Friday, November 18, 2016
Jeremiah 23:4 – I 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.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Psalm 46:8-9 – Come, 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.
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.
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 23:1-2 – Woe 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.
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.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
2 Thessalonians 3:7-8 – For 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.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Isaiah 65:21-22 – They 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.