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.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Daily Prayer, Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!

Invitatory Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
   the world, and those who live in it.
You have founded it on the seas
   and established it on the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in your holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
   who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
   and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
   and vindication from the God of heir salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek you,
   who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.

Who is this King of glory?
the Lord of hosts,
You are the King of glory.

Psalms 52, 53, 54

Daily Lectionary Reading, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. 25 Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. 26 So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. 27 Rather I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others. [Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: O God, keep me directed toward the right goal. Keep me running toward that goal. Help me to make distinctions in my life between what is important, helpful, useful, moral, and what is not. Others are watching me. You are watching me. Amen.

Psalm 78
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
   things that we have heard and known,
   that our ancestors have told us.

We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord,
   and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel,
   which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn,
   and rise up and tell them to their children,
   so that they should set their hope in God,
   and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their ancestors,
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,
   a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
   whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle.
They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law.
They forgot what he had done, and the miracles that he had shown them.
In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all night long with a fiery light.
He split rocks open in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out and torrents overflowed,
   can he also give bread, or provide meat for his people?”

Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;
a fire was kindled against Jacob, his anger mounted against Israel,
because they had no faith in God, and did not trust his saving power.

Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels; he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
    and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas;
   he let them fall within their camp, all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.

But before they had satisfied their craving,
   while the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God rose against them and he killed the strongest of them,
   and laid low the flower of Israel.
In spite of all this they still sinned; they did not believe in his wonders.
So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror.
When he killed them, they sought for him;
   they repented and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock,
   the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not true to his covenant.

Yet he, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity,
   and did not destroy them;
   often he restrained his anger,
   and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
   a wind that passes and does not come again.

How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
   and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again,
   and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not keep in mind his power,
   or the day when he redeemed them from the foe;
   when he displayed his signs in Egypt,
   and his miracles in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood,
   so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies,
   which devoured them,
   and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the caterpillar,
   and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail,
    and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail,
   and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them
   his fierce anger, wrath, indignation, and distress,
   a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
   but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
   the first issue of their strength in the tents of Ham.

Then he led out his people like sheep,
   and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;
   but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy hill,
   to the mountain that his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them;
he apportioned them for a possession
   and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Yet they tested the Most High God,
   and rebelled against him.
They did not observe his decrees,
  but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors;
they twisted like a treacherous bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
they moved him to jealousy with their idols.

When God heard, he was full of wrath,
   and he utterly rejected Israel.
He abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
   the tent where he dwelt among mortals,
   and delivered his power to captivity,
   his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people to the sword,
   and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men,
   and their girls had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword,
   and their widows made no lamentation.

Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
   like a warrior shouting because of wine.
He put his adversaries to rout;
he put them to everlasting disgrace.
He rejected the tent of Joseph,
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
but he chose the tribe of Judah,
   Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
   like the earth, which he has founded forever.

He chose his servant David,
   and took him from the sheepfolds;
   from tending the nursing ewes
       he brought him to be the shepherd
          of his people Jacob, of Israel, his inheritance.
With upright heart he tended them,
   and guided them with skillful hand.

Psalm 79
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the air for food,
   the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth.
They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem,
   and there was no one to bury them.

We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.
How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealous wrath burn like fire?

Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you,
    and on the kingdoms that do not call on your name.
For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.

Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors;
let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name;
   deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known
   among the nations before our eyes.
Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
   according to your great power preserve those doomed to die.
Return sevenfold into the bosom of our neighbors
   the taunts with which they taunted you, O Lord!

Then we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Psalm 83
O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
Even now your enemies are in tumult;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against those you protect.
They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
They conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,
Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;

Assyria also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

Psalm 86
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God;
be gracious to me, O Lord,
   for to you do I cry all day long.

Gladden the soul of your servant,
   for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
   abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
   for you will answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
   nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
   and bow down before you, O Lord,
   and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God,
   with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

O God, the insolent rise up against me;
a band of ruffians seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant;
save the child of your serving girl.
Show me a sign of your favor,
   so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
   because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

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