Ingratitude—Leprosy of the Soul

Courtesy of Anchor Wallace

Leprosy: it’s a terrible disease that eats away at the skin.  Ten lepers cry out to Jesus, desperate to be healed.  Jesus simply tells them to take a walk to the priests.  Obedient to what Jesus says, they are healed along the way.

Amazing: how quickly nine of them begin to take their new skin for granted!  You would think that they would always remember the change—all they needed to do was to look at their own body. But nine forget to be grateful; only one returns to thank Jesus for what he did for him.

Ingratitude: it’s the leprosy of the soul!  It begins with failing to be grateful for the gift of life itself.   

Luke 17:11-19

On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

God Like a Rock

At the end of Moses’ long speeches, we come to a song. We don’t have the melody, so you might take a few verses that touch you, and make a tune out of them.

Moses sings about God being like a rock. He recalls how unfaithful God’s people were in their desert wanderings. They looked to foreign gods as phony rocks that they thought could save them. How wrong they were!

To get a feel for this, imagine that you are sitting on a great rock that has not moved for hundreds of thousands of years. God is like that—never changing…always there…a place to rest. Make it a high rock so that no enemies can get to you. Enjoy this time of rest. You can always return to God as your rock. Take some time to sense how good this feels.

Deuteronomy 32:1-39

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
I rest high on You, my rock. v. 4
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Last Supper

Today and for the next five weeks, we’re going to move slowly through the Passion of Jesus. Back in 2004 there was a powerful movie made called The Passion of the Christ.  As excellent as the movie was, it was over in a few hours.  Not so for the passion of Jesus.  It lasted all through night of the Last Supper and on into the next afternoon, Good Friday.

It all begins with the Last Supper.  Let me invite you to take your place as a thirteenth apostle who quietly sees, listens and feels what is going on in the story of preparing the Supper and sharing it with Jesus.  Take your time.  There are moments there, such as the words of consecration for Communion, that you’ll want to meditate upon with all your heart.

Luke 22:1-23

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This being Year C,
the third year in the cycle, we generally read from the Gospel of Luke.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Praise for God’s Greatness

As ugly and horrible as were the beasts we read about last week in the book of Revelation, this week’s reading is filled with peace, beauty and victory.  Power over evil comes from God and from angels; it’s not a war we can take on ourselves. God wins the battle.  I find comfort in knowing this, since the forces of evil are strong; yet God is much greater.

So let’s join the heavenly choir that sings the Song of Moses.  There are only two verses of the song placed here, but each one is packed with phrases about God that are worth thinking and praying about during the day. 

  Revelation 15   

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Commands to God

The writer of this psalm has two things on his mind.  First, to pour out all his feelings of fear and distress at his enemies; second, to beg God for help.  He actually gives God commands!  If you know what the “imperative mood” is in grammar, that’s the mood that the sacred writer is in.

Making demands of God sounds rude at first.  Yet remember: the psalmist has lots of confidence and intimacy with God.  He knows that God wants to help him, so he just reminds God of what God said God would do…not that God needs reminding, but sometimes we do!

Psalm 143

Wednesdays are devoted to the reading of the Psalms,
one a week across the three-year cycle.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Me First!

How sad!  No sooner has the great temple been built—one place to worship the one true God—and division sets in. It all comes down to power and selfishness.  Rehoboam was a wicked son of Solomon and grandson of David.  Enemies were made within God’s people whom God had saved in the wonders of the Exodus.

God has saved us all from our own kinds of  “Egypts.”  But it’s easy for us to be like Rehoboam: “Me first!”  When that happens we make breaks among people that God has joined together with love.  Pray against “Me first-ism” in yourself, then in the world’s leaders…and for all of God’s people on the face of this one earth.

 2 Chronicles 12:1-14

Tuesdays are dedicated to the the History and Writings of the Hebrew Scriptures.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

The Magic Carpet and the Laundry Basket

Zechariah 5:1 Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll.

One of the early computer games was one called “Pac-Man.”  It had a head like a circle, seen from the side, with a great big wide mouth that would gobble up the obstacles that stood in the way of reaching the goal.  

We have powerful imaginations…so powerful, that it has been suggested that when someone has cancer, that they imagine an inner “Pac-Man” chewing up all those cancer cells.

Zechariah has something like this in mind when he uses images like a magic carpet called “The Flying Scroll” and “The Woman in a Basket” to have us feel evil contained and taken from us.  Is there anything wrong that you do that you need to throw onto that magic carpet or into the basket so that it flies swiftly away from you…like laundry that needs to be done?

 Zechariah 5:1—6:8

Mondays are dedicated to the reading of the Hebrew Prophets.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.