It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daily Prayer, Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To you I lift up my eyes,
   O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

Invitatory Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into the Lord’s presence with singing.

We know that you are God.
It is you that made us, and we are yours.
we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.

We enter your gates with thanksgiving,
and your courts with praise.
We give thanks to you, bless your name.
For you, O Lord, are good;
your steadfast love endures forever,
and your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 12
Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly; 
the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
They utter lies to each other; 
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, 
the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail; 
our lips are our own—who is our master?”
“Because the poor are despoiled, 
because the needy groan, 
I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
“I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
You, O Lord, will protect us; 
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl, 
as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Psalm 13
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? 
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! 
Give light to my eyes, 
or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”; 
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 17

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; 

give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.

From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right.

If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, 
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; 
my mouth does not transgress.
As for what others do, 
by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths; 
my feet have not slipped.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; 
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love, 
O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
Guard me as the apple of the eye; 
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who despoil me, 
my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity; 
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They track me down; now they surround me; 
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush.
Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them! 
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
from mortals—by your hand, O Lord
— from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. 
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; 
may their children have more than enough; 
may they leave something over to their little ones.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; 
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11) 12
Lord, you have been our help, generation after generation. 2 Before the mountains were born, before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world— from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God. 3 You return people to dust, saying, “ Go back, humans, ” 4 because in your perspective a thousand years are like yesterday past, like a short period during the night watch. 5 You sweep humans away like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning. 6 True, in the morning it thrives, renewed, but come evening it withers, all dried up. 7 Yes, we are wasting away because of your wrath; we are paralyzed with fear on account of your rage. 8 You put our sins right in front of you, set our hidden faults in the light from your face. 9 Yes, all our days slip away because of your fury; we finish up our years with a whimper. 10 We live at best to be seventy years old, maybe eighty, if we’re strong. But their duration brings hard work and trouble because they go by so quickly. And then we fly off. 11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger? The honor that is due you corresponds to your wrath. 12 Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart.

Today's Prayer:
By your Creative Word, you have created me with all my potential,
and placed me in a human family blessed by love and compassion. You have created people to live in community with each other, and provided each of us with the capacity to love, share and to forgive. You have also created me with a body that seems to be falling apart as I grow older; with a mind that is starting to be forgetful; but also with an increasing yearning for spiritual nurture, as I come nearer to my final home in God. I can grumble and grouch about pain and loss of energy – and I do – but hopefully, I am learning to accept that these are signposts to the way home to God; that these are hints that this is not my only place to live my life in all its fullness and wholeness. If used in shared worship, please provide an acknowledgement as follows: © 2011 Joan Stott – "The Timeless Psalms" RCL Psalm Year A, used with permission.

Midday Psalm 119:17-24

Psalm 18
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew; he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around him, his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him there broke through his clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice.
And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his ordinances were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
with the pure you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
For you deliver a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.
It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God?—
the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me; your help has made me great.
You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; and did not turn back until they were consumed.
I struck them down, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet.
For you girded me with strength for the battle; you made my assailants sink under me.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them; they cried to theLord, but he did not answer them.
I beat them fine, like dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
You delivered me from strife with the peoples; you made me head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me.
As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me.
Foreigners lost heart, and came trembling out of their strongholds.
The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation,
the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me;
who delivered me from my enemies; indeed, you exalted me above my adversaries; you delivered me from the violent.
For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.
Great triumphs he gives to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.

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