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Showing posts from 2017

Offer to God a prayer of trust

Wednesday June 28, 2017 Psalm 23 TheLordis my shepherd.
I lack nothing.
2 He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
he leads me to restful waters;
3 he keeps mealive.
He guides me in proper paths
for the sake of his good name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
they protect me. 5 You set a table for me
right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
my cup is so full it spills over!
6 Yes, goodness and faithful love
will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will livein theLord’s house
as long as I live.

Today, pray the scripture using lectio divina.  Read over the psalm a number of times, listen to the words and see what God is saying to you through the words of the psalmist.

A psalm of pilgrimage

Tuesday June 27, 2017
Psalm 23 TheLordis my shepherd.
I lack nothing.
2 He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
he leads me to restful waters;
3 he keeps mealive.
He guides me in proper paths
for the sake of his good name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
they protect me. 5 You set a table for me
right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
my cup is so full it spills over!
6 Yes, goodness and faithful love
will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will livein theLord’s house
as long as I live.
There is a hint of pilgrimage movement in this psalm.  It marks the journey of the faithful under the guidance of God, along a path that leads to the house of the LORD.  While we don’t have time necessarily to go on a weeklong pilgrimage, we can see our daily life as one of pilgrimage, with God present with us along the various paths we take: Paths to peacefulness, paths to forgiveness, paths to kindness, to love, or reconcil…

Praying the Psalms

Monday June 26, 2017 Psalm 23 TheLordis my shepherd.
I lack nothing.
2 He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
he leads me to restful waters;
3 he keeps mealive.
He guides me in proper paths
for the sake of his good name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
they protect me. 5 You set a table for me
right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
my cup is so full it spills over!
6 Yes, goodness and faithful love
will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will livein theLord’s house
as long as I live. his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.

As you read through the psalm what words jump out at you?  Does one word seem to draw you into the presence of God?  Maybe the words guides, or protect, or goodness, or faithful love.  Take the word that draws you into the presence of God and use it for a centering prayer.  In centering prayer, we rest in God’s presence.  As your mind wanders (and it will), repeat your centeri…

Praying the Psalms

Sunday June 25, 2017
Psalm 23 TheLordis my shepherd.
I lack nothing.
2 He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
he leads me to restful waters;
3 he keeps mealive.
He guides me in proper paths
for the sake of his good name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
they protect me. 5 You set a table for me
right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
my cup is so full it spills over!
6 Yes, goodness and faithful love
will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will livein theLord’s house
as long as I live.
In Psalm 23 we read “the LORD is my shepherd.  I lack nothing.”
How has God been a guide for you in life? 
As you look back on your life can you name the moments when God was able to give you what you needed?
Have you been aware of God’s support through people in your life?

Seeking God in suffering

Saturday June 24, 2017
Psalm 13 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be left to my own wits, Agony filling my heart?  Daily? How long will my enemy keep defeating me? Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. Yes, I will sing to the LORD Because he has been good to me.
When I pregnant with Harry, I had some complications.  It was always on my mind that he may be delivered too early.  It was the topic of every visit with my doctor.  It weighed heavily on me.  Both Dan’s and my mother had lost babies who had been born too early. 
While so many mothers have this glow about them in their pregnancy, I felt like Eeyore with a dark cloud following me around.  There was much crying and fearfulness.  I had a number of friends that cam…

A ministry of presence

Friday June 23, 2017
Psalm 13 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be left to my own wits, Agony filling my heart?  Daily? How long will my enemy keep defeating me? Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. Yes, I will sing to the LORD Because he has been good to me.

The Lament psalms give us a template for faithful response to others who find themselves in the pit.  We live in such a face paced society that we allow almost no time to grieve or to suffer.  When we transpose that secular expectation into our faith communities, we do a disservice to one another.  Here is a place to honor the plea “how long, Oh Lord?”  Here is a place where we can create a safe place to honestly share our doubts, fears and struggles.  Here is a …

Psalms of Lament

Thursday June 22, 2017
Psalm 13 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be left to my own wits, Agony filling my heart?  Daily? How long will my enemy keep defeating me? Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. Yes, I will sing to the LORD Because he has been good to me.
In the songs of lament there is not a quick fix offered, but the psalmist gives us room to name the pain of what we experience in life.  Psalm 13 is general enough that it speaks to a variety of moments of lament within our life.  The beauty of it is found in its raw honesty with God.  The writer doesn’t remain stuck there is still forward motion, but that motion isn’t one where an answer is revealed on how to get out of the pit.
Even though the psalmist feels f…

How long Oh Lord?

Wednesday June 21, 2017
Psalm 13 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be left to my own wits, Agony filling my heart?  Daily? How long will my enemy keep defeating me? Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. Yes, I will sing to the LORD Because he has been good to me.
Psalm 13 is a psalm that speaks to us when things out of sync and when the bottom drops out. “How long, oh Lord?” Is a refrain we may find ourselves saying on any given day. 
It is more than the “are we there yet” chorus we hear from children while on a road trip.  It is a universal plea when time seems to take on a new dimension of crawling unbearably slowly by as we feel the bottom fall out from underneath us.
It happens when our ability to focus on anything …

Image of God

Monday June 19, 2017
Psalm 13 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be left to my own wits, Agony filling my heart?  Daily? How long will my enemy keep defeating me? Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. Yes, I will sing to the LORD Because he has been good to me.
Our experiences of God help to form our image of God and our image of God has a direct coloration to our prayer life.
We may find that our image of God is one where God is outside of us and outside of creation.  God then has power over us and the over the world.  Our prayers then are pleas to gain God’s favor or to create a hoped for outcome.
Or we may find that our image of God is one where God is both outside of creation and inside of creation.God’s power then is…

Psalms of Lament

Sunday June 18, 2017
Psalm 13 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be left to my own wits, Agony filling my heart?  Daily? How long will my enemy keep defeating me? Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. Yes, I will sing to the LORD Because he has been good to me.

Psalms are prayers to God.  They reflect the author’s image of God and experience of God in the world.  They are the hymn book of songs to God.
An active faith life will produce an evolving image of God.  Many theologians would argue that part of the reason so many people leave the church is because they have not been given the space or permission to push against their image of God so that it can develop, evolve or grow.  They maintain a childhood concept of God t…

Praying the psalms with gratitude

Friday June 16, 2017
Psalm 100A psalm of thanks.100 Shout triumphantly to theLord, all the earth!
2 Serve theLordwith celebration!
Come before him with shouts of joy!
3 Know that theLordis God—
he made us; we belong to him.
We are his people,
the sheep of his own pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanks;
enter his courtyards with praise!
Thank him! Bless his name!
5 Because theLordis good,
his loyal love lasts forever;
his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.

Pray a prayer of gratitude today and allow the psalm to be your guide.  Take time to think about your day, what are you grateful for?  Write down all of these moments as way to capture your gratitude.   Offer up prayers of gratitude throughout your day.

Praying the psalms

Wednesday June 14, 2017 Psalm 100A psalm of thanks.100 Shout triumphantly to theLord, all the earth!
2 Serve theLordwith celebration!
Come before him with shouts of joy!
3 Know that theLordis God—
he made us; we belong to him.
We are his people,
the sheep of his own pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanks;
enter his courtyards with praise!
Thank him! Bless his name!
5 Because theLordis good,
his loyal love lasts forever;
his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.
Today pray the scripture using lectio divina.  Read over the psalm a number of times, listen to the words and see what God is saying to you through the words of the psalmist.