Archive for January, 2009

Home Care Workers Have Fewer Rights

It surprised me to learn that home care workers are not afforded the same legal protections as most other workers in this country. Home care workers are exempt from overtime pay and often earn less than the minimum wage. Jobs in this field are plentiful, but the wages are often very low. If nothing else, people seeking home care for a loved one should understand this issue so that more informed decisions can be made. I have posted a few links below in case you would like to learn more.

A New York Times Editorial from January 28, 2009

A USA Today article from 2007 on a Supreme Court Ruling

A blog of the Direct Care Alliance on this topic

Epiphany 4 – Mark 1:23-26

From Mark 1:23-26 – Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice came out of him.

Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath and in synagogues became a source of much of his problems among the religious leaders of his day. But Jesus makes it clear here and in other scriptures that our places of worship should be healing space as well.

Prayer:

Almighty God, help us be a healing presence to people at all times. AMEN.

Epiphany 4 – 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6-7

From 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6-7 – Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.”…yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION in your dealings with one another. Consider the shoes in which your brothers and sisters have walked, and act accordingly.

Prayer:

Merciful God, help us remember that we do not know the full story of those who come before us today. AMEN

Epiphany 4 – 1 Corinthians 8:8-9, 13

From 1 Corinthians 8:8-9, 13 – “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak…Therefore, if food is the cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

“Do no harm,” is part of the oath of new physicians, and this scripture seems to be saying the same thing to us in our dealings with each other on matters of faith.

Prayer:

Merciful God, help us nurture the faith of those who come before us today. AMEN.

Epiphany 4 – 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

From 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 – Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.

This is a little gem of a passage. First, it says to me that we have to be careful in our dealings with each other on matters of faith for our knowledge is incomplete. Second, it says that having incomplete knowledge is alright because by loving God, God knows us. That is all that matters.

Prayer:

God of mystery, we have so many questions yet you love us anyway. Thank you for your steadfastness in us. AMEN.

Epiphany 4 – Psalm 111:1

Welcome to the fourth week of Epiphany. The lectionary texts include Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28.

From Psalm 111:1 – Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

The texts this week remind us of our responsibility toward one another as we travel along our own faith journey. We are reminded of our interdependence on one another and the responsibility that comes with that knowledge.

Prayer:

Gracious God, keep us mindful of one another today and throughout this week. AMEN.

Ministry to Homeless Washes Feet

This is a touching article about a ministry to the homeless of Atlanta, Georgia through the Church of the Common Ground.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28796749/

Epiphany 3 – Mark 1:19-20

From Mark 1:19-20 – As [Jesus] went a little farther, he saw James, son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

If my father and I were in business together, I doubt I could just leave him simply because a man asked me to follow him. With that said, this scripture does call us to question all the obstacles we place between ourselves and our relationship with God. It calls us to examine our priorities.

Prayer:

Understanding God, it is so easy for us to place barriers which keep us from a full relationship with you…money, jobs and friends are just a few. Help us keep our eyes focused on you in all we do. AMEN.

Epiphany 3 – Mark 1:16-18

From Mark 1:16-18 – As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fisherman. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Why did Jesus choose so many fishermen to be his first disciples? I think he did this because most fishermen share patience as a virtue. Our walk with God is a life-long walk that includes ups, downs, and detours in addition to those wonderful moments of great spiritual insight and clarity. We, too, must be as patient as a fine fishermen in our walk with God.

Prayer:

Patient God, we want immediate feedback, immediate gratification. Give us patient spirits this and every day. AMEN.

Epiphany 3B – Jonah 3:4-5, 10

From Jonah 3:4-5, 10 – Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth…When God saw what they did, how they had turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

“I want a do-over!” I would shout as a kid. Of course, such a do-over was usually called for over a missed basketball goal or the third swing of the bat which failed to hit the ball. The people of Nineveh repented, and God granted them a do-over. Forgiveness, I think, is one of the hardest things asked of us as people of faith. Yet, God is infinitely ready to offer forgiveness, and we are asked to do likewise.

Prayer:

Gracious God, help us be forgiving people especially at those times when it is hardest. AMEN.

Epiphany 3 – 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

From 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 – I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice, as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

We awoke this morning standing on the threshold of a new era in the United States. Yes, we are still at war, our economy remains weak and our society remains divided along too many lines. BUT, at the end of his oath President Obama will say “So help me God.” This is our prayer for today.

Gracious and loving God, help our elected leaders and help us shape this world into the Kingdom you would have. AMEN.

Epiphany 3 – Psalm 62:5-7

Welcome to this historic week in American history. For the third week of Epiphany the lectionary texts include: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 and Mark 1:14-20.

From Psalm 62:5-7 – For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

When I would play cowboys as a child, the best and safest hiding place was behind a rock. No bullets, not even from our imaginary guns, could penetrate rock. And the beauty of having God as my rock? No need to hide anymore.

Prayer:

Almighty God, you are our shield and defender. You are the ever-present force in our lives. For this and much more, we thank you. AMEN.


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