Archive for April, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2015 – 1 John 4:16

Thursday, April 30, 2015

1 John 4:16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

This verse made me start singing a favorite hymn of mine that starts: “Abide with me Lord, fast falls the eventide.”  This hymn is a prayer for God to remain present throughout your life.  If you have a chance, you might listen to it here.

Loving God, help each of us to sense your never-ending presence in our lives today and every day.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2015 – 1 John 4:11

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1 John 4:11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.

We live in a world where the powerful can rule the powerless with impunity.  We live in a world where some live trapped in a present that has no future.  We live in a world that cries out for us to remember this passage.

Almighty God, help us to be brothers and sisters to everyone created in your image.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2015 – Psalm 22:30-31

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Psalm 22:30-31Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

As people of faith, we aren’t able to live as though we are on an island.  We are reminded by this passage that we are to perpetuate God’s message through our words and our actions.

Almighty God, help each of us to be an effective part of your creative presence here on earth.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2015 – Psalm 22:26

Monday, April 27, 2015

There are three Sundays left in the Easter season before Pentecost.  Our passages this week include: Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 22:25-31, 1 John 4:7-21, and John 15:1-8.

Psalm 22:26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!

In the New English Version I use, that last sentence of this passage reads, “May they prosper forever!”  We are offered the chance to feast on God’s abundance – God’s mercy and forgiveness, God’s never-ending love for each of us.

Gracious and merciful God, be with us today and everyday as we seek to make your world kinder and gentler for everyone.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2015 – John 10:14-16

Friday, April 24, 2015

John 10:14-16I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Sheep from multiple shepherds stayed in a common pen at night, and in the morning the shepherds would call for their sheep.  Recognizing the voice of their leader, the sheep would follow him to the pasture.

Loving God, give us ears to hear your true voice among the all chatter of our day.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2015 – 1 John 3:16-17

Thursday, April 23, 2015

1 John 3:16-17We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us–and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.  How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Helping is complicated for sure.  What represents true help for someone and what is simply enabling further destructive behavior is separated by a razor-thin line in many cases.  Yet as people of faith, we are called to help one another…to walk that difficult line as best we can.

Understanding God, help us to be helpful to one another in ways that always bring healing.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2015 – Psalm 23:5-6

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Psalm 23:5-6You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

It is Tuesday afternoon in Orlando and I am writing this while at #NatCon15, the annual conference of the National Council for Behavioral Health.  While in a shuttle bus, I heard a loud horn blaring to my left.  I looked up and saw a woman who was asking for money on the side of road begin to tear up.  She walked behind a tree and collapsed on the ground crying.  I had no idea what the driver did in addition to honking, but I was nearly moved to tears myself.  I then sat down to write the prayer for Wednesday morning.  I read these words of scripture, and I hoped she knew the 23rd Psalm.

God of ALL of us, may everyone feeling lost and alone today feel your presence in their lives even when we do the best we can to shut those same people out of our lives.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2015 – Psalm 23:1-3

Monday, April 20, 2015

This week, I am writing to you from Orlando, Florida where I am attending the National Council for Behavioral Health’s annual conference.  I believe there are as many as 4,000 people here, and I like to think that every one of them is here to learn how to take better care of their brothers and sisters.  Our lectionary selections for this week include:   Acts 4:5-12, Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, and John 10:11-18.

Psalm 23:1-3The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

The imagery of God as our shepherd is very powerful to me.  Equally powerful is the idea that we can be shepherds for one another, helping each other find green pastures and still waters amid the chaos that often fills our lives.

God of all of us, help us to know the needs of those around us, and give us the wisdom to be helpful to each of them.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Easter 2015 – Luke 24:46-47

Friday, April 17, 2015

Luke 24:46-47 –  …and Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

While we have different faith practices among us at Church Health, I read this passage as a universal call.  Our faith is not to be kept sealed in a jar.  It is to be shared with others in ways that can bring life to them.

Forgiving God, open our hearts and help us to share your love with one another.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Easter 2015 – 1 John 3:2

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1 John 3:2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.”  (1 Corinthians 13:12)  We are God’s children, but like children, our knowledge is incomplete.  Take comfort in both this mystery and this promise.

God of mystery and wonder, help us to live boldly in our faith.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Easter 2015 – Luke 24:44-45

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Luke 24:44-45Then Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures…

My faith leaves me comfortable living with my unanswered questions about God.  That said, I do envy the disciples at the very moment of this passage when Jesus “opened their minds…”

Almighty God, give us the wisdom we need to move our faith to a deeper level.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Easter 2015 – Psalm 4:4

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Psalm 4:4When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah

The actual meaning of Selah is debated by scholars.  Some think it means to pause while others suggest it means something like ‘ponder what has just been said.’  It could also be similar to a rest in a musical score as the psalms were sung.  Our passage today asks us to act carefully when we are troubled, to be patient, to ponder our actions before proceeding.

Loving God, the world around us can move so quickly and cause us to act irrationally.  Help us to march to the time you are keeping.  Amen.

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April 2015

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