Archive for April, 2016

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 5:5-7

Friday, April 29, 2016

John 5:5-7One man was near the pool who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”   The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”

I thought of our wellness facility when I read these verses today.  I believe people come through our doors who have answered Jesus’ question with a yes.  Our job is to lovingly help them into the nutrition class, onto the treadmill or into our own therapeutic pool.

Loving God, help us to make the people we meet today to feel as though they are important to us, that each has a place at the front of our line.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 5:2-3

Thursday, April 28, 2016

John 5:2-3Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay many invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed.

According to the belief, an angel would touch the water of the pool, and it would become agitated.  The first person to enter the water would be healed of whatever malady they had.  So while this image of so many suffering people haunts me, it is also an image of hope: hope for healing.

Healing God, no matter the severity of our situation, give us the strength to never give up our hope.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:11-12

Wednesday, April 27, 1016

Acts 16:11-12We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.

Today, Macedonia is northern and central Greece, so I couldn’t help but think of the Syrian and other refugees who are escaping from the coast of Turkey to get to Greece.  It places the faith of these early believers in a different context for me that they decided to cross a dangerous sea based on a dream that Paul had.

Almighty God, embolden our faith so that we can take actions that build your kingdom.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 5:1

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

John 5:1After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Whenever I read verses that start like this, I have read what happened just before.  In John 4:46-54, Jesus heals the son of a royal official, so a man who likely served under Herod.   Despite his role in the government, he had great faith in Jesus.  Sensing his sincerity, his faith, Jesus healed his son.

Gracious God, you ask us to love our enemies.  Help us to live boldly enough to risk loving all people for your sake.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:9-10

Monday, April 25, 2016

We are approaching the sixth Sunday of Easter.  Paul leaves on a journey in response to a vision, and Jesus heals a man at the pool of Bethesda in the selections for this week.  Those scriptures include: Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5, and John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9. 

Acts 16:9-10During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

Faithful living involves developing a habit of listening for God’s active presence in your life.  But once you have heard God, you are compelled to act, which can be easier said than done.

Gracious God, help us to hear your voice in our lives, and give us the wisdom and courage to act on your will.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Revelation 21:3-4

Friday, April 22, 2016

Revelation 21:3-4And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

We are surrounded by people in tears – in our homes, in our communities and in our world.  But the world described in these verses is the world of the new Jerusalem.

Almighty and everlasting God, give us the ability to begin to reduce some of the pain felt by our brothers and our sisters.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 13:34-35

Thursday, April 21, 2016

John 13:34-35“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sometimes, I think we make following God more complicated than God intended.  “Love one another.”  Jesus loved his Jewish disciples, and he loved the woman at the well.  He ate with Jewish leaders and tax collectors.  Jesus’ arms were opened wide…in his life and in his death.

Loving God, help us to love on another genuinely.  Help us to offer love abundantly.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 13:31-32

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

John 13:31-32When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

It is the day before Jesus is to die on the cross, and these verses begin Jesus’ final instructions to his eleven disciples.  Jesus knew what Judas would do in a few hours, and he knew what would happen to him the next day.

Loving God, give us the courage to act from our abiding faith in you no matter what the personal cost might be.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Psalm 148:3-5

Monday, April 18, 2016

For me, the passages for this fifth week of Easter remind us that God is the creator of everything, including all of us.  And since God created all of us, each of us of us can enjoy a personal relationship with God.  Our lectionary selections include: Acts 11:1-18Psalm 148, Revelation 21:1-6, and John 13:31-35.

Psalm 148:3-5Praise the LORD, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!  Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!  Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.

In the first chapter of Genesis, God spoke, and it was done.  We begin our week together with a reminder that everything around us, all the trees, the clouds, the sun and moon, and our rivers and oceans, are all part of God’s creative genius.

Creator God, you have placed us here as caretakers of your creation.  Give us the wisdom to carry out your will.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 10:25-27

Friday, April 15, 2016

John 10:25-27Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.

This week, we have been praying to recognize the needs of those around us, to proclaim our faith in words and actions and to hear God’s voice in our lives.  Today, we pray for clarity.

Everlasting God, your voice is sometimes softer than the noisy world around us.  Help us to hear you more clearly and understand you more fully.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Psalm 23:1-3

Thursday, April 14, 2016

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.

It was customary for sheep to reside in common pens at night.  Come morning, the sheep would follow their own shepherd to the fields because they recognized his unique voice.  We are reminded today to listen intentionally for God in our lives so that we can go where we are being led.

Caring God, help tune our ears to your voice in our lives so that we can be the faithful people you want us to be.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 9:40-41

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Acts 9:40-41Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up.  He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive.

I have read this passage many times.  What struck me in reading it today was the last sentence.  He showed that Tabitha was alive to both the saints and the widows – leaders of the faith and the poorest of the poor.  The power of God was revealed to all.

Gracious God, through our actions and our words, help us to proclaim our faith to everyone we meet today.  Amen.

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April 2016

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