Archive for July, 2009

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 – Ephesians 4:1-3

From Ephesians 4:1-3 – I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

These are wonderful words by which to live. Imagine for a moment the world we would live in today if all of us lived into these words. This is my prayer for us today.


Gentle and patient God, you ask us to simply love one another, yet we can place so many barricades in our way. Help us trust you more fully so that we might be better neighbors. AMEN.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 – John 6:32-33

From John 6:32-33 – Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it was my Father who gives you the true bread of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

With God inside and around us, I believe we become some of that heavenly bread that God offers his children. My prayer is that we will provide spiritual sustenance, some of heaven’s bread, to each person who comes before us today.


Sustainer God, help us be ambassadors of your love to those who come before us. AMEN

Right Care at the Right Time

This thoughtful article by Geoff Calkins of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis highlights a challenge faced by uninsured Americans – getting care before it is too late. This has complicated societal and financial implications. I think this article also provides an interesting beginning point for a discussion on how our faith traditions inform our opinions on health reform.

One couple’s story…

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 – Ephesians 4:4-6

From Ephesians 4:4-6 – There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

One God: above all, through all and in all. One visual image I have of God is fog hanging over a lowland wet area. Such areas team with life of all kinds. The fog surrounds and seems to permeate everything, just as God surrounds and permeates us.


Ever-present God, help us feel your presence as it surrounds and permeates us each and every day. AMEN.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 – 2 Samuel 12:13a

From 2 Samuel 12:13a – David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Verse 13 ends with the following: Nathan said to David, “Now the LORD has put away your sin; you shall not die. David suffers consequences from his choices, but he has been forgiven by God. I can only imagine the depth of sorrow David must have felt at disappointing God, but the story of David can give all of us courage to face those darker moments in our lives and trust in our forgiving God.


From Psalm 51:11-12 – Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain me in a willing spirit. AMEN.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 – 2 Samuel 11:26-27

As we approach the ninth Sunday after Pentecost, the lectionary offers the following scriptures: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51:1-12; Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6:24-35. Alternate passages include Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 and Psalm 78:23-29.

From 2 Samuel 11:26-27 – When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

When you read earlier about the joy in David in bringing the ark to Jerusalem and David’s interest in building God his own house, the story of David, Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, can slap you in the face. Yet, we are imperfect beings who are loved by God despite ourselves.


From Psalm 51:9-10 – Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. AMEN.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 – John 6:33

For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 – John 6:16-20

From John 6:16-20 – When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

I take comfort in knowing that the disciples weren’t always pictures of unfailing faith. Like us, their ability to trust, to have faith, wasn’t always complete. Just as Jesus said to his disciples, he stands by us saying, “Do not be afraid.” May our faith grow to trust those words at all times.


Steadfast God, your faith in us is greater than our faith in you. Work within us so that our faith might deepen. AMEN.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 – John 6:9-11

From John 6:9-11 – [The disciple Andrew said,] “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

This is only account of the feeding of the 5,000 that identifies “a boy” as the one who had brought the food that was then distributed to all. It seems that a child would be an unlikely central character in one of Jesus’ most remembered miracles, but as with David, we are once again reminded that God can work through anyone, even us.


God of mystery, help us sense your presence in us so that we might stretch beyond our own limitations to reach heights only possible through you. AMEN.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 – Psalm 145:14-17

From Psalm 145:14-17 – The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.

I love the visual image of this passage. I love the picture of God catching me before I fall, but I especially like the picture of God holding my forearm with one hand and gently pressing his other into my back supporting me so I can stand a bit taller. As hands and feet of God, I hope that each of us has the opportunity today to prevent a fall or help someone stand a bit taller.


God of compassion, be with us in our walk with you today. Help us be instruments of your kindness in all we do. AMEN.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 – 2 Samuel 11:9-11

From 2 Samuel 11:9-11 – But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.”

Uriah returns from battle at the request of David, but he refuses to stay at his home or see his wife because of his loyalty to his colleagues who are still on the battlefield. Do you have a Uriah in your life? Someone whom you know or believe to be loyal to you at a deep level? If so, give thanks for that person today. If not, pray that God will send such a person into your life.


Gracious God, you give us loyal friends and family on whom we can rely for honest advice and understanding and unwavering friendship. Thank you. AMEN.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 – 2 Samuel 11:2-5

The lectionary takes us from David and Bathsheba to the feeding of the 5,000 this week. Those scriptures include: 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 6:1-21. Alternate selections include 2 Kings 4:42-44 and Psalm 145:10-18.

From 2 Samuel 11:2-5 – It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

This story isn’t unlike ones we hear in the papers today. Despite this chapter in David’s life, God continued to work through him to do amazing things. We approach God as flawed human beings, and amazingly, God uses us anyway.


Steadfast God, we can fail miserably at times. Thank you for continuing to use us and have faith in us despite ourselves. AMEN.

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July 2009

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