Archive for July, 2015

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 2015 – Ephesians 4:15-16

Friday, July 31, 2015

Ephesians 4:15-16But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

If each of us were to write a statement of faith, the statements would likely vary by the number of people writing them.  Yet it is our faith that binds us together into the body of Christ and blesses our joint work for God’s kingdom.

Understanding God, bless our individual and collective efforts to make your kingdom a more loving place for everyone.  Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 2015 – Ephesians 4:1-3

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ephesians 4:1-3I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

These verses offer a wonderful sentiment to consider as we enter the last days of this week.  Remember that you are part of the body of Christ, you are brothers and sisters.  Work diligently to live in peace with one another.

Gracious God, help us to live our lives in ways that reflect our faith in and love for you.  Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 2015 – Psalm 51:10-12

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Psalm 51:10-12Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

It is difficult to read about David’s infidelity and conspiracy in the 11th and 12th chapters of 2 Samuel.  Yet David falls before God with a contrite heart, and creates this wonderful song requesting forgiveness and cleansing.

Almighty God, we ask  you to not only forgive us for all those times we act improperly toward one another, but also forgive us for those times we fail to act as you want us to act.  Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 2015 – 2 Samuel 12:4-5

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2 Samuel 12:4-5“Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.”  Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die;”

Nathan will go on to remind David that in having Uriah killed, he was acting like the rich man he had just finished saying needed to die.  Hind sight may be 20/20, but I believe most of us find it easier to see the faults in others while missing the moments of insensitivity and even downright cruelty we inflict on others.

Forgiving God, help us to recognize the sins in our own lives before they have negative consequences on those around us.  Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18 2015 – 2 Samuel 11:26-27

Monday, July 27, 2015

God’s displeasure at the killing of Uriah is made very clear to David, and David laments his sin.  Manna comes from heaven to feed the wandering Israelites, and Jesus identifies himself as the bread of heaven in the passages offered for us this week in the lectionary.  Those passages include: 2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a and Psalm 51:1-12, Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 and Psalm 78:23-29, Ephesians 4:1-16, and John 6:24-35.

2 Samuel 11:26-27When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him.  When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD…

In having Uriah killed, David had committed what many might consider an unforgiveable sin.  Clearly David will be punished by God, but God is not finished with David.  Despite his actions, David’s life will still be lived out in service to God.

Forgiving God, you take us as we are, and you find ways to use us in your kingdom.  Help us to accept your forgiveness and continue to serve you despite our mistakes.  Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 2015 – Psalm 145:10-12

Friday, July 24, 2015

Psalm 145:10-12All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.  They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

If you are like me, it is easy to praise God in silence.  Yet our passage today clearly tells us that as people of faith, being quiet is no option.

Creator God, help us give voice to your mighty acts in our lives.  Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 2015 – John 6:11-12

Thursday, July 23, 2015

John 6:11-12Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.  When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”

At my church and at the Church Health Center, we call it “family hold back.”  That is when you wait until everyone else has been served before you serve yourself.  There is a practical side to this making sure that all of your guests are sufficiently fed, but the gracious side of this is caring for the needs of others before your own needs.  And from words I have heard from Rev. Dr. Scott Morris for as long as I can remember:

Gracious God, today and every day, keep us mindful of those less fortunate than we are.  Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 2015 – John 6:8-9

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 

John 6:8-9 – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

John’s version of the feeding of the 5,000 notes that it was a boy who offered to share his food with the crowd; it was a boy who shared his lunch box or picnic basket.  Jesus said we should become as children.

Loving God, help us to minister to one another with generous hearts.  Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 2015 – 2 Samuel 11:11

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2 Samuel 11:11Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.”

David tries to get Uriah to visit Bathsheba so her pregnancy can be tied to him.  Uriah’s response to David shows immense respect for his fellow soldiers.  Today, take time to pray for your coworkers.

Gracious God, may each of my colleagues feel your supporting presence today.  Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17 2015 – 2 Samuel 11:2

Monday, July 20, 2015

David eyes Bathsheba and Jesus feeds 5,000 in the lectionary selections for this week.  Those passages include: 2 Samuel 11:1-15 and Psalm 14, 2 Kings 4:42-44 and Psalm 145:10-18, Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6:1-21.

2 Samuel 11:2It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.

I hesitated to even address 2 Samuel 11.  Bathsheba will become pregnant after she and David lie down together while her husband is away fighting in David’s army.  To make matters worse, David will end up arranging for her husband Uriah to be sent to the front lines of battle where he will be killed.  There will be severe consequences as a result.  Yet David will continue to talk to God, and God will continue to use David in marvelous ways.

Forgiving God, help us to remember that you will always love us, even we are seemingly unlovable.  Amen.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 2015 –

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mark 6:34As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

For most of us, it is easy to see Jesus as a shepherd.  But so many people with whom we come in contact are lost in some way, all of us have to be ready to shepherd our neighbor.

Understanding God, give us the wisdom we need to be good shepherds to those among us who need help finding their way.  Amen.

Proper 11/Ordinary 16 2015 – Mark 6:31-32

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mark 6:31-32He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.  And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.

It is healthy for us to remember the very human side of Jesus.  Jesus recognized the need for leisure, eating together and rest for himself and those who worked with him.

God of our rest and of our work, help us to make time for our own re-creation, and remind us to encourage the same for those who work with us.  Amen.

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July 2015

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