 2018. He lives on in the hearts of many.

Get a copy from Amazon: Jack’s Book of Blessings: Celtic Poems by a Scottie Dog

Wednesday Morning Prayer During Lent

Join me for a short morning prayer service each Wednesday during Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 6, 9:00 a.m. (CST) and continuing on Wednesdays through Holy Week, we will meet online for 15 minutes to pray together.

All are welcome.

We will be meeting through Zoom, a video and audio platform that you can use on your computer, your iPhone or iPad, or by calling in on your telephone.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/191740575

Dates:
Mar 6, 2019 9:00 AM (CST)
Mar 13, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)
Mar 20, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)
Mar 27, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)
Apr 3, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)
Apr 10, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)
Apr 17, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)

Time Zones:
10:00 a.m. Eastern time
9:00 am. Central time
8:00 a.m. Mountain time
7:00 a.m. Pacific time

Instructions for Using Zoom:

Learn how to join a zoom meeting on your PC or Mac. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting-

Learn how to join a zoom meeting on your iPhone or iPad. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362993-Getting-Started-with-iOS

I Hear the Sound of Breaking Hearts

I hear the sound of breaking hearts.

Tender, young hearts, open and hopeful,
Facing betrayal from the church which formed them.

Scarred, resilient, older hearts,
Once-healed wounds torn open by hatred and prejudice.

I know the pain of a breaking heart.
The shock, the sadness,
The emptiness that has no end.

Beloveds,
You are held,
You are loved.

Your wounds are tended
By the One who knew you before you were imagined,
The One who whispers,
“I created you,
And I love you
Just the way you are.”

Henri Nouwen said it this way:

Long before your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your school, your church touched you, loved you, and wounded you — long before that you were held safe in an eternal embrace.
—Henri J. M. Nouwen
Our First Love

In a Foreign Land

 
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By the rivers of Babylon —
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there
we hung up our harps.

For there our captors
 asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song
 in a foreign land?

-Psalm 137:1-4, NRSV

These days
I feel
I am in exile
In my own land

I am silent
Unable to sing
The songs of the Holy One
The songs of my heart

I feel like a stranger
In this foreign land
I thought I knew

How can I sing
When churches
Vote on the worth of God’s beloved

When xenophobia
And misogyny
Have taken up residence
In the seats of power

When hate
Walks proudly down the street
In the light of day

How can I sing
The Lord’s song
In this foreign land?

#strangerinmyownland