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.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Daily Prayer, Saturday, March 17, 2012

We thank you, Lord,  for your steadfast love,
for your wonderful works to humankind.

Invitatory Psalm 102
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
  in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
  so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
  to set free those who were doomed to die;
so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
  and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together, and kingdoms,
  to worship the Lord.
He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
  at the mid-point of my life,
  you whose years endure throughout all generations.”
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
  and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.

Psalm 81
Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
   the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
   at the full moon, on our festal day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
   an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph,
   when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a voice I had not known:
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
   who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
   to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
   that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
   and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
   and their doom would last forever.
I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
   and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 82
God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
   and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk around in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
   and fall like any prince.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
   for all the nations belong to you!

Psalm 85
Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Ephesians 2:1-7

 At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. 2 You used to act like most people in our world do. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. 3 At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else.

4 - 5 However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! 6 And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. 7 God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus.
[Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: God, we confess that we have done wrong, we have sinned against others, we have offended you, We have worried more about what other people think than what you wish us to do. Yet, you have shown mercy to us. You have loved us. You have saved us. We give you thanks for your grace. Strengthen us now to accept your mercy and to demonstrate it to others. Amen.

Psalm 107
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; 
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, 
those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west, 
from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, 
and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.
Some sat in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in misery and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God, 
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor; 
they fell down, with no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, 
and he saved them from their distress;
he brought them out of darkness and gloom, 
and broke their bonds asunder.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he shatters the doors of bronze, 
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
Some were sick through their sinful ways, 
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
they loathed any kind of food, 
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, 
and he saved them from their distress;
he sent out his word and healed them, 
and delivered them from destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind.
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, 
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
Some went down to the sea in ships, 
doing business on the mighty waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord
his wondrous works in the deep.

For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, 
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, 
they went down to the depths; 
their courage melted away in their calamity;
they reeled and staggered like drunkards, 
and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, 
and he brought them out from their distress;
he made the storm be still, 
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet, 
and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind.
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, 
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
He turns rivers into a desert, 
springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, 
because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water, 
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry live, 
and they establish a town to live in;
they sow fields, and plant vineyards, 
and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly, 
and he does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low 
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes 
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of distress, 
and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad; 
and all wickedness stops its mouth.
Let those who are wise give heed to these things, 
and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

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