Archive for November, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent 2016 – Psalm 72:1-2, 4, 6

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

Psalm 72:1-2, 4, 6Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.  May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice…May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor…May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.

We live in communities, and these communities have leadership structures.  The Psalm reminds us that for peace to reign, cooperation from these leaders is necessary.  The Psalm is a wonderful prayer for our leaders.

Almighty God, help our leaders sense your presence in their lives.  May they seek your will in all they do.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Advent 2016 – Isaiah 11:7-9

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wonderful images of peace continue during this second week of Advent.  Our lectionary passages for this week include:  Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13 and Matthew 3:1-12.

Isaiah 11:7-9The cow and the bear graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.  They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Meat-eating animals will become plant-eating animals!  Children will play with poisonous snakes and not get hurt!  Today, we pray for God’s intentional activity among us to help usher in this perfect peace.

Gracious God of peace, join us in all we do for your kingdom.  Help us to sense your presence as we seek to do your will.  Amen.

First Sunday of Advent 2016 – Isaiah 2:4a

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Isaiah 2:4a – He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks… 

Isaiah shares a radical vision of God’s peace.  In this passage, tools of war are turned into farm implements and tools of destruction are turned into tools of creation…tools used to create food, sustenance.  Advent is a time to dream big dreams and to envision that time when God’s peaceful kingdom is a reality. 

Creator, Sustainer God, give us this day our daily bread.  Open our eyes to the hunger in our neighbor’s eyes, and give us the strength and wisdom to help.  Amen.

First Sunday of Advent 2016 – Isaiah 2:1-2

Monday, November 21, 2016

This Sunday following Thanksgiving we have us entering the liturgical season of Advent.  The lectionary selections for the first Sunday of Advent include: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14 and Matthew 24:36-44.

Isaiah 2:1-2The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.

Advent is a time of great anticipation…of birth, rebirth and renewal.  It is a time when the scriptures we read will speak of the coming Kingdom of God.  We will be challenged to imagine that time to come when peace reigns throughout the land.

Gracious God, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  Amen.

Proper 29 (34) 2016 – Jeremiah 23:4

Friday, November 18, 2016

Jeremiah 23:4I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD.

Shepherd comes from the Latin word for pastor.  Shepherds lead.  Shepherds feed.  Shepherds protect.  Regardless of your actual vocation, consider for a moment how you are a shepherd to those around you.

Gracious God, help us be better shepherds to one another.  Amen.

Proper 29 (34) 2016 – Psalm 46:8-9

Thursday, November 17, 2016 

Psalm 46:8-9Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

Behold the works of the Lord: All wars will end and all the implements of war will be destroyed allowing for a lasting peace.  Come Lord, come.

Gracious God, help us bring peace to our neighborhoods and our cities so that we can help bring peace to this world.  Amen.

Proper 29 (34) 2016 – Luke 1:76-77

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 

Luke 1:76-77“…And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins…”

Zechariah, the soon-to-be father of John the Baptist, was visited by an angel who foretold the birth of his son.  Because his initial reaction was disbelief, he was struck mute until his son was born.  These verses are part of the prophecy uttered by Zechariah right after he named his son, in what is sometimes called the Bededictus, the song of Zechariah.

Almighty God, grant us discerning spirits so that we can understand your will for us.  Amen.

Proper 29 (34) 2016 – Jeremiah 23:1-2

Monday, November 14, 2016

This Sunday will mark the end of the three-year lectionary cycle.  This last Sunday of the year is also known as Reign of Christ Sunday, and our scriptures for this week begin to anticipate the beginning of Advent.  The scripture selections for this week include: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Luke 1:68-79 or Psalm 46; Colossians 1:11-20 and Luke 23:33-43.

Jeremiah 23:1-2Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD.  Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them.  So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD.

We often think of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians as having the phrase, ‘Do no harm.’  While not found in the Oath in that way directly, the thought is certainly there.  I thought of this familiar phrase after reading this passage, as it does speak to the damage and the alienation we can cause one another.

Merciful God, keep us mindful of the needs of others and help us be good shepherds to one another.  Amen.

Proper 28 (33) 2016 – Luke 21:6-7

Friday, November 11, 2016 

Luke 21:6-7[Jesus is speaking.] “As for these things that you see [the Temple], the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”  They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”  And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.”

Have faith in our mighty and wondrous God.  Let the outward expressions of your faith be worthy of imitation.  These are two themes of the passages for this week.  Today’s passage reminds us to have faith in our faith…to trust our understanding of our faith amid the challenges that seek to pull that faith out from under us.

Steadfast God, give us strength and wisdom to be faithful servants to both you and one another.  Amen.

Proper 28 (33) 2016 – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8

Thursday, November 10, 2016 

2 Thessalonians 3:7-8For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you.

In Paul’s letters to Timothy, he speaks of the importance of being a good example to those he is leading in the faith.  Now in this letter from Paul and Timothy, they are asking the Thessalonians to be good examples to one another.

Gracious God, help us to lead lives worthy of imitation by others around us.  Amen.

Proper 28 (33) 2016 – Isaiah 65:21-22

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 

Isaiah 65:21-22They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

When a tree loses a branch, the tree slowly extends itself over the resulting wound, sometimes leaving a knot or a scar.  Other times, the tree sends off shoots of new life around the broken place, sometimes creating several new branches.  Either way, the tree is forever changed.

Healer God, help us remain in communion with you through life’s trials so that we can continue to grow despite the injuries incurred.  Amen.

Proper 28 (33) 2016 – Isaiah 65:19-20

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 

Isaiah 65:19-20I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.  No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.

It is not difficult to hear the weeping in our streets today – arguments, gunshots, ambulance and police sirens, to name a few.  Consider today how you are peacemaker amidst the chaos that surrounds us each day.

Lord God, open our hearts and make us instruments of your peace.  Amen.


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