Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31st - Reflection




Visit of Mary to Elizabeth
Luke 1:39-57 (NRSV)


In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.

Reflection
Even before his birth, John leaped for joy in the presence of the yet unborn Messiah. Oh how the presence of Jesus makes us, even today, leap for joy. When a person realizes the presence of Jesus in their life, they leap for joy. It's a response to what God has done for you, and for me. We can't repay God for the blessing of eternal life, but we can't help but to leap for joy. The abundance of the gift of life from God, especially considering that all we deserved was eternal damnation, brings forth a joyous response. Consider the word's of Mary and of Elizabeth in this reading. Additionally, consider the response of the unborn John in this reading. What a joy! What a response! Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, I greet your presence this day with a leap of joy. I give you all the glory, thanks and praise for the gracious blessings you have brought into my life. --- Amen

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30th - Reflection









The Holy Trinity
John 16:12-15 (NRSV)
The Spirit will guide you into the truth

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Reflection
Take the love, the compassion, the healing, the teaching, the understanding, the instruction, the passion... Take Jesus the Messiah and all his traits. Take Jesus the Man and all his traits. Take all of Jesus our Savior and declare him to the world. Declare him boldly. Declare the Truth that he is and the Truth that he brings into this world and declare him boldly.

Declare Jesus and the act of God, guided by the Word from the Spirit and go forth in the passion of the love to a world in pain, hurt and sin and death and declare it boldly. Declare the love of the Father in the Son through the Holy Spirit. Declare the mystery of the Trinity and teach the grace given to each person. Declare that precious moment when we stand before our God and reject sin, death and the devil and all his works. Declare that miraculous time when each individual commits and trusts life to the hands of our Savior, spread out and bleeding from the cross of death.
Commit to the blood of Christ dripping from that black cross of death which has wonderfully changed into a symbol of life and salvation, buried within a heart of love, enveloped by a white rose of faith, surrounded by a clear blue sky of hope and eternity, all encompassed by a precious endless gold ring of the most costly act this world has ever witnessed through Jesus.

Yes, declare our God in the Trinity guided by the Spirit! Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Father, Son, Spirit--you act in wondrous and mysterious ways that I can't even begin to fathom or understand. But what I can do, is declare what you have lovingly shown me in my life. What I can do is declare boldly, and with passion what you have done throughout history through your Son, through the Spirit and through the love of the Father. I can declare you, even in the darkest hour. I can declare you in those precious moments of joy. I can declare you to this world in sin, pain and death, that they may see you more clearly and come to love your Church and the relationship that is in store for each unique creature.

You are God and I ask this day that you move in my life that I may do your will and walk in your way to your glory...today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29th - Reflection




Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV)
Jesus increases in wisdom

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

Reflection
Left Behind --- Jesus was left behind. Sometimes I think how great it would be to have been a childhood friend of Jesus. I could be left behind with Jesus at the temple, asking questions of the religious leaders and Jesus. Jesus and I could be in a table discussion together exploring the meaning of God's Word. I could be hearing the Word from the Word made flesh. How wonderful it would be to be left behind with Jesus. How wonderful it would be to increase in wisdom and in years along side of Jesus...but wait a minute...isn't that what is really happening right at this moment...I have been left behind with Jesus...as I increase in wisdom and in years...left behind with Jesus...Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Jesus, as I open the Word and listen to you, increase my wisdom. As my years increase, may I ever be left behind with you. --- Amen

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28th - Reflection




Ephesians 4:1-6 (NRSV)
Life in the Trinity


I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.


Reflection
Our calling is unique. Our calling is unique yet as part of the whole, our calling is one. One towards One God. One towards One faith, One baptism, and One God. Our unique calling combined with God's unique plan brings us together as One. And in that One we become One with the Father, we become One with the Spirit, and we become One with Jesus.

It's always amazing to me how God takes sinful, flawed creatures, like you and I and uses us in call. Uses us and recreates us from what we were intending to be in our own selfish desires, to what God would have us be in God's perfect creation. For..."There is one body and one Spirit..."

Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, as I open the door today and we step together into your Kingdom, use me in that unique call you have designed for me this day. --- Amen

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27th - Reflection


Ephesians 1:17-19 (NRSV)
Wisdom in the Trinity

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.


Reflection
Enlightened eyes of my heart- Eyes that allow me to see the love of Jesus. Eyes that permit me to look at another in love and compassion and share that love God first gave to you and me. Eyes that look out into this world in the knowing hope of an inheritance won by Jesus of everlasting life. Eyes that are able to look deeper within my heart and your heart and see God active both spiritually and physically. Eyes that witness the hands reaching out in service and love to those who have yet to know our Lord Jesus Christ. Eyes that can see past this world to the saints that have gone before me and you and understand the love of Christ in witness for each life. Eyes of the heart for us who believe is an immeasurable witness of Jesus' power and love.

Enlightened eyes of the heart...Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, open the eyes of my heart today that I may see, witness, and act out the love you first have shown. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26th - Reflection




Psalm 48 (NRSV)
The God of Zion

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.

Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God establishes forever.
Selah

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.

Reflection
This is God, our God forever and ever. God is huge. God is creator of the universes. God is almighty to set into motion that grandness of what the human eye can see. We look through telescopes and microscopes, we look with eyes and listen with ears enhanced by our own inventions and still see and hear how the mysteries of God go on and on forever and ever. I think God just gives us peeks of his glory. I think God's glory is way beyond anything we could ever imagine or discover. I think God goes on forever and ever...yet...

He walks with us each day...yet...He comes to us the person of Jesus and the Spirit and the Father...God is vast and awesome, yet close and personal. God is closer than you think. Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Hello Lord, it's good you're here with me. Teach me, lead me, call me, gift me and be my guide forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25th - Reflection




Ezekiel 11:14-25 (NRSV)
God will gather the people

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, your kinsfolk, your own kin, your fellow exiles, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, "They have gone far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession." Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone. Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. When they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, says the Lord God.

Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. And the glory of the Lord ascended from the middle of the city, and stopped on the mountain east of the city. The spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen left me. And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.

Reflection
Even though we wander off and even though we harden our hearts, God comes to us and gets close to us and give us a way to be with him. God comes to all the various places in life that each one of us may be caught in, involved in, or reveling in, and gathers his people once again. God gives us the chance to reunite with him and with each other. God comes to each one of us to remove the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh so that we may joyfully follow his statutes and keep his ordinances.

Those who don't accept the invitation are free to go it on their own. But those who go it on their own are left to their own ways. Life will show that we can't do this on our own. We need God active in our lives. We need God coming to our door day after day. We need each day to arise in our baptism, bury that old life and begin anew in Christ's saving grace. A fresh start to a new and glorious day, that free from the fear of sin, we are free to serve and love and give ourselves to God to be on fire and burnt up in that love. Day after day we are consumed by the passionate fire of God in order that we may feed those God directs us to feed to his glory. Day after day...Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Holy Spirit come, set me afire, that I may be consumed in you, that what I produce may be what you produce in me, and that what is left is purely the love of God for all the world, through the grace of Christ Jesus. --- Amen

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24th - Reflection




Joel 2:18-29 (NRSV)
God's spirit poured out


Then the Lord became jealous for his land,
and had pity on his people.
In response to his people the Lord said:
I am sending you
grain, wine, and oil,
and you will be satisfied;
and I will no more make you
a mockery among the nations.

I will remove the northern army far from you,
and drive it into a parched and desolate land,
its front into the eastern sea,
and its rear into the western sea;
its stench and foul smell will rise up.
Surely he has done great things!

Do not fear, O soil;
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
O 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.

I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent against you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You 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.

Reflection
Sometimes we just need to hang in there and wait. There are tough times and there are good times. In the tough times we turn to the hope we have in God. We turn to the promises that God has given. We turn to Jesus, our Savior, who came in our form, and experienced what we experience, and saved us all the same. And we wait for the Spirit. The Spirit that rains down the gifts that we need in the good times and in the bad times. The Spirit is poured out on all of us. Through the Spirit we hear prophesy and see visions and dreams. Sometimes we just need to hang in there and wait..."I will pour out my spirit on all flesh..." Thanks be to God!

Prayer
In good times and bad, I turn to you Lord. I place all my hope in you, knowing that the Spirit will be poured out in abundance. Take me this day and use me. Take me this day and set me on fire that I may serve you and your Church and your people in love and compassionate action...today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23rd - Reflection




The Day of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV)
Filled with the Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs - in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
'In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

Reflection
Gathered together, God freely and graciously pours out the Spirit upon us. Gathered together as one. Gathered together in our unique lives and circumstances God grants dreams and visions and the Word to fill our hearts and make us One. Gathered together we will witness the presence of the Spirit here in us and around us and before us. Gathered together, we will clearly hear the Word spoken through the lives of each other and through the life of Christ. Gathered together, we will see the Love active in and through each one of us and in and through all of us corporately as the Church. Gathered together in all our differences, we will be united as One and the passionate fire of the Spirit will touch each life. Gathered together, we will come each from our own station and be One in Spirit...gathered together.

Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, gather us together. Gather us from all walks of life and pour out your Spirit on each one of us and all of us. Gather us together, that we may feed from one another and show love as you have shown love. Gather us together and light the fire of passion and service and understanding to love and serve you and all in your creation. Lord, gather us together. --- Amen

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22nd - Reflection




Luke 1:5-17 (NRSV)
God's Spirit to come on John the Baptist


In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Reflection
Even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. What is it to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How does this happen even before birth? Was John filled with the Holy Spirit even before conception?

Being filled with the Holy Spirit, John was great in the sight of the Lord. And what a great message John had to proclaim. John went ahead to proclaim the coming of Jesus. John came to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Just like John, the Holy Spirit descends on the Church this day. Descends on you and me as we, a prepared people, proclaim how the Lord has come among us and stayed with us. Through the filling of the Holy Spirit we go forth as a people, individually and as a Church to live the love that God has given through Jesus Christ.

Prayer
Lord, fill me and fill your church with the love of Christ. Send us aflame in that love to serve our neighbor. Send us with a fire of passion to proclaim your glorious name. --- Amen

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21st - Reflection




Galatians 6:7-10 (NRSV)
Reaping eternal life from the Spirit

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.


Reflection
Work for the good of all, especially those of the family of faith. It's always amazing to me what the Spirit, working through Christians, produces. The love that is freely given to one another and to all peoples. The Spirit sets us on fire with a love that serves the world.

Let us not weaken in our mission to love as Christ first loved us. Let us not weaken in our mission to live out the fruits of the Spirit freely given to us. Let us not weaken in our mission to touch the lives of those God gives to us daily. Let us not weaken in our mission to make disciples of Christ. Let us not weaken, but let us grow strong in the Spirit of God.

Prayer
Lord, keep me from the desires of the flesh and strengthen me in the fruits of the Spirit, today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20th - Reflection




Galatians 5:16-25 (NRSV)
The fruit of the Spirit

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.


Reflection
By contrast...what a wonderful way to put it. What a wonderful guide in our faith walk. By contrast... And what a contrast that is. Do I still slip into the desires of the flesh? Sure, I do. But, thanks be to God, there are passages such as these that permit me to smell the stench of that sin. By contrast...the fruit of the Spirit takes on the aroma of a wonderful incense and a delightful smell. By contrast...I can smell my sin...turn from that sin...repent and by contrast... be guided back to those fruits of the Spirit. What a wonderful guide! What a wonderful plan!

By contrast...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Free from the law, and a wonderful odor to the Lord. By contrast...Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, I sin, hear my plead for forgiveness. Hear me repent and turn towards you. Forgive me Lord and let me bring forth your fruit...today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19th - Reflection




Psalm 29 (NRSV)
The glory of God


Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, "Glory!"

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Reflection
Give God the glory, honor and praise. God is all powerful and can take care of any issue we may run into. God is present in, amongst and around us at all times. God is closer than you could ever imagine. Even in the midst of joyful celebrations, God is present. In the midst of my sinful nature, God is there to pull me and guide me and lead me gently or with force as needed back onto the path God wishes for me to take.

Hear God's voice in the words of a friend. Hear God's voice in a sermon. Read God's Word and hear God speak to you directly through the lives of those who lived years ago yet live on today. My story is God's story. And know that your baptismal vows are real and active day after day. Arise from the flood of water that washed over you day after day. Arise to new life in God. Walk with the Savior and work in the Kingdom in love and compassion to all those God gives to you each day.

Prayer
Lord, as we pull up out of the waters of our baptism this day to new life in you, give us peace, understanding, compassion, love and your direction...today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18th - Reflection




2 Chronicles 5:2-14 (NRSV)
God's glory in the temple

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the people of Israel, in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the Israelites assembled before the king at the festival that is in the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites carried the ark. So they brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up. King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be numbered or counted. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside; they are there to this day. There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel after they came out of Egypt.

Now when the priests came out of the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to their divisions), all the levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kindred, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with one hundred twenty priests who were trumpeters. It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,
"For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,"
the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

Reflection
The house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud. A cloud that spreads into every corner of a container. But I suspect this cloud was soon to be shown to spread beyond the temple and into the world. This cloud of God would spread to the door of the temple and go out. This cloud would go out and be with the people. This cloud would not only go to the Israelites, but it would spread to the Gentiles. This cloud would take in the entire world. This cloud would take on the sins of the world. This cloud would give life to give life. This cloud would spread to inhabit the hearts of all God's children.

I can understand why the Chosen People would want to contain God in an ark, a tabernacle and a temple. What a treasure they possessed! But I don't think God wanted to be contained to just a few. I think God wanted to begin with a few and move out. Just like Jesus as he chooses his first disciples. I don't think Jesus wanted his disciples to stop at those few.

Even at the ascension, the disciples stood and gazed at the clouds and then realized that it was time for the cloud to spread. Then the disciples spread like wild fire, through the power and gifts of the Spirit. Let the cloud spread. Let the whole house of the Lord fill with cloud. Let the cloud envelope your heart with compassion and love of Jesus and spread! Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, as we look forward to Pentecost, fill our hearts with the fire and burning for acts of your love and compassion, one for another, today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17th - Reflection




Exodus 40:16-38 (NRSV)
God's glory on the tabernacle


Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him. In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up. Moses set up the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He took the covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above the ark; and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the curtain for screening, and screened the ark of the covenant; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the curtain, and set the bread in order on it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle, and set up the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the curtain, and offered fragrant incense on it; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He also put in place the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle. He set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering as the Lord had commanded Moses. He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He set up the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and put up the screen at the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

Reflection
First Moses did all the commands of the Lord, just like God wanted them. In reading through the commands, I can't help to think of the curtain of the temple that was torn at Jesus' crucifixion exposing the heart of God to man. We now have free access to God through Jesus.

The other part of this passage that strikes me is the cloud filling the temple. I think of a cloud spreading in a confined space into every inch of that temple. You can't hold the spread of a cloud back. But God was willing, in this case, to confine himself, I think, so that we could better get a grasp of who he is. Just as, God was willing to confine himself in the being of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. And even while confining himself to something we may begin to understand, we struggle to understand God. So, just think how vast and eternal, yet close and intimate God must really be, unconfined like he must really be.

Finally, I appreciate the idea that God has given us something tangible to focus on. Here the tabernacle and later Jesus. We have a God that exposes himself in a way that we can follow God. God is in the lead and as we focus on the tabernacle, or later Jesus, God will lead us in our journey through this wilderness of life to the promised land. Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, as I go this day, I focus myself on Jesus. I move when Jesus moves and follow his lead. Jesus has set the example and shown the world how to love one another and care deeply for each other. As I go this day, my focus will be on the actions Jesus' has planned for me for those he gives to me this day. --- Amen

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16th - Reflection




Seventh Sunday of Easter
John 17:20-26 (NRSV)
Christ's prayer for his disciples


"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

"Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Reflection
Jesus in us and the Father in Jesus, all so that we can be one. One in a sense that we will all know one another intimately. And it's all about "they" --- Jesus asks on behalf of "these" --- Children of God that we are, we become one with each other and Jesus is in the midst of us, is in us, and the Father is in Jesus.

The Father has given us to Jesus and Jesus asks that we may be with him where he is. That we may see his glory which the Father gave to Jesus before the foundation of the world. Jesus is in us and the Father is in Jesus and we see the love given before the foundation of the world.

Our salvation was planned even before we were created! Spin my head and blow my mind so that this Love may be in me and in you. Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, give me this love that you speak of and send me out to those you give to me this day to show your love in me and through me with passionate action. --- Amen

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15th - Reflection




John 1:14-18 (NRSV)
We have seen the glory of God

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

Reflection
Shout it out! We have seen him! He is risen! Risen indeed! Shout it out! We have seen him in his fullness. And we have received grace upon grace. This is the One the law was all about. Here is the One who is God's only Son.

Shout it out! The message is still applicable today. Shout it out and live it out in love to those God gives to you this day. Don't pass by those in need. Shout it out and help! Feed the hungry, care for the sick, work for justice in this world. Shout it out and live out the love and grace you have been shown and given.

Shout it out in word and deed! For the Spirit has given you gifts of time and talent and love and compassion and a heart to shout it out in word and deed. What a wonderful message! What a wonderful gift! Shout it out!

Thanks be to God!

Prayer
This day Lord, I will shout out in your name. This day Lord, I will act out in your love. This day Lord, I will work by your side in your Kingdom...this day! --- Amen

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14th - Reflection




Matthias, Apostle
Acts 1:15-26 (NRSV)

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, "Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus -- for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For it is written in the book of Psalms,
'Let his homestead become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it';
and
'Let another take his position of overseer.'
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us -- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection." So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Reflection

So, which person would you or I be in this story? Justus? Matthias? Maybe the answer could be either. They needed a replacement and they cast lots between a couple of people who were both qualified. Cast lots to see what God's direction may be. But perhaps it was just chance. Perhaps it was just an exercise in continuance. Maybe today you and I have taken the place of another Justus or Matthias. They needed another person to take over the position of overseer.


Are you ready to take the lot you have been cast? Are you ready to step up as overseer? You have witnessed the things Jesus has done through the Word. You have witnessed the things that Jesus has done in your life. You have now become qualified to witness to the resurrection. A resurrection of Jesus through the Word. A resurrection of Jesus in the sacraments. And a resurrection of Jesus to new life in you.


Are you ready to take the lot you have been cast? Go!


Prayer

Jesus, you are eternal and have give us eternal life. May your Church live in eternity with you, as we step up and take our lot cast to each one of us throughout the ages. --- Amen

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13th - Reflection




Ascension of Our Lord
Acts 1:1-11 (NRSV)

Jesus sends the apostles

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."


Reflection

Not only will we hang in there; we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus will come again. Jesus will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. What a sight! What a Truth that was revealed to us. God comes to us in the form of flesh and blood and God comes to us in Spirit. God comes to us in the form that we are...Flesh and Spirit. And God experiences in intimate detail what we experience and knows us as closely as any Creator could ever know the created.


The comfort in being known by God is enormous. God knows, as our Creator, every detail in us. And God knows our every feeling, hurt, joy and desire through the experience of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God knows you...God knows me...God knows the creation.


But as typical children...we want to know..."Is it time yet?"..."Are we there yet?" And God tells us to trust. Trust in God's timing. Trust in God's gifts as we wait. And as we wait in this sin filled world...work on the re-creation of life that God has fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Utilize the gifts the Holy Spirit provides. Live a life in God of the flesh and the spirit to the fullest that God has created you to be.


Maybe the Kingdom has not been fulfilled in the grand sense...but in another grand sense the Kingdom has been fulfilled in you and in me. Live your eternal life now in joyous response to what God has already done for you. Watch the sky...and look into the spirit of your heart...Jesus has come...the Kingdom has begun...in you...in me. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Come, Lord Jesus come. Come Holy Spirit come...come into my heart this day. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12th - Reflection




Psalm 93 (NRSV)
God reigns above the floods


The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
more majestic than the waves of the sea,
majestic on high is the Lord!

Your decrees are very sure;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.

Reflection

For some this spring season; the floods have lifted up both literally and figuratively. But for most of us the flood waters lift up figuratively. There are times and even days when it seems that life is taking us under. There are times that we come to the realization that we can't do this on our own. There are those low times when we know for sure we need help. We all go through those times. I think the difference is the times that we come out of those lows.


As we come out of those low times; do we give the credit to our own hard work? If it's really a low time we could not have come out of it on our own. Sometimes I have sinned and thought it was all about my efforts that brought me out of the low times. I have sinned and failed to realize the blessing of God working through people to help in my rescue.


Luther teaches that we relive our baptism daily. Each day when we rise we go under those baptismal waters to bury our sin from the day past and rise again to a new life in Christ Jesus. In a sense we let the flood waters in over our head and drown to what is taking us under. But through the gracious gift of our baptism and because we are loved Children of God; God raises us to new life, forgives us and leads on in the Kingdom, day after day.


But...we must give that old sin away and go under. It's never anything we can accomplish on our own, this new life. This new life is freely given through the suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and presence of the Holy Spirit in and through Jesus Christ as we live a new life in love to those who are set before us day after day. We receive this new life, not because of our hard work, but because of the love and compassion God has for us. And we receive it freely.


Drown in those flood waters, daily and arise anew to this life in Christ so that day after day we may boldly walk with Jesus in his Kingdom, to his glory. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Lord, when the flood waters cover me, I know of a Savior who is there for me. I give thanks to you as I drown to my old life and rise anew in you...today...tomorrow...and forever! --- Amen

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11th - Reflection




2 Chronicles 15:1-15 (NRSV)
The spirit of God on Azariah


The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. In those times it was not safe for anyone to go or come, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."

When Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord. He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing as aliens with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. They sacrificed to the Lord on that day, from the booty that they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and with all their soul. Whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns. All Judah rejoiced over the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.

Reflection

Seek God! Look for God! Just look and see. God will appear to you in many ways, but when you look for God, God promises to appear. And don't just look half hearted, look with all your heart, mind and soul. Seek God with passion and love. Seek God and rejoice in the looking and search. After all, what else should we be looking for but God? If you seek God, God will be found by you, but if you abandon God, God will abandon you. So...seek God! Look for God with all your passion, with all your heart, with all you have...Seek God!


Prayer

Lord, it's funny...how you come to me first and then tell me to seek you...it's funny...Come Lord Jesus come! --- Amen

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10th - Reflection




1 Chronicles 12:16-22 (NRSV)
The spirit of God on Amasai


Some Benjaminites and Judahites came to the stronghold to David. David went out to meet them and said to them, "If you have come to me in friendship, to help me, then my heart will be knit to you; but if you have come to betray me to my adversaries, though my hands have done no wrong, then may the God of our ancestors see and give judgment." Then the spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said,
"We are yours, O David;
and with you, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
and peace to the one who helps you!
For your God is the one who helps you."
Then David received them, and made them officers of his troops.

Some of the Manassites deserted to David when he came with the Philistines for the battle against Saul. (Yet he did not help them, for the rulers of the Philistines took counsel and sent him away, saying, "He will desert to his master Saul at the cost of our heads.") As he went to Ziklag these Manassites deserted to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai, chiefs of the thousands in Manasseh. They helped David against the band of raiders, for they were all warriors and commanders in the army. Indeed from day to day people kept coming to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God.

Reflection
Christians, brothers, sisters in Christ, will band together. We must band together. It's all part of God's great gathering movement. God has been gathering people together for centuries. God started with a couple of people and then created a nation of Chosen ones. From that nation, God has continued to gather people together and even opened it to all Gentiles as well. God gathers people together.

And the people gather together not only in the love of God but to demonstrate and live the love that Jesus has shown us. We live that love, gathered together, with and for one another. We gather together in congregations of congregations that move and combine the Spirit into the Church of God. A people gathered together as the one holy catholic church. A gathering of those living and dead that have come together through the power of the Holy Spirit to worship God. Gathered together in the love and compassion of Christ.

"Indeed from day to day people kept coming to David...Bill...Joyce...Ron...John...Dave......to help, until there was a great army, like and army of God." --- Thanks be to God for those who gather together in love!

Prayer
You provide for me when those I need gather in my need and when I gather for those in need. Gather us together Lord, through the power of your awesome Holy Spirit. Gather us together...today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 09, 2010

May 9th - Reflecection





Sixth Sunday of Easter
John 14:23-29 (NRSV)
The Father will send the Holy Spirit

Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

"I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.


Reflection

"I am going away, and I am coming to you." I can see one and then/or the other, but both at the same time? This statement seems to puzzle me. But in some way, since they are the words of Jesus, I don't doubt them.


As we read the Word, and believe the stories we read, and as we live our lives and experience the awesome presence of God, it doesn't seem all that far-fetched that God could go away and come at the same time. Just at the moment you think God has left you, and that for me really seems to be the moments I left God for sin, I turn around and realize that he has come to me. Come to me in the movement of the Spirit, come to me in the form of Jesus through another person, but come to me. Come to me perhaps as an angel, or a revelation and even at times a dream or message. Just at the time you feel that separation from God due to something you have done, you feel the presence of God in another form.


In some ways I'm reminded of the prodigal son. Even though he had wandered from his father, the spirit of his father was with him in his mind and soul. He left the father and ventured into sin, yet the father was still with him. And then when he came back to his father, he was welcomed with loving arms.


Return to Jesus, don't let your hearts be troubled. God is closer than you could ever think or imagine. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Thank you Lord, for never leaving...thanks! --- Amen

Saturday, May 08, 2010

May 8th - Reflection





Luke 19:1-10 (NRSV)
Salvation makes a home with Zacchaeus

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He 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." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."


Reflection

We are all Zacchaeus...we all have some physical limitation of some sort...I really don't see a Superman or Superwoman around...we all have sinned in some way...we all have been gifted with a blessing...so...we are all Zacchaeus.


It's a wonderful way that Jesus comes to us. Jesus comes by, and as we try to catch, just a glance of him, he invites us into a much deeper relationship with him. We just want a peek at Jesus. We just want to be able to acknowledge that we have seen Jesus and know all we need to know about Jesus. But Jesus...he wants something much more.


Jesus knows we have physical limitations of some sort. Jesus knows that we have sinned. Jesus knows that God has blessed us in bounteous ways, and we live in the excess of those gifts. Jesus knows all this, yet he wants a deeper relationship. Jesus wants an intimate relationship. Jesus wants to come to the place that we live and stay there a while.


Will we invite Jesus to stay in this place we have built? Will we invite Jesus to stay with our illness, or physical limitation? Will we invite Jesus to stay and see the evidence of our sin? Will we invite Jesus to see how we have ravished the blessings God has freely given us? Will we?


But then Jesus calls us and tells us that he "must stay at our house today." Jesus is coming into relationship with us...like it or not! And he does. Jesus comes to us and stays with us and leads us and calls us and forgives us and makes us his...even with our physical limitations...even with and in our sin...even with the excess of our blessings that we have squandered...Jesus stays with us...Jesus calls us...Jesus loves us...Jesus chooses to die for us and saves us. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Come Lord Jesus come! Oh yeah, come to my house to stay! --- Amen


--
Posted By Bill to Daily Reflections at 5/08/2010 06:45:00 AM

May 8th - Reflection




Luke 19:1-10 (NRSV)
Salvation makes a home with Zacchaeus

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He 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." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."


Reflection

We are all Zacchaeus...we all have some physical limitation of some sort...I really don't see a Superman or Superwoman around...we all have sinned in some way...we all have been gifted with a blessing...so...we are all Zacchaeus.


It's a wonderful way that Jesus comes to us. Jesus comes by, and as we try to catch, just a glance of him, he invites us into a much deeper relationship with him. We just want a peek at Jesus. We just want to be able to acknowledge that we have seen Jesus and know all we need to know about Jesus. But Jesus...he wants something much more.


Jesus knows we have physical limitations of some sort. Jesus knows that we have sinned. Jesus knows that God has blessed us in bounteous ways, and we live in the excess of those gifts. Jesus knows all this, yet he wants a deeper relationship. Jesus wants an intimate relationship. Jesus wants to come to the place that we live and stay there a while.


Will we invite Jesus to stay in this place we have built? Will we invite Jesus to stay with our illness, or physical limitation? Will we invite Jesus to stay and see the evidence of our sin? Will we invite Jesus to see how we have ravished the blessings God has freely given us? Will we?


But then Jesus calls us and tells us that he "must stay at our house today." Jesus is coming into relationship with us...like it or not! And he does. Jesus comes to us and stays with us and leads us and calls us and forgives us and makes us his...even with our physical limitations...even with and in our sin...even with the excess of our blessings that we have squandered...Jesus stays with us...Jesus calls us...Jesus loves us...Jesus chooses to die for us and saves us. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Come Lord Jesus come! Oh yeah, come to my house to stay! --- Amen

Friday, May 07, 2010

May 7th - Reflection




Acts 16:1-8 (NRSV)
Timothy accompanies Paul

Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went from town to town, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.


Reflection

When we team up with another good person in doing the works that God chooses for us to do in the Kingdom, the Spirit moves, faith is increased in both people and in the people they meet. The church is strengthened in our pairing up with other believers. And isn't that what the body of Christ does? All the parts begin to work together and life springs forth in wonderful ways.


Prayer

Lord, I can't work alone. Team me with those that I need to be with and combine the fruits you have given us to give you what you desire. --- Amen

Thursday, May 06, 2010

May 6th - Reflection




Acts 15:36-41 (NRSV)
Paul and Barnabas part company

After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Reflection
Sometimes parting ways spreads the word of God. But the parting of the ways must be with honor and mutual agreement. It's not as if one or the other were dead. Paul and Barnabas still respected and loved one another. Each would now grow in their journey with the Lord. Each will grow in love towards one another and God. It's not as if one or the other were dead, but as if both are now alive and active spreading God's Word and strengthening the churches.

Prayer
As we come and go and move and flow, may your Word spread through us and your grace been seen in all the world...today...tomorrow...and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

May 5th - Reflection




Psalm 133 (NRSV)
How good it is to live in unity


How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
life forevermore.


Reflection

Abundance of anointing oil and abundance of life refreshing dew. As I imagine the abundance; I imagine my baptism and the abundance of oil on my forehead and the abundance of water flowing. I further imagine and see, in the visions of my mind, the abundance of Christs love overflowing the communion cup, flowing over the altar and down and out, for all the world to see and share in the pain, suffering and the everlasting life Christ freely and abundantly gave to all people. "For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore." Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Lord, you shower me in abundant blessing and love. As I step out into your Kingdom this day with you may that love flow from me to those you set before me this day. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

May 4th - Reflection




2 Samuel 1:4-27 (NRSV)
David mourns Jonathan's death

David said to him, "How did things go? Tell me!" He answered, "The army fled from the battle, but also many of the army fell and died; and Saul and his son Jonathan also died." Then David asked the young man who was reporting to him, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan died?" The young man reporting to him said, "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa; and there was Saul leaning on his spear, while the chariots and the horsemen drew close to him. When he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. I answered, 'Here sir.' And he said to me, 'Who are you?' I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' He said to me, 'Come, stand over me and kill me; for convulsions have seized me, and yet my life still lingers.' So I stood over him, and killed him, for I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord."

Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them; and all the men who were with him did the same. They mourned and wept, and fasted until evening for Saul and for his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. David said to the young man who had reported to him, "Where do you come from?" He answered, "I am the son of a resident alien, an Amalekite." David said to him, "Were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" Then David called one of the young men and said, "Come here and strike him down." So he struck him down and he died. David said to him, "Your blood be on your head; for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the Lord's anointed.'"

David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said:

Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon;
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.

You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor bounteous fields!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.

From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return empty.

Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.

O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!

Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.

How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!


Reflection

David, even though a man of war, was a man of love and passion. How could he possess such love for Saul? What an example of one who gives respect! Saul had become jealous of David and hunted him down for years trying to take David's life. Yet David throughout all this time gave respect to Saul. Saul was God's select king after all. So David gave respect to Saul, even in death. I love this quality of David...he was a man of passion, fire, love and respect for God's children, the good and the bad.


And then there is the friendship with Jonathan. What a deep friendship. A friendship of love also. A friendship of true caring, one for the other. Here, once again, David demonstrates the love, I think, that God wants us to have for each other. The idea of loving neighbor is emulated in the relationship of David and Jonathan.


Sure, David had some faults. Sure, his passion and love ran wild and into sin. But David did have a God given talent of the fire and passion and love for God and what God has created. What a man! What a life! What a gift from God! Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Lord, fill me with this God driven fire of passionate love for your people, your creation, your Kingdom and most of all for your Savior, Spirit and Father. For you are my desire. --- Amen

Monday, May 03, 2010

May 3rd - Reflection




1 Samuel 20:1-23, 35-42 (NRSV)
The love of David and Jonathan

David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came before Jonathan and said, "What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin against your father that he is trying to take my life?" He said to him, "Far from it! You shall not die. My father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me; and why should my father hide this from me? Never!" But David also swore, "Your father knows well that you like me; and he thinks, 'Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.' But truly, as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death." Then Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you." David said to Jonathan, "Tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at the meal; but let me go, so that I may hide in the field until the third evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, 'David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.' If he says, 'Good!' it will be well with your servant; but if he is angry, then know that evil has been determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a sacred covenant with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself; why should you bring me to your father?" Jonathan said, "Far be it from you! If I knew that it was decided by my father that evil should come upon you, would I not tell you?" Then David said to Jonathan, "Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?" Jonathan replied to David, "Come, let us go out into the field." So they both went out into the field.

Jonathan said to David, "By the Lord, the God of Israel! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or on the third day, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? But if my father intends to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan, and more also, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, so that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. If I am still alive, show me the faithful love of the Lord; but if I die, never cut off your faithful love from my house, even if the Lord were to cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth." Thus Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the Lord seek out the enemies of David." Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.

Jonathan said to him, "Tomorrow is the new moon; you will be missed, because your place will be empty. On the day after tomorrow, you shall go a long way down; go to the place where you hid yourself earlier, and remain beside the stone there. I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. Then I will send the boy, saying, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say to the boy, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you, collect them,' then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. But if I say to the young man, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then go; for the Lord has sent you away. As for the matter about which you and I have spoken, the Lord is witness between you and me forever." ...

In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him was a little boy. He said to the boy, "Run and find the arrows that I shoot." As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy came to the place where Jonathan's arrow had fallen, Jonathan called after the boy and said, "Is the arrow not beyond you?" Jonathan called after the boy, "Hurry, be quick, do not linger." So Jonathan's boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said to him, "Go and carry them to the city." As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, 'The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, forever.'" He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city.


Reflection

A couple of friends come up with a way to communicate the safety of one to another. "...there is but a step between me and death." We all fit into this situation. Only a step between ourselves and death. And in that space we live our lives. A couple of friends gather together in love and care for that one step. Gather together to attempt their best to make that one step count.


As friends, brothers, sisters, and in the fellowship of Christ, we gather together to love one another in the space of that one step. As we accept the call to be disciples of Jesus, we share in that one step with one another and those God gives us in our daily lives. Share that one step with the faithful and the world so that Jesus' love will brightly shine into all the world...all in that one step between you and death.


And in that love...and in that death...Christ rose from the dead, to give new and wonderful steps into eternity with him. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Lord, as I step out with you this day, help me to make it count. Help me to step out in your love to those you give to me this day. And permit that first step to be with you. --- Amen

Sunday, May 02, 2010

May 2nd - Reflection




Fifth Sunday of Easter
John 13:31-35 (NRSV)
Love one another


When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."


Reflection

"Connecting the world to Jesus one disciple at a time." How are they going to know who the disciples are?


Jesus has been glorified. Jesus ministered and healed the people. Jesus taught the people and fed them. Jesus was even united in glory at the transfiguration. Jesus, for sure, had been glorified and now he was about to ascend. God came to this earth in the flesh of Jesus and God remains on this earth in the spirit of the Holy Spirit.


It's easy for me and you to understand flesh and blood. It's more difficult for us to understand spirit. So Jesus gave his followers a new commandment. Just as we have seen the love and life of Jesus, we also should love and live for each other. Jesus showed loved and we gladly respond by showing his love in us to those he gives to us each day. And it's in this love that the world will know we are disciples of Jesus. When we love one another we connect the world to Jesus. When we love individually, we connect the world to Jesus one disciple at a time. When we love as a church, we connect the world to Jesus as they come one disciple at a time.


Jesus graciously permitted his flesh, that we can understand, to be propelled by the love of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, to show God's love to all the world. Flesh we can understand...Spirit we now have experienced.


We both love one at a time, and we love together and they all come one at a time to see and respond to that love of Jesus shown through each disciple. Jesus, that personal savior in a corporate sharing of his love through us to all the world. Thanks be to God!


Prayer

Let your love shine brightly through me this day and become active and alive so that those you give to me may come to you in love. --- Amen