Tuesday, March 31, 2015
1 Corinthians 15:7-9 – Then Jesus appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle,because I persecuted the church of God.
I fear the debilitating effects of toxic stress, of chronic shame and guilt on our brothers and sisters. In this season of the miracle of miracles, it is worth remembering that by most standards Paul was a heinous person. Yet, Paul embraced God’s love for him and became for us a primary interpreter of that faith.
Creator God, thank you for forgiving us. Give us the strength and confidence in you to forgive ourselves. Amen.
Monday, March 30, 2015
We are entering Holy Week. The joy of Palm Sunday is behind us, and this week becomes quite bleak. Yet we press forward through this week to our triumphal Easter Sunday. For Easter Sunday, we are offered the following lectionary selections: Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8.
Isaiah 25:8 – Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.
Easter reminds us that there will be time when God wipes away all of our tears. Until then, I believe our work as faithful people is to seek to wipe away as many tears as we can, one person at a time.
Everlasting God, help us in our struggles to live the other-oriented lives of service you want us to live. Amen.
Friday, March 27, 2015
John 12:14-16 – Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
The weak places in my faith, my doubts, are always made stronger when I look at those first disciples, those closest the Jesus when he was alive. In their case, proximity did not equate to understanding. It reminds me that we need to be patient with one another, because some things we simply won’t understand except in retrospect.
Merciful God, give us patient hearts that are able to bear with one another even when we struggle to understand each other. Amen.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Mark 11:7-9 – Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Looking at this passage through 21st Century eyes, it is easy to see the hypocrisy in the people of Jerusalem who will later in the week shout, “Crucify him!” Yet, I worry we are not that much different from them today. Neighbors can quickly become our enemies, and strangers are rarely welcomed into our midst.
God of all of us, help us to see people with our hearts filled with passion and our eyes brimming with compassion. Amen.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Mark 11:1-2 – When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it.
I am always moved by Jesus’ humility. Donkeys weren’t the only mode of transportation available, yet a young colt was Jesus’ choice.
Loving God, help us to show genuine respect for one another by making us more humble people. Amen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Psalm 118:1-2 – O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
I have learned many things about God writing these lines to you over the years. One thing that is clear to me, while our love for God may falter from time to time, God’s love for each of us never ends.
Steadfast, loving God, you have given us light to shine the way and love as the flame’s fuel. Help us to use these gifts in abundance with one another. Amen.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Palm Sunday is that day where we observe great jubilation at the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem only to see those same crowds turn their back by week’s end. For this week, are given the following scripture passages: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16.
Psalm 118:24-25 – This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
Mighty God, as we seek to do your will, guide our hands, our feet and our hearts on your path. Amen.