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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Peace, a Reflection on John 14:27-29

If I could say it better, I would. But, I can't. So I'm quoting Gail O'Day and Susan Hylen's commentary on John:
In the Old Testament, "peace" was a conventional leave-taking. That meaning is surely appropriate here, but again Jesus' words also have another meaning. The "peace" Jesus gives carries the weight of the Old Testament understanding of God's profound and abiding presence (see Isa 52:7; 54:10; Ezek 37:26-28; Zech 9:10).

This peace is now available in Jesus. This is not the world's peace, nor does it imply that everything shall go smoothly for Jesus' followers, who are instructed not to be afraid....Jesus' peace is a gift for disciples who live in a troubling world.
Pain and loss may always be present with us, but they are never the last word.

Daily Prayer, Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Invitatory Psalm 84
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow for herself
where she may lay her you, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my Ruler and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.

Psalm 65, 66, 70

Daily Lectionary Reading, John 14:27-29
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 You have heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away and returning to you.’ If you loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. 29 I have told you before it happens so that when it happens you will believe. [Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: O Lord, we ask that you continue to give us peace, that you continue to return to us, that you continue to love us.  Amen.

Lectio Divina 
John 14:29;
Psalm 67:7

Midday Psalm 119:97-104

Psalms 102, 103

Monday, April 29, 2013

Then and Still Now, a Reflection on John 14:23-26

In chapter 13, they share their last supper together. Jesus tells them that he is leaving them. In chapter 18, he is arrested and put on trial.

Between these events, John's gospel records for us what we may call his farewell discourse. They ask him questions about matters they are concerned about, and Jesus imparts consolations, warnings, and instructions.

He addresses their concerns, but he is also speaking to us about our concerns, our experiences, our needs, and our obligations.

This is a Bible thing to do. Look back at Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 11:1-8, 13. Moses is saying good by and telling them what to do after he is gone. Faithful people of generations after those wilderness wanderers continued to heed Moses' words. It's not just crossing over the river and you're home--it's living in that home the way God intended. Always was. Still is. Always will be.

In the passage from John that we are looking at today, Jesus emphasizes and entwines love and obedience. "Those who love me will keep my word" and "Whoever does not love me does not keep my word." He's said this before; e.g., 13:34-35; 14:15.

Also entwined with love is presence. In verse 22, one of his followers had asked why Jesus had revealed himself to only the few of them rather than more generally. In verse 23, we have his response, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

Our showing love to each other enables us to recognize the love we are receiving.

We today are still able to hear the words of Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God--our Advocate and Teacher-- continues to remind us of all that Jesus said to them and so continues to say to us.

Daily Prayer, Monday, April 29, 2013


May God be gracious to us
and bless us
and make your face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.

Invitatory Psalm 95
O come, let us sing to the Lord:
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
We come into your presence with thanksgiving;
we make a joyful noise to you with songs of praise.
You, Lord, are a great God.

Psalms 57, 61, 64

Daily Lectionary Reading, John 14:23-27
23 Jesus answered, “Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The word that you hear isn’t mine. It is the word of the Father who sent me. 25 “I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. 26 The Companion, [w] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you. 27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid. _________________________________________________ w Or Advocate [Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: Triune God, keep us mindful of the many ways we have been loved by you. Open us today to seeing ways that we can show that love. Open us to hearing your word. Calm our fears. Remind us of your care. Amen.
Lectio Divina
Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Midday Psalm 119:89-96

Psalms 87, 88, 91

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The GBOD offers resources for Mother's Day including this portion from a gathering call:
Come, mothers, lay your burdens down and sit at the feet of Jesus.Come, fathers, lay your burdens down and sit at the feet of Jesus.Come grandmothers and grandfathers,lay your burdens down and sit at the feet of Jesus.Come children, lay your burdens downand sit at the feet of Jesus.Come, singles, lay your burdens downand sit at the feet of Jesus.Come, neighbors, lay your burdens downand sit at the feet of Jesus.Come, strangers, lay your burdens down and sit at the feet of Jesus.

Don't Keep It to Yourself, a Reflection on Revelation 21:5-6

"God is coming here to live with you and to take care of you," the vision imparted to him.

The good news was not his to keep alone. After he had been told about the new earth, about the end of turmoil, and the assurance of God's presence and care, John is then given the command to tell about it.

God said to this long ago witness, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life."

We hear the good news, we become part of the good news, we share what we know, what we have been told, what has been done for us. We share by telling and by doing. Through us, God can continue to give water to the thirsty--both literally and metaphorically.

In your congregation, do you focus solely on those inside the congregation, or do you consider the needs, concerns, interests, or attitudes of the folks who have never been inside your building? Consider living out Wesleyan practices of hospitality.

Daily Prayer, Sunday, April 28, 2013

He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

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

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his 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 their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
   who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

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.

Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah

Psalms 52
Why do you boast, O mighty one,
   of mischief done against the godly?
All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
   you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
   and lying more than speaking the truth. Selah
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
But God will break you down forever;
he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
The righteous will see, and fear,
   and will laugh at the evildoer, saying,
   “See the one who would not take refuge in God,
   but trusted in abundant riches,
   and sought refuge in wealth!”
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
I will thank you forever, because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
   I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

Psalm 53
Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;
there is no one who does good.
God looks down from heaven on humankind
   to see if there are any who are wise,
   who seek after God.
They have all fallen away,
they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good, no, not one.

Psalm 54
Save me, O God, by your name,
   and vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
For the insolent have risen against me,
   the ruthless seek my life;
they do not set God before them. Selah
But surely, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
In your faithfulness, put an end to them.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
   and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Revelation 21:5-6
5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring. 7 Those who emerge victorious will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my sons and daughters. 8 But for the cowardly, the faithless, the vile, the murderers, those who commit sexual immorality, those who use drugs and cast spells, the idolaters and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” [Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: God, the Alpha and Omega, in you we have our beginning, in you we have our end. You have made our lives on earth possible. Inspire us now to return your faithfulness to us with our faithfulness to you. Turn us away from what is harmful to our lives. Turn us toward your way. 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.

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?”
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.
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!

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
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.

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.

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.