Morning Prayer: Psalm 39:2; Isaiah 61:1-3; John 20:1-6 ~ beauty for ashes

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

You will find the Lord your God, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Morning readings

Psalm 39:2 NLT:

But as I stood there in silence — not even speaking of good things — the turmoil within me grew worse.

Johanna Ruth Dobschiner Holocaust Survivor

Johanna Ruth Dobschiner
Holocaust Survivor
click on photo for YouTube interview

Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

John 20:1-6 NLT:

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there…


As a young Dutch-Jewish refugee Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner found an illustrated children’s Bible in the home she was evacuated to, and re-read the familiar stories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Pharoah, Joshua, Saul, David, Solomon, Haman, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Malachi…

Almost unconsciouly I entered a part of history previously unknown to me, yet strangely familiar. It still delt with the people of Israel but new characters had entered the scene, names I had never been taught, names which had never been mentioned at home or in school lessons. Scenes which took place in Synagogue and Temple, according to this Bible, registered a blank when searching my memory. Yet all the stories were so obviously Jewish… One person outshone all others in these stories – a prophet born in Israel. As the weeks and months passed by, His life became part of mine. The readings about Him and the incidents concerning Him became more important to me than anything else in my own environment. I found I could tolerate my isolation without frustration, always longing for the next opportunity to learn more about Him for He had become my hero.

Then the cross:

While still reading of His agonies, in myself I wished for Him to show the power that was His, and free Himself from that cross. I knew He would do it, and as I read on I waited eagerly for the moment when this would be described… Instead, ‘It is finished.’ I had lost the one I loved dearly, although I had never met Him, except within the pages of this book. Now all was lost to me.

According to the custom of my people I mourned for Him seven days. My thoughts were wholly centered on my loss and a deep sense of depression settled upon me. I was weepy, edgy, moody and unhappy. True, I had suffered disappointment, but why not act as an adult and read the remaining pages of the book?

The first day of the week, and Mary finds His grave empty, the body stolen. What next! Having fought back her tears for so long, Mary now gave way to her grief. She felt as I had done during these past ten days, and again I joined her in her sorrow.

… and then continued reading…

J.R Dobschiner, Selected to Live

Beauty for ashes
A garment of praise for my heaviness
Beauty for ashes
Take this heart of stone and make it Yours, Yours

I delight myself in the Richest of Fare 
Trading all that I’ve had for all that is better
A garment of praise for my heaviness
You are the greatest taste
You’re the richest of fare

(Psalm 63, Isaiah 61)


Christ, as a light… illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield… overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.


May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Peanut Gallery: The Morning Prayer readings are from the Daily Office of the Northumbrian Community as available online here… and in the book form, Celtic Daily Prayer available on

The website and prayer book are rich in prayer resources and I commend them to you. For our purpose here, I will limit my selections to the Morning Prayer resources.

Categories: Life around the World, Life in Christ

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2 replies

  1. Beautiful, Art.

    And I’ve never heard of that song, or the group.
    Great post, partner…….

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