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.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Daily Prayer, Monday of Holy Week, April 2, 2012

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Invitatory Psalm 143
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications
  in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
  for no one living is righteous before you.

Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times;
   your praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
   and covets many days to enjoy good?

Keep your tongue from evil,
 and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
   and saves the crushed in spirit.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Daily Lectionary Reading, 
First reading, Isaiah 42:1-9 
But here is my servant,
the one I uphold;

my chosen, who brings me delight.

I’ve put my spirit upon him;

he will bring justice to the nations.

2 He won’t cry out or shout aloud
or make his voice heard in public.
3 He won’t break a bruised reed;
he won’t extinguish a faint wick,
but he will surely bring justice.
4 He won’t be extinguished or broken
until he has established justice
in the land.
The coastlands await his teaching.
5 God the LORD says—
the one who created the heavens,
the one who stretched them out,
the one who spread out the earth
and its offspring,
the one who gave breath to its people
and life to those who walk on it—
6 I, the LORD , have called you
for a good reason.
I will grasp your hand and guard you,
and give you as a covenant
to the people,
as a light to the nations,
7 to open blind eyes,
to lead the prisoners from prison,
and those who sit in darkness
from the dungeon.
8 I am the LORD ;
that is my name;
I don’t hand out my glory to others
or my praise to idols.
9 The things announced in the past—look—they’ve already happened,
but I’m declaring new things.
Before they even appear,
I tell you about them. [Common English Bible]

Daily Lectionary Reading, 
Psalm 36:5-11
5 But your loyal love, LORD, extends to the skies;

your faithfulness reaches the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;
your justice is like the deepest sea.

LORD, you save both human and animals.
7 Your faithful love is priceless, God!
Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the bounty of your house;
you let them drink from your river of pure joy.
9 Within you is the spring of life.
In your light, we see light.
10 Extend your faithful love to those who know you;
extend your righteousness to those whose heart is right.
11 Don’t let the feet of arrogant people walk all over me;
don’t let the hands of the wicked drive me off. [Common English Bible]

Prayer: You have called us to service. You have loved us and now ask us to share that love. We give you thanks for all your gifts, for all your protection, and ask now for strength and guidance to carry out your will. Amen.

Midday Psalm 119:41-48
Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
   your salvation according to your promise.
Then I shall have an answer for those who taunt me,
   for I trust in your word.
Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
   for my hope is in your ordinances.
I will keep your law continually, forever and ever.
I shall walk at liberty,
   for I have sought your precepts.
I will also speak of your decrees before kings,
   and shall not be put to shame;
I find my delight in your commandments,
   because I love them.
I revere your commandments, which I love,
   and I will meditate on your statutes.

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
   though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
   though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

Daily Lectionary, Second Reading
Hebrews 9:11-15
11 But Christ has appeared as the high priest of the good things that have happened. He passed through the greater and more perfect meeting tent, which isn’t made by human hands (that is, it’s not a part of this world). 12 He entered the holy of holies once for all by his own blood, not by the blood of goats or calves, securing our deliverance for all time. 13 If the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of cows made spiritually contaminated people holy and clean, 14 how much more will the blood of Jesus wash our consciences clean from dead works in order to serve the living God? He offered himself to God through the eternal Spirit as a sacrifice without any flaw.

15 This is why he’s the mediator of a new covenant (which is a will): so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance on the basis of his death. His death occurred to set them free from the offenses committed under the first covenant. [Common English Bible]

Psalm 48
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
   in the city of our God.
We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
   in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
   reaches to the ends of the earth.

Daily Lectionary Reading, the Gospel
John 12:1-11
Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. 3 Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound, (h) of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. 4 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained, 5 “This perfume was worth a year’s wages! (i) Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” (6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.)

7 Then Jesus said, “ Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me. ”

9 Many Jews learned that he was there. They came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 The chief priests decided that they would kill Lazarus too. 11 It was because of Lazarus that many of the Jews had deserted them and come to believe in Jesus.
h  Or a litra, a Roman pound, approximately twelve ounces
i  Or three hundred denaria
[Common English Bible]

Prayer: God, through Christ, has given us as a covenant to the people, to heal and liberate through prayer and work. We gather the concerns of the church and the world, and hold them in our hearts before our creator and redeemer. Gracious God, the hope of all in need, pour your Spirit upon us, that we may be instruments of your justice and compassion, a light to the nations, and a living promise of your new heaven and new earth. Amen. (RCL Prayers, Fortress Press).

Psalm 49
Hear this, all you peoples;
give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
   both low and high,
   rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.
Why should I fear in times of trouble,
   when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
   those who trust in their wealth
   and boast of the abundance of their riches?

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