February 25, 2021

Neither Death Nor Life

…my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.
2 Samuel 22:3
In the Hebrew scriptures we read of a God who stands in the breach between us and what might harm us. In the New Testament, God is given a face: that of Jesus Christ, who died our death that we might live lives eternally blessed by God. How often do I allow my own mind to wander paths in which that which frightens me stands between me and this saving God?
The Apostle Paul made it clear that, despite my worries or my fears, there's nothing that can separate me from God's love. I might worry about the state of my soul. I might become weary of life. I might cower before the grave.

February 24, 2021

Wholeness in a Fragmented World

Sometimes the Bible has such a beautiful way of saying things that it's often just out of our everyday mind's immediate grasp. Such is the case (for me at least) with Leviticus 26:5—
Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. 
This was part of the promise of wholeness made to those who walked God's paths. And it simply means that there would always be more than enough. There must have been many times in the history of God's people when this promise was fulfilled.

February 23, 2021

Is It I, Lord?

My calling might not be the same as Isaiah's, but that doesn't mean that I need not say, "Here I am, Lord; send me."
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
Isaiah 6:8
One way to read the scriptures is to see it as a bunch of stories about what happened to other people—people who were much holier (or much more sinful) than I am. But a better way is to look for myself in the events and characters of the Bible. I might read the story of God's call to Isaiah and conclude that, while the way in which Isaiah began his work is very moving, it has nothing to do with me. But if I place myself in that story, I might realize my own need to be attentive to what God is asking me to do. My calling might not be the same as Isaiah's, but that doesn't mean that I need not look at the needs of my community and say, "Here I am, Lord; send me."

February 22, 2021

Looking Over the Overlooked

She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant.
1 Samuel 1:11
Much is made of the historic oppression of women. Some even use the Hebrew and Christian scriptures to justify it. And while we can find many examples of women's powerlessness in the Bible, they have also played an important rôle in some of the most amazing events in history; their prophecies have accompanied the very turning of the world.

In the Old Testament, we find Hannah praying for God to visit her lowliness. Soon thereafter she gives birth to Israël's future kingmaker, Samuel, who would recognize in the shepherd boy David the makings of a great leader.

February 21, 2021

Lent 1 Worship

Today is the First Sunday in Lent. I have chosen the story of the Rainbow from Genesis 9 as my theme. Here is the order of worship found in the video at the bottom of this post:
  • 00:00 Chimes
  • 00:13 Prélude: Show Me Thy Way
  • 02:22 Welcome
  • 03:55 Opening Sentence: Psalm 25.9-10
  • 04:12 Opening Prayer
  • 04:32 Lord's Prayer
  • 05:04 Song: He Leadeth Me

Before and Beyond

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
Psalm 102:25
From before the big bang until the end of time, God is God—always has been and always will be. To many, the world seems chaotic right now, and it's easy to believe in a God who set things in motion and then abandoned them to wind down on their own. But the person of faith seeks God's presence in all things, and tries to understand God's will in even the most difficult situations.
The Bible describes a God who loved us before all things, who sent a Son to deliver us from all that would come between us and that love, and a Holy Spirit who would strengthen us to the end.

February 20, 2021

Back Where I Belong

In his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Isaiah 63:9
There were many instances when Israel was cornered. Their backs were against the wall, and only God could deliver them from the trouble they found themselves in. And, indeed, God delivered them. In modern terms, we might define the word "deliver" this way: Carry something to its destination. In fact, the official term for the person who does this for the U.S. Postal Service isn't a deliveryman or -woman, but a letter carrier.
This helps me better picture God as a deliverer. It's God who carries me to where I need to be... not where I want to be, but where God knows is best for me. Like a wayward lamb. I too often wander away on my own.