A bird house

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August 13, 2018

In this week’s Fruit of the Vine, Eve Garrison reflects on last summer when a neurological illness forced her “to lay aside all electronics, and even conversation with people, because my brain couldn’t handle the activity.” Eve’s husband created a space for her “to rest and reflect while enjoying my garden. I placed a bird house on the corner and enjoyed watching two generations of house sparrows grow.”

Eve writes about how she saw God revealed through nature, and in this morning’s short devotional thought, Eve recounts the arrival of a male sparrow who investigated the bird house, “peering in and out of the hole and around it.” Once satisfied, he “hopped to the tip of a weather station pole secured beside the little house and began his call. Day after day he performed his little routine, jumping back and forth from rooftop to pole, into the open doorway and out, calling patiently, seeking the one who would partner with him.”

This bird reminded Eve of Jesus, who “calls and tugs on our hearts, never giving up.”

Seventeenth-century Quaker activist Stephen Crisp argued that if people knew Jesus, they would have no need to build a refuge or place of safety: “They would trust in the living God, and he should be their God and their rock, and they would venture their concerns upon him, both in this world and that which is to come.”

This is what Eve notices about Jesus in her observations of the sparrow. “He longs to partner with us.... He has prepared the perfect place for us.... He has created a place of safety and desires us to join him.... He has chosen us to be his.”

Thank you,
Eric Muhr

P.S. Seeds of hope is the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget. In order to stay on target to meet our goal of $162,000 by December 31, 2020, we need to get to $39,405 by September 1, 2018. As of this morning, we have raised $31,580 in gifts and pledges.





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
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Copyright © 2018 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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By Friends for Friends

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August 6, 2018

In January 2016, I announced the imminent end to a six-year cycle of Illuminate Bible study materials and an interim year in which we planned to try something different – linking a teaching or saying of Jesus each week to both an Old Testament text and an additional New Testament text for context and conversation. That interim series, Christ as Present Teacher, ends in three weeks. Our new, six-year cycle of study materials for individuals, small groups, and Christian education classes will offer study helps for most of the Bible, starting this September with Genesis: A Book of Beginnings. Our second unit – Luke: Salvation for All – starts this coming December.

Each lesson includes seven additional Scripture passages for readers interested in exploring how a week’s themes are addressed in the larger scope of the Bible – one passage for every day of the week. Each lesson identifies two key verses and offers a brief explication of what’s happening in each and why it matters. Each lesson lists three study goals or conversational aims for a group study. Each lesson includes one or two pieces of background information that might help an individual to notice meaning in the text. Each lesson offers a suggested prayer that can be read aloud by groups or that might serve as an outline of what to pray for and how to pray.

Each lesson has a Quaker quote relevant to the Scripture passage and offering increased understanding of how Quakers over time have interacted with, understood, and lived out these biblical texts. Each lesson incorporates two sections of Scripture and commentary. Each lesson has questions suited for classroom discussion, small-group conversation prompts, and individual contemplation. Finally, each lesson includes a short, narrative reflection from a contemporary Friend. These Friendly Perspectives give Illuminate lessons a conversational tone while also helping us each week to hear the contemporary voices of our Quaker neighbors – a weekly reminder that even if the faith tradition we belong to is small, it reaches around the world and across nearly four centuries.

Illuminate is the only Bible study curriculum written by Friends and for Friends, and if you’re not familiar with it yet, send me an email. I’d love to mail you a free copy!

Thank you,
Eric Muhr

P.S. Seeds of hope is the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget. In order to stay on target to meet our goal of $162,000 by December 31, 2020, we need to get to $39,405 by September 1, 2018. As of this morning, we have raised just over $31,000 in gifts and pledges.





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com

Seeds of Hope
Copyright © 2018 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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A great people to be gathered

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July 30, 2018

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Catherine Trzeciak reminds us that “George Fox was twenty-seven years old” when he received a vision that changed the course of his life. “In his Journal, Fox writes, ‘As we went I spied a great high hill called Pendle Hill, and I went on the top of it with much ado, it was so steep; but I was moved of the Lord to go atop of it ... and to sound the day of the Lord; and the Lord let me see atop of the hill in what places he had a great people to be gathered.’”

There is something about the openness of high places that can give us perspective, a place to rest, and room to breathe. The photo above is one I took from Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, looking south past a line of trees to Mount Jefferson. I can imagine, physically, how it impacted Fox to be up above the countryside. What is harder for me to know is how it might have felt to Fox after his years of searching for an experience of God’s presence – one who could speak to his condition – to finally be able to see.

Catherine writes how she and her husband “climbed that same hill,” how she was surprised by “the powerful emotion that burst forth in my soul when I reached the summit. ‘George, I am one of those you saw in the vision on Pendle Hill!’”

And so am I, and so are you, and so are we!

“Your vision continues to unfold,” Catherine writes, “and I became one of those gathered because of your obedience to proclaim Christ.”

May we continue to live into this vision that God gave to Fox – “a great people to be gathered.” May we continue to remember that “there is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.”

Eric Muhr

P.S.
 Seeds of hope – the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget – has a goal of raising $162,000 by December 31, 2020. In order to stay on target, we need to get to $34,859 by August 1, 2018. As of this morning, we have raised $30,740 in gifts and pledges.





 
BARCLAY
PRESS

211 N. Meridian St. #101
Newberg, OR 97132
503.538.9775


www.barclaypress.com

Seeds of Hope
Copyright © 2018 Barclay Press, All rights reserved.


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