Archive for October, 2009

Proper 26/Ordnary 31 – Mark 12:31

From Mark 12:31 – “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

When I was being convinced I needed a Facebook account, a co-worker compared the Facebook experience to the street on which I live. Much might be happening in individual homes, but few people on the block pay attention. It is a sad but true commentary that many of us live as islands within our neighborhoods. People of faith are called to radical hospitality, radical love for neighbors, not indifference.


Gracious God, help us be the neighbors you would have us be. AMEN.

Proper 26/Ordinary 31 – Mark 12:28-30

From Mark 12:28-30 – One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that [Jesus] answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”

Jesus is referring to a passage in Deuteronomy 6. Verses 6-9 in Deuteronomy tell us what we are to do with this commandment: Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


Almighty God, help us to be mindful of your never-ending presence in our lives. AMEN.

Proper 26/Ordinary 31 – Ruth 1:16

From Ruth 1:16 – But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.

This is a wonderful verse on loyalty and friendship. I hope each of you has someone in your life who is your Ruth. If so, thank God for that person today. If not, pray that God sends someone to you.


Loving God, we give thanks today for special friends who love and support us at all times and stand by our sides during those times when adversity is in our lives. AMEN.

Proper 26/ Ordinary 31 – John 11:43-44

From John 11:43-44 – When [Jesus] had said this, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him and let him go.”

What struck me in reading this passage is the partnership between Jesus and the family. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, then the family is asked to unbind him. Likewise, our hands working together with God’s healing presence can perform miracles.


Healer God, thank you for opportunities to help free our neighbors from those things which bind them. AMEN.

What can a vibrant health ministry look like?

Rev. Dr. Ken Robinson of St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee was recently interviewed by in an article titled Soulful Messengers about his congregation’s health ministry activities. Every congregation reading this article can find something that inspires them to try something new.

Proper 26/Ordinary 31 – Revelation 21:1-2

There are two sets of scriptures for this coming Sunday. The lectionary selections for this week include: Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:11-14 and Mark 12:28-34. Alternate passages include Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Psalm 119:1-8. For churches observing Sunday as All Saints Day the scriptures include: Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a and John 11:32-44.

From Revelation 21:1-2 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

I first read this passage nearly 25 years ago, and it has been a personal favorite ever since. I feel that part of our responsibility as people of faith is to help usher in this new Jerusalem by caring for one another in radical ways.


Gracious God, help us help one another in ways that bring glory to you. AMEN.

Picture for All Saints Day – Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.

Physicians and Prayer

This is a link to a great article from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly that features interviews from several physicians in Memphis, Tennessee, including the Founder and Executive Director of the Church Health Center, Rev. Dr. Scott Morris.

Proper 25/Ordinary 30 – Mark 10:48-49

From Mark 10:48-49 – Many sternly ordered [Bartimaeus] to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”

A blind man sitting on the side of the road calls out to Jesus for help, and the disciples try to silence him. “Don’t bother the Teacher,” they seem to be saying. Other times they seem to say, “This isn’t the proper place or the right time for healing.” This scene plays out with different characters, time and time again in scripture. People walking beside Jesus, hearing him firsthand, fail to understand him. Jesus asks us to care for one another. Jesus asks us to be healing presences for one another.


Patient God, we live by agendas and habits that are of our own making. Remain by us, gently nudging us toward your will. AMEN.

Proper 25/Ordinary 30 – Mark 10:46b-48

From Mark 10:46b-48 – As [Jesus] and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on my!” Many sternly ordered [Bartimaeus] to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When I first read this passage, what struck me was not that Bartimaeus cried out the first time but that he cried out the second time as people were trying to silence him. Just as Bartimaeus cried out for his healing, we have to advocate for our own healing.


Healer God, give strength to our voice so that we can find the healing we need. AMEN.

Proper 25/Ordinary 30 – Psalm 34:19-20

From Psalm 34:19-20 – Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all. He keeps their bones; not one of them will be broken.

Long after our flesh has gone, our bones will remain. This passage reminds me that God’s love and care for us transcends this world. While our lives will have pains and trials, we are never left to face those challenges alone.


Steadfast God, thank you for remaining by our side at all times. AMEN.

Proper 25/Ordinary 30 – Job 42:13-15

From Job 42:13-15 – [Job] also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.

I think this passage is one of those sweet finds you have from time to time when you are reading through the lectionary. Job left an inheritance to his daughters along with his sons. This act was certainly not necessary in Job’s day. Another “rule” broken.


Gracious God, help us act toward one another in ways that bring your will to the forefront. AMEN.

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October 2009

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