Sunday, October 25, 2009

A King Prays to THE KING

Lord, I offer David's words from the Fifth Psalm:

Thank you, Father, for the example of David - king and military leader - who begins the morning in prayer.

The King who brings his sighs and cries to You.

The King who bows in awe of You…who recognizes your steadfast love…who prays “make your way straight before me.”

I pray for David's deep, direct, very real connection to You:

As it was for David, may it be so for us. Turn our sighs to joy. Be our refuge and shield. Be our reality.

Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Credits -
Top: King David, St. Martin's, North Yorkshire, UK
Statue of David, Michelangelo

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thirsty for Righteousness, Hungry for God's Presence

The word righteousness gets a bad rap. I think we confuse it with self-righteousness. Everybody knows what that means and nobody likes it…except for self-righteous people.

Righteousness can be defined simply as virtuous, but in the spiritual genre it has a deeper meaning: absolute faith in and commitment to God (according to the Holman Bible Dictionary.)

And that brings us to Matthew 5:6, Beatitude Number Four. Let's pray:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…

Your words, Lord Christ: Blessed are those who seek your presence…those who seek an abiding relationship.

I have wondered about your expectations for that relationship. What do you want? The answer seems to be every aspect of our lives.

You want us in traffic…in the tough spots…when we stumble into someone we don’t like...when we face hostility…when a confrontation looms…when we encounter temptation.

That’s where your Holy Spirit will temper, guide, heal and transform - if - if we will give you the entire package.

Max Lucado writes that we must let you into the “mire and muck of our world.” Only then can you pull us out.

Lord, we hunger and thirst for righteousness. Amen.

Top photo: The Paraportiani Church, Mykonos, Greece (15th Century) | Bottom: Church in Oia, Santorini | Melissa Habel

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

World Communion Sunday

Blessed Sacrament

World Communion Sunday was observed on October 4th. To support the global theme our church provided seven different breads including rye, pumpernickel, French, pita – even hush puppies.

What if Jesus had walked the shores of the Neuse or Cape Fear Rivers rather than the Sea of Galilee? Our minister suggests that the Eucharistic symbols might have become hush puppies and sweet tea!

“Down East” or Middle East, what do the symbols mean to you? And let’s pray:


The minister gave me a surprisingly large portion from the Communion loaf on Sunday - sort of a sacramental chaw. You must have been sending a message.

Was it representative of the sin I brought to the alter? A major offense.

Was is about mercy? A major pardon.

Was it about blessing? Far more than I deserve?

Was it about love? Far more than I can fathom?

Something to chew on as they say…but I think the answer is “all of the above.”

At communion…
I ask your forgiveness.

At your table, I celebrate…
Abundant mercy, blessing and love – a very large portion!

In the name of the one who makes it possible, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Jesus is crystal clear about his principles for personal outreach - for the mercy, compassion and service we are to extend on his behalf:

Today’s buzz word is social justice, but simply put, it’s care for your neighbor, on the cul-de-sac or the neighboring continent. I’ve taken Biblical standards for loving your neighbor from the Old and New Testaments and woven them into a prayer:

Dear God, I take note of a most compelling question that comes just four chapters into Genesis - not a command or a law - but a question:

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

It’s Cain’s feeble attempt to duck responsibility for his brother, but intuitively, we know the answer is “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.” Brand our hearts, Lord, with your words from Zechariah:

Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  
Zechariah 7:9-10

Father, we can be pretty “choosey” when it comes to the aliens and poor people we might be inclined to assist. I pray that we show greater mercy and compassion…as the 82nd Psalm directs:

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy… Psalm 82:3-4

Lord Christ, you have given us a clear, concise command in:

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39

Let our love be transformed from sentiment into action - into deeds, good works, service - as James so eloquently set the standard:

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:17-18

All this we humbly pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.