Archive for March, 2009

Lent 6 – Psalm 31:9-10, 14

From Psalm 31:9-10, 14 – Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away…But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

In these verses, the psalmist makes a clear connection between faith and health – between spiritual and physical well being. Grief has caused wasting of both body and soul…misery has made the psalmist weaker. We owe it to one another to appreciate this complex interaction within each other.

Prayer:

Gracious God, bless our efforts this day to bring hope and healing to your children, our brothers and sisters. AMEN.

Lent 6 – Isaiah 50:7-8

From Isaiah 50:7-8 – The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.

People of faith: Stand Together! Throughout life, many of us struggle alone needlessly. God is always by our side, but often the best visual evidence of that presence is when we stand together with our brothers and sisters of faith.

Prayer:

Loving God, help us create a community of faith where all feel supported and loved. AMEN.

Lent 6 – Mark 11:2, 7-9

Welcome to the sixth week of Lent. Some congregations will treat this Sunday as Palm Sunday, while others will recognize it as Passion Sunday. There are lectionary selections for both of these options.

For Palm Sunday the lectionary selections include: Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16 and Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29. For Passion Sunday, the lectionary selections include: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11 and Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, (40-47).

From Mark 11:2, 7-9 – …and [Jesus] said to [two of his disciples], “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it…Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a far cry from the heinous death he is to suffer in a few days when the people shout “Give us Barabbas,” saving the life of a criminal over that of Jesus. If Jesus were among us today, would we give him honor, or would we see him as a radical? Would we be scared of his controversial views on religion, on love of neighbors, on love of enemies? Would we shout “Give us Barabbas?”

Prayer:

Steadfast God, we long to be in your presence. Give us wisdom to know that which is from you. AMEN.

Lent 5 – John 12:24

From John 12:24 – Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Have you ever simply thrown seeds onto a garden? The results are generally less than gratifying. If you want seeds to flourish, you must tend to their environment – the soil, the nutrients, the light, the weeds. In a community sense, aren’t we gardeners for one another…doing what we can so those around us can flourish?

Prayer:

Loving God, in this garden we call life, help us nurture one another in ways that help all live abundantly. AMEN.

Lent 5 – Psalm 119:12-15

From Psalm 119:12-15 – Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes. With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth. I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.

I like the phrase faith journey, because that is what I am on. I like to think of my life as an ongoing conversation with God. Of course, as with any long conversation, I don’t always listen as well as I should.

Prayer:

Gracious God, help me keep focused on your word so that I might be more like the person you would have me be. AMEN.

Lent 5 – Psalm 119:9-10

From Psalm 119:9-10 – How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments

While I was a fair swimmer and lifeguard at one time, I have never been dedicated to a sport enough to be a good athlete – too much time, too much training, too much work. Yet this scripture tells me that our approach to God should exceed the dedication that a marathon runner or a great basketball player has to his or her sport.

Prayer:

Steadfast God, we have the faith of a mustard seed, and yet you remain faithful to us. Thank you. AMEN.

Lent 5 – Psalm 51:10-12

From Psalm 51:10-12 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore me to the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Throughout my life, my relationship with God has been on a continuum. Sometimes I am intimately connected to God and other times I am distant. What I have learned is that at those times I feel farthest from God, I am the one who has been moving away, rather than God moving from me.

Prayer:

Steadfast God, help us develop our faith so that we always sense you by our side, regardless of our circumstance. AMEN.


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