Monday, September 15, 2014
One theme that is thread through the lectionary this week is living in community during times of adversity. Our passages for this week include: Exodus 16:2-15 and Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45, Jonah 3:10-4:11 and Psalm 145:1-8, Philippians 1:21-30 and Matthew 20:1-16.
Exodus 16:2-3 – The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Through the biblical account of this story, we know how it ends, so it is easy to be critical of the complaining Israelites for their lack of trust. Yet I dare say that when the going gets tough and it is hard to see the end result for which we are aiming, we are often just as guilty.
Gracious God, grant us patience and courage to follow your will even when doing so is difficult. Amen.
Friday, September 12, 2014
James 3:9-10 – With the tongue we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.
We began the week listening for God’s voice in the many ways it is offered to us. We were instructed to value those who care enough about us to speak the truth to us. And we have ended the week with a plea for us to speak to others as fellow children of God.
Gracious God, help us to the see the worth of everyone we meet today. Amen.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
James 3:5-6 – So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.
What we say matters. Our words can be source of great comfort to others. Likewise, our words can permanently wound.
Loving God, grant us the wisdom to speak in ways that respect the feelings of others, even when the truth we speak might hurt. Amen.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Mark 8:27-29 – Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”
While we should listen for God’s voice in our lives each day, it is also important to have people who will listen to us and tell us the truth. Jesus needed such people in his life, and each of us needs honest friends surrounding us, too.
Gracious God, thank you for those people around us who care about us enough to tell us the truth. Amen.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Psalm 19:1-4 – The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
While we long to hear God’s voice, the Psalmist assures us we while we revel in the sights and sounds around us, we are reveling in God’s glory. Look at a cloud today, look at the sun this afternoon, and hear God speaking!
Almighty God, thank you for surrounding us with this wonderful creation. Amen.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Congratulations to our Church Health Center Communications and Development teams for another successful Rock for Love. As we ease into this second week of September, our lectionary passages include: Proverbs 1:20-33 and Psalm 19, or Wisdom of Solomon 7:26 – 8:1, Isaiah 50:4-9a and Psalm 116:1-9, James 3:1-12, and Mark 8:27-38.
Proverbs 1:20-21 – Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
Listening and speaking is a theme in the passages for this week. We begin with this reminder from Proverbs that we should always be listening for God’s ever-present voice in our lives.
Loving God, help us to develop an attitude of hearing that helps us hear your voice nudging us toward your will each day. Amen.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Romans 13:9-10 – The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
We noted on Monday that the scriptures for this week centered on a theme of living in faithful community together. Today we learn the bottom line, what really needs to happen – love. It is that easy. It is that hard.
Everlasting God, help us to be loving people. Help us to love ourselves better. Help us to love one another more. Amen.