Archive for December, 2008

John 1:14

From John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

This struck me as a great scripture for the last day of the year. I am terrible at keeping New Year’s resolutions so I don’t even bother to make them anymore. But, I do hope I can continue to grow in my faith and in my understanding of God’s will for me during 2009. I wish the same for you.

Prayer:

Gracious God, thank you for your constant presence in our lives this past year. May our 2009 be one of fruitful service to you. AMEN.

Jeremiah 31:12

From Jeremiah 31:12 – They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again.

I grew up in a family that said grace before each meal, but I lost the habit in my own adult life. I eat lunch with coworkers who will ask me to bless the food before we begin our meal whether in a break room or a restaurant. It is a good habit to get into – giving thanks for the bounty God has provided.

Prayer:

Almighty God, we give thanks for the fruits of your creation made available to nourish, hydrate and clothe us. AMEN.

An Article on Obesity Surgery

A very few of you reading this blog know that I had gastric bypass surgery in 2001. People have strong opinions about this surgery, often quite negative, but I am glad that this article points out the life-changing benefits of this drastic intervention.

Obesity Article at MSNBC.com

Jeremiah 31:8

The lectionary texts for this second Sunday of Christmas include Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14 and John 1:(1-9), 10-18. Alternative selections are from the Apocrypha and include Sirach 24:1-12 and Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21.

From Jeremiah 31:8 – See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here.

When I look around at my coworkers here at Church Health Center, I see people from a multitude of racial and ethnic backgrounds. I see people who are thriving, and I am aware of people struggling to get through each day. I see people who appear to be pictures of health and others who suffer from debilitating illness. I see God’s people – a great company.

Prayer:

Loving God, we come to you as a diverse mix of believers. May our collective efforts serve the common good of all your people. AMEN.

Luke 2:39-40

From Luke 2:39-40 – When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.

I wish more was known about the childhood of Jesus. What games did he like to play? Did he show consideration to his friends at an early age? Every once in awhile, while my grandson is playing with me he will just say out of the blue, “I love you, Granddad.” I bet Jesus said things like that to Mary and Joseph.

Prayer:

God of wonder, we offer a special prayer today for our children. May we nurture them as you would have us do. AMEN.

A Christmas Reflection on Infant Mortality

My first article published on http://www.hopeandhealing.org is titled “No Room in the Inn.” I hope you will take a moment to read this short reflection.

Merry Christmas,
Butch

Luke 2:22-24

From Luke 2:22-24 – When the time had come for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), as they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Yet another example of Jesus’ humble beginnings: Throughout Leviticus, if one could not afford a lamb or other expensive animal for a burnt offering, one was allowed to substitute “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Prayer:

Almighty God, you could have chosen a royal family for your son, but you chose a young girl and a carpenter. Help us see your handiwork in each person coming before us today. AMEN.

Galatians 4:4-7

From Galatians 4:4-7 – But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child, then also an heir, through God.

Young Mary looked down from atop her donkey and said, “Joseph? It’s time.” She then gave birth to a child of great promise in the most humble of places…a stable. Nothing is impossible with God.

Prayer:

God of promise, many children will be born today. Some in ultra clean rooms optimized for the process. Others will be as humble as your son’s. Be with each parent so that they may see the promise in their child that you see. AMEN.

(The third set of Christmas Eve/Christmas scriptures known as Proper III include: Isaiah 57:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12) and John 1:1-14.)

Isaiah 61:11

From Isaiah 61:11 – For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

There are a special set of volunteers at the Church Health Center known as Master Gardeners. They painstakingly care for our flower beds and numerous green spaces. Their efforts allow a beauty on our campus that would otherwise be unavailable. I like to think God tends to us with the same care and concern.

Prayer:
Loving God, may the spirit of Christmas bring new life within us throughout the year to come. AMEN.

(The second set of Christmas Eve/Christmas scriptures known as Proper II include: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7 and Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20.)

Isaiah 61:10

Christmas arrives this week! I wish each of you reading this holiday blessings. The lectionary texts for this week include: Isaiah 61:10-62-3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7 and Luke 2:22-40.

From Isaiah 61:10 – I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

I love the image of being clothed by God. It suggests an intimacy to the relationship I often overlook. Ours is not a God “over there” absent from us, but a God uniquely and miraculously connected to us.

Prayer:

God of deliverance, God of justice, you have clothed us with your best. Help us live into the people you would have us be. AMEN.

(There are familiar lectionary scriptures, known as Proper I through Proper III, specifically for Christmas Eve and Christmas. I will share those texts here in case you would like to read further this week. The selections for Proper I include: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-14, (15-20).)

Prayer Shawl Ministries

I posted the message below as part of a Daily Thought & Prayer on December 10 related to Isaiah 61:10-11:

“Church Health Center employees and volunteers from congregations throughout the city, participate in our Prayer Shawl Ministry. These knitters create shawls for our patients, coworkers and friends who are dealing with serious illness, injury or surgery. The shawls provide a tangible reminder to the recipient of our personal thoughts and prayers on their behalf and of God’s steadfast love that enfolds them at all times.”

HopeandHealing.org has posted an article that offers some tips for persons participating in or starting a prayer shawl ministry. Click here for the article.

Luke 1:34-37

From Luke 1:34-37 – Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; for this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” That short sentence sums up the message of this season for me. During Advent of each year, I visualize a world where, as the writer in Isaiah states, “The wolf shall live with the lamb,” and I recommit to walk faithfully into that vision.

Almighty God, nothing is impossible with you. Work through us in amazing ways so that we might live in your peaceable Kingdom. AMEN.


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