From Anger to Awe

AnimFireStarter

At last we hear from God in the book of Job!  Chapter after chapter has been going on with wrangling and arguing back and forth.  Now God has the last and final word in this book.

But look what happens: instead of giving answers, God asks more questions!  God really doesn’t respond to the debates that have been going on and on in the first thirty-seven chapters of the book.  All that God does is invite Job to look out on the world and to ponder the habits of various animals–hardly an answer to Job’s questions!

Yet what this does is shift Job’s outlook on things by inviting him to get out of himself and into the beauty and wonder of the world that God has made.  This is what happens: Job feels himself placed among all the mysteries of creation which has him experience awe instead of anger.

From anger to awe…that’s a good leap to make!  As you read these beautiful words of God, what changes in your outlook on the world and upon your personal world are you called to make?     And look what happens when Job prays for his friends!

Job 40—42

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
No purpose of Yours is lost. 52:2

For more about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Holy Week
Spring in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays we read from The Book of Job.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

 

Love-Power

The concluding chapter of the prophet Jeremiah tells about the destruction of Babylon, the evil capital of the Babylonian Empire.  Their kings were always out to destroy God’s people.  Babylon will fall, but also so will Jerusalem, described in the final chapter.

I call your attention to a hymn of praise in the middle of all these terrible things that are being predicted.  It’s a song of praise about the power of God. It’s very important for us to remember God’s goodness and power when things around us look difficult…maybe even when they feel a little like a city under siege!  But our God is powerful because God is alive and filled with the whole energy of the universe…not like the lifeless idols who pretend to have power but which have none.

Jeremiah 51:15-19

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
The exalted are humbled 51:1ff

This is Holy Week, Year C
Mondays in Lent are dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

A Clue from a Little Horse

Let’s get a clue about Jesus from the kind of animal that he rides upon as he enters Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.  It isn’t one of those great horses with large hooves that conquerors used when they marched into a captured city.  Unfortunately, many in the crowd want Jesus to be that kind of a king.  They are hoping that one of the miracles of Jesus would be the rising of a tremendous force to drive out the Romans who were making life so hard for them.

But notice the animal…a little horse—a colt.  Jesus’ feet dangle and touch the ground!  It hardly looks like something great.  On the contrary, Jesus enters on a simple, humble animal, to express the peace and gentleness that Jesus wants to give.  The animal is the clue! Still the people want a powerful Jesus to go into the city. They shout “Hosanna, Hosanna”…But a few days later, other cries would turn into “Crucify him! Crucify him!”  

As you place yourself in the crowd, holding your palm branch and waving it, will you stay faithful to your king who will soon reign from a cross?

Luke 19:28-40

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Hosanna in the Highest! v. 37
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Today is Palm Sunday.
Spring in the north.  Year C
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Run It By Your Brain

The best way to read this passage is to hear the “update” that Jesus made of it. “Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes out into the sewer? But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight” (Matthew 15:17- 18).  

So be careful about what you say.  Run your words by your brain before your speak, to be sure that they will bring joy and comfort to another person, and not words that would upset another because your words are not coming from a loving heart.  

Who would welcome a message of love from you today?

Leviticus 15:1–33

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

Speaking only words of love

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.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Love in the Middle of Meanness

So much happens in today’s reading—great swings from evil to love and back to evil again.  The first terrible event that Jesus talks about is his betrayal by Judas. Then right after that is predicted, Jesus swings to the other side and shares the new commandment about loving one another, just as Jesus has loved us.  Isn’t it amazing that such words could be said against the backdrop of the meanness of betrayal that is about to happen?  St. John, whose Gospel mentions light so many times—the light of Jesus’ love—now has one of the shortest verses in the Bible as Judas goes out to complete his evil deed.  Verse 30 says very simply: “It was night.”

  Right after Jesus’ great words of love, we swing back to nastiness again when Jesus tells about the denial of Peter.  Here is Jesus, telling us about his new commandment to love one another, while on either side of his words are the coming betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter.

Can you love when you are in the middle of things not going so well for you?  Maybe you’ve even  felt betrayed by a friend, or at least others not sticking up for you when the going gets a bit rough.  Still, God gives us the power to love, even our enemies.  Think about how this reading applies to your own life.    

 John 13:18-38

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
New commandment: loving all v. 34
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fifth Week in Lent
Spring in the north.  Year C
On Fridays in Lent and Easter we read the Gospel of John.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Get Real!

The final chapters of a book, as well as those from letters in Scripture, are the author’s last chance to leave his or her thoughts with us…so too in the letter of James.  It is filled with good advice, some confronting about how people at that time are living, along with encouragement for them to live together in love.

There are a few special verses toward the end, from v. 14 that teach about anointing and praying for the sick.  Then James shares the idea of confessing our faults to each other. Wow, I don’t think that this happens very often today!  Yet it is a good idea to have friends who love and accept us so much that  we can tell them what is really bothering us, as well as our faults, temptations and fallings into sin and wrongdoing. Wouldn’t it be good for us to talk about our sins without that feeling of being so defensive and protecting ourselves against guilt?  Without confessing, our wrongs hang about us like a big load that we need not carry.   Find a friend with whom you can “Get Real!”

James 5

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Deciding not to complain v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fifth Week in Lent
Spring in the north.  Year C
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament Letters.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Hands Lifted High

A tiny psalm is today’s friend to accompany us in the hours of the day—a little journey from morning to evening.  Along with all the psalms in the Lenten series, this is journey-prayer.  

The night security guards with their arms lifted up in joy remind me of a marathon winner’s hands held up as he or she crosses the finish line.  There is joy in being Number One in the race; now the winner can relax and rest after the victory.

So too with God’s people. Their hands are held high in prayer as they enter the Holy City, Jerusalem. But this is in celebration of what is coming, rather than what has ended—not as the winner of a race merely walking away from the finish line.  However, when Jesus crosses the finish line into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he’s getting near the end of his earthly life when his hands will be held high on the cross out of love for you and me.  Jesus’ suffering and dying there are not the end, but only the beginning of a whole new way of life for us—living in the Holy Spirit that Jesus breathed forth from the cross.

Psalm 134

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Lifting hands to holy place v. 2

For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fifth Week in Lent.
Spring in the north.  Year C
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…