Saturday, December 16, 2017

Out of My Distress

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.23

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
—Psalm 118:5-6a

Friday, December 15, 2017

His Steadfast Love Endures

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.22

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
—Psalm 118:1

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Praise the Lord, All You Nations

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.21

Praise the Lord, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! 
—Psalm 117

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Yet Another Mall

I Will Lift Up the Cup of Salvation

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.20

What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.
—Psalm 116:12-13

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gracious Is the Lord

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.19

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. 
—Psalm 116:5

Monday, December 11, 2017

I Love the Lord

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.17

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
❧ Psalm 116:1-2

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Both Small & Great

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.16
The Lord has been mindful of us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great. May the Lord give you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to human beings. The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any that go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time on and forevermore. Praise the Lord! 
—Psalm 115:12-18

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Trust in the Lord!

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.15
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name give glory, 
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
Why should the nations say, 'Where is their God?'
Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; 
    they make no sound in their throats.
Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them.
O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.
—Psalm 115:1-11

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tremble, O Earth

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.12
When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water. 
—Psalm 114

Thursday, December 7, 2017

He Raises the Poor

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.13
He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
‣ Psalm 7-8

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

As followers of Jesus, the Jewish prophet for justice whose life reminds us to, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) we hear the cries of women and men speaking out about sexual abuse at the hands of leaders in power and we are outraged. We are outraged by the current trends in Evangelicalism and other expressions of Christianity driven by white supremacy, often enacted through white privilege and the normalizing of oppression. Confessing racism as the United States’ original and ongoing sin, we commit ourselves to following Jesus on the road of costly discipleship to seek shalom justice for the least, the lost, and the left out. We declare that following Jesus today means fighting poverty, economic exploitation, racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression from the deepest wells of our faith.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” — Mark 12:31

From the Rising of the Sun

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.12
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the Name of the Lord is to be praised.
✢ Psalm 113:2-3

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Remembered Forever

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.11
For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.
➢ Psalm 112:6

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Beginning of Wisdom

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. 
▸ Psalm 111:10

Sunday, December 3, 2017

There's Hope

An Advent Invitation to the Table

What a week.

There are several ways to say that to make it mean many things. I might say, “What a week!” if all kinds of good things have happened and I just can’t believe my luck. Or I might say, “What a week,” if I’ve just been incredibly busy and I’m glad the week is over, just so I can catch my breath. Sometimes life over the past few days might have been so perplexing that I get all exasperated and say, “What a week!”

But sometimes things are truly tragic. Anything even resembling eloquence becomes impossible, and the most articulate thing I can say at such times is, “What a week,” and I don’t mean it in a good way.

So let me repeat: What a week.

My first draft of this sermon included a litany of all that happened. But I couldn’t finish it.
  1. Because I couldn’t possibly name all the horrible things that happened this week.
  2. Because it upset me far too much to put it in writing.
But a friend sent me a cartoon that sums the week up, albeit imperfectly. It showed a group of white men sitting around a table, and the one sitting at the head of the table speaks:
“Before we discuss raising taxes on the poor and middle class, adding $1 trillion to the deficit, taking health insurance away from 13 million, raising premiums by 10%, defending treason, and swearing in a pedophile, let’s begin with a prayer.”

It's a Virtue

Introduction: Praying for Patience

Patience is a virtue. It’s a virtue that many of us lack. But we all acknowledge we need it. The need for patience and our lack of it is such a cliché that it’s become sort of a joke to pray for it. Take this prayer, for example:
  • Dear Lord, grant me patience. Because if you give me strength, I’m going to need bail money to go with it.
  • Or the cartoon strip showing a man bowing his head in prayer and asking God for patience in the first frame. Then looking at his watch in the second frame. And finally, in the third frame, saying, “Today would be nice!”
  • And finally this one, which I’ve seen on more than one refrigerator: Lord, I thank you that so far today I’ve done very well. I haven’t once lost my temper or been nasty or selfish. But in a few minutes, I’m going to be getting out of bed, and from then on, I’m really going to need a lot more patience…
I. Corny Patience

Patience isn’t just a common prayer request, but is also a great theme for Advent. It’s especially meaningful for the youngest among us—those who can’t wait to get up on Christmas morning and open their gifts. “Be patient,” we tell them, “Christmas will come soon enough.”

In church we turn patience into ritual, singing songs about the wait, praying prayers, reading scriptures, and lighting candles—one new one each week—to show us how close to Christmas we’re getting.

This notion that patience is a virtue is a very pious one, indeed.

Great Are the Works of the Lord

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.1.9
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
⁌ Psalm 111:2-3