Archive for October, 2016

Proper 27 (32) 2016 – Psalm 98:1a, 4

Monday, October 31, 2016

For this upcoming Sunday the lectionary offers the following passages: Haggai 1:15b-2-9; Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21 or Psalm 98; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 and Luke 20:27-38.  Alternate passages include Job 19:23-27a and Psalm 17:1-9.

Psalm 98:1a, 4O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things…Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

This passage reminds me of a scene that has been shared among several Broadway musicals I have seen.  One person begins to sing, and during their solo, they get a new outlook on life.  This changes their song, often to one of hope and optimism.  Their change transforms the cast who then join the soloist on stage and joyfully sing this new song.

Gracious God, help us shine your light toward others so that they can join us in a new song of life.  Amen.

Proper 26 (31) 2016 – Luke 19:3-5

Friday, October 28, 2016 

Luke 19:3-5Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.  When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”

I often find myself in a situation where I am wishing I knew the right words to say so that I can offer comfort, support or praise.  Zacchaeus, who reportedly says nothing before being noticed by Jesus, reminds us of the truth of the adage that actions often do speak louder than words.

Prayer: Gracious God, may our actions and our words toward one another reflect our faith in you.  Amen.

Proper 26 (31) 2016 – 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3

Thursday, October 27, 2016 

2 Thessalonians 1:1-3Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:  We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.

Working at Church Health offers each of us the opportunity to work among many people who share a deep and abiding faith.  Time and time again, managers and supervisors with experience in more typical corporate environments have told me of the transformational nature of their experience here.  Not unlike the passage today, as we grow in our faith together, we grow closer to one another in ways we can’t ignore.

Prayer: Creator God, continue to work in us in ways that bring us into deeper relationship with one another.  Amen.

Proper 26 (31) 2016 – Habakkuk 2:1-2

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 

Habakkuk 2:1-2I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.  Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 

While I am not a fan of billboards, the most effective ones often have fewer but larger words, making them easier to read as I speed by in my car.  How we live our lives, as imperfect as they may be, can be the billboards of our faith.

Prayer: Gracious and forgiving God, give us the strength to live the lives you want us to live.  Amen.

Proper 26 (31) 2016 – Habakkuk 1:2-3

Monday, October 24, 2016

This Sunday the lectionary offers the following passages from Scripture: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 12:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10.  Alternate selections include Isaiah 1:10-18 and Psalm 32:1-7.

Habakkuk 1:2-3O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?  Or cry to you, “Violence!” and you will not save?  Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble?  Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

Habakkuk is another prophet seemingly frustrated with God by what he sees happening to his brothers and sisters.  And yet, I can’t help but think how much better the world would be if more of us cried out to God to help us like Habakkuk is doing in the passage.

Prayer: Almighty God, strengthen us so that we can be of more help those less fortunate than we are.  Amen.

Proper 25 (30) 2016 – 2 Timothy 4:16-17a

Thursday, October 20, 2016 

2 Timothy 4:16-17aAt my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me.  May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

‘In my time of need, no one stood by me but you, God.  Don’t think less of them, God.’  What a powerful statement of forgiveness Paul is making in this passage today!

Prayer: Gracious God, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Amen.

Proper 25 (30) 2016 – 2 Timothy 4:6-7

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 

2 Timothy 4:6-7As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

I find Paul’s race analogy very helpful.  First, Paul says he finished the race, but he didn’t say he won the race.  Participation, not victory, is key.  Second, I think of the stitch you can get in your side after strenuous exercise.  The race of faith in which we run can be difficult, even painful, at times.

Prayer: Steadfast God, in our race of faith, help us know your presence so that we may continue to draw on your strength when we are faltering.  Amen.

Proper 25 (30) 2016 – Joel 2:27-29

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 

Joel 2:27-29You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other.  And my people shall never again be put to shame.  Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.  Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Anticipate the impossible!  Expect the unexpected!  We worship a limitless God who loves all of us.

Prayer: Almighty God, open our eyes and our minds to your love that knows no limits.  Amen.

Proper 25 (30) 2016 – Joel 2:23-24

Monday, October 17, 2016

The lectionary for this week includes: Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 and Luke 18:9-14.  Alternate selections include Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 and Psalm 84:1-7.

Joel 2:23-24O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before.  The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

Our farmer’s market will end its seasonal run in a few weeks.  Many urban neighborhoods are devoid of grocery stores.  A famer’s market can be part of the solution to such nutritional deserts in our communities.

Prayer: Creator God, help us creatively share your abundance with those less fortunate than we are.  Amen.

Proper 24 (29) 2016 – Luke 18:1-3

Friday, October 14, 2016 

Luke 18:1-3Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.  In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’”

Persistence can be annoying when it is aimed at you, and I imagine most of us have had a time when we gave in to the demands of someone just to make them go away.  But we are reminded this week to be students of our faith, to offer prayers and praise with inspired persistence, so that we might have confidence borne of that faith that is able to withstand any challenges that come our way.

Prayer: Almighty God, you have been described in song as “a bulwark never failing.”  Help us lift our eyes to the hills with confidence knowing that you are always with us.  Amen.

Proper 24 (29) 2016 – Genesis 32:25-26

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 

Genesis 32:25-26When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled him.  Then he said, “Let me go, for day is breaking.”  But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

“You missed your calling,” is a phrase many of us have heard from well-meaning friends.  No doubt some of us have missed our calling.  Some of us have even wrestled with God to avoid living into God’s plan for us.

Loving God, we don’t always understand your will for us, but we humbly ask you to bless our efforts made in your name today and every day.  Amen.

Proper 24 (29) 2016 – Jeremiah 31:34

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lectionary selections for this coming Sunday include Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and Luke 18:1-8.  Alternate selections include Genesis 32:22-31 and Psalm 121.

Jeremiah 31:34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

We are working in congregations to reduce the stigma associated with behavioral health issues, including the stigma attached to those among us who are struggling with alcohol or drugs.  As these important conversations continue on how we might help these particular brothers and sisters, we should remember the covenant God makes with the people of Israel in the passage today.

Steadfast and forgiving God, help us see one another as though we are looking through your eyes.  Make us more forgiving people.  Amen.


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