Monthly Archives: May 2016

3rd Sunday After Pentecost, June 5, 2016

Third Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)

Scripture Readings*: 1 Kings 17:8-16, Psalm 146, Galatians 1:11-24, Luke 7:11-17

 

1 Kings 17:8-16oil-Flower-widow

God’s commands are often difficult. To ask a widow to use her last meal to bake the prophet a cake could seem to be self-serving. To trust the word of the prophet, and obey his request was equally challenging. For Elijah and the widow, their act of obedience to the command of God resulted in provision.

Galatians 1:11-24

Prior to Paul’s conversion, he was a zealous and hostile promoter of Judaism, and a persecutor of the Church. His dramatic experience of grace so changed Paul, rather than persecute Christians, he committed his life to love and serve others.

While it is true that God revealed His Son through the great apostle’s teaching… it is equally significant that God revealed His Son in the transformed life lived by the apostle. And God still intends to reveal Jesus—in us.

Luke 7:11-17

A large crowd followed Jesus as he was traveling from Capernaum to the city of Nain (about 25 miles). There was also a crowd following a woman whose only son had died, on their way to the burial ground. One crowd was rejoicing in the teachings and blessings of the Lord. The other crowd is mourning the death of an only son who was the widow’s only resource.

The sorrow was not overlooked. Jesus, moved with compassion, brings life to the son… and joy to the widow and crowd.

Where Are You Going?

Today’s readings are filled with movement… action… journeys. God tells Elijah, “Go to Zarephath and live there…” Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatians, writes of not returning to the center of his old life, but journeying instead into Arabia, Syria, and Cilicia. Jesus Himself was traveling to a town called Nain. And in each situation, their journeys created opportunities for God to intersect with and transform the lives of those they encountered.

Where are you going today? Whether it’s to your place of business, the grocery store, or to school, there are people waiting to meet God through you. Journey with Jesus today. By his grace, spiritual hunger will be fed, the Gospel will be seen, and new life will be felt!

Prayer for Second Sunday After Pentecost – Merciful God, help me to delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, helping others see you in my journey; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Free download:  get pdf versions of these devotionals for every season in Year C

 

 

First Sunday After Pentecost, May 22, 2016

First Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)

Scripture Readings*: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Psalm 8, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Wisdom is not anything new. Today’s reading reminds us that wisdom existed before the foundation of the earth. Yahweh possessed wisdom at the beginning of his way, even before the process of creation. Wisdom is superior to all earthly things and wisdom invites us to the paths of nobility, integrity, and fidelity.

Romans 5:1-5prayer

Those in Christ have received peace with God, access to God, and hope! As a result we can live with daily confidence – even when life is difficult. These attributes (peace, access, and hope) allow suffering to develop perseverance, which in turn develops character, and ultimately strengthens our hope.

John 16:12-15

Jesus was not oblivious to the confusion of his disciples. He was aware that too much “up-front” instruction could be mind-boggling. As a result Jesus encourages them that when the time is right, the Holy Spirit would reveal and guide them into all truth.

There’s No Place Like Hope!

Everyone loves a party! We decorate, wear our finest clothing, prepare special meals, and celebrate the occasion. But not all of life is a party. We go to work, pay bills, help children with homework, and weed the yard. It is those day-to-day routines that establish the infrastructure that supports and sustains life. The same is true in our spiritual life and the life of the Church.

The season we are entering is called Ordinary Time. Ordinary time gives us the opportunity to put down deeper roots – to demonstrate in our daily living the special gifts given to us during the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.

In his epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul gives us an example of the importance of Ordinary Time… “we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God… and also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…” Hope is the gift of Ordinary Time – and there’s nothing ordinary about hope!

Prayer for First Sunday After Pentecost – Almighty God, by Your grace, keep me steadfast in faith and worship, and help me to see You in every season of life and in the life hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Free download:  get pdf versions of these devotionals for every season in Year C

Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentecost Sunday (Year C)

Scripture Readings*: Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, Romans 8:14-17, John 14:8-17

Acts 2:1-21

6687231413_f8d722290d_zThere is a tendency to try to discount the miraculous. How was it possible for these disciples to speak in languages foreign to them? Some charged that they must have been drunk. Peter explains what has happened by reminding them it was the third hour of the day (9:00 am). No Jew would eat or drink anything before 9:00 in the morning, or on a Sabbath or feast day.

He also quotes from Scripture (Joel 2:28-32), emphasizing the pouring out of the Spirit, which takes place “before” the Day of the Lord comes, during which “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v. 21).

Romans 8:14-17

“Adoption” in the New Testament does not mean what it typically means today (i.e., taking a child into a family to be a legal member of the family). The literal meaning is “son-placing” – the taking of a minor (whether in the family or outside) and making him or her the rightful her. Every believer is a child of God by birth and an heir of God through adoption. This process is not dependent upon the flesh (our doing). It is a result of the Holy Spirit … “the Spirit of Adoption.”

John 14:8-17

Jesus was so intimately connected to the Father that his words and acts are in fact the Father’s words and acts (vv. 9-11). It is not surprising God expressed Himself through the sinless Jesus. But for the Spirit to take sinful human beings and use us as agents of God in this world, is a greater wonder (v. 12).

A “name” in the biblical world represented the character and quality of the person or thing named. When we pray in Jesus’ name, it means: 1) to identify the content and motivations of prayers with all that Jesus is, and… (2 to pray with full confidence in Him as He has revealed Himself.

Happy Birthday!

Pentecost is often referred to as the Church’s “birthday.” It was on the Day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples, empowering them to share the message of Jesus in many languages, taking to all peoples of the earth the Good News.

Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter. It mirrors the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the exodus from Egypt.

Notice the symbolism. On this day commemorating the giving of the law, God pours out His Spirit. The law is fulfilled in Jesus. His Spirit working in us empowers us to live out the new commandment that we love each other as Christ loves us. The gift of the Spirit is love that transforms our hearts and the lives of those who encounter the Gospel through us.

Prayer for Pentecost – Almighty God who breathed into existence creation, breathe into me Your Spirit, empowering me to delight in your will and walk in your ways; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Free download:  get pdf versions of these devotionals for every season in Year C

7th Sunday of Easter, May 8, 2016

Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Scripture Readings*: Acts 16:16-34, Psalm 97, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21, John 17:20-26

Acts 16:16-34

chainsPaul and Silas have been accused of teaching an illicit faith (a message not supported by the law), one that was corrupting society. Rather than investigate, the magistrates flog and jail Paul and Silas for “disturbing the peace.”

An earthquake opens the way for escape, but Paul responds to a jailer who is about to take his life, resulting in an important question: “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s reply remains one of the simplest, clearest answers to this vital question: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

Heaven is more than a destination; it is a motivation. Knowing that we will dwell in the heavenly city ought to make a difference in our lives here and now. John hears Jesus promise: “I am coming soon” and urges us to holiness (vv. 12-16) by keeping God’s Word.

John 17:20-26

Christ’s prayer is a petition for unity of the church (v21), not uniformity. Oneness of heart and spirit does not mean that everybody will be exactly alike. Unity comes from life within, not from pressure without. Spiritual unity in love convinces the world of the truth of the Gospel.

A Longing for Love

What caused Paul and Silas to not only endure a beating, but also remain in jail when they could have escaped? What prompted Jesus’ heartfelt petition to His Father in heaven, not only on behalf of the disciples present but also us? The answer is love.

Love is what enabled Paul and Silas to share faith in Jesus Christ. Their concern for the well being of their guard spoke louder than any preaching. Their willingness to remain in prison opened the eyes and the heart of their guard to the message of Christ. Love made them and their message different from anything this man had ever heard or witnessed.

Jesus knew the power of this kind of love. He knew that love would overcome hate, would withstand persecution, and would outshine the darkness of evil. Only love would give His followers the ability to transform the world.

How are we doing in shining this love into a darkened and desperate world? Our world has never seen Jesus. All they see is us. The world longs for love – for Jesus. In grace and humility, we can serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, bringing His love into our world.

Prayer for Seventh Sunday of Easter – Almighty God, you showed your love for me through Jesus. In love, help me show Him to the world; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Free download:  get pdf versions of these devotionals for every season in Year C