Friday, May 29, 2015
Psalm 29:8-10 – The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
I do not believe that God causes natural disasters as a way of punishing us or testing our faith. But thinking on these three verses given the earthquakes in Nepal, the tornadoes in Oklahoma and the flooding in Texas, we can visualize the power of our God the psalmist is trying to describe.
Awesome God of all creation, grant us the wisdom to understand the vastness of your power and the depth of your love. Amen.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
John 3:17 – “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
I know that John 3:16 is usually ubiquitous at sporting events, but I am more a John 3:17 guy. Like so many of you, I just want to use my faith to make the world safer, healthier and kinder to all starting, as best I can, with my neighbors.
Gentle God, help us to entertain angels by showing kindness to all, even strangers. Amen.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Isaiah 6:7-8 – The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
It is significant to me that God didn’t say that Isaiah was unworthy. Isaiah cried of his unworthiness when he found himself in front of the LORD, and he spoke of his unclean lips. Then seraph then touched his lips with the coals and declared him guilt free.
Forgiving God, help us to recognize your forgiveness in our lives which often precedes our forgiveness of ourselves. Amen.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
We are now beginning the long Season after Pentecost, which will last through Thanksgiving. So much will happen in faith communities through this season – new Sunday School seasons will begin, budgets will be created and approved, and children will leave their parents for the first time to attend Church camp. For this Trinity Sunday we are offered the following familiar passages: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17.
Isaiah 6:5 – And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
I am often in a position of asking friends and coworkers to lead meditations or prayers. There is almost a universal hesitance. Part of this is clearly nervousness or shyness. But I am afraid some of it is rooted in a sense of not being worthy enough. Our passage today begins the familiar story of Isaiah accepting God’s call, and it reminds us that God can and wants to use each of us.
Wonderful God, help us to look at ourselves as though through the same eyes that you use when looking at us. Amen.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Acts 2:5-8 – Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
As I read this favorite selection from the Pentecost story in Acts, I can’t help but think how we are all Memphians or Tennesseans or (fill in the blank). That said, truly understanding one another takes special listening skills.
Gracious and forgiving God, equip us to hear our brothers and sisters in ways that help us to recognize the needs of one another. Amen.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
104:24, 35b – O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures…Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!
I love this time of year. Blooms pop up overnight, and as they wither, there are new blooms to admire on different plants. Some birds are starting to think about nests, and soon there will be chirps of little birds and squawks of protective parents. Thanks be to God!
Awesome God, help us to appreciate the nuances and intricate handiwork of your creation. Amen.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Ezekiel 37:9-10 – Then the LORD said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Today, our passage reminds us that every breath comes from God. As you are able, take a deep breath as though you are filling your chest with the Holy Spirit. As you exhale, thank God for this extraordinary gift.
Creator God, thank you for brisk winds that mess up our hair and clean, crisp air that gives us life. Amen.