Blog: Forest Lake Talks

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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Holy Week – Wednesday

April 8, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK In the middle of this holiest of weeks, distraction creeps close and we are tempted to act as if nothing exceptional is afoot. Lord, we forget that you are on the cusp of crucifixion and that we are to be intent on following you. Nudge us from obliviousness and heighten our awareness of the divine in the midst of the ordinary, in the center of this exceptional week. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

Lord, we come before you tonight aware of your mercy and grace. Knowing you have heard our prayers, understanding that you are at work though we cannot always see it, and believing in your promise to not forsake us, thank you. We thank you that you are a God who bends down, inclines your ear to hear us, and sends the Holy Spirit to nudge us when we get off track. Thank you. Tonight, Lord, we pray not just for our city, state, and nation; we pray for our world. We give you thanks for the millions across this globe…

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When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

April 7, 2020

This beautiful hymn was written by Isaac Watts, the “Father of English Hymnody,” for communion.  Of the hundreds of hymns Watts composed, this is one of his most beloved texts. When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.  To survey something is more than to simply look at it.  When we survey something we appraise it – we measure its value.  How can we possibly put a value on the cross?  Philippians 3:7-8 says, “But whatever was to my profit I…

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Holy Week – Tuesday

April 7, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK Lord Christ, how did you feel after your triumphant entry into Jerusalem, as you readied for the last meal with your friends and contemplated the betrayal and cross yet to come? Were your thoughts fraught with doubt and pain? Knowing you took on all our humanity, we thank you that none of our feelings or prayers, our questions or suffering, is unknown, off limits or unredeemed. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Lift up our heads, O Lord, to let us see you at work. Open our eyes, God, to see the light in a time of darkness. Unify our voices, eliminate our divisions, Lord, so we can ultimately speak what we confess we believe. Cleanse our ears, Lord, to tune out our selfish desires and instead hear the cries of your people in need. As we approach a time of rest, a time of calm, a time of peace, may we take comfort in your presence. Lord, we give you thanks for the many ways your people have come together during…

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Holy Week – Monday

April 6, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK Gracious God, as we begin this Holy Week, we stop to reflect on our Lenten journey. We remember the times we felt your close presence and the moments when we could not sense you near. Help us to abide in you, even as you abide in us, assuring us that you are here, even when we cannot feel your presence. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

Dear God, Hosanna, Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! It is once again we come before you with thanksgiving in our hearts. A day with warm weather, sunshine, time for worship. Time spent at the table. Time spent resting. As a deer longs for flowing streams, so our souls long for you, O God. By day you command your steadfast love, and at night your song is with me, a prayer to the God of our lives. We find our hope in you, O God. Therefore let all who are faithful, offer prayer to…

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Holy Week – Letting Go of Death and Holding on to Life

April 5, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor JOHN 10:7-10 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. Jesus brings life abundantly. God never skimps or withholds. Over and over again, we…

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