Archive for the 'Season after Pentecost' Category

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.

Proper 28 (33) 2016 – Isaiah 65:17-18

Monday, November 7, 2016

The lectionary texts for this week include Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 and Luke 21:5-9.  Alternate selections include Malachi 4:1-2a and Psalm 98.

Isaiah 65:17-18For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.

It would be nice if we could selectively remove memories from our past – times we wronged others and times we were wronged.   With a loving, forgiving and gracious God at our side, we are able to walk into each day as a newly created being.

Creator God, help us be more forgiving people – to others and to ourselves.  Amen.

Proper 27 (32) 2016 – Psalm 145:17-19

Friday, November 4, 2016 

Psalm 145:17-19The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them.

Many of the scriptures for this week have encouraged us to hold fast to our faith, to trust ourselves and not to be easily swayed by others who might not have good intentions.  This passage from Psalm 145 seemed to be a good way for us to end our week.

Gentle God, strengthen our faith in you and keep us mindful of your steadfast presence in our lives.   Amen.

Proper 27 (32) 2016 – 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15

Thursday, November 3, 2016 

2 Thessalonians 2:14-15For this purpose God called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

“…stand firm and hold fast.”  The Thessalonians are being encouraged to practice their faith with great confidence.  It is easy for us to be timid about our faith, but we should recall from elsewhere in the Bible that, like the Thessalonians, we are called to be beacons, to be lights.

Loving God, comfort our hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.  Amen.  (adapted from 2 Thessalonians 2:17)

Proper 27 (32) 2016 – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3aAs to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.  Let no one deceive you in any way…

It is easy to be swayed by others, and Paul is urging the Thessalonians to remain both faithful and patient.  Paul is asking them to trust themselves and their understanding of their faith.  Good advice for us, too.

Loving God, calm any anxiousness in our hearts and help us to trust our faith in you.  Amen.

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