Archive for August, 2010

Thought & Prayer for Proper 18 & Ordinary 23 – 2010 – Psalm 139:1-2, 13-14

Psalm 139:1-2, 13-14O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away…For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

This passage made me think about those who are closest to us – our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our special friends. We come to see at least some of these people as understanding us better than anyone else, as being able to predict our next move. We are reminded today that God knows us better than any of these.

Prayer: Almighty God, help us come to know you as our best friend. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 18 & Ordinary 23, 2010 – Jeremiah 18:1-4

There are a number of wonderful passages for our consideration this week – God as potter with us as the clay, being fearfully and wonderfully made and leaving your family to follow Christ are but three. Passages from the lectionary for the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost include Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; Philemon 1-21 and Luke 14:25-33. Alternate selections include Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Psalm 1.

Jeremiah 18:1-4The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Like the potter at his wheel, God is constantly at work in us. In those times of our lives when we turn away from God, God, like the potter, is ready to rework his creative plan in us once we return.

Prayer: Steadfast God, help us to always place you first so that your will for us might be done. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, 2010 – Luke 14:12-14

Luke 14:12-14 [Jesus] said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The passages this week have said a lot about our perspective and our tendency to trust ourselves more than God, to look out for ourselves more than we look out for others. Founder and Executive Director of the Church Health Center, Rev. Dr. Scott Morris, ends every blessing of food with the same line, “…and keep us mindful of those less fortunate than we are.”

Prayer: God of all of us, always keep of mindful of those less fortunate than we are. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, 2010 – Luke 14:10-11

Luke 14:10-11 – [Jesus is speaking to a Pharisee.] “But when you are invited [to a wedding banquet], go and sit at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

A wedding banquet in Christ’s time could refer to any number of feasts, including dinner at the home of a Pharisee. Jesus uses this setting to remind us that we are asked to keep our egos in check…to always keep ourselves in proper perspective.

Prayer: Loving God, help us see ourselves as children sharing a common parentage. May this perspective guide our actions toward one another. AMEN

Thought & Prayer for Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, 2010 – Hebrews 13:1-3

Hebrews 13:1-3Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

Be hospitable to all, including those you don’t know. Always consider the suffering of others as though you were suffering in the same way. Consider today a world in which each of us walks a mile in the other’s shoes.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us better care for our brothers and sisters who through you are as related to us as the family members of our birth. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, 2010 – Hebrews 13:5-6

Hebrews 13:5-6Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

This is a great follow up passage from our Jeremiah passage yesterday. God’s promise is to be a steadfast presence in our lives. God’s promise is to be our shepherd, our protector.

Prayer: Steadfast and merciful God, give each of us a better sense of your unending presence in our lives. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, Year C – Jeremiah 2:12-13

The lectionary selections for the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost offer several beloved passages. The scriptures include: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 and Luke 14:1, 7-14. Alternate passages include the Sirach 10:12-18 (Apocrypha) or Proverbs 25:6-7 and Psalm 112.

Jeremiah 2:12-13 Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the LORD, for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

This passage reminds us that when we rely solely on ourselves, we often find that we are our own worst enemies. Pray today that we might come to a deeper, more trusting relationship with God.

Prayer: Almighty God, we want you at the center of our lives, but often on our terms. Help us release our lives into your care. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, 2010 – Luke 13:14-15

Luke 13:14-15 – [Jesus has just healed a woman in the synagogue.] But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water?

God cares for us, but God uses each of us to assist those around us. Jesus questions the crowd that if they would think nothing of unbinding an animal on the sabbath, how much more important is it to unbind a child of God on the sabbath?

Prayer: Parent God, help us understand your will to watch out for one another even when societal norms stand in our way. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, 2010 – Isaiah 58:9b-10

Isaiah 58:9b-10If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like noonday.

As children, many of us learned the song that began: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” Our passage today reminds us how easy, and how difficult, making our light shine can be.

Prayer: Understanding God, you call us to help others. Help us as we grapple to fulfill your will this and every day. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, 2010 – Psalm 103:1-5

Psalm 103:1-5Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits – who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Jesus said we must become as children. This passage suggests to me that one way we become as children is to let God permeate our lives in such a complete way that our youth is renewed.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us open our hearts fully so that you can enter our lives completely. AMEN.

Religion and Alcohol: Sobering Thoughts

My friends at recently talked with C.K. Robertson about his book Religion and Alcohol: Sobering Thoughts.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, 2010 – Isaiah 58:13-14a

Isaiah 58:13-14a If you refrain from trampling on the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and it will make you ride upon the heights of the earth…

God rested on the seventh day and declared it holy. Each of us is asked to set aside one day each week to distance ourselves from our earthly concerns and simply rest in God’s glory. Consider today the ways you recognize, and ignore, the sabbath in your own life.

Prayer: Everlasting God, to you we give the glory. Help us trust you enough so that we might be better observers of sabbath in our own lives. AMEN.

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August 2010

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