Monday, January 22, 2018

Pastoral Prayer for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

We thank you, O God, for your creation and our place in it.
We thank you that the cycles of the earth
provide not only for our sustenance, but also for our enjoyment.
And as we think about the cycles of life,
guide us to think about our own lives—
both the stability and the changes,
our victories and defeats, our hopes and our fears.

You bring our paths together on Sundays

Unless the Lord Builds the House

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.33
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
—Psalm 127:1

Sunday, January 21, 2018

All in a Day's Work

Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.
—Mark 1:17

What did you want to be when you grew up? That answer changed as we got older, and for a lot of people, even the answer we gave at age 18 wasn’t what we became. Indeed, a lot of people change careers several times even as adults.

But what are you called to do?

Being called by God to do something is really a far cry from simply wanting to be something when you grow up. Look at today’s two scripture readings. In the first, we have the prophet Jonah. We don’t know whether Jonah wanted to be a prophet or not, but we do know that when God called on him to go to Nineveh, he tried his best to say No. God’s call had to be reïnforced by the belly of a whale before Jonah would accept his new vocation. And in the other reading, we see four fishermen who encounter Jesus. Jesus calls on them to leave their jobs and follow him. And they do. A biblical call is often quite spectacular, as we see in both of today’s scripture readings. Five individuals all know they have been called.

With Shouts of Joy

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.32
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
—Psalm 126:6

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Like Those Who Dream

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.31
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
—Psalm 125:1

Friday, January 19, 2018

As the Mountains Surround Jerusalem

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.30
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time on and forevermore.
—Psalm 125:2

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Our Help Is in the Name

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.29
Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
—Psalm 124:8

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Eyes Look to the Lord

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.28
As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy upon us. 
—Psalm 123:2

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Peace of Jerusalem

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.27
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.
—Psalm 122:6

Monday, January 15, 2018


PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.26
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.
—Psalm 121:8

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nazareth Is Big Enough

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? —John 1:46

I. O Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble

The Gospel According to John isn’t exactly light reading. Of the four gospels, it is probably the heaviest, the most theological, the deepest. I don’t know anybody who’d characterize it as in any way funny. Take the prologue, for instance. In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. Wow, now that’s some deep stuff. Or later, in chapter 6, when we get to John’s account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. It’s a story found in all four gospels. But only John records Jesus as saying, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

And so when I get to lighthearted moments in John, I feel a bit like Robert Frost’s little horse when the poet stops by woods on a snowy evening. You know the one—He gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake. I can’t imagine that when John wrote the story of Jesus meeting Nathanael, he wasn’t chuckling at how we’d read it in the 21st century. But maybe he really wasn’t trying to be funny.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

He Who Keeps Israel

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.25

He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
—Psalm 121:4

Saturday, January 13, 2018

I Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.24

I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
—Psalm 121:1-2

Friday, January 12, 2018

In My Distress

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.23
In my distress I cry to the Lord, that he may answer me.
—Psalm 120:1

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Like a Lost Sheep

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.22
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
—Psalm 119:176

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Great Peace

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.21

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 
—Psalm 119:165

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Life According to Your Justice

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.20

Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your justice.
—Psalm 119:156

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rise Before Dawn

PSALM OF THE DAY 1255.5.2.19

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your words. 
—Psalm 119:147