Archive for August, 2009

Proper 18/Ordinary 23 – Proverbs 22:1-2

Where is 2009 going? Eight months are all but behind us. For this week, the lectionary once again offers a number of scriptures, some with very familiar verses including: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Psalm 125; James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17 and Mark 7:24-37. Alternate selections include Isaiah 35:4-7a and Psalm 146.

From Proverbs 22:1-2 – A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and a favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.

What a wonderful pair of verses. We are reminded that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s eye’s and that caring for one another is of paramount importance.

Prayer:

Gracious God, help us recognize each other as intricately connected through you. AMEN.

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Proper 18/Ordinary 23 – Isaiah 35:6b

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert…

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 – Mark 7:14-15, 21a

From Mark 7:14-15, 21a – Then [Jesus] called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile…For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come…”

There were so many directives related to the handling, preparation and consuming of food. Jesus reminds us that how we act toward one another, what we say and what we do, are so much more important in defining us as people of faith.

Prayer:

Understanding God, grant us wisdom and patience, and help us keep you in the forefront of our minds. AMEN.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 – Mark 7:1-2

From Mark 7:1-2 – Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around [Jesus], they noticed that some of the disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them.

The Pharisees weren’t concerned with the swine flu, and in a few verses Jesus will chide them for focusing so much on issues such as hand washing. With that said, we are approaching the return of flu season, and this is a good scripture to remind us that one simple preventive measure to help avoid the flu is to practice frequent hand washing.

Prayer:

Healer God, may we remain healthy so that we might serve those who aren’t so fortunate. AMEN.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 – James 1:27

From James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

One synonym for pure is undiluted. I found that an interesting word for this passage since diluting often makes something weaker or less reactive. So, be strong and work to rise above the fray of this world, and care for those less fortunate.

Prayer from Rev. Dr. G. Scott Morris’ final line in his blessing over food (Dr. Morris is the Founder and Executive Director of the Church Health Center):

Gracious God, keep us mindful of those less fortunate than we are. AMEN.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 – James 1:19-20

From James 1:19-20 – You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.

I was reminded of that wisdom of Thomas Jefferson that goes something like this: ‘When angry count to ten before you speak. When very angry, a hundred.’ But this scripture also holds up the importance of being a good listener. Listen more. Talk less. Be patient with one another.

Prayer:

Gracious God, help us be better listeners so that we might better hear what is actually being said. AMEN.

Proper 17/Ordinary 22 – Deuteronomy 4:9

We are fast approaching the end of August. The lectionary selections for this week include: Song of Solomon 2:8-13, Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9; James 1:17-27 and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. Alternate scriptures include Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 and Psalm 15.

From Deuteronomy 4:9 – But take care to watch yourselves closely, so as to neither forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children…

We learn from our life experiences. Sometimes those lessons are found in times of laughter, but other are found in times of great anguish. This scripture reminds us that we owe it to others, especially our families, to share those life lessons.

Prayer:

Loving God, may we grow in our wisdom, and may others benefit from our passing on of that wisdom. AMEN.


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