Archive for June, 2009

A new article at HopeandHealing.org

Loving God with Your Body

Mary Cay Oyler is a valued coworker of mine at Church Health Center. Not only does this article help you see how faith and health are intertwined, but it also gives insight into the wonderful work we do at our prevention and wellness ministry known as Hope & Healing. Enjoy, Butch

Proper 9/Ordinary 14 – 2 Samuel 5:4, 10

From 2 Samuel 5:4, 10 – David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.

If a thirty year old ran for president of the United States, can you imagine the outcry…the calls for someone more “mature,” with more life experience. Today’s scripture reminds us that with God, anything is possible.

Prayer:

Almighty God, give us eyes that see people as you see them. AMEN.

Proper 9/Ordinary 14 – 2 Samuel 5:1, 2b-3

We are approaching the fifth Sunday after Pentecost, and the lectionary offers the following scriptures: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; Psalm 48; 2 Corinthians 12-2-10 and Mark 6:1-13. Alternative scriptures are Ezekiel 2:1-5 and Psalm 123.

From 2 Samuel 5:1, 2b-3 – Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh…The LORD said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.

The people of Israel saw themselves as David’s flesh and bone, and I like to think of us as God’s flesh and bone. May God speak to each of us so we might know how best to respond to this awesome responsibility.

Prayer:

Gracious God, use our hands and feet, our flesh and bone, in service to you and your children. AMEN.

Proper 9/Ordinary 14 – Psalm 123:1

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

This photograph was taken by my niece, Joy Elise, who is visiting Memphis from Philadelphia, PA this week. Joy will enter college in September.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 – Mark 5:25-29

From Mark 5:25-29 – Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

This is my favorite story of healing in scripture, for it summarizes for me why faith and health are so intertwined. Yes, the scripture reports that this woman was healed of her physical ailment, but bleeding for twelve years would have made this woman ritually unclean for all that time. This would have separated her from her community of faith and from her God. Jesus healed her, but more importantly, Jesus restored her relationship with God and her community.

Prayer:

God of restoration, we want to live in full relationship with you, but there are often barriers preventing us from such. Help remove those barriers, especially those within us, that keep us separated from you. AMEN.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 – Mark 5:22-24

From Mark 5:22-24 – Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw [Jesus], fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.

What moves me about this passage is the lack of discussion between Jesus and Jairus. Jairus pleads with Jesus to make his daughter well, and verse 24a simply states, “So [Jesus] went with him.” As you consider this passage today, think of how it informs us about our responsibility toward children and their health and welfare.

Prayer:

Creator God, keep us mindful of the needs of the children in our lives – both our own children and those children who come before us. AMEN.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 – Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15

From the Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15 – God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things so that they might exist; the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them, and the dominion of Hades is not on earth. For righteousness is immortal.

Some Christian traditions recognize the Wisdom of Solomon as part of their holy texts. I don’t normally use readings from the Apocrypha, but I loved these verses. Consider today how each of us as a part of God’s creation are “generative forces,” life-giving and life–enhancing presences, for each other.

Prayer:

Creator God, help us in our daily walk with you to be present in the lives of those around us in ways pleasing to you. AMEN.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 – Lamentations 3:25

From Lamentations 3:25 – The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

A coworker once exclaimed to me, “It is a blessing to be in an environment where you are surrounded by good, Christian people.” She was right. I am blessed by the fellowship and camaraderie of my fellow waiters and seekers.

Prayer:

Loving God, today we thank you for those people of faith who surround us at home, work and play. AMEN.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 – Lamentations 3:22-23

This is another week where the lectionary offers numerous selections. These passages include: 2 Samuel 1:1, 1:17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 and Mark 5:21-43. Alternate selections include: Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Lamentations 3:23-33 and Psalm 30.

From Lamentations 3:22-23 – The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

One of joys of following the lectionary is finding scriptures that you never knew were the basis for great hymns. For example, the refrain to the wonderful hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness:”

Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided;
Great is thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!

Prayer:

From Lamentations 3:24 – “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” AMEN.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 – Mark 5:42

“And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was about twelve years of age)…”

www.publicdomainpictures.net

Proper 7/Ordinary 12 – Mark 4:35-40

From Mark 4:35-40 – On that day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Serving God faithfully can mean venturing into uncharted waters. While the going can get tough, we are reminded again that God is always with us.

Prayer:

Loving God, thank you for the examples of David defeating Goliath and Jesus calming the storm to remind us of your steadfast presence in our lives. AMEN.

Proper 7/Ordinary 12 – Psalm 17-19

From Psalm 9:17-19 – The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever. Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

God works through us individually, but this scripture reminds us that God works through us collectively as communities of believers. Those of us in the faith and health movement are doing our part to bring a measure of hope to the least among us reminding them that they are not forgotten.

Prayer:

Gracious God, bless our efforts to bring hope and healing to all who come before us this and every day. AMEN.


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