Friday, September 30, 2016
Luke 17:5-6 – The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Our scriptures this week have had prophets agonizing over losses suffered and then saying that it is good to “wait quietly” for God (Psalm 34:26). While it is easy to speak of the deep and abiding faith of prophets and psalmists, Jesus reminds us in Luke today that great faith is not needed…just faith.
Loving God, instill in us an enduring faith that will assure us throughout the trials and tribulations of life. Amen.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
2 Timothy 1:5-7 – I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Paul speaks of the spiritual inheritance Timothy received from his mother and grandmother. He then asks him to reclaim it. Who are the people of faith in your life who have blessed you? Give thanks for them today.
Almighty God, for encouraging my faith in you, I give thanks this day for ________. Amen.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Lamentations 3:19-23 – The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.
One of my favorite hymns, Great is Thy Faithfulness, is based on verses 22 and 23 of this passage. Despite the sadness over the loss of Jerusalem, the writer continues to give glory and honor to God, acknowledging as in the hymn, “Morning by morning new mercies I see.”
Steadfast God, while we struggle with short attention spans, your love for us is never-ending. Thank you for this day and all the possibilities for service it brings. Amen.
Monday, September 26, 2016
We are quickly approaching the end of this third year in the lectionary cycle. Our scriptures this week include: Lamentations 1:1-6 & Lamentations 3:19-26; Psalm 137; 2 Timothy 1:1-14 and Luke 17:5-10. Alternate selections include: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 and Psalm 37:1-9.
Lamentations 1:1, 5 – How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal…Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because the LORD has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.
The writer of Lamentations, traditionally thought to be the prophet Jeremiah, is anguished by the fall of Jerusalem and points to God’s displeasure “for the multitude of her transgressions” as the cause of the fall. While I rarely write about sin in these meditations, we are reminded this morning that sin can have devastating consequences for us and those around us.
Gracious God, forgive us of our sins, and help us to be more forgiving toward one another. Amen.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
1 Timothy 2:1-2 – First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings, and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.
Our passages thus far this week have admonished us to never forget the poor and needy among us. Today’s passage reminds us to pray for our leaders, too, that they lead in ways that help us live out our faith as best we can.
Prayer: Almighty God, we ask a special blessing for all of those in positions of power. May their leadership be pleasing to you. Amen.
Have a blessed day,
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Amos 8:4-6 – Here this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
An ephah was a unit of dry measure equivalent to about a bushel, and a shekel in this context was likely referring to weight. The prophet is chastising those who would anxiously await the end of Sabbath observances, for example, so that they could get back to selling their wheat in less than bushel quantities at bushel prices, placing money and self ahead of God.
Prayer: Almighty God, forgive us for all those times we place you second and hurt our relationships with you and with our brothers and sisters. Amen.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Our scriptures for this coming Sunday have prophets and psalmists crying out to God, and they have Christ reminding us that we can serve only one master. The lectionary selections include: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; Psalm 79:1-9; 1 Timothy 2:1-7 and Luke 16:1-13. Alternate selections include Amos 8:4-7 and Psalm 113.
Jeremiah 9:18, 21-22 – My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick…For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?
I sometimes think we live in the Age of Me. We are encouraged look perfect, get rich and out-compete one another. But as people of faith, we are called to live out that faith in loving community with one another.
Prayer: Gracious God, help us to be able to cry out for one another as we seek to do your will this and every day. Amen.