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, December 16, 2013

Daily Prayer, Monday, December 16, 2013

Restore us O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved (Psalm 80:2).


Invitatory Psalm 95

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice!
Psalm 94
Lord, avenging God—
   avenging God, show yourself!
2 Rise up, judge of the earth!
   Pay back the arrogant exactly what they deserve!
3 How long will the wicked—oh, Lord!—
   how long will the wicked win?
4 They spew arrogant words;
   all the evildoers are bragging.
5 They crush your own people, Lord!
   They abuse your very own possession.
6 They kill widows and immigrants;
   they murder orphans,
7     saying all the while,
   “The Lord can’t see it;
       Jacob’s God doesn’t know
       what’s going on!”

8 You ignorant people better learn quickly.
   You fools—when will you get some sense?
9 The one who made the ear,
   can’t he hear?
The one who formed the eye,
   can’t he see?
10 The one who disciplines nations,
   can’t he punish?
The one who teaches humans,
   doesn’t he know?
11 The Lord does indeed know human thoughts,
   knows that they are nothing but a puff of air.

16 Who will stand up for me against the wicked?
   Who will help me against evildoers?
17 If the Lord hadn’t helped me,
   I would live instantly in total silence.
18 Whenever I feel my foot slipping,
   your faithful love steadies me, Lord.
19 When my anxieties multiply,
   your comforting calms me down.
[Common English Bible]

Psalm 96
Sing to the Lord a new song!
   Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord! Bless his name!
   Share the news of his saving work every single day!
3 Declare God’s glory among the nations;
   declare his wondrous works among all people
10 Tell the nations, “The Lord rules!
   Yes, he set the world firmly in place;
   it won’t be shaken.
   He will judge all people fairly.”
11 Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice!
   Let the sea and everything in it roar!
12     Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!
   Then all the trees of the forest too
       will shout out joyfully
13         before the Lord because he is coming!
He is coming to establish justice on the earth!
   He will establish justice in the world rightly.
   He will establish justice among all people fairly.
[Common English Bible]

Daily Lectionary Reading, Matthew 1:18-21
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. 20 As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
[Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: Lord our God, today we remember the intervention of your Holy Spirit into the lives of those people so many centuries ago and are grateful. Keep us alert to the continuing presence of your Spirit within all our doings. When we are challenged, calm our fears. Keep us mindful of your presence. Amen.

Midday Psalm 119:129-136
Your decrees are wonderful;
   therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
With open mouth I pant,
   because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
   as is your custom toward those who love your name.
Keep my steps steady according to your promise,
   and never let iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from human oppression, t
   hat I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant,
    and teach me your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of tears because your law is not kept.

Psalm 110
What the Lord says to my master:
“Sit right beside me
   until I make your enemies
   a footstool for your feet!”

2 May the Lord make your mighty scepter
   reach far from Zion!
   Rule over your enemies!
3 Your people stand ready
   on your day of battle.
   “In holy grandeur, from the dawn’s womb, fight!
       Your youthful strength is like the dew itself.”
4 The Lord has sworn a solemn pledge and won’t change his mind:
   “You are a priest forever in line with Melchizedek.”
[Common English Bible]

Psalm 112
Praise the Lord!
   Those who honor the Lord,
   who adore God’s commandments, are truly happy!
2 Their descendants will be strong throughout the land.
   The offspring of those who do right will be blessed;
3     wealth and riches will be in their houses.
   Their righteousness stands forever.
4 They shine in the dark for others who do right.
   They are merciful, compassionate, and righteous.
5 Those who lend generously are good people—
   as are those who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Yes, these sorts of people will never be shaken;
   the righteous will be remembered forever!
7 They won’t be frightened at bad news.
   Their hearts are steady, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are firm; they aren’t afraid.
   In the end, they will witness their enemies’ defeat.
9 They give freely to those in need.
   Their righteousness stands forever.
   Their strength increases gloriously.
10 The wicked see all this and fume;
       they grind their teeth, but disappear to nothing.
   What the wicked want to see happen comes to nothing!
[Common English Bible]

Psalm 113
Praise the Lord!
   You who serve the Lord—praise!
   Praise the Lord’s name!
2 Let the Lord’s name be blessed
   from now until forever from now!
3 From sunrise to sunset,
   let the Lord’s name be praised!
4 The Lord is high over all the nations;
   God’s glory is higher than the skies!

5 Who could possibly compare to the Lord our God?
   God rules from on high;
6     he has to come down to even see heaven and earth!
7 God lifts up the poor from the dirt
   and raises up the needy from the garbage pile
8         to seat them with leaders—
       with the leaders of his own people!
9     God nests the once barren woman at home—
       now a joyful mother with children!
Praise the Lord!
[Common English Bible]

Psalm 114
When Israel came out of Egypt—
   when the house of Jacob came out
   from a people who spoke a different language—
2     Judah was God’s sanctuary;
   Israel was God’s territory.

3 The sea saw it happen and ran away;
   the Jordan River retreated!
4 The mountains leaped away like rams;
   the hills leaped away like lambs!
5 Sea, why did you run away?
   Jordan, why did you retreat?
6     Mountains, why did you leap away like rams?
   Hills, why did you leap away like lambs?

7 Earth: Tremble before the Lord!
   Tremble before the God of Jacob,
8         the one who turned that rock into a pool of water,
       that flint stone into a spring of water!
[Common English Bible]

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