Holy One, who is in the sky, the mountains, trees, and seas,
Holy One, who is in the breeze, the light, and the night,
Holy One, who is in the stranger, the acquaintance, the friend
Holy One, who is with us,
Remind us of your presence as we live each day.
Remind us of your presence as we face challenges.
Remind us of your presence as we hear difficult news.
Remind us of your presence when hope dwindles.
Holy One, who is with us,
Guide us as we live each day.
Guide us through challenges.
Guide our responses to difficult news.
Guide us in efforts to cultivate hope and love.
Holy One, who is with us,
Hear our prayer. Amen.
The angel of the Lord did say to him
“Dear Philip take the road to Gaza here.”
In Gaza there’s an Ethiopian
And he was reading, so it did appear
When Philip asked him if he understood
The Ethiopian official answered, “How?”
So Philip helped him as a teacher would
Proclaiming the good news and God’s good vows
And then they found some water by the road
So Philip’s friend then asked to be baptized
They stopped the chariot in which they rode
The Ethiopian was then baptized
The baptized one rejoiced, “Amen! Amen!”
And he did need dear Philip’s help again.
Words for the Morning (Originally written August 10, 2015)
When one weeps upon hearing the musical heights
Of a most glorious symphonic performance
When one joyously erupts with laughter
In response to a humorous moment in time
When water billows over a mountain summit
And contributes to nature’s rhapsodic falls
When dandelions wander in the winding path
Of a warm springtime breeze
At these moments resistance fades
And human will seems far off
These moments are free from the need to be right
Free from persistent anger and strife
Oh God, when resistance and anger abounds
May we hunger for resolutions and love.
And know when to let go of our persistent ways
And surrender for the good of all
Words for the Morning (Originally written on August 4, 2015)
I think of all the travelers on the road
And of metaphorical travelers on the quest through life
Those seeking a purpose or a plan
Or things that pass away like beauty and youth
For those who seek belonging, adventures, or a sense of what to do
Perhaps that encompasses all of us too.
I pray for all the travelers today
And tomorrow, the day after, and the next day.
Words for the Morning (Originally written on 8/3/15)
Oh how I long to awaken slowly
And gently awaken my muscles with a stretch and a stroll
To greet the morning sun with gratitude
And savor the soothing smell and the dark delicious taste
Of freshly brewed French roast
Such is a gift that some do not receive
Such is a gift that I must first awaken to see
Such is a delight that extends from the loving Creator Being above
Such is a late summer morning
And for this, O God who created the senses,
I offer sincerest thanks!
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you…
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
When they had sung the hymn to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre,
“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
*Psalm 92:1-4; Matthew 26: 26-30 (Jesus words in purple); Isaiah 40:29-31, NRSV
During a recent camping trip, I felt frustrated, thinking I couldn’t communicate with anyone just because I lacked access to text messages, voicemail, email, and social media. I’ve grown so used to such things that suddenly being without the Internet or cell service felt like a significant loss or adjustment. I began to wonder if I feel the discomfort of adjustment and a sense of loss when disconnected from God.
We’ve grown accustomed to technology because the technology is readily accessible and we use it regularly. When we lose access, we notice rather quickly. We may even feel lost or frustrated. Disconnecting from technology can arouse such strong feelings. What kind of feelings surface when we disconnect from God? When we let the cares of the world compromise our connection with God do we even realize it? We would feel lost being disconnected from God only if we had been accustomed to a strong connection with God beforehand. If we live prayerfully, read scripture, and strive to grow in our awareness of His presence in this world, then we will notice when we lose access and are facing a difficult adjustment.
Unlike cell service or Internet connections—the strength of which is often situational and beyond our control—access to God isn’t so far out of our reach. We can guard against the busyness of life and the ways of the world that compromise our connection with God. We can stop making excuses for neglect, and we can grow closer to The Ever-Present God.
“From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’” (Acts 17:26-28, NRSV)
To what or whom have you grown accustomed: a life disconnected or unplugged from God (one outside the service area) or a life connected to God, who is readily accessible?
We are always on a journey. We might be drawing closer to Jesus. We may be wrongfully journeying away from Jesus. We sometimes journey through great trials that raise questions but ultimately teach us and bring us closer to God. Half the time we are not conscious of our journey. We live our day-to-ay lives without thinking about how we are being changed and how we’re changing the lives of others.
Important decisions and significant life changes have a way of rekindling our awareness of our spiritual journey—our walk with the Lord, the unfolding of our life purposes.
I’m making important decisions, and I have more to make. I’m charging into life-altering territory, and with a heightened awareness of my spiritual journey with God.
Will you be bold?
In verse 57 that “someone” made a bold proclamation: “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” He may not have known the full extent of his words. Perhaps it was naïve of him to say it; however, his words opened the door to greater understanding. His words initiated a lesson, not only for him but also for the others on the journey. The disciples were learning and deepening their connection with God and His work for them.
Through God’s grace and the workings of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s mission continues today. We learn and rise to challenges while journeying today. The Lord has lessons for us, and He teaches them while we walk with Him, not as a prerequisite for walking with Him. Be bold! Embrace the journey and all the lessons along the way!
First read Luke 9:57-62 (a recent post categorized under “Verse of the Week”)
When I read this passage, the words “…as they journeyed…” stood out to me. These words set the scene for the story. The followers of Jesus were with Jesus and journeyed with Him. In that moment, they were following Him. They may have held a limited perspective. They didn’t fully understand Jesus, His mission, and discipleship; but they followed. They followed with eagerness, even if they later learned the parameters of their eagerness. They were enlightened of their limited understanding. In the midst of their journey with the Christ, they learned.
Initially I assumed that the followers of Jesus who spoke of their attachments were so intent on observing their specific areas of concern that they strayed from the path and returned home, buried a loved one, and officially offered parting words. I assumed, but I couldn’t know that such events took place. The story concludes with a message from Jesus, not the actions of His followers. As I repeatedly read this passage, I began to abandon my initial assumption.
Just because they didn’t have everything figured out from the get go, doesn’t mean they abandoned Jesus. Jesus’ responses were enlightening. He revealed the stumbling block in the voiced perspectives and reiterated the call to “go and preach the kingdom of God” (vs.60). Jesus’ words helped the disciples better understand the challenges involved in discipleship: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (vs 62). In this passage, Jesus gets the final word. He offers a lesson. Although we do not know the disciples’ initial response, we do know that at least eleven people continued with Jesus through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Through God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s mission continues today. The Lord has lessons for us, and He teaches them while we walk with Him, not as a prerequisite for walking with Him. We learn and rise to the challenges as we journey today, tomorrow, and onward.