Archive for January, 2010

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 – When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Where I see my faith as having grown through the years is in being comfortable with not knowing all the answers, being comfortable living with questions. That leaves me walking in a journey of faith that gives me hope and that directs me to try hard each day to love my neighbor as I love myself.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for accompanying us on this journey of faith. May our journey draw us closer to you. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – 1 Corinthians 13:4a, 6b-8a

1 Corinthians 13:4a, 6b-8a – Love is patient; love is kind…[love] rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Our daily work at the Church Health Center helps people through challenging journeys toward health and wellness by instilling hope in an environment that is patient, kind and respectful of each individual’s worth as a child of God. We deliver good medicine and good science with love.

Prayer: Steadfast God, be with each of us as we serve your children today. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

1 Corinthians 13:1-2 – If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

When I was twelve, a youth leader in my church had set this entire chapter to a song, “At the Movies” by a synthesizer-based group known as Hot Butter. He taught me the timing, and I was able to present it during a youth service on Sunday. The chapter holds memories for many, and it is a favorite for even more. It reminds us to, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1: Make love your aim.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us offer love to others so that we might better receive love. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – Jeremiah 1 6-8

Jeremiah 1 6-8 – Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, do not be afraid of them for I am with you says the LORD.”

We may not be prophets like Jeremiah, but I am reminded by this passage of the importance of listening carefully to God’s conversation in our lives.

Prayer: Gracious God, help my ears better hear and my soul better understand the conversation you are having with me. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – Jeremiah 1:4-5

Can you believe January is almost over! Scriptures from the lectionary for this week include: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and Luke 4:21-30.

Jeremiah 1:1-2 – Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Even in my adulthood, I often struggle to be understood. I take great comfort knowing that God understands me perfectly. Created by God. Fully known by God.

Prayer: Loving God, you know us better than we know ourselves. You love us more than we love ourselves. Thank you. AMEN.

Picture for Fourth Sunday after Epiphany – Psalm 71:3

Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Third Sunday after Epiphany – Luke 4:18-19

Luke 4:18-19 – [And Jesus read from Isaiah saying], “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Imprisonment and blindness can be both literal and metaphorical. Regardless, if one is relieved of their imprisonment or blindness healing has taken place. Once again, scripture supports the centrality of healing as a part of Christ’s ministry.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us be healing presences for all who might come before today and every day. AMEN.

Third Sunday after Epiphany – 1 Corinthians 12:29-31

1 Corinthians 12:29-31 – Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts.

And what are those gifts? Well, immediately following verse 31 is 1 Corinthians 13 where the greater gifts are faith, hope and love. Let us strive toward those gifts together.

Prayer: Loving God, deepen our faith, raise our hope and increase our capacity to love. AMEN.

Third Sunday after Epiphany – Psalm 19:1-4a

Psalm 19:1-4a – The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Do you want to find God? This passage reminds us that finding God is as simple as looking around you, at the wonder of creation, at the cry of small child, at the glorious everydayness that we so often take for granted.

Prayer: Creator God, help our eyes see you as wind blows through our hair, as rain falls on our face, and as a stranger smiles at us. AMEN.

Third Sunday after Epiphany – Nehemiah 8:9

Nehemiah 8:9 – And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.

I couldn’t help but smile when I read this verse, because I have often thought many of the Levitical laws quite strict. Yet obeying the law was seen as a way to remain close to God, and getting closer to God is certainly a goal each of us should have.

Prayer: Almighty God, your ways might be mysterious, but help us follow your will for us more closely. AMEN.

Third Sunday after Epiphany – Nehemiah 8:5-6

Interesting and familiar passages are contained in the lectionary passages for this week including: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a and Luke 4:14-21.

Nehemiah 8:5-6 – And Ezra opened the book [of the law] in sight of the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

In my religious practice, prayer has been a simple act of quiet reflection with my head bowed and my hands in my lap. But this passage reminds me that prayer can not only involve my mind but it can also involve my body.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us pray to you with all our being, body and mind. AMEN.

Picture of Earthquake in Haiti – Third Sunday after Epiphany – 1 Corinthians 12:26-27

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it…Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Picture Citation

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January 2010

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