Archive for September, 2009

Proper 20/Ordinary 25 – James 3:14, 16

From James 3:14, 16 – But if you have envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth…For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

The visual this passage gave me was of two people in a rowboat, each rowing with no regard to the other. The rowboat simply spins in a circle, never moving forward. I see this passage as saying that envy and selfishness can create in our lives disorder that, like the rowboat, causes us to circle aimlessly.


Loving God, help us lead lives focused outwardly toward one another and upwardly toward you. AMEN.

Proper 20/Ordinary 25 – Psalm 1:1-2

From Psalm 1:1-2 – Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of the scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on this they meditate day and night.

You may have heard the phrase, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.” Like the advice of the mother in Proverbs 31, we are reminded by this passage to keep focused on our faith, and resist being distracted by those things in the world which don’t build up God’s Kingdom.


Understanding God, too often we march to the beat of our own drum. Thanks for loving us anyway. AMEN.

Proper 20/Ordinary 25 – Proverbs 31:10, 20

There are many passages from which to choose this week as we approach the seventeenth Sunday of Pentecost. Those scripture selections include: Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a and Mark 9:30-37. Alternate scriptures include Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1, 12-22; Psalm 54 and Jeremiah 11:18-20.

From Proverbs 31:10, 20 – A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels…She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.

The opening this chapter, Proverbs 31:1 reads: The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him, and verse 9 reads: Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. The King’s mother is beseeching him to care for the poor and needy, and find a wife who does the same. She is asking him to surround himself with people who are righteous.


Almighty God, help us find people who are called to similar service as we are, so that together we might do great things for your kingdom. AMEN.

Picture for Proper 20/Ordinary 25 – Mark 9:36-37

Then [Jesus] took a little child and put it among them; and taking it into his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Picture from

Proper 19/Ordinary 24 – Mark 8:33

From Mark 8:33 – But turning and looking at his disciples, [Jesus] rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Priorities. We set priorities every day. I have a planner that I use each day to keep me on track with my to-do’s at work. This passage reminds us that our daily tasks should include those things which bring us closer to God.


Loving God, help us set our priorities on those things which bring glory to you. AMEN.

Proper 19/Ordinary 24 – James 3:7-9

From James 3:7-9 – For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue-a restless evil full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.

You remember the rule for crossing the street? Stop. Look both ways. Proceed. It is unfortunate we often fail to take that same advice when we speak.


Patient God, help us to remember the power of our words to do both good and harm. Help us to think before we speak. AMEN.

Proper 19/Ordinary 24 – Isaiah 50:8-9

Continuing from yesterday’s reading with Isaiah 50:8-9 – He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?

This passage speaks of a confidence that springs forth from a firm faith in God. It is a confidence that allows you to ‘set your face like flint’ and walk proudly as the person of faith that you are.


Steadfast God, we are people of faith. Help our faith strengthen and deepen so that we may be bolder people of faith. AMEN.

Proper 19/Ordinary 24 – Isaiah 50:7

From Isaiah 50:7 – 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.

This passage recently came up in a meeting in which I was participating. As I recall, we were discussing the fundamental characteristics of the Church Health Center – those unifying principles around which the leadership can agree that on these ‘we will set our faces like flint.’


Almighty God, help us live lives rooted in your will and nourished by your Word. AMEN.

Proper 19/Ordinary 24 – Psalm 19:1-2

It is another week of familiar scriptures in the lectionary including: Proverbs 1:20-33 and either Psalm 19 or Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8-11; James 3:1-12 and Mark 8:27-38. Alternate passages include Isaiah 50_4-9a and Psalm 116:1-9.

From Psalm 19:1-2 – The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.

The mornings are a bit cooler now, and there are days when I walk outside and immediately stretch out my arms in thanks to God for the milder temperatures.


This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. AMEN.

Picture for Proper 19/Ordinary 24 – Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

H1N1-Swine Flu and Faith Communities

H1N1, or the Swine Flu, is already making its presence known weeks before the vaccine is available. While it has not proven to be a more dangerous strain of flu, it is affecting persons not normally considered at primary risk for the flu. There is much fear surrounding this outbreak, and the best way to combat fear is with reliable information.

My friends at have compiled articles related to swine flu and what the faith community can do. There is also a link to the Centers for Disease Control H1N1 site that keeps up-to-date information readily available. Be sure to bookmark Churches Respond to Swine Flu.

Proper 18/Ordinary 23 – Mark 7:32-33, 35

From Mark 7:32-33, 35 – They brought to [Jesus] a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue…And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released and he spoke plainly.

I was sitting in a restaurant the other day, and a woman with a cleft palate was talking loudly on the phone in the booth next to me. I was annoyed at her thinking she should talk more softly in public since she had a speech impediment. It wasn’t until I read this passage that I realized that maybe she had a hearing problem, too.


Understanding God, help us be more patient with one another. Help us consider what it might be like to walk one another’s shoes. AMEN.

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September 2009

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