Thursday, July 31, 2014
John 6:8-9 – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”
All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, but it is in the book of John that the person identified as having the bread and fish is a boy. If a boy’s packed lunch can have such an impact, imagine what you can do for others.
Creator God, mold us and use us in ways that only you can imagine, to build your kingdom here on Earth. Amen.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Matthew 14:14 – When Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.
Despite the pain and sorrow Jesus must have felt for losing John the Baptist, he could not ignore the pain in front of him among the people. Jesus saw a need for healing, and he acted.
Almighty God, help us to take decisive action to help others in your name. Amen.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Matthew 14:13 – Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
Despite Jesus’ knowledge of the everlasting kingdom of God, Jesus wanted to be alone, away from the crowds, after learning of John the Baptist’s death. We need to carve out time in our days to bring God our joys as well as our sorrows.
Loving God, help us to find times of solitude when we can be alone with you. Amen.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Several very familiar texts are a part of our lectionary readings for this week. The selections include: Genesis 32:22-31 and Psalm 17:1-7, 15, Isaiah 55:1-5 and Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21, Romans 9:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21. I don’t do this often, but I would also like to include John 6:1-14 which is his version of the Feeding of the 5,000.
Genesis 32:22-24 – The same night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
You will recall that Jacob later realized he was wrestling with God. Whether we need time to “wrestle” with God or simply to talk something out with God, finding time when we can encounter God alone is important.
Gracious God, help us to find intentional time in our schedules to talk to you. Amen.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We began the week with Genesis 29 where Laban breaks his covenant with Jacob forcing him to marry Leah rather than Rachel at the end of his seven years of service. The other passages for this week reminded us of God’s never ending love for us. This favorite pair of verses from Romans is a fitting way to end our reflections this week.
Steadfast and ever-present God, we face challenges from others every day. Help us to remember that your love for us never wavers. Amen.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Matthew 13:31-32 – He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
I love the imagery of heaven as a tree where birds can make nests. As people of faith, I believe we are called to create shelter for one another, to watch out for one another and, in a sense, create heaven here on earth.
Gracious God, help us to know the needs of our neighbors so that we can offer them the help and the shelter that they need. Amen.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Romans 8:26 – Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
One thing you learn quickly working at the Church Health Center is that you have to be ready to offer a prayer if asked. The secret to offering prayer, if I may offer my opinion, is simply to be sincere. God will know what you are saying, and the person(s) listening will appreciate your being vulnerable in front of them.
Almighty God, you search our hearts and know our intentions better than we do. Help us to express ourselves more clearly to others. Amen.