Archive for October, 2010

Picture for Proper 28 & Ordinary 33 – Psalm 98:1a

O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things.

Picture Citation

Thought & Prayer for Proper 26 & Ordinary 31, 2010 – Luke 19:3-5

Luke 19:3-5[Zacchaeus] was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”

I often find myself in a situation where I am wishing I knew the right words to say to offer comfort, support or praise. Zacchaeus, who reportedly says nothing before being noticed by Jesus, reminds us of the truth of the adage that actions often do speak louder than words.

Prayer: Gracious God, may our actions and our words toward one another reflect our faith in you. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 26 & Ordinary 31, 2010 – 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3

2 Thessalonians 1:1-3Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.

Working at the Church Health Center offers one the opportunity to work among many people who share a deep and abiding faith. Time and time again, managers from more typical corporate environments have told me of the transformational nature of their experience here. Not unlike the passage today, as we grow in our faith together, we grow closer to one another in ways we can’t ignore.

Prayer: Creator God, continue to work in us in ways that bring us into deeper relationship with one another. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 26 & Ordinary 31, 2010 – Isaiah 1:16-17

Isaiah 1:16-17Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Isaiah is offering the word of the Lord to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in today’s passage. Earlier in the passage, God seems to scoff at their sacrifices and burnt offerings. What God wants is for them to care for those less fortunate among them.

Prayer: Loving God, give us eyes to see the needs of those around us, and give us the wisdom to offer substantive help. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 26 & Ordinary 31, 2010 – Habakkuk 2:1-2

Habakkuk 2:1-2I (Habakkuk) will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.

While I am not a fan of billboards, the most effective ones often have fewer but larger words, making them easier to read as I speed by in my car. How we live our lives, as imperfect as they may be, can be the billboards of our faith.

Prayer: Gracious and forgiving God, give us the strength to live the lives you would have us live. AMEN.

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Thought & Prayer for Proper 26 & Ordinary 31, 2010 – Habakkuk 1:2-3

For the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, the lectionary offers the following: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 12:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10. Alternate selections include Isaiah 1:10-18 and Psalm 32:1-7.

Habakkuk 1:2-3 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you, “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

Yes, this is another prophet seemingly frustrated with God by what he sees happening to his brothers and sisters. And yet, I can’t help but think how much better the world would be if more of us cried out to God to help us like Habakkuk is doing in the passage.

Prayer: Almighty God, strengthen us so that we might better help those less fortunate among us. AMEN.

Beach Week 2010

Thoughts & Prayers for Proper 25 & Ordinary 30, 2010

Thought & Prayer for Monday, October 18, 2010
I will be enjoying a week of fun, sun and relaxation in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The lectionary for this week includes: Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 and Luke 18:9-14. Alternate selections include Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 and Psalm 84:1-7.

Joel 2:23-24 O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

My church parking lot has been turned into a farmer’s market every Saturday for several months. As we near the end of October, the market is also nearing the end of its seasonal run. Many urban neighborhoods are devoid of grocery stores. A famers market can be an oasis for such nutritional deserts in our communities.

Prayer: Creator God, help us creatively share your abundance with those less fortunate than we are. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joel 2:27-29You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame. Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Anticipate the impossible! Expect the unexpected! We worship a limitless God who loves all of us.

Prayer: Almighty God, open our eyes and our minds to your love that knows no limits. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2 Timothy 4:6-7As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

I find Paul’s race analogy very helpful. First, Paul says he finished the race, but he didn’t say he won the race. Participation, not victory, is key. Second, I think of the stitch I get in my side after the simplest exertion. The race of faith in which we run can be difficult, even painful, at times.

Prayer: Steadfast God, in our race of faith, help us know your presence so that we may continue to draw on your strength when we are faltering. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Thursday, October 21, 2010

2 Timothy 4:16-17aAt my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

‘In my time of need, no one stood by me but you, God. Don’t think less of them, God.’ What a powerful statement of forgiveness Paul is making in this passage today!

Prayer: Gracious God, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Friday, October 21, 2010

Luke 18:10, 13-14 – [Jesus is speaking.] “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector…But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

“Keep things in perspective,” is advice often given to one who is not seeing the whole picture, when one is missing the forest for the trees. Today’s passage reminds us to keep ourselves in perspective, too.

Prayer: Loving and patient God, help us as we work to walk humbly with you. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 24 & Ordinary 29, 2010 – Psalm 121:1-2, 7-9

Psalm 121:1-2, 7-9I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth…The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Part of the recovery process involves submitting oneself to God, of crying out, “Help me Lord!” But crying out for God’s help and guidance is not reserved for those in need of recovery from a powerful addiction. Psalm 121 provides a mantra for all of us.

Prayer: Creator God, help us better sense your unending presence in our lives so that we might better lean on you. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 24 & Ordinary 29, 2010 – Genesis 32:25-26

Genesis 32:25-26When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled him. Then he said, “Let me go, for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

“You missed your calling,” is a phrase many of us have heard from well-meaning friends. No doubt some of us have missed our calling. Some of us have even wrestled with God to avoid living into God’s plan for us.

Prayer: Loving God, we don’t always understand your will for us, but we humbly ask you to bless our efforts this and every day. AMEN.

Thought & Prayer for Proper 24 & Ordinary 29, 2010 – Jeremiah 31:34

Lectionary selections for this twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost include Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and Luke 18:1-8. Alternate selections include Genesis 32:22-31 and Psalm 121.

Jeremiah 31:34
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

At our clergy conference this week, we will be considering the role that faith communities can play in recovery. While all of us are in need of recovery from something, the discussions this week will inevitably focus on those among us addicted to alcohol and drugs. As we consider how we might help these brothers and sisters, we should remember the covenant God makes with the people of Israel in the passage today.

Prayer: Steadfast and forgiving God, help us see one another as though we were looking through your eyes. Make us a more forgiving people. AMEN.


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