Archive for April, 2014

Palm Sunday 2014 – Matthew 27:57-60

Friday, April 11, 2014

Matthew 27:57-60When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.

I have come to think of Joseph of Arimathea as a hero of the Passion narrative. Peter has denied Jesus three times, so disciples are distancing themselves from being associated with Jesus. But Joseph believes Jesus deserves a proper burial so he approaches Pilate to ask for Jesus’ remains – an act of love and of bravery.

Steadfast God, help us to be faithful at all times, especially when being faithful to you is hard. Amen.

Palm Sunday 2014 – Psalm 31:9-10

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Psalm 31:9-10Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.

The mission of the Church Health Center is to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits. Today’s passage reminds us of the intimate connection between our physical and our spiritual health to which our mission refers.

Healer God, be with us in our efforts as we try to help others reach their highest level of wellness. Amen.

Palm Sunday 2014 – Philippians 2:5-7

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Philippians 2:5-7Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

I was once asked in college if I thought Jesus was the actual Son of God or just a prophet. I acknowledged my Christianity, but I added that the distinction really didn’t matter to me. Jesus offered the best example of how a person of faith should act.

Loving God, help us to treat each other in ways that reflect our understanding of your Word. Amen.

Palm Sunday 2014 – Isaiah 50:4

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Isaiah 50:4The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens– wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.

I believe everyone plays the role of an educator in their life…as an actual teacher, a parent, a friend, even a helpful coworker. This passage reminds us that being an effective teacher begins by listening for God’s voice in your life.

Gracious God, help us to hear your still small voice in our life. Amen.

Palm and Passion Sunday, 2014 – Matthew 21:8-9

Monday, April 7, 2014

Palm Sunday and Holy Week are approaching. Scripture selections for Palm Sunday include: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 and Matthew 21:1-11. Some congregations will observe Sunday as Passion Sunday. Scripture selections for Passion Sunday include: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16 , Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54.

Matthew 21:8-9A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”

Fame can be fleeting to say the least. Jesus rode from Bethphage into Jerusalem, about a two mile ride, but by the time Jesus enters Jerusalem people are beginning to question who he is. And of course, many of these same people will ask him to be put to death by the end of the week.

Understanding God, we can have short attention spans. Help us to stay focused on you at all times. Amen.

A Devotion for April 4, 2014 – Galatians 5:22-25

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Beloved Community of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Galatians 5:22-25By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

It is hard to live in Memphis and not acknowledge the significance of this day, the day Dr. King was assassinated here in 1968. Our passages for this week have reflected on God’s unending presence in our lives and on the faith of both Jesus and people like Mary. If we live by our faith and begin to see all of those around us as valued children of our one God, then we have a chance to experience the beloved community of which Dr. King spoke and wrote about so many years ago.

Loving God, help us to see your face in all of the people we meet today and every day. Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Lent, 2014 – John 11:32-33

Thursday, April 3, 2014

John 11:32-33When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.

Complicated emotions are packed into these two verses. Was Mary indicting Jesus or was she speaking more out of resignation? What tone of voice did Mary use? Then it struck me. Mary had first knelt before Jesus…a poignant act of faith in Jesus and God.

Merciful God, help us to feel your presence especially in our times of doubt. Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Lent, 2014 – John 11:7-8

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

John 11:7-8Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”

What struck me as I read this passage is that before I read verse 9 I knew Jesus would go to Judea despite the warnings of his disciples. Jesus’ trust in and reliance on God is probably one of the hardest characteristics to adopt in following Jesus.

Understanding God, give each of us a portion of the faith your son had in you. Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Lent, 2014 – Psalm 130:5-6

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Psalm 130:5-6I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

For years, my beach vacations have taken me to the Atlantic Coast. There are few more spectacular sights than facing the ocean and watching the sun slowly rise from behind the ocean.

Everlasting God, thank you for the beautiful sights of nature that remind us of your awesomeness. Amen.

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April 2014

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