Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31st Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 49:1–12
Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high, rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.
Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?
Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life, there is no price one can give to God for it.
For the ransom of life is costly, and can never suffice
that one should live on forever and never see the grave.

When we look at the wise, they die; fool and dolt perish together and leave their wealth to others.
Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they named lands their own.
Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish.

Life just isn't fair God!
The ones that deserve punishment get away with all the riches.
Those that are greedy get lucky.
What about the rest of us that try our best to do your will?

Only you are all wise and understanding.
Only you, O Lord, know the way of this world.
To your wisdom and understanding I turn.
I listen intently for what you have to say.

In the storms of life I turn to you.
I turn to you in the blessings with a thankful heart.
At all times you are by my side.
Fill me with your will and your way that I may please you.

I won't place my trust in wealth.
Wealth alone will never buy salvation.
Salvation comes from you alone.
And what a great price you paid for my salvation.

Luck or riches won't save me from the grave.
I will face the grave that's for sure.
But I will face the grave with you in front of me.
I will face the grave with the grace of Jesus.

Oh, how you have turned the grave into a joyful place.
For Jesus arose from the tomb.
Jesus granted life from death as the first.
And Jesus granted life from death to those who believe.

In your love and grace I will take my stand.
I trust in you and you alone.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Salvation from you alone.

Death levels the playing field for all of us. But you grant eternal life. Not by anything I can do. Not by any payment I can make. But through your loving grace you forgive and save me. You save me and separate me and call me and bless me and send me into life. May I bring pleasure to you each day. May I do your will... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Hosea 11:1–11
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes. My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all.

How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. They shall go after the Lord, who roars like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west. They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.

This is a passage about a loving father. A father that raises his children, only to have them leave in rebellion. A father that raises and loves his children deeply enough to carry each one through the tough times and teaches his children how to handle the situations of life. Here is a father that sacrifices himself for the children. Here is a father that leads by love and understanding rather than by whips and punishment. A giving loving father.

Yet the children leave for other delights that are set before their eyes. The children fall for the pleasure and lure of a freedom and those that give in the short term. The children ignore the sacrifice of the father and leave to discover the trappings of the evil of this world.

And the father waits in love. The father permits this excursion knowing that his love is a true love. The father knows that he must grant the free will to his children to make choices and to live with those choices. The father knows that his children must learn what he has learned. The father trusts in the love he has given and the love he has been given by God. The father knows that all need the love of God. So the father waits in love as the children grow in understanding.

As we stray from God, our father, God waits upon our return. God is always there loving us and calling us to turn and return to him. Our Father in heaven is not a vengeful God but a God of love and compassion and understanding. God is not mortal with a passion of revenge and punishment for his children when they stray. God is full of love and calls for our return to his loving arms for his guidance and grace.

Lord, may I hear your call when I stray. May I see your face and return, seeking your forgiveness and grace. Hear the sorrow and repentance I bring for the sins I have done and for the sins I am not aware of. Forgive me dear Father. Teach me your love that I may be the father that you are to those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14; 2:18–23
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind. I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me —and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

The Teacher here proclaims that all is vanity. But, I think the Teacher proclaims all is vanity for those who have no hope. I think it is implied that the Teacher has some knowledge of this hope and all is not vanity for the Teacher. So, the text continues in the Teacher's explanation of this hope that the Teacher clings to.

As people, we look for some meaning to life. We look for some order in the chaos we see around us. We look to bring and create some sort of peace to our living. Yet our sinfulness has drawn us into this world and captured us. We need a God to rescue us and bring order out of the chaos. We cannot save ourselves or order this world in the ways that we would wish to order it on our own and with our own will and way. We need God.

As we live our lives we grab for the riches and pleasures of life. We seek wisdom and knowledge and culture of living in community one with another. We are drawn towards peace with one another. Yet we fight and war for our own way of thinking or living. We live in a conflict of peace and war. As we reflect on this struggle it is all useless in some ways. The fight we live in our lives and the actions we take seem futile.

Our only hope lays outside of ourselves. Our only hope lays in God. Our hope is in the saving life of Jesus, whom God has sent to save us from this futile existence. We cannot save ourselves, but God does save us. God saves us and orders our lives in this chaotic and futile world of sin. God saves us and brings us a promise of God's order in all things. God's order in his love for us and all of his children. God's order in a creation that God created perfect in every way. Perfect in that God also gave a Savior for his lost and sinful children.

Yes, the Teacher claims hold of something besides vanity. Otherwise the Teacher would have nothing further to say in this book of scripture. Listen to the Teacher and hear the message of hope and salvation that lays beneath all of the "vanity of vanities." We have a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Thanks be to God!

Lord Jesus, without you I would be forever lost. Forever lost in my sin. Forever lost in my greed. Forever lost to the love you give. But you came for me and those just like me. You came to save us from our sinful selves. You came and showed us the love of the Father. You came and pointed us to the guidance of the Spirit. You came and saved us. In your coming I have hope and love and life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Colossians 1:15–28
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

We were made in the image of God. Here Paul speaks of the invisible image of God. In Jesus, however, we have the visible image of God in flesh. Jesus existence throughout all time and even before time permits us to be made in the image of God. So, Jesus was involved in creation and in fact above creation. Jesus was included in the creation but at the same time not created. Jesus is the Creator. And in this the created have unity in Jesus.

Jesus was so involved with creation that all things were created through him and for him. All things, including heaven and earth. All things... even those things that we can't perceive... those things of heaven too. Jesus created and Jesus is the goal of creation. Jesus is the One.

Jesus in creation brings out a new creation in the Church. And Jesus is head of the Church. The Church is created and sustained through Jesus. All things are held together firmly in Jesus. Creation and the Church and heaven and earth are bound up in Jesus.

How do we reconcile our sin with this Jesus? We may even behave "good" but what about our thoughts? Even in our pure actions, our thoughts separate us from God by rejecting God's supremacy in all creation. We are the created, but sometimes we act as if we think we are the creators. We all have sinned and separated ourselves from God. But, thanks be to God, through Jesus passion we can be saved. Saved not by our own doing, but saved through the love of Jesus for his created.

As we attempt to break that strong bond or glue of Jesus with his creation; Jesus saves us from this sinfulness through his life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection to life. Jesus becomes the first to be resurrected from the dead and we who believe in Jesus graceful gift of salvation will rise from the dead as well. We will rise to a new life in Jesus. And this resurrection begins the moment we believe in spirit as well as in the future after our fleshly death. We will rise! All due to what Jesus has done for his created.

Oh, how we seek that day when all will rise and Jesus presents us holy. Jesus will present us holy as he is holy, because Jesus fulfills the created. As we stand firm in this faith that Jesus is the only one to present us holy, we stand firm in the gospel proclaimed through Jesus life. But, how awful for those who separate themselves from God. How awful will that day be for those who refuse to believe. How awful for those who have made themselves their own God. How awful for those who take up other false gods and place their lives in the hands of another. May these have one more chance. May God be gracious to these and reconciliation take place at the last.

So, we live our lives in faith. We live our lives in the belief that all of our sufferings, all of our works, all of our passions, may bring glory to God our Father, Jesus our brother and the Holy Spirit. We live our lives in our present state towards that glory that Jesus has prepared for us through what Jesus has done for his created. We live our lives in the hope and love of God in Jesus. We live and we continue on, standing firm through all trials and tribulations, knowing that Jesus will make complete ourselves and all of his creation.

All of this to the glory of God!

Lord, you poured it on today! You poured it on through your Word in the words of Paul. You poured it on in Jesus. You poured it on to me in such a way that your mystery is revealed yet your mystery is way beyond anything I can understand. Yes, Lord, you poured it on today. May I pour myself out to you and to all you give to me, all to your glory and honor and priase... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 52
Why do you boast, O mighty one, of mischief done against the godly? All day long
you are plotting destruction. Your tongue is like a sharp razor, you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth. Selah
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
The righteous will see, and fear, and will laugh at the evildoer, saying,
“See the one who would not take refuge in God, but trusted in abundant riches, and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
I will thank you forever, because of what you have done. In the presence of the faithful I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

To hear the tongue of one who tells lies,
brings on anger and fury.
Deceit is obvious to the listener,
but the speaker believes it's hidden.

The foolish lie and boast,
they live proudly on false pretense.
The stories never end,
and become more and more absurd.

The righteous turn to one another,
they turn together to One God.
Life is open and humble,
always seeking God's formation and love.

God uses the tongue for good instead of evil,
the work of God's children is pure and open.
The tongue of the faithful, praise the Creator,
the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

In God's Word we live and trust,
a Word always true and righteous.
Only through God's Word can we live,
in love and salvation eternally.

Lord, forgive me when I fail to control my tongue and the words that I speak. Fill me with your truth and your will and your way, that I may bring glory to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 15
O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Wow! I don't nearly measure up to this psalm. For me this psalm displays how I want to live. This psalm shows the characteristics that I strive for.

I strive to be with God at all times.
I strive to be pleasing in God's presence.
I want to be truthful and blameless.
I want my speech to be honorable and concise.
Never taking advantage of family or friends.
I want to love my neighbors as creations of God.
I strive to be generous.
I strive to love God with my life.

But in all of these...

I know that I need a Savior.
I know my Savior is Jesus.
I know that Jesus fulfills me.
I know that God takes me and makes me new.
I know that God works on me and shapes me.
I know that I can't be all I strive to be.
I know that God makes me what he strives for me to be.
I know that God accepts me, flaws and all.
I know that God forgives me.
I know that God saves me.
I know that God loves me.

Lord, make me what pleases you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Amos 8:1–12
This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by. The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” says the Lord God; “the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place. Be silent!”

Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt? On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day.

The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.

Do we watch out for this sin of greed? Do we stand with the needy and the poor when they are cheated? When the needy are trampled upon, God will act. God will act and one day put an end to all of these kinds of acts. If we are caught in the act of greed over the poor we can only hope for God to punish us and turn us around from our own greedy sinfulness.

Dare we not be caught up in the famine of God's words. We would be lost if God would not use words to speak to us and give us direction. The hunger of the needy will be nothing compared to our hunger for God's Word when we are lost.

Yes, this passage is a warning told in a story. A story that leads us to understand how strongly God wishes for us to love our neighbors, to love the poor and the needy and the sick. We need to care for one another out of love.

Lord, show me your will and your way as I live this life you have graciously given me that I may serve you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Genesis 18:1–10a
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.

Here in this passage God comes to Abraham quickly and Abraham responds quickly.Abraham ran to these men because he recognized God's appearance in them. Abraham was receiving many angelic visits now with the promise of a son in Isaac.

Perhaps this passage depicts a communion with God or a ceremony with God in which the agreement of a son to Abraham would be confirmed.

As we live our lives, do we recognize God in our midst? Do we see the presence of God in those that God gives to us? When we are aware of the great promise God has freely given to us through Jesus we spring into action in the presence of God. We have been provided with new life. We have been promised a new birth that is beyond imagination. Much like the birth of a child to an old couple, we have been given a new birth to an old man that at one moment was dead.

In Christ we spring to new life and new birth in the presence of God. It's no wonder that we want to celebrate this new life with a supper. Perhaps that's the supper that we desire in the bread and the wine and in the body and the blood. A supper that confirms a new birth and a new creation. A supper that we gladly and quickly prepare in the presence of God. God attends this supper as well. Attends this supper in no other way than with himself. God attends and we commune with God in new life.

Lord, open my eyes to recognize you in those you give to me, that we may commune one with you and one with another... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 14th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Luke 10:25–37
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

How do we inherit eternal life? Look at the law and see what it says. The one asking the question knew this answer before it was even asked. "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5) and also (Leviticus 19:18) "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."

So the lawyer asking the question was silenced by Jesus' correct answer. So he tries to stump Jesus in another way and with another question about who is one's neighbor. Jesus gives a parable for the answer. A parable that really doesn't feed to the needs of the brain but more to the actions of the heart. It was necessary for the lawyer and us too, to be able to move the law from our brains to the actions of our hearts and hands. Actions formed, not so much out of knowledge of the law, but actions formed out of love from the heart.

With this parable comes our own conversion. It's one thing for us to hear God's Word spoken. It's one thing for us to read God's Word written. It's one thing for us to see the presence of God with us in the Sacraments. But, it's quite another thing for us to receive these wonderful gifts and fail to bear the fruit of God in our lives. As we receive God in Christ Jesus into our lives; do we bear the fruit with which God has granted us the capability to bear?

If we don't bear fruit, were we ever converted from our old self into something new? I think not. I think if we don't bear fruit, we have heard with our minds the Gospel but have never received with our hearts the love that God freely gives through Jesus. We don't really believe it enough to act upon the richness of what God has given to us.

In conversion we open our hearts and God's love is poured into our minds and our hearts. We don't act out in love as a duty to what God has done as much as we act out in love to God and our neighbor as a response to what God has done for us in Jesus. This action is the fruits that God just loves to see. This action of love is the one willing to touch the unclean and to love that neighbor regardless. This action is the love of God who came into this world to touch all of us unclean people and to die in sweat and blood and pain for us to have the eternal life that the lawyer asks of in this passage.

The love Jesus show us with his life, ministry, the healing, the pain and the suffering and the death and the resurrection; is the very love Jesus wants us to have and to give to God and to one another. A tall commandment, but one that God gives to all of us to live our lives to.

Do you have actions of love for the Father and for the neighbor? Let's hear the parable and live the love towards that eternal life given to the Samaritan, and bear fruit.

Lord, I haven't always stopped for that person on the side of the road. Many times I have passed by. Many times I have not loved. Many times I have left my neighbor to die in pain. But you show a love much greater. You have shown a love to me that has forgiven me even though I myself deserve to die. Through your Son you came and lived and loved and died for me and for so many of us who have passed by. Forgive me of my sin. Renew me and convert my heart that I may live the love you wish for me to live. Open my heart to receive your Word this day that it may result in a conversion of my heart to actions of love for you and for my neighbors... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Colossians 1:1–14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Do you realize it? Do you realize, or better yet, are you aware of your calling? As Children of God, we are each and we are all called by God. We are called to a purpose God has set for us. We are given gifts to fulfill that call. Some are called as with a profession. Other's are called into daily actions in the world God has placed them. One way or another, we are all called by God. Paul is aware of his calling as an apostle of Christ. In some form we are all sent to proclaim the gospel of Jesus to the world we are set in in this time and in this space.

Oh the joy of this calling as we go to those that God gives to us and as we learn from one another and encourage each other in our unique calling. Paul reaches out to the saints. That's you and me. We are set apart by God for our calling. In this individual calling we are also gathered as the Church of God and work hand-in-hand with one another and with God to bring the gospel to all the world.

So in our encouragement of ministry together and individually, we give thanks to God for all of the blessings that have been showered upon us. We give thanks for one another and for our unity in Christ. We recognize God's work in our lives and the fruits which are produced by faith in God. We point out how God has come to each and to all of us and made something happen out of sinful people. God comes to us and produces fruit in us that we could never produce on our own or with our own efforts.

And we pray for one another. We pray and recognize God's power that has taken us from the kingdom of evil, to the kingdom of light in Christ Jesus. We pray to God with thankful hearts. Yes, in everything, we pray and ask God with thankful hearts and make our requests made know to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guards our hearts and minds in Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Yes, it's all through Jesus that we are forgiven and saved, called and gifted, empowered and sent to bear the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

Lord, I give you thanks for brothers and sisters in Christ. I am joyful for my bond with you and with the fellowship of Christians. I am delighted with my call and place in your Church. Send each and all of us this day into the world you have given to us to proclaim the gospel you have given to each and to all of us that Jesus offers forgiveness and salvation to all people... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 82
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!

God is the supreme judge. God's judgment stands above all decisions made on earth. So, we justly give God our honor and praise.

When society goes astray in judging one another, people are oppressed. The helpless of this world are not helped. The innocent accused are falsely labeled and condemned. Justice is not to be found sometimes on earth.

God will judge these false judges of this earth. God will condemn the wicked and their evil plots. In the finality of it all God will correctly judge.

Of this we can be sure.

Lord, Judge of the Universe. We come to you and you judge correctly. Guide those who must judge on this earth. Teach compassion and understanding and give our judges the fortitude to stand for what is right. Lead all your people to right the wrongs of this world in which evil lives. Bring us to an understanding and love for all people that your righteousness would reign in our hearts... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 25:1-10
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

From the very center of my being I cry to you O Lord.
I seek your will and your way.
Without your direction all my enemies will defeat me.
I need you to guide me in life.

I raise my soul to you high above all other things.
I come to you in pain and sorrow.
My focus is upon you and you alone.
In your hands I place myself.

My faith is in your mercy and love...
Your forgiveness and grace.
I humbly beseech your saving action knowing...
You are the God of Salvation.

Lord, I don't know why you come to me. You come to me a sinner. You come with mercy, love, forgiveness and grace. Why do you care for me? In your actions I place my life. In your way alone do I live. In you alone... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

July 9th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Amos 7:7–17
This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.’” And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ “Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.” Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parceled out by line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

This is one of several visions of Amos. The Lord comes to test a wall built by the workers. Specific instructions for the building of the wall were given. So, as the Lord, tests the wall, the test is nothing more stringent than the tests that the builders should have been using all along.

Was the plumb line perpendicular? Was the wall straight?

We are given the law in order to build our lives in a straight and plumb manner. The manner that God would have us build our lives. Do we do this? If God were to measure our lives with the plumb line, would we pass the test?

If we have not, we really have no excuse. The instructions were given. Why didn't we follow them?

Will God "pass by?" Will God "pass-over?" Will God forgive my out of plumb and crooked life?

I know that God has made exceptions in the past. Think of all of the matriarchs and patriarchs of the Bible. They have all sinned. The Israelites have sinned as well. Even God "passed-over" the Israelites in Egypt.

Just what is it that God wants from me? How can I please God now that I have fallen short of his measurements?

I see in this passage that God hates it when I worship other idols. God is displeased when I make "high places" for man-made areas of false religion.

God must want my devoted attention. God must want me! Does God want me even when I'm crooked and out of plumb?

Yes, God wants me just like I am, crooked and out of plumb! God will use me in his work and in his plan. God has chosen to forgive my sin. I turn to God and run into his arms, thankful for this forgiveness. I jump into the arms of God with joy to be reunited once again. I'm not lost in my sin but I'm found in the arms of God!

God chooses you and me, not because of what we have done, but because of whose we are. It's not about our capacity to do God's work, it's about God's love for us. God gives us the gifts needed to do the work. God wants us to do it!

It's not our choice to do God's work. It's our privilege and honor and love to do God's work. We were lost and crooked and out of plumb. We were condemned to rubble but now are put to use through God's love for you and for me.

God has come to us to love us in fellowship. God has come to us and given us a purpose. God has come to us and given us a place and time to act out God's love for God and all those God chooses to give to us.

And God does this not just with you or me personally. God does this with groups of people as well.

Thanks be to God!

Lord, take me and use me in your love. I live my life because of your love for me. I have no other reason to live other than for you. Shape me and mold me and use me to do as you wish... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, July 08, 2013

July 8th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Deuteronomy 30:9–14
and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.

God loves us. God loves us when we obey and when we don't. God loves us and wants nothing but good for us. God blesses us. But, sometimes God is not delighted with us, especially when we don't obey and when we turn from him and worship other idols. God is not happy with this. God will not reward this action. But, God still loves us.

God loves us enough to give us the law. God wants us to be able to live with him and each other in peace and love. So, God gave us the law for us to turn to and learn from. A law not too hard for us to understand. A law that is fulfilled on the cross by God himself in Jesus.

When we have run from God and turned the other way towards idols, we sin. God gives us the law to come to in the Word and God gives us Jesus to turn to in the Word. The Word made flesh in Jesus. The Word has come to us and shown us how to turn back to God. Jesus has shown us the love of God and the love God has for all people. Jesus, is not far away. Jesus is God in flesh with us. God's Word with us to see and to touch. Not only Jesus. God comes to us in the Holy Spirit. God equips us with the gifts we need to grow faith and trust and hope in all that God has provided.

God loves us... in the law... in the Word... in the flesh... in the spirit.

Lord, I turn to you. Teach me your will and your way that I may go with you in my soul, heart and mind... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, July 06, 2013

July 6th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Luke 10:1–11, 16–20
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We are sent out too. We are sent to proclaim that the kingdom of God is here. Yes, the kingdom of God has come. The kingdom comes to us today. The kingdom came with Jesus. The kingdom will be fulfilled when Jesus comes again.

The kingdom of God comes to us and we don't have to do one thing for this to take place. We don't have to pray for it and we don't have to stand on a hill and look for it. The kingdom of God comes to us without any of our effort. Yes, we pray that we may be a part of this kingdom and play a God given role in the kingdom. That's why we are sent too. We are sent to declare that the kingdom of God is here.

What is this kingdom? God sent Jesus to this place to save us from sin, death and the devil. God sent Jesus to us and to this world to deliver us from death. Jesus came to bring us to him out of love for our hopeless situation. And not only Jesus. God gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us to teach us his Word and to strengthen us on this earthly journey.

We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us into the kingdom of grace that we may be in God's kingdom for eternity. Eternity that starts here and now and goes on and on in God's presence.

God's kingdom comes to us in the Word, written, spoken and in the Word made flesh in the bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus, in the Sacrament of baptism. God's kingdom comes to us in the return of Jesus to this place.

The kingdom of God is such a rich blessing. It's beyond what we can imagine with our flesh but proceeds through our spirit to eternity.

We are sent too. We are sent with this message that God's kingdom is here and now. Salvation was complete through Jesus in God's kingdom. God's kingdom will be fulfilled in finality when Jesus comes again. But for now we are in God's kingdom. We have Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Word and so many blessings that healing abounds and flourishes. Healing that lives beyond death into eternity.

So, go and proclaim the kingdom of God! Go for God is with you.

Lord... Your kingdom come... your kingdom has come through Jesus and your kingdom is here now and your kingdom will be fulfilled in Jesus return. Send your Holy Spirit, I pray and open your Word to my mind that I may learn and understand and proclaim the grace and glory of your kingdom... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, July 05, 2013

July 5th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Galatians 6:1–16
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. 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.

See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Guilty of sin! We are all guilty of sin. At some time or another we are guilty of sin. Knowing that all are guilty we need to act in love towards one another. We don't separate ourselves from those that we condemn. We go to one another. We go to one another as guilty sinners. We go in forgiveness and with an attitude of restoration and renewal. We don't go to one another with an attitude of "That's not very Christian!" We come to one another, all guilty of sin, as those who wish to restore and make complete what God has begun in Christ.

We reach out in the spirit of gentleness. God's law works in the Church in love not in condemnation. When we restore, we are meek knowing that we all need restoration. If not, we would be tempted to the sin of "lording" righteousness over one another. It's the sin that we all hate and do that we go to one another in love to rebuild and renew ourselves in Jesus.

Watch out for the "Christian" attitude. It's not about what I have done or what you have done in being the "Good Christian" that counts. It's not about me or you... it's all about what Jesus has done FOR me and you. Don't fall into a self pride of "I'm better so you must be wrong."

When another person falls to sin, we should realize how easy it is for ourselves to fall to sin. We reach out in love and compassion to the fallen to restore and teach the realities of our own sin. We go back to the Gospel of Christ and the grace Jesus has shown to restore, rebuild and to make new both ourselves and the one who has fallen.

This approach to sin applies to fellow disciples and to unbelievers. We reach out in love to one another to make each other new. It's the act of Jesus on the cross that brings all of us together in unity. Jesus died for the sins that we reach out to one another in restoration. Jesus restores us to favor with God... all of us... each of us. Don't be proud... accept it... Jesus gave this gift in love... to you and to me. We are new creations in Christ. Thanks be to God!

Lord, keep me from separating myself from you and from others. You bring us all together to make each and all of us a new creation. In you we have life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, July 04, 2013

July 4th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 30
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

We need someone to bring us out of the depths of despair. This could cover so many situations. Despair and depression that overwhelms our body and mind. Despair from illness or even the death of a loved one. Despair from hunger or homelessness or financial ruin. Whatever shape the despair takes; we need help.

When we live with despair we have lost all hope. We give up. It isn't as if we didn't try. So, we search for hope and can't find it within ourselves. We examine our situation and can't seem to reconcile what is happening to us with the world. In despair we have lost hope.

God graciously sets a limit on the despair. God comes to us and lives with us even while we are in the midst of our despair. While we are in the midst of despair, we recall those times when we were happy and full of life. We compare the feelings of this past emotion and can't understand the depths of the despair in our present moment. But, we know that God was present in both of those times.

So, we call upon God in the midst of our hopelessness. We call to our Father. And God feels our pain. God knows our pain. God has felt this pain in Jesus cry from the cross. God understands our need to cry out to the Father. "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34b)

In this despair of Jesus, God has responded to our despair throughout all time. Jesus took on the depths of despair and brought the only hope that we have for life. It is only through Jesus that we can live in the hope of life... eternal life... life with God... life with Jesus our Savior... life with the Holy Spirit in joy.

God is the answer to our hopelessness in the midst of our despair. God in Jesus knows despair and understands despair and will be with us in our times of deep despair. Even those times when we aren't aware of God's presence because of those depths; God is there with us.

So, while despair hurts and is awful to the core. We can rest assured in the hope of God in Jesus that we have been blessed with eternal love... eternal compassion... eternal understanding... eternal hope... and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Lord, I give you all thanks and praise for what you have done for all people through your Son, Jesus. We live in a world full of despair, but know that you are victorious. Your love is so deep and wide that I can't give you enough thanks for the joy that you give to me in my life. As I pause and recall your blessings and give you thanks, make me a person that points out the blessings you give to all people in Jesus. Use me this day to bring your hope, your joy and your life to those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

July 3rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 66:1-9
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.” Selah

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There we rejoiced in him,
who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

Let all of the nations shout out to God.
Hear, O Lord, the praise of all creation.
You are mighty in power and in love.
Your name is on the tip of all tongues.

I look to the skies and marvel at your power.
I look within and am amazed by your intricacies.
I see your work in saving your people.
I experience your presence and love each day.

In you alone is all life and all things.
In you alone is all of the spiritual realm.
Rejoice all creation in the Creator.
Rejoice all heavens in what God has done.

Lord, you are God, Creator, Redeemer, Spirit. I praise your greatness in all of my life. As I rejoice in your presence this day, may all come to see and hear and understand what you have done in love... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

July 2nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

2 Kings 5:1–14
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

Don't you admire the faith of the servant girl in Elisha? She knew what Elisha could do and had the faith and courage to say something to those who had all power over her. What if it all turned out wrong? What would have happened to the girl?

Naaman came thinking he was going to be cured in some fashion of a ceremony. Instead, Naaman was cured of much more than a skin disease. This was more than the work of a prophet, a man. This was the work of God. Naaman was in store for so much more than he came to receive.

Naaman was washed clean in a river inferior to the rivers that Naaman already knew. But the water is just the earthly element. What about the promise? What about God's action in this healing? When these are combined with faith and trust and hope, we witness all the difference.

The same occurs today at baptism. We are visited by God through grace and given a sign of the healing that only God can provide. A healing that goes beyond our pride and pulls us into faith. In baptism we are covered with the waters of this world and given the promise of God's love. A love freely given... a love given to you and to me... even while we are unclean... even when we desperately need healed.

Oh the faith of the servant girl... and praise be to the faith of Naaman. But all the glory to God!

Lord, you come to me when I am unclean and offer cleansing. Give me the strength of the servant girl to proclaim my faith in you to those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, July 01, 2013

July 1st Reflection by Bill Lynch

Isaiah 66:10–14
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her— that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom. For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies.

It's like we are children and Jerusalem is our mother. But it's not really Jerusalem that brings us joy, comfort and life. It is all a gift from God.

Life is not always like this. There are trying times as well. During those times; God is with us as well. There comes a time however, when we are nursed and comforted. We return to what is joyful and there is a feeling of victory in the battle of living that we fight.

We come home. We come home. God promises this homecoming in this passage and we can believe it.

Jesus set his face on Jerusalem. He, with determined mission, set towards Jerusalem and saved all people. A horrible homecoming, yet a victory over sin, death and the devil. Jesus came to the place he wanted to rejoice in. He came to the place where for years, God was worshiped and glorified. Jesus came and changed Jerusalem forever in the giving of himself as a sacrifice for all the sins of the world. Doesn't sound like the passage above.

Yet in another way Jesus journey to Jerusalem set it up as the place of homecoming for all people. We come to Jerusalem for life. We come to the source of life and see the love only God could show. We come to death and receive life. Only because of what God has already done in love for us.

Jerusalem... God... Jesus... our love... our comfort... our joy. Thanks be to God!

Come, Lord Jesus, come. My source of joy, comfort and life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen