Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

April 15, 2020

April 15, 2020 Dear Friends, Our faith teaches this very odd thing, that suffering can be redemptive.  We say that it was, in some way that we cannot fully understand, the suffering of Christ that allowed God to enter into our own suffering and to redeem or use our sin and suffering to save us – to make us holy.  And anyone who has tried to follow Christ for more than a week, knows that this process of “being saved” or made holy is not a quick trip.  It takes a lifetime of suffering and redemption to move us, even…

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Nightly Prayer – April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life todaythat they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin. Let me use disappointment as material for patience;Let me use success as material for thankfulness;Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;Let me use danger as material for courage;Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;Let me use praise as material for humility;Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;Let me use pains as material for endurance. Author: John Baillie Source: The Oxford Book of Prayer. Edited by George Appleton.…

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In the Darkness

April 14, 2020

By Jim Rowell Isaiah 42:16-20 John 9:1-41 Since Childhood Helen Keller grew up blind, deaf and unable to speak. Yet, through the patient work of one dedicated person, Helen was able to make a meaningful contribution to the world through her writing, teaching and inspirational example. In her autobiography, Keller records the endless days of anticipation and despair, waiting for someone to draw her out. Then she describes the day she first met the person who would do just that; life-long friend and teacher, Anne Sullivan. She writes: “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it…

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Christ Is Alive!

April 12, 2020

Martin Luther King was assassinated ten days before Easter in 1968.  The impact of his life and teachings extended far beyond the United States.  Hymn author Brian Wren (b. 1936) was serving at the time in a church in the United Kingdom.  As he prepared for Easter services in 1968, he was dismayed that none of the Easter hymns in the hymnal said what he wanted to say to his congregation in light of King’s death.  So he penned these words to offer Easter hope in response to tragedy. Christ is alive!  Let Christians sing.  The cross stands empty to…

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Prayer for Easter Sunday

April 12, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYER FOR EASTER SUNDAY Alleluia, a new day dawns, all we thought God-forsaken and dead pulses with divine life and light. Risen Lord, we went to the graveyard expecting to mourn and attend to the rituals of death, but instead discovered the tomb empty and your living presence. God’s power to reverse and upend our greatest fears and assumed intractable realities shock us and all we can do is shout for joy. Amen.

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In The Cross of Christ I Glory

April 11, 2020

This hymn text is written by Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), a Unitarian world traveler who could reportedly converse in 100 different languages.  The title of this hymn was engraved on his tombstone. In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o’er the wrecks of time; All the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime. We tend to associate the cross with darkness, but this hymn is full of references to light.  The cross, which has outlasted and outshone all civilizations, is the focal point of hope for all generations.  As an extensive world traveler, the hymn author would…

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Holy Week – Holy Saturday

April 11, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK When all hope is lost and we see no way for goodness to overcome evil, God, come to our aid. When darkness overwhelms us and paralyzing uncertainty fells us, God, come to our side. When the liminal space between cross and resurrection feels eternal, God, come abide with us. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

Dear God, This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! You, Lord, are not far from us. You promise not to forsake us, and as we enter the weekend, we ask for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit descend upon each of us in a time of anxiety, nervousness, and uncertainty. Through the flesh of Jesus Christ, a new way, a new life was opened to us. Jesus Christ, born in flesh, humbled in body and spirit; Jesus Christ, the one who extended his hand to those on…

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Beneath The Cross of Jesus

April 10, 2020

Scottish hymn writer Elizabeth Clephane (1830 –1869) lost both her parents when she was very young.  She was in frail health most of her life.  In spite of her illnesses, Elizabeth joined her sister in caring for the poor and sick in their community.  Both women gave away most of their earthly belongings.  Miss Clephane composed this much-beloved Lenten hymn shortly before she died, but unfortunately didn’t live long enough to hear it put to music. Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; A home within…

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Holy Week – Good Friday

April 10, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK God whose giving knows no end, today your Son goes to the cross in our stead and for the sake of the world. He utters forgiveness with his last breath, unwilling to succumb to vengeance or hate. As we contemplate his sacrifice, we pray for the faith to imitate his endless compassion and unfathomable mercy. Amen.

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Nightly Prayers – April 9, 2020

April 9, 2020

First Prayer Dear God, As the day comes to a close, we are reminded of the command to love one another as you love us. We give you thanks for that love. Just as Jesus extended a hand to others, you call us to serve. For those in our hospitals, in our assisted living facilities, in our airports, in our grocery stores, we give you thanks for their hands. For their ears. For putting themselves out there. And for all others, Lord, who cannot work from home, who serve in other ways, thank you. Our world is hurting. A world…

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O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

April 9, 2020

The text of this hymn is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux.  Although this cannot be authenticated, we definitely can find Latin manuscripts from the 13th century that reference this text.  The words are, in essence, a poem that consists of seven parts.  Each part is designed to be sung on a different day of the week.  Each part also addresses a different part of Jesus’ body as he hung on the cross – his feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and head. The present version is by James Alexander, who translated it from a German edition from 1656.  The…

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Holy Week – Maundy Thursday

April 9, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK Servant Lord, your willingness to kneel at our feet astounds an d confounds us. Rarely do we choose the lesser, lower place. Often, we succumb to what ever inflates our egos. You tell us that people will know we are your followers by our love. May our tangible acts of service witness to our love for you and your love for creation. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 8, 2020

April 8, 2020

Dear God, You are our light and salvation. You are the stronghold of our lives. Of whom shall we be afraid? Though troubles rise up, we shall not fear because we live in the house of the Lord. On this night, we gather as your people to pray. To pray for those are at peace. To pray for those who are anxious. To pray for those who had their fill. To pray for those who are hungry. And to pray for those who don’t know we’re praying for them. Lord, we give you thanks for hearing our prayers. Lift up…

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O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

April 8, 2020

The hymn, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go,” was written by George Matheson in 1882.   It was included in the Scottish Hymnal in 1885.  According to Matheson, “I was at that time alone…Something had happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering.  The hymn was the fruit of that suffering.”  (William J Reynolds) The tune was composed by Albert L. Peace, specifically for Dr. Matheson’s hymn text. The words of each verse are poetic and evoke powerful images.  Can you envision a love so great that it will…

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