O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-3 – Paul, 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.
Isaiah 1:16-17 – Wash 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.
Habakkuk 2:1-2 – I (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.
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.