Archive for July, 2009



Proper 12/Ordinary 17 – John 6:11a

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated…

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Proper 11/Ordinary 16 – Mark 6:30-31

From Mark 6:30-31 – The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, :”Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

While we are called to care for one another, this passage clearly reminds us that we are to also care for ourselves. We can’t serve others or serve God effectively if we are hungry or tired. Are you caring for yourself as much as you are caring for others?

Prayer:

Almighty God, thank you for reminding us that you want us to care for ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters. AMEN.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 – Ephesians 2:19-22

From Ephesians 2:19-22 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Earlier this week, we wondered what it would be like to have God contained in a vessel and with us at all times. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul is telling them that they, the people of God, are now the ark. We are the ark.

Prayer:

Creator God, may each person who is placed in front of us today, see your face reflecting back to them. AMEN.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 – Psalm 23:1-3a

From Psalm 23:1-3a – The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

The shepherd analogy is helpful for those of us in the faith and health movement. A shepherd must be concerned about all the aspects of his or her flock including nutrition, hydration and rest. God’s concern for us as a shepherd includes these same issues in addition to concern about our spirits.

Prayer:

Loving God, lead us where you would have us go and help us be spiritual and physical sustenance to our brothers and sisters. AMEN.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 – 2 Samuel 7:6

God is still speaking to Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:6 – I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle.

I know we speak of God’s spirit as within and among us, but imagine the comfort and safety you would feel if you had a vessel with you at all times that actually housed God.

Prayer:

Gracious God, help us feel your presence with us today, and help us better share that presence with others. AMEN.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 – 2 Samuel 7:1-3

As we approach the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, we are offered the following selections from the lectionary: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22 and Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. Alternative selections include Jeremiah 23:1-6 and Psalm 23.

From 2 Samuel 7:1-3 – Now when [King David] was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.”

While not a tradition in my own church, many congregations have a leader say, “The Lord is with you!,” and the people respond with, “And also with you!” The scriptures this week share a common thread of a steadfast and abiding God who is always with us. Have a wonderful week knowing that God is by your side today and for all of your tomorrows.

Prayer:

Abiding God, thank you for being at our side throughout this journey of life. AMEN.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 – Psalm 23:2a

He makes me lie down in green pastures…

Proper 10/Ordinary 15 – Mark 6:24-27

King Herod’s daughter has just danced for him and his guests. To thank her for dancing, the king granted her any wish. We pick up in Mark 6:24-27: [Herodias] went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to [King Herod] and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison.

I was watching a television drama recently in which a young man was killed because he didn’t take his hat off for someone. While it was television, I was saddened when the reason for his death was finally revealed. Senseless acts of violence are an unfortunate part of our world, but God remains at our side.

Prayer:

Steadfast God, you are with us each and every day. Keep us especially mindful of this presence when the world around us isn’t making sense. AMEN.

Proper 10/Ordinary 15 – Psalm 24:7-8, 10

From Psalm 24:7-8, 10 – Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! That the king of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle. Who is the King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.

The verses in today’s scripture comprise a wonderful choir piece with great tenor and bass lines. I loved singing this song as a teenager. Until I started writing these thoughts, I never realized how important those few years of singing in the choir were to my faith journey. Consider an early memory in your faith journey and thank God for that experience today.

Prayer:

Steadfast God, thank you for choirs, Sunday School teachers, Vacation Bible School volunteers, for the traditions and sacraments that have played a role in our journeys. AMEN.

Proper 10/Ordinary 15 – Psalm 24:1-2

From Psalm 24:1-2 – The earth is the Lord’s and the all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.

Are we individuals or parts of a community? Are we soloists or part of a choir? Are we free agents or team players? We are the Lord’s, and therefore we can’t escape the communal nature of our relationship to one another.

Prayer:

Almighty God, bless our efforts this and every day to build the kind of community, the kind of kingdom, you would have. AMEN.

Proper 10/Ordinary 15 – 2 Samuel 6:18-19

From 2 Samuel 6:18-19 – When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well being, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.  Then all the people went back to their homes.

Why is food such a central part of our relationship with our church?  Well maybe because we have been eating together in our faith communities since at least the time when David brought the ark of God to Jerusalem.  If you don’t do this already, make a commitment to bring a heart-healthy or diabetic-friendly dish as your contribution to your next church supper.

Prayer:

Loving God, thank you for all the times we can be together with other people of faith whether eating and laughing, working or worshipping together.  AMEN.

Proper 10/Ordinary 15 – 2 Samuel 6:1,5,12b

The lectionary offers the following scriptures for this week: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14 and Mark 6:14-29. An alternate set of scriptures for this week includes: Amos 7:7-15 and Psalm 85:8-13.

From 2 Samuel 6:1, 5, 12b – David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the LORD with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing…

I couldn’t help but smile at the picture my mind drew after reading this scripture. Can you imagine seeing 30,000 men dancing at the same time today? While I have worshipped God through song, I have rarely worshipped God with my body, as in this scripture. But we are reminded this morning that there are many ways we can worship God.

Prayer:

Gracious God, thank you for giving us these wonderful bodies. Help us use them to both worship and serve you. AMEN.


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