Retreat at Tao Fong Shan Saturday 16th December 2017

Welcome to a retreat at Tao Fong Shan, Saturday 16th December 2017.

In the new year we’ll have a monthly 24-hours retreat at Tao Fong Shan

 

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Christfulness in Hong Kong

 

In April 2017 i visited Tao Fong Shan Christian Center (TFSCC) to prepare a project to present CFN to the churches and the public in Hong Kong. September 1st my wife and I have started a period of ministry at TFSCC.

In the second week we together with Rev. Dr. Philze Lau, who is the Head of TFSCC’s Spirituality Division, were guiding a retreat with students or Higher Diploma of Spiritual Direction. About 30 persons participated, most of them being ministers and church workers.

The overall evaluation of the retreat: It was successful and well received. The peak experience was Wednesday afternoon: Philze summed up all of our themes up till that time, using also a story I had told from another retreat which he turned into action: He asked the students to greet each other and to look into the eyes of one another, saying, “I see Christ in you!”. They started to hug.

I’ve been ministering in a bridge-building project between spiritual seekers and new agers and Christians, before coming to Hong Kong. In a ministry meeting people of another faith than our own it’s especially important to look for and release the image of God in the other. We express this desire to see Christ in others in the discipleship prayer, which we pray daily, when possible at 5pm when many from the new spiritualties with a background in theosophy are praying for the healing of the world and of humanity, and especially for unity between people with good intentions:

God, you who are I AM,

I see the work of your Spirit

in the longing in people’s hearts for the peace of your kingdom

for the truth, beauty and goodness

I see the presence of your serving love

in people of good will and in all

who want to wander the path of discipleship.

May the power of your Spirit flow in us and lead us

to recognise all truth, and in practical service

May your Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, inspire us

to serving love as workers for the kingdom of God

May I find my place in your one work,

for the restoration of the Earth and the human race

– with a humble mind, in purity, truth, and love.

At the evaluation gathering we had among others this feedback:

  • We have never before in the course had the experience of being a fellowship. We even felt like going into town together after dinner.
  • We enjoyed the periods of silence (no talking), which helped a lot to reflect and digest the teaching and the experiences and to be in contact with oneself.
  • It was rewarding to combine prayer, meditation, and body movements.
  • Even though the liturgies were unusual to some of the participants, they were felt as a rewarding exercise. It was a new experience, but uplifting to have a concluding communion service
  • Several stressed what the teachings and practices had meant for a new perspective on their home situation or conflicts at work.

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St. Patrick’s Breastplate

St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. (The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle.)

More recent scholarship suggests its author was anonymous. In any case, this prayer certainly reflects the spirit with which St. Patrick brought our faith to Ireland! St. Patrick’s Breastplate, also known as The Lorica of Saint Patrick was popular enough to inspire a hymn based on this text as well. (This prayer has also been called The Cry of the Deer.)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

[Note that people sometimes pray a shorter version of this prayer just with these 15 lines about Christ above. The conclusion follows below.]

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

When St. Paul referred to putting on the “Armor of God” in his letter to the Ephesians (6:11) to fight sin and evil inclinations, he could have been thinking of prayers just like this one! We may not wear combat gear in our daily lives, but St. Patrick’s Breastplate can function as divine armor for protection against spiritual adversity.

Look also at  Prayerfoundation.org

 

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Spiritual World and Earthly Life

Ole Skjerbæk Madsen, UFP, interfaith prayer meeting, June 11th 2016

Dear friends,

Once more, I should like to express my gratitude that UPF invites for these meetings. When Nobu and I talked about the topic for today, he also used the term the physical world along with earthly life. I’ll try to deal with the topic in this way. I’ll start with the high spiritual ideals and then turn to their realization in our daily life and especially in relation to physical world (the earth on which we live).

The vision of Christianity for life on this Earth is rooted in our belief in God as the Creator. God created everything good, and God created humans in God’s image as stewards of his creation. Humans failed in this; instead of stewardship we got exploitation, greed and egoism, self-interest instead of love. Jesus came to change this disorder and bring us back into right relations with God, so that we again may live according to God’s intention with creation.

The message of Jesus Christ could be summarized thus: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He calls us to repent or to re-orientate our life to the will of God. The term the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God is the expression of God’s vision for life on this earth.

The restored order of the world is at hand; it is here to see, to touch, to experience. Jesus is the focus of its realization. He establishes the new order: Those who suffer are healed from diseases, from evil spirts, from social alienation, from sin and guilt – and a new relationship with God is experienced: God is our loving Father and we are God’s children. And Jesus established a new relationship between humans; his disciples form the core of a redeemed and restored humanity.

The kingdom of God is at hand, and yet it is not here in its totality. We still hope for its full consummation. Therefor we pray: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Already here – and yet to come. Yet to come – and already here.

This assurance of the Kingdom of God is the source of hope in daily life and gives us courage to meet the challenges of earthly life. Romans 14:17 NIV : “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, i.e. a right relation to God and our fellow humans and creatures. It is loving God and our neighbor, its fulfilment of God’s law of life, the unifying factor of life: that we serve one another and the whole instead of pursuing self-interest resulting in the atomization of society, humanity and creation.

The Kingdom of God is peace which is much more than the cessation of war. Peace is a sharing in plenty; it’s the fruitfulness of the Earth, it is the sharing of common good with each other. It is God dwelling among humans. Micah 4,2-5: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law,a and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”

The Kingdom of God is joy, because of the presence of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

In daily life the Kingdom manifests itself when we believe in God and receive God’s guidance and power – as promised by Jesus when he spoke of the Holy Spirit which the Father will send to us in His name. The ideals for a life with a quality of God’s kingdom are outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. Il just make two quotes:

Matthew 5,43-48:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 6,24-34

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Even though we believe God and the promises of Jesus and have tasted the gift of the Holy Spirit we find it difficult to live according to the standards of the God’s kingdom. But we should not despair because of our shortcomings; when we sin against God’s will we should confess our sins and shortcomings, and God will forgive us for Jesus’ sake and restore his life in us. And we should pray for the fulfilment of his will in earthly life.

One important field is the care for this planet and all that lives on the Earth, even the care for the smallest element. We are called to be stewards of God’s creation. We are the gardeners of the Earth. We are the name givers of every part of creation. We see in every creature the mark of its Creator, and understand that the kingdom of God is fulfilled when every created entity and being is sanctified and have reached its full potential, being united to God in Christ. We believe that God is in Christ and that Christ is in God; we believe Christ is the creating Word of God, the eternal Logos of God made flesh in Jesus. As human nature is united with God in Christ, so all humans find their true identity in Christ as Christ begins his life in us. This reality should be shared with all of Gods creation. This is celebrated in the sacraments, not least the Eucharist.

When we gather for the Eucharist we share some very common physical elements, bread and wine. First they were grain and grapes. As such they were God’s gifts to us through nature. We recognized their potential and set this potential free making bread and wine. We now offer bread and wine to God thanking for God’s creation, but also for the restoration of creation through the saving work of Jesus Christ. Thus we give back to God the created world and ourselves represented by bread and wine. But now Christ is receiving these gifts on behalf of God, saying “This is my body and blood”; God gives Godself to us through Christ in this sanctified bread and wine which has now reached its full potential. And we imagine that the full potential of all created beings and elements is the self-giving of God, and it is our full potential, but we cannot receive unless we share the gifts with each other. Thus the Eucharist is an image of the Kingdom of God. And from the Eucharist we are send back into earthly life to serve and love forth the true potentiality of every fellow creature and fellow human.

In he Coptic Church of Egypt I heard this parable: When we come to the Eucharist we have the nature of wolves, but we consume the Lamb (the bread or body of Christ), and were are changed into lambs. Now we leave the church to meet the wolves of the surrounding world that they may consume us … …

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Identity and Transformation – a Christfulness Service

This service falls in three parts:

  • A time for faith formation / encouragement
  • Eucharist and Communion
  • A time in the healing presence of God

A time for faith formation / encouragement

Worship-songs and Body Prayers (you will find good ideas here: http://www.borgso.no/dvdenglish.html)

Invocation and Proclamation:

All: Jesus, King of Righteousness,

Son of God and Son of Man!

Send us your light and your truth!

 

Jesus, Light of the World,

Son of God and Son of Man!

We desire to sit at your feet

And to receive your word in our heart and mind!

 

Jesus, King of Righteousness,

Son of God and Son of Man!

Send us your light and your truth!

Words for encouragement

This might be a testimony, a short Bible reflection, an “inspiration” (see examples in the booklet: Christfulness http://www.lulu.com/shop/ole-skjerb%C3%A6k-madsen/christfulness-an-introduction/paperback/product-21646227.html We will add inspirations on www.christfulness.net under “Ressources”.

Meditation

You find examples of meditation in the booklet: Christfulness http://www.lulu.com/shop/ole-skjerb%C3%A6k-madsen/christfulness-an-introduction/paperback/product-21646227.html We will also include more examples of meditation on the home page as we have theme translated from Danish.

1) The Christfulness-meditation p 34

2) The Jesus-meditation p. 34; it is easy to guide a meditation using the steps in the form given here, helping people to experience the story. You may help the, for example to experience the story as one of the persons in. You may be one of the four friends of the paralyzed man in Luke 4.

3)The Jesus Prayer p. 36-37. It might be introduced by speaking af the secrets of the heart, the name, and the breath/spirit (Ruach, Pneuma, Qi). It may be important to stress that one can choose the longer or shorter version as you like, even just praying Jesus Christ. – I mostly for the time being only pray Jesus breathing out, and Christ breathing in; see below from Christfulness facebook.

4) Use healing of the heart as meditation, see attached; you may also use the imagery on p. 41

5) The use of affirmations functions best with music; pp. 36-40

Eucharist and Communion

Hymn (prepararing bread and wine for the Eucharist)

Eucharistic Prayer

Priest I:                      The Lord be with you!

Answer:                      And with your spirit!

Priest I:                      Lift up your hearts!

All:                      We lift them up unto the Lord!

Priest I:                      Let us give thanks unto our Lord God!

All:                       It is meet and right so to do!

Priest I: It is very meet and right, that we should at all times give thanks unto thee, Father God, Almighty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Through Him you did call forth all creatures out of darkness. Also humans were created by you; in your image you created us. You gave us responsibility for this earth, and you allowed us to recognise your presence in all which you have created, that we as one human race of brothers and sisters would serve you and worship your presence. We confess that we have broken your confidence, but when we sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, you did send to us. Christ your Son, the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings. He did show us the kingdom of Light, men descended through the cross into the darkness as a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies. But he rose from the dead as the first fruit of restored humankind.

Priest II: Father, in the name of Jesus Christ we approach you as members of the earthly creation and as those to whom you have called to be responsible for our fellow creatures. We offer the world, ourselves and our fellow creature to your healing love.

 

 

Priest II or Deacon:

We will unite in love for the Earth and all living beings and ask God, that God’s love in Jesus Chris twill enlighten the Earth… enclose all of humanity… and especially heal XXX (mention an area in need of prayer) and seal the door of the house of the evil and all destructive energies.

 

Silent prayer.

 

            Let us pray for persons we know in need of help because of suffering in mind, spirit or body, or for those who feel trapped in destructive patterns of life or lost in a darkness without God, that God renews, restores and heals their lives.

 

Silent prayer.

 

Priest II: Lord, thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created!

All: And thou renewest the face of the earth!

The healing prayer is taken up in the Eucharistic prayer:

Priest I: Father! You are God, greater than principalities, powers, authorities, or names in this age, but in the age to come, yea in all ages. Thus the entire creation will be fulfilled in the worship of you, and thus we with your congregation on earth as in heaven, chorusing with all angels sing the praise of your glory:

All: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

                     Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Priest I: See to us, o God, [he takes the bread in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this bread, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the body (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,

All: Who in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread, and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

Priest I: See to us, o God, [he takes the cup in his hands] and bless, and sanctify this wine, yea send your Holy Spirit and make it unto us the blood (+) of your Son Jesus Christ,

All: Who after supper took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins; do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.

The breaking of the bread

During the breaking of the bread all may sing Agnus Dei; after the breaking of the bread all pray The Lord’s Prayer

Communion

Conclusion:

Priest I: Let us end the seasonal service taking refuge in the living God!

All: With all my heart I take refuge

In God Most High,

Who created all things,

The merciful Father, source of all goodness.

With all my heart I take refuge

In Christ, the Redeemer from sin,

Who restores my true nature,

The perfect and mysterious Word.

With all my heart I take refuge

In the One who embraces the universe,

Who at all times and in all places

Responds to our needs,

The pure and tranquil Holy Spirit.

Hymn

Blessing

A time in the healing presence of God

This is an open ended section. We will listen to meditative music. Some will pray or meditate for themselves. Others will lit a candle or kneel at the altar. There is offered individual prayers for healing, counseling, listening, confession.

People leaves, when they are ready.

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