First Sunday of Lent 2016 – Luke 4:1-2

Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Luke 4:1-2Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.

Today is the first day of Lent.  It is a time when many Christians choose some sort of discipline that helps focus their thoughts on God and the sacrificial love of Jesus.  During this season as we journey toward the cross on which Jesus will hang, let us consider adopting a habit of walking or praying or fasting, something new and maybe sacrificial, as a way of focusing intently on God’s role in our lives.

God of our beginning and our end, help us to draw our attention to you in new and deeper ways during this holy season.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2016 – Deuteronomy 26:8-9

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Lenten season will begin on Wednesday.  Lent is a journey that leads to the cross and ultimately, to the glory of Easter.  Our lectionary selections for this first Sunday of Lent include: Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16, Romans 10:8b-13, Luke 4:1-13.

Deuteronomy 26:8-9The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

We begin our Lenten journey with a look around us – at the trees, at the sky, at the sun and moon, and of course at one another.  We are surrounded by gifts from God.

Creator God, help us to cherish all the mighty acts of your creative power that surround us.  Amen.

Transfiguration Sunday 2016 – Luke 9:35-36

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Luke 9:35-36Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”  When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And Peter, James and John kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Can you imagine keeping that secret?  All of us need people in whom we can confide.  Think of at least one such person in your life today, and give thanks to God.

All-knowing God, thank you for those special people in our lives who can hold our secrets in their hearts.  Amen.

Transfiguration Sunday 2016 – Luke 9:33

Wednesday, February 3, 2-16

Luke 9:33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said.

I love this moment in the Bible.  Peter, who is so enthralled by what he has just witnessed, doesn’t want to leave the mountain.  But Jesus’ ministry is about preaching, teaching and healing.  Despite the glory of what was just witnessed, there is work to be done at the bottom of the mountain.

God of action, help us to keep service to others as a primary response to our faith in you.  Amen.

Transfiguration Sunday 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Luke 9:28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

A pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry is about to take place, and he chooses Peter, John and James to be witnesses.  These were clearly three special friends as well as followers of Jesus.  For me, this verse speaks to the depth of some of the friendships we share with others.

Gracious God, thank you for deep, meaningful friendships that offer us unconditional acceptance.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany 2016 – Luke 4:24

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Luke 4:24And Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.”

For me this passage speaks to how we listen (or don’t) to one another.  Jesus was the son of a carpenter, a blue collar laborer, and unfortunately many people would have had trouble hearing the truth he spoke because of this context.  We are encouraged by Luke’s passage to listen more carefully to one another, to hear the truth in what is being said, to allow for the chance that each of us can be a prophet, at least sometimes.

Gracious God, help me to be a better listener to those around me.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany 2016 – Psalm 71:1

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Psalm 71:1In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.

For the last couple of months, I have been watching a lot of shows that are being filmed in Alaska.  This means I have seen many bald eagles on the television screen.  As I read today’s passage, the first visual I had was one of being wrapped in eagle’s wings.

All-powerful God, wrap me in your arms today.  If I feel cold, warm me.  If I feel scared, embolden me.  If I feel powerless, strengthen me.  Amen.

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