Archive for April, 2010

Fifth Sunday of Easter, John 13:34-35

John 13:34-35 – [Jesus is speaking.] “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What a wonderful scripture with which to end our workweek! Jesus asks that we just love one another. It is that simple. It is that hard.

Prayer: Steadfast God, help us be more loving people. AMEN.

I Want to Be a Healthy Pastor


Grace Hackney shares her article I Want to Be a Healthy Pastor which first appeared in Clergy Health Initiative.

Fifth Sunday or Easter, 2010 – Revelation 21:1-2

Revelation 21:1-2Then 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 believe that people of faith are called to be transforming presences in the world. While this can take on many different forms among us, collectively I see us as working to usher in a new Jerusalem.

Prayer: Gracious God, may our work this day be indicative of your will so that we might be better kingdom builders. AMEN.

Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – Acts 11:8-9

Acts 11:8-9 – [Peter is still speaking.] “But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’”

In the creation narrative, God stamps a seal of approval at each stage calling each “good.” God created us in all our diversity. As children of God, we are bound together as relatives of one another.

Prayer: Almighty God, you created us in your image. Help us remember that this and every day. AMEN

Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – Acts 11:4-7

Acts 11:4-7Then Peter began to explain it to them step-by-step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up Peter; kill and eat.’”

Have you ever been invited to a dinner only to find that few if any of the foods being served are items you eat? God sends Peter a picnic blanket loaded with foods Peter has never eaten, and in so doing, God is challenging Peter’s sense of religious inclusiveness.

Prayer: Loving God, challenge us in ways that better help us see as though through your eyes. AMEN.

Looking Back at Earth Day 2010

If you woke up this morning wondering how your congregation might get more involved in going green, you might check out this article on HopeandHealing.org. Charlene Hosenfeld discusses caring for creation and our health.

Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – Acts 11:1-3

It is hard for me to believe that 2010 is almost one-third done. As we approach the fifth Sunday of Easter, the lectionary offers some familiar and favorite scriptures for us including: Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1-6 and John 13:31-35.

Acts 11:1-3Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him saying, “Why do you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

Are we much different today? Don’t we tend to congregate with people who look like us, think like us and believe like us? The scriptures this week challenge us to look more broadly at who our brothers and sisters are.

Prayer: Gracious God, give me eyes that see the fullness of your creation and everyone in it. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – John 10:27-28

John 10:27-28 – [Jesus is speaking.] My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

The scriptures for this week have used the analogy of the shepherd to describe God and Jesus’ care for us. In the passage from Acts, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead. We have read about the promises and possibilities of our faith.

Prayer: Awesome God, help us experience the many ways you make yourself known to us so that we might be better followers of your will. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – Psalm 23:4

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.

As I read the 23rd Psalm aloud in staff meeting yesterday, I could hear a number of my coworkers saying it from memory along with me. I can write complex prayers, but in my times of greatest need, I turn to either the 23rd Psalm or the Lord’s Prayer for comfort…simple but powerful words.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for simple expressions of faith and hope that both bind us to you and connect us to one another. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – Psalm 23:1-2

Psalm 23:1-2The 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. He leads me in right paths for his names sake.

The word pastor is derived from the Latin word for shepherd. According to an online dictionary, pastor can be used for a Christian minister or a layperson having spiritual charge over people. In a sense, we are all called to pastor others.

Prayer: Gracious God, sometimes our responsibility toward one another seems too great. Help us remember that you are always with us. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – Acts 9:39-40

Acts 9:39-40So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha [Dorcas in Greek], get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up.

I enjoyed this reading because I once worked with a woman named Dorcas. Dorcas was a disciple “devoted to good works and acts of charity (v36).” She sewed clothing for the poor and the widows of Joppa. Give thanks for the persons around you like Dorcas.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the saints among us devoted to caring for those less fortunate. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2010 – John 10:24-27

As we approach the fourth Sunday in Easter, the lectionary offers us: Acts 9:36-43; Psalm 23; Revelation 7:9-17 and John 10:22-30.

John 10:24-27 So the Jews gathered around [Jesus] and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.

I have read that shepherds often placed their sheep in a common pen at night. When the pen was opened the next morning, shepherds would call their sheep, and recognizing their master’s voice, the sheep would follow the correct shepherd.

Prayer: Almighty God, help us hear your voice more clearly. AMEN.


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