Tuesday, September 25, 2012
…if we listen to Christian voices in the public square, there is far more passion about unborn children than the well-being of children once they are born.
I heard that bracing, prophetic voice on a Day1 podcast from the Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad of Union Theological Seminary in NYC. She was preaching on Mark 9:30-37 where Jesus interacts with children in his hometown…
He sat down and summoned the Twelve. "So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all." He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, "Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me - God who sent me." (v35-37, The Message) The subject comes up again in Mark 10: "Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom." (v14)
More excerpts from Lundblad’s sermon…
Children in Mark are not symbols of holiness or innocence, but more often they are the victims of poverty and disease. Jesus brings the child from the margins into the very center. This child is not a symbol but a person, a little person easily overlooked, often unseen and unheard.
That day in Capernaum Jesus held a little child in his arms and brought the words of heaven down to earth. I can imagine Jesus whispering in the child's ear: "You are God's Beloved Child."
It’s a source of solace and pride that my three adult children work with children and young people. It’s a reason to pray as well...
Bless the work of my kids as they work with and for children.
They see the consequences of poverty, family dysfunction, bad choices, developmental gaps and disease.
Support them in their vocations: education, social development and public health.
…with compassion, perseverance, enthusiasm, creativity, wisdom and gracious spirits.
Work through them, Jesus, with your healing touch and trans-formational power.
…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
My daughter, Lauren, standing before Christo de la Concordia, the world’s largest statue of Jesus, in Cochabamba, Boliva. It’s a lighthearted moment, but a most serious challenge: Imitate Christ.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Lord of the universe, Lord of humankind,
It’s raining. My mood is overcast, too. Psalm 34 consoles...
The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (v15)
But I’m fixated on the news: war in Syria, Iranian nukes, a murdered ambassador, Muslim protests, our very own deceit-filled politicians...
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (v7)
And today’s Eucharist was opportune...
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (v8)
Lord Christ, come close. Encamp in my head and heart.
Deliver. Protect. Sustain. Amen.
Bible study: Take the Taste Test
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Father, forgive me.
I was uncomfortable in the restaurant. My server had ample piercings and tattoos. She was too chatty and familiar. But then - with great enthusiasm - she told me about her acceptance to seminary.
That restaurant revelation punctuates my study of Acts. The first Christians had to get over themselves and their “chosen people” status. They had to reach beyond custom and tradition. Saint Peter was compelled to baptize “unclean” Gentiles. (Acts 8, 10) The founders of our faith had to abbreviate their rules and regulations…and rely on the Grace of God. (Acts 15)
I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right…they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.
(from Acts 10:34-47)
In what we call post-Christian America, what’s the complexion of your greater Kingdom? Am I clinging to the past or advancing that Kingdom, in attitude and action?
Holy Spirit, help me to see past the body art, the shocks of purple hair, the sagging pants and other fashion forward expressions that elude my appreciation.
I will rely on the Grace of God. I will be surprised by the Grace of God. Amen.
Monday, September 3, 2012
From the PRAYERwerks archives: