The Lamb Alone

Friday, October 25, 2013
Luke 22:47-71

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El Greco The Repentant Peter c. 1600 Oil on canvas, 94 x 75 cm
Phillips Collection, Washington Visit the Web gallery of art. http://www.wga.hu

We enter the scene of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus and the poignant denial of Peter. Jesus experiences the loneliness of being abandoned by his intimate friends. Only after the resurrection and the coming of the Spirit will Peter and the other disciples who had deserted Jesus surround the Lamb once again, as promised in the verse from yesterday’s reading. The blasphemies described in that reading are present on the lips of Jesus’ persecutors. What irony: after such atrocious behavior before the Lamb, Jesus’ persecutors accuse him of blasphemy!

Be present as a silent, faithful witness of Jesus sufferings. Feel every word and turn of events. Slow down the movement of Jesus’ suffering so that you can receive each one as so many drops of his blood filling your life-cup with the sacrament of his presence.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Witnessing to knowing You. v. 57
O Lord, turn and look at me. v. 61
Heaping praises upon You. v. 65
Christ, you are the Son of God. v. 70

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for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We read the Gospel of Luke.

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The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

The Blood of the Lamb

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Revelation 17

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With powerful images of evil, John portrays the arrogance and idolatry of the Roman Empire, great enemy of the early Christians. Recall the words of St. Paul in 1 Cor. 1:27: “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

The Book of Revelation was intended to be a source of strength as Christians endured cruel persecution at the hands of that evil empire. Connecting with the image of the king riding in victory on a donkey in Monday’s reading from Zechariah, the image of the meek and vulnerable Lamb is John’s way of reminding us of the victory of the blood of Jesus over all adversaries.

Picture yourself in the Coliseum in Rome as lions are about to tear your flesh to shreds. The flesh of the Lamb of God was first torn for you, assuring you of the loving, sustaining presence of your Jesus when the flesh of your soul is about to be ripped.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Witnessing to Jesus. v. 6
Written in the book of life. v. 8
The lamb conquering the kings. v. 14
Lord of lords and King of kings. v. 14

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for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

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The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

A Symphony of Synonyms

Wednesday,October 23, 2013
Psalm 145

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

The subtitle for this Psalm is “A Praise of David.” From this prayer until we come to the end of the Wednesday cycle in Psalm 150, praise will pervade every psalm.

This is another example of an acrostic poem—each verse beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This structure offers a sense of movement and completion to the prayer. Further adding to the feeling of completion, the psalmist exhausts all the possible words for “praise” in Hebrew, making a kind of symphony of synonyms. How many words in English can you find that will fill your soul with praise?

This is a fitting psalm for all the readings for this week, as well as for the ones in these final weeks God’s year of grace.

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The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Blessing you every hour. v. 2
You’re gracious and merciful. v. 8
You raise all who are bowed down. v. 14
You are kind in all Your ways. v. 17

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for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms, one each week over the three-year cycle.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

The Weapon of Praise

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 Chronicles 17—20

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Saint Paul would want you to remember his words: “What you sow you will reap,” as you read about the consequences of good and evil kings (Gal 6:7). The reference in Zechariah yesterday (10:2) about the sheep having no shepherd is present in today’s reading (18:16), an image that would become familiar in the Gospels.

Chapter 20 provides respite from the intrigues and infidelity of some of the leaders of God’s people. Give yourself special meditative time to pray through this chapter. Notice the power of praise as the weapon of victory over all enemies. Shift your focus away from what is coming against you in life, to praise for the One who is working out the victory for you at this very moment. The battle is not yours, but God’s!

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Inqui’ring first in the Word 18:4
In Your hands are pow’r and might. 20:6
My eyes always upon You. 20:12
The battle belongs to You. 20:15

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for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Tuesdays are dedicated the Hebrew “Writings.”

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

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The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

“Usher” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Usher” introduces the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide:
autumn in the north, spring in the south.
Alphabytes in Kingdomtide: “Nose” to “Zoom Lens”

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

A modest, humble task, it would seem—pointing out a place to sit.
The root of the parent from ancient Latin gives more life to the pointing.
It means OPENING.

Think of the grace of taking one
whose being is closed in fear to what is opening forth:
the mouth of the Word—an opening in God’s arms—
an embrace that needs an open heart.

The usher is the link between what is open and closed.
So simple to do—a smile, a hand, a gesture of welcome so gentle
that what is tight in the other becomes loose.

This tiny moment of welcome at worship
opens countless meetings with people after.
Will you let yourself be open to the Lord, so that with this same gift
others can enter into the open side of Jesus
where saving blood and water flow?

Jesus’ Entry into the Heart

Monday, October 21, 2013
Zechariah 9—10

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Receive the absolute assurance of God’s promise of restoration for Israel and Judah as renewal and restoration for your own soul. As you read Zechariah’s list of the enemies of Israel that shall be overcome, become sensitive to your own list of all that would place itself as enemy in your life—sickness, family challenges, antagonists, etc.

In chapter 9, verse 9, there is joy in the description of the Messianic King that will bring about these victories. You are familiar with this verse, used by all four evangelists as they discover its fulfillment in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The Alphabyte “Usher” for this week offers a personal image, as you usher Jesus into the inner recesses of your own heart, there to take dominion of it, winning victory over all your enemies.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Rejoicing for my King comes. 9:9
You reigning from sea to sea. 9:10
God, the Lord, will answer me. 10:6
Gathering in our children 10:8

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for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets,in this season the Minor Prophets.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

The Gush of God’s Grace

Sunday, October 20, 2013
Luke 18:1-8

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Here is a parable with contrasts of energy—the lazy judge and the relentless widow, the care of God and the weak faith of God’s children. The widow has the persistence of a battering ram against the hard heart of the judge. Lack of faith blocks God’s people from receiving the current of God’s healing grace. Jesus said previously that the faith of a tiny mustard seed would be sufficient to hurl a mountain into the sea—certainly enough to move the heart of God already filled with love and tender care for God’s children.

What are the obstacles to your faith that prevent God’s grace from gushing into your soul? Recall the root meaning of the word, “usher.” It is about opening a way for God to move. Let the parable literally usher in a week of flowing communion between you and God.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Praying and not losing heart v. 1
Crying to You day and night v. 7
The Lord granting me justice. v. 8
When you come, find me in faith. v. 8

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
Year C is dedicated to the Gospel of Luke.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.