Daily Meditations from The spring


Week of April 14: Palm Sunday

“For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,”

Invocation:

Lord, by your mercy, pardon the sins of your servant. Deliver me from all the bonds of the enemy that I may cling to your commandments with all my heart, and always love you with all my strength, and one day be counted with your blessed ones; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Scripture readings:

Psalm 51: 1-17

Genesis 27: 41-45 & 33: 1-10

Psalm 32: 1-5

Luke 6: 37-42

James 5: 13-16

2 Corinthians 2: 5-11

1 John 1: 5-10


Sacred conversation:

Am I holding a grudge against someone?

Am I “keeping score” of wrongs done to me?

By withholding pardon, who am I hurting? Them or me?


Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________,


This week’s reading for reflection:

When we pardon an offense done, we are extending forgiveness to the one who offended us. In our world, we are faced with many trials and challenges. We read, listen and watch news stories of discord and wanton selfishness. Our Lord Jesus Christ instructed us to Forgive! Forgive those who trespass against us. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church at Colossi wrote: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 2:10).

How can we be forgiving of those who deliberately inflict hurt and pain in our lives?

As followers of Christ, our lives must reflect compassion and empathy towards others. The recommended scriptures for this devotion are filled with testimonies and prayers on forgiveness. Let us draw from the example of St. Francis of Assisi, who having gone through trials and tribulations wrote, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”

On this Palm Sunday, we are called to reflect on God’s ultimate sacrifice for the world. For those who hailed Him Lord and Savior, were also His accusers. Jesus expressed the heart of forgiveness – when on the cross, He prayed to God the Father for His accusers saying - “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Brothers and Sisters in Christ let us love one another and ask the Lord to give us grace so that we may be able to forgive others.

Florence Lewis


Benediction:

Create in [us] O Lord, a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Amen! Psalm 51:10


Week of March 31

“O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.”


Invocation:

Loving God, clothe me in yourself and enable me to live and serve after the pattern of Jesus. Amen.

Scripture readings:

Philippians 2: 1-5

Psalm 145: 8-21

Luke 7: 36-50

Luke 15: 11-20

1 Thessalonians 5: 1-14

Acts 4: 32-35

Colossians 3: 12-15


Sacred conversation:

Is there someone I know who is lonely? Have they suffered a loss?

Have they been hurt?

How may I can console them?


Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________,


This week’s reading for reflection:

Daniel Webster defines “console” with these synonyms: soothe, cheer, sustain; he expands the definition with “to comfort, to cheer by giving someone contentment or moderate happiness by relieving from distress.” John Wesley’s Sermon 60 tells us that God has compassion that extends to all creation and we are to be channels of God’s grace to every part of that creation.

That seems fairly straightforward and easy enough to do, right? The truth is that sometimes, more often than not, it is much more difficult. When someone is hurting, suffering from a loss, in the midst of personal turmoil, we all know we feel the need to console, but just can’t seem to find the words or to know what might be the right thing to do. Finding the right way to console others often seems impossible given the circumstances.

If we are hoping to soothe or cheer, perhaps we really don’t need words or actions; just a soothing, cheering presence may be what is called for. A listening ear may be what is most important. A card or a phone call so someone knows they are not alone or forgotten.

As Christians, our consolation is in the sustaining grace of Jesus Christ. We, as the Apostle Paul tells the Colossians, are to “clothe ourselves in love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Ultimately, if our gift of consolation is truly given to others in the love of Christ, that is sufficient. We need not concern ourselves with the rightness of our words or actions, but that we have honestly been about God’s consoling work in a hurting world.

Suellen Turner


Benediction:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen. Colossians 3: 17


Week of March 24

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace: where there is despair, let me sow hope”


Invocation:

Almighty God, you are the light and life of every soul and my only source of hope. Grant that I may experience your transforming power preparing me for faithful service all my life long. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Scripture readings:

Psalm 65

Luke 7: 11-16

Luke 8: 43-48

John 11: 17-44

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

John 16: 16-24

Ephesians 4: 1-6


Sacred conversation:

Who do I know that has suffered a loss or and is living in despair? How can I bring them hope?

Who has brought me hope when I was down? How may I thank them?


Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, 

__________________________, _________________________, __________________________,


This week’s reading for reflection:

When we are in the bottomless pit of despair, all seems lost. All seems endlessly dark. Despair has cast its shadow over everything. Then we cry out to God, as David did in the Psalms. Over and over he asked God to deliver him. Perhaps we don’t have the strength to cry out. Perhaps only a barely audible whisper escapes our lips. But our God hears. All it takes is one word – His name – to set the wheels of mercy in motion. With that word, a spark is kindled in the darkness.

At first it’s a small glow, like that of a firefly, but the glow does not flicker or extinguish. We cry out again, and the glow shimmers. Again, and the glow expands.

We have built the beginnings of a bridge. What is this bridge? It is trust, and it leads to hope, to the One who was with us in the darkness although unseen, to the One who is deeply moved by our despair, to the One who will resurrect us from sorrow, to the One who promised never to leave or forsake us.

Our cries become a conversation, and the spark becomes a floodlight, until the darkness has been pushed away. We have crossed the bridge. We are standing in the light of hope, which is Christ.

This is what God does for us and what we are called to do for others. Listen. Pray. Extend the hand of comfort. Help others to build the bridge of trust that will carry them from despair to hope.

Naomi Kryske


Benediction:

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones. Isaiah 49: 13


Week of March 17

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace: where there is doubt, let me sow faith"

Invocation:

Lord, you have promised to meet those who seek your face. Come now and reveal your presence to me as I make myself present to you. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.


This week’s scripture readings:

   Psalm 146

   Matthew 14: 22-33

   Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-10

   Psalm 28: 1-2, 6-9

   Ephesians 3: 14-21

   Romans 8:31-39

   Matthew 8: 5-13


Sacred conversation:

Who do I know that needs their faith renewed? How can I be their support in their struggle?

Where do I have doubts? Who can guide me in the assurance of faith that will strengthen me?


Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________.


This week’s reading for reflection:

Faith and Doubt don’t have to be mutually exclusive. When we look at scripture, we often see faith and doubt intersecting to bring people into a deep and trusting relationship with God.

How often do our presuppositions and assumptions prevent us from seeing Christ for who he is? How often do we cry out in fear when faced with the one we should ultimately trust?

How often have we ourselves called upon God only to begin to doubt and in doubting, failed?

All things made and created are made from the unseen. Science confirms that. Faith is much like that in that it is unseen.

In Matthew 14: 22-33 Peter may have been the only one who got out of the boat, but they were all afraid. The disciples may have stayed in the boat where they belonged, but they struggled against the same strong opposing wind that Peter faced. Fear in the face of opposition, certainty in the face of mystery – these are the enemies of faith which create doubt and fear.

By placing our expectations (the certainty of future outcomes) in front of the will of God, we begin edging God out of the picture. Our EGO lets us take total control. In the face of a crisis, this reliance on Self can lead to doubt which leads to fear resulting in turmoil, the absence of God and lack of Faith. There will be no peace in our lives until we find our way back to the Father.

           NO GOD – NO PEACE - - -

                                                    KNOW GOD – KNOW PEACE


Week of March 10

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace: where there is injury, let me sow pardon"

Invocation:

Almighty God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon me today and deliver me from coldness of heart and wrongful desire. By the power of your spirit place within me your steadfast love that I may serve you with all my heart. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


This week’s scripture readings:

  Proverbs 17: 9

  Matthew 6: 9-15

  Matthew 18: 21-35

  Mark 11: 25

  Luke 6: 37-38

  Ephesians 4: 29-32

  Colossians 3: 12-15


Sacred conversation:

Is there someone I have injured from whom I should ask forgiveness?

Is there someone who has injured me that I need to forgive?

Where, this week, can I demonstrate God’s pardon?


Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, 

__________________________, _________________________, __________________________,


This week’s reading for reflection:

In the prayer our Lord taught us we ask, “And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” Unfortunately, we forget that there is a warning once the prayer comes to a close and it is this, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Ouch! How many times have I prayed this with a grudge in my heart? I find that my own words have condemned me.

The other week someone said, “the kingdom of God is with us and yet it is not.” When we hurt one another through our words, deeds, and even our compliancy, we push back on the kingdom and prevent it from breaking through. But the opposite happens when our words, deeds, and acts of pardon and compassion are spoken and acted upon; the love of God pours down on both the one pardoned and the one doing the pardoning.

We are called to be a kingdom people, forgiving as Christ Jesus forgives. Always being “right” isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be, but being in grace, being pardoned and pardoning others, ushers in the kingdom that we are looking and living for.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace: where there is injury, let me sow pardon.


Week of March 3

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace: Where there is hatred, let me sow love


Invocation:

Oh Lord, fill our hearts with trust in you that by night and day, at all times and in all seasons, we may without fear commit all that we have and hope to be to your never-failing love, for this life and the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Scripture readings:

Deuteronomy 6: 4-7

Matthew 5: 43-48

Romans 12: 9-17, 21

1 John 4: 7-12

Matthew 22:34-40

John 13: 34-35

1 Corinthians 13


Sacred conversation:

How can we/I share the love of Christ to others this week?

When can we/I bring harmony and genuine affection to people who are hurting?

Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________,


This week’s reading for reflection:

We all know that there is plenty of hatred in our world. All we have to do is look around and listen… But what would happen if we chose to become instruments of peace when faced with distrust and hatred?

When Jesus stepped into the world – a world not unlike ours – he saw many people who were marginalized, living on the edge of society. He touched people who were hurting, alone, and lonely. He observed church leaders often valuing rules over people. And he had plenty to say about all of this. Boldly, Jesus declared that not only are we to love God with all our hearts, our souls, and our might, but that we are to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Encouraging his followers to love each other with genuine affection, he called on them to live in harmony, to rejoice with folks who are rejoicing, and to weep with those who are weeping. Reminding us how very simple it is to love the lovely, he urged us to love the unlovely, the enemy. He asked us to pray for people who hurt us and to bless those who curse us. And just when I begin to think that all of this sounds like the impossible, I hear Jesus say, “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

On my own – this kind of love is impossible. But as I know and love God, I begin to see his love flowing through me, not my love. And that love, that harmony and genuine affection, will share the light of God’s love with a hurting world.


Week of February 24

“Lord, make me an Instrument of Thy Peace”

Invocation:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Amen.


Scripture readings:

Colossians 3: 12-15

    Psalm 34: 1-3, 11-14

Matthew 5: 1-9

Romans 12: 15-21

Galatians 5: 22-26

Philippians 4: 4-9

1 Peter 3: 8-12


Sacred conversation:

Are there places where I can practice peace?

What can we do as a family or as individuals to become instruments of God’s peace?

Together we pray for:

_________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________, _________________________, __________________________.


This week’s reading for reflection:

The Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

  where there is hatred, let me sow love;

  where there is injury, pardon;

  where there is doubt, faith;

  where there is despair, hope;

  where there is darkness, light;

  where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

  grant that I may not so much seek

  to be consoled as to console,

  to be understood as to understand,

  to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.


Benediction:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen

(Numbers 6: 24-26)