Archive for June, 2016

Proper 9 (14) 2016 – 2 Kings 5:13

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2 Kings 5:13But Naaman’s servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

It might be human nature to gravitate toward complicated even expensive solutions.  Google “benefit of walking 30 minutes per day,” and you will see that simple changes in one’s routine can lead to extraordinary health benefits.

Creator God, give us the strength to add a healthy habit to our daily routine, and help us to encourage others to do the same.  Amen.

Proper 9 (14) 2016 – 2 Kings 5:10-12

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2 Kings 5:10-12Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.”  But Naaman became angry and went away, saying… Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 

Living on the banks of a river sometimes called the Big Muddy, I can understand Naaman’s feelings every time I read this passage.   I would not stick a wounded hand or foot in my beautiful Mississippi River.

Creator God, give us minds that can discern your true voice from the chatter all around us.  Amen.

Proper 9 (13) 2016 – 2 Kings 5:2-3

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2 Kings 5:2-3Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.  She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 

Listening for God cannot be a passive exercise.  Throughout the Bible, God uses unlikely people to deliver messages of love and healing.  In this case, a young slave girl speaks the truth.

Gracious God, help us to be more attentive to your unending presence in our lives.  Amen.

Proper 9 (14) 2016 – 2 Kings 5:1

Monday, June 27, 2016

Elisha heals Naaman and Jesus sends out his disciples in pairs to spread the word about the kingdom of God in our lectionary selections for this week.  The passages include: 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Psalm 30, Isaiah 66:10-14 and Psalm 66:1-9, Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16, and Luke 10:1-11, 16-20.

2 Kings 5:1Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 

It was important to the writer of 2 Kings to point out that even a mighty commander can contract leprosy.  It reminds us that all of us need healing of some kind, that all of us are fragile in places.

Loving God, help us to remember that we need to handle one another with care.  Amen.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 2016 – Galatians 5:13-14

Friday, June 24, 2016

Galatians 5:13-14For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.  For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

As people of faith, we have a duty to serve one another.  Today, consider the ways you serve your neighbors, and ask God to bless your efforts.

Gracious God, help us to creatively serve our neighbors in ways which exemplify our faith in you.  Amen.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 2016 – 2 Kings 2:1-2

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2 Kings 2:1-2Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.  Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

When the Israelites first camped in the Holy Land, they camped at Gilgal, which also became associated with the start of spiritual journeys.  Jacob had his vision of the ladder to heaven, and he talked to God at Bethel so there is a spiritual maturity associated with Bethel.  So in the last hours of Elijah’s life, the prophet took his successor through a spiritual walk, the symbolism of which would have been fully understood by Elisha.

Loving God, help us walk with confidence as we seek to follow the path you have set for us.  Amen.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 2016 – 1 Kings 19:20

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

1 Kings 19:20Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?”

“I will follow you!  Just let me say goodbye to my parents.”  With twelve yoke of oxen being worked, it is believed that Elisha came from a wealthy family, and that he was not afraid of hard work since he was leading one of the yoke.  In becoming a helper to Elijah and later a prophet in his own right, Elisha was showing himself anxious to give up his wealth for a chance to serve God more deeply.

Gracious God, give us the courage to live our lives in ways which leave us prepared to serve you whenever we are called upon.  Amen.

Proper 8/Ordinary 13 2016 – 1 Kings 19:19

Monday, June 20, 2016

Elijah is taken to heaven in a chariot of fire, and Jesus sets his face on his final trip to Jerusalem.  Both men are setting the stage for those who will carry their message forward after they are gone.  The lectionary selections include:  2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 and Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20, 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21 and Psalm 16, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62.

1 Kings 19:19So Elijah set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him.

The mantle Elijah wore was a cloak that would have identified him as a prophet.  Elijah’s action was a way of telling Elisha that he had been selected to be a prophet.  Consider the mantle God has thrown on your shoulders in your reflective time today.

Almighty God, help us to know our calling from you so that we can serve you to the best of our abilities.  Amen.

Proper 7/Ordinary 12 2016 – Galatians 3:28-29

Friday, June 17, 2016

Galatians 3:28-29There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

We have spent the week thinking about Luke 8 and the demon-possessed man named Legion.  We are reminded by today’s passage that Legion is our brother, just like each of us are brothers and sisters in the faith.

Loving God of all of us, help us to keep our eyes and hearts opened wide so that we see the beauty of your creation in each person we meet.  Amen.

Proper 7/Ordinary 12 2016 – Luke 8:38-39

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Luke 8:38-39The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

“First, I want to thank God,” is a phrase I have heard when people have accepted prestigious awards on television.  I have often questioned the sincerity of such lines.  What I realize is that some folks are just better at giving credit and thanks to God, and that my attitude and practice is probably what needs to change.

Ever-present God, help us to be better at declaring how much you have done for us.  Amen.

Proper 7/Ordinary 12 2016 – Luke 8:30-31

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Luke 8:30-31Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.  The demons begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

I have been trying to get a sense of this Gerasene man’s suffering as I have been thinking about this passage in the lectionary.  In Roman times, a legion was a military unit of about 6,000 soldiers.  Imagine for a moment what this man’s life must have been like.

Loving God, help us to be more empathetic to all of those around us, and especially toward those in greatest need.  Amen.

Proper 7/Ordinary 12 2016 – Luke 8:28-29

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Luke 8:28-29 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”–for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.)

In Mark’s version of this healing (5:1-20), the villagers had given up on shackling him because of his strength.  He would howl on the mountainsides at all hours and bruise himself with stones.  But this poor man living in the first century was a danger to himself, and maybe even to others.

Healer God, our ability to help our brothers and sisters is so great today.  Help us to recognize pain in those around us, and grant us the wisdom to know how we can help.  Amen.


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