Archive for December, 2014

New Year’s Eve 2014 – Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This week in the lectionary also celebrates the Holy Name of Jesus on New Year’s Day.  Selections for this celebration include: Numbers 6:22-27, Psalm 8, Galatians 4:4-7 or Philippians 2:5-11, and  Luke 2:15-21.

Numbers 6:24-26The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

As this year comes to a close, I think it’s appropriate to end the year with this passage, a popular benediction that is used weekly in churches around the world.

Everlasting God, help us to sense your presence with us each and every day of the coming year.  Amen.

New Year’s Week 2014 – Revelation 21:1-2

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Revelation 21:1-2Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  I believe that we are asked and that we have the power to create a “new Jerusalem” now.

Almighty God, help us to remember that nothing is impossible with you.  Amen.

New Year’s Week, 2014 – Matthew 25:35-36

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 is almost in our rear view mirror.  I hope that as you look back on this past year, you are able to count many blessings.  The readings suggested for New Year’s Day include: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Psalm 8, Revelation 21:1-6a, and Matthew 25:31-46.

Matthew 25:35-36“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’”

As people of faith, we are called to help one another.  May we find new ways to serve one another throughout the new year.

Loving God, life is full of choices for us.  Help us to be the caring people you want us to be.  Amen.

Christmas Week 2014 – John 1:14

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The third set of readings includes: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12), and John 1:1-14.

John 1:14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

If your house is like mine, it is filled with wrapping paper, lights, tinsel, and the smell of fresh baked cookies with only a slight hint remaining of the one batch kept in the oven too long.  All of this is in celebration of God choosing to be revealed through Jesus.

God of the impossible, thank you for all of the ways you communicate with us, but for today, especially thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus.  Amen.

Christmas Week 2014 – Luke 2:7

Monday, December 22, 2014

There are three sets of readings for the 24th and 25th.  The first set of readings includes: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, and Luke 2:1-14, (15-20).

Luke 2:7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Christmas is a time of great happiness for many, but for some it is a season that is quite painful.  Whether you find yourself singing with joy or struggling with sadness this week, I hope you are able to allow God’s peace to embrace you.

Loving God, help all of us to find meaning and peace in your Son whose meager beginning did not define his life.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014 – Luke 1:36-37

Friday, December 19, 2104

Luke 1:36-37 – “And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Two miraculous births, of Jesus and John, are at the center of the Christmas story.  From the very beginning of Jesus’ story, we are challenged to embrace the boundless power of God.

Almighty God, give us an abiding hope that is only possible through our faith in you.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014 – Psalm 89:1-2

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Psalm 89:1-2I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.  I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

I have often thought of my faith as a private affair between me and God.  But the psalmist makes it clear that our faith should be lived out loud, that we should share our beliefs with others.

Loving God, help us to lift our voices so that others can know the joy we find in serving you.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014 – 2 Samuel 7:4-6

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 

2 Samuel 7:4-6But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?  I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle.

I have struggled with this passage this week, because I see God as everywhere making the idea of God being stuck inside a tent simply outside my comprehension.  Then it hit me.  This is a passage about faith and whether David had enough trust in God to create a permanent space for God, to say this is the land God has promised us.

Almighty God, may our faith in you give us the confidence to trust that you are always with us.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014 – Luke 1:28-30

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Luke 1:28-30And the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

I am always amazed when I read the account of Gabriel visiting Mary that she was just perplexed about the nature and reason for the greeting.  The faith of this young woman, maybe even a girl by our standards, caused her to stay and listen to what the angel said, as opposed to running away screaming or laughing out loud.

God of endless possibilities, give us sufficient faith so that we can expect the unexpected, so that we can be poised to answer your call however we receive it.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014 – 2 Samuel 7:1-2

Monday, December 15, 2014

We are approaching the fourth Sunday of this Advent season.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around my house.  The scriptures for our study and consideration this week include: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16, Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26, Romans 16:25-27, and Luke 1:26-38.

2 Samuel 7:1-2Now when King David was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.”

The cedar David speaks of was used to build ships and temples in Biblical times.  It was “build-it-to-last” building material.  I picture King David looking out his window, stroking his chin, and wondering, “Is it time to build God’s forever home?”

Everlasting God, keep us mindful of your never ending presence in our lives.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent, 2014 – Psalm 126:1-2

Friday, December 12, 2014

Psalm 126:1-2When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.  Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

Over 27 years the Church Health Center has grown into an organization that employs hundreds and cares for tens of thousands.  God has bestowed fortunes of all kinds on us and we have been able to turn those gifts of time and talents into care for our brothers and our sisters.

Everlasting God, help us to be appreciative of your active participation in our lives and our work each day.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent, 2014 – 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Thursday, December 11, 2014

1 Thessalonians 5:19Do not quench the Spirit.

For me, some passages of scripture become great rules for the road.  There are many ways we can witness the Holy Spirit, one of which is how it can be seen working within each of us.

Gracious God, help us to lift one another up.  Keep us from doing anything that might extinguish your light in our brothers and sisters.  Amen.

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December 2014

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