Proper 17/Ordinary 22 2015 – James 1:27

Friday, August 28, 2015 

James 1:27 – What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of the orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world. (Today’s English Version)

Our faith clearly compels us to care for one another in genuine and helpful ways.  Our passage this morning also reminds us that we are to care for ourselves.

Loving God, help us to be mindful of our own weaknesses.  Strengthen us so that we can be the people you want us to be.  Amen.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 2015 – James 1:17

Thursday, August 27, 2015 

James 1:17 – Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 

How do you share God with others?  Our passage today reminds us sharing God doesn’t require an advanced degree.  Sharing God is as simple as offering random acts of kindness.

Gracious God, bless our gifts of kindness and compassion toward one another.  May they glorify you and help people come to know you.  Amen.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 2015 – James 1:19-20

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 

James 1:19-20 – You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 

I have a bad habit of interrupting people when they are talking to me.  Part of the problem is that I start forming a response to their comments before they are finished talking indicating that I don’t listen to people well enough.

Understanding God, give us ears that are eager to hear the words of those who are speaking to us.  Amen.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 2015 – Mark 7:7-8

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 

Mark 7:7-8 – “’…in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Jesus instructs us on God’s commandment, and it is echoed in Paul’s words: ‘Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.’  It is that simple, and it is that hard.

Gracious God, help us to be more loving and forgiving toward one another.  Amen.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 2015 – Mark 7:5-6

Monday, August 24, 2015 

The lectionary selections for this week include: Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) 2:8-13 and Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9, Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 and Psalm 15, and James 1:17-27, and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. 

Mark 7:5-6 – So the Pharisees and the scribes asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”  He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;

There is no question that washing one’s hands is a healthy practice.  We will be reminded in our reflections this week that a central role for us as people of faith is not so much about following such rules but about caring for one another.

Gracious God, help us to be ambassadors of your love toward one another.  Amen.

Proper 16/Ordinary 21 2015 – Ephesians 6:19-20

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ephesians 6:19-20Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

I believe we call it a faith journey because our walk with God is expected to last a lifetime.  That means what we feel is truth today may be slightly different tomorrow.  Regardless, we are instructed to be bold in our practice of that faith.

Loving, gentle God, we are reminded that our faith calls us to be bold.  Give us the strength to be your ambassadors in our times of certainty as well as our times of doubt.  Amen.

Proper 16/Ordinary 21 2015 – Ephesians 6:13a-15

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ephesians 6:13a-15 Therefore take up the whole armor of God…As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

‘Whatever it takes,’ in my experience, has been a phrase offered for emphasis but not one meant to be taken literally.  And yet as we are putting on the armor of God, we are to prepare ourselves to boldly proclaim peace.

Almighty God, give us the wisdom to know your will and the courage to walk where you lead us.  Amen.


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