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Showing posts from March, 2012

Come, all who are thirsty.

Isaiah 55 - 56:8 (NIV)"'Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters; and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.' Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely…

John 5:1-15 - No one to help me.

He just lay there. Day after day passed. People came and went. Their ailments being so unkind that they were able to seek help themselves, while he lie alone unable to move.  The young man who was severely injured in a work accident, who had five children and a wife at home who relied upon him to earn a wage, was carried down to the waters by two brothers.  Praise God - he is healed!  The blind woman who traveled a long distance to reach this mystical pool and when the fresh scent of the stirred water flowed past, she stepped in and gained sight!  Praise God - she is healed!

Day after day the man lies there.  He hears the celebrations of those who pass by, which increases his faith that if he too were just able to touch the water when it was stirred, his pain would be relieved and he could get up and walk as well. Yet no one is there to help him. Some days he just can't hold back the tears. He has wailed uncontrollably before, but he has learned that groans and moans and sounds of…

John 4:38 - The unsung heroes of the faith.

I was thinking the other day about how we give greater honor to those whose stories have been recorded.  It is almost as if one's work doesn't matter unless it is published.  But, this isn't how it works in God's kingdom.  This morning I read Jesus' words as recorded in John 4:38, "I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."  Who are these other people?

In the church, we frequently rely upon the stories of the New Testament, for obvious reasons.  But, we also tend to tell the New Testament stories that are louder and take more space.  The disciples get a lot of attention.  Here, in John, Jesus acknowledges that the disciples have the easy job--they get to reap what others have sown. But look at what, or should I say, "who," Jesus is pointing to here.  Jesus is recognizing that many of his followers have worked quite hard to get people to the feet of Jesus.

Rem…

Psalm 36:5-10 modernized - All praise is due God.

Your gracious care, O Lord, extends beyond our human race, it enfolds plant life, animals, nature, and even angels! Your covenant of love has no borders. Jesus, Your perfection has grandeur greater than  St. Helens, Mt. Everest, and the Alps combined. The depth of wisdom to your judgments, who can comprehend? Through them you bring about life for both humanity and the animal kingdom. How great of value is Our Mighty One! We find comfort and safety in Your wake. Your supply is overwhelming, You not only provide for our needs, but delight in our pleasures as well. You are our womb. From within Your being, we gain vision and sight. Persevere, O Lord, in being our teddy bear, the One who comforts and loves us and invites us to be intimately known. Share Your perfection with us, and make our hearts right like Your own. Amen.

Psalm 37:25-26 - Hold on to Hope

I struggle with these verses.

"I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing."
Perhaps it is because I define "righteous" from a New Testament perspective - as Christ makes all believers righteous.  Perhaps it is because I define "forsaken" too loosely and include in that definition "treated unjustly."  Perhaps it is because I wonder if the opposite is true, that if we see one who is forsaken or their children are not called "blessed" this verse indicates that indeed the parent isn't as righteous as s/he seems.  More likely I struggle with these verses because I wonder how they apply to a relative of mine who has been through a lot, yet has always been a person who is generous and lends freely... a person who acknowledges God's will and gives God honor even in Job-like moments.

I suppose Job&#…

Numbers 28 & 29 - A Rhythm of Celebrations & Holy Gatherings

Last time I read through Numbers 28 & 29, I had similar thoughts to today's reading - Do we have a rhythm of celebrations & holy gatherings in the church?  We meet regularly on Sundays to worship God; We have Christmas celebrations and recognize Holy week; But do we really have a rhythm?  What if we changed how we behaved as church such that our main gatherings were for specific celebrations and purposes and Sundays became times for small group Bible studies or for individuals to come into the worship space to worship solemnly and individually?  Do I sound too Catholic?  Would this work better in our culture?

Imagine having everyone in a Christian community commit to going camping for 8-days (Festival of Tabernacles) and during that time we shared the blessings that God had given us the previous year?  Imagine the whole Christian community stopping everything for one day to fast and to repent (Day of Atonement), not only for our individual sins, but the broader communities…