Thursday, April 19, 2012

The days since Easter have been busy, but slowing down.  I spent a few days there just trying to wrap my mind around the amazing bigness of a God who creates and loves so deeply.  The cross and resurrection leave me in awe, but the greatness of our God creating so many complex and complicated people and calling them to love each other boggles my mind.

Today I'm waiting.  It's a good thing.  The electrician is coming to the house to finish some work, but got called away on an emergency.  I understand that lifestyle so it's no big deal to me.  I can wait.  It's good to wait.  Makes me engage in other things.  Cleaning, taking down storm windows (Yes, we bought an OLD house!), laundry, checking on my roses, finishing the last cup of coffee, my half hour of silence!

The musician at church has been after me for 2 weeks for an answer I needed time to pray over.  The answer is yes, but wrapping my head around how it all works is another thing.  That's why I need the half hour to breathe and comprehend and think.  Waiting provides that time.  It also reminds me I need to take the time in life instead of let the chaos take over.  Just let it go.

Today I wait...and breathe...and prepare.  For tomorrow my daughter goes to prom.  I'm proud of my beautiful young adult, but I'm scared for me.  I guess that's what Moms and Dads scared...when they let go and let our children soar with the eagles. 

Today I I breathe and know the breath of God filling me, preparing me, loving me.  That same God who created/creates and loves so deeply that the tomb was empty after the cross.  I wait in awe and wonder knowing this God as I watch my roses reach towards to sun and prepare to pop with glory.

Today I wait...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Today is that day inbetween the already and the not yet.  It's this world and not.  It's complicated.  I offer the 22nd Psalm with more.  I was asked to preach this Psalm last night for Good Friday, but I don't preach the Psalms.  I pray them.   So, here is my prayer.  Please understand these are my personal notes so they will be incomplete and unedited.  In prayer, I offer you this prayer.

Psalm 22

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

God, do you hear the pain?  Do you hear the children who are starving and the violence that steals them from their Mama’s arms?  Do you feel the quake of the parent who lost a child?  Do you hear the anger that permeates the voices of world?   Do you really hear, O Lord, the groaning of this world as we beg for your voice?  Have you left us in the dust?  Are we left to do with our problems without you and your wisdom?  Have you washed your hands of us?

3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

4In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.

They taught us to love you…our parents and grandparents taught us in faith…they gave us the rituals and the scriptures to guide us…We were taught well…they trusted you!  They trusted their lives in your hands listening to your voice and they taught us to do the same.

5To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

6But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.

I am tired, Lord.  We look around and We see the pain life crashes on so many…cancer, illness, job loss, homelessness, addictions, anger, violence, pain, Lord…We open my eyes to my neighbor and We know their pain on top of our own.  Our world feels put to shame…left behind…lost in its sinfulness…crowded out by the ones who chose not to hear your voice…not to listen…it’s like you have silenced yourself and watch from a distance as hate and evil spread….God…where are you?

7All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;

The children God who are bullied to the point of suicide….the men who abuse their wives and children…the people who see others as throw aways…God the mocking is loud and it is scary!  The violence of our world…the lovelessness and hate is in the news at every turn…gun violence, war, hateful words, racism, ageism, poverty, desolation…..

8“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Lord, save your children…end the violence…end the depravity so many find their lives to be bound by.  God, break in!  Break in and save us!  End the angers and the hatred and the violence that pervades.  Stop the evil love stealing ways from spreading.

9Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

10On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

You knew me as a babe…I knew you through holding my own babies.  I knew the power of your gentle creation…I knew the silkiness of your touch through birth.  I have known you since the beginning…you Lord were with us from the first touches, the first cries the first breaths…you breathed life into us, o Lord.  I, we have known you since you created us.  My core knows you despite my mouths cries.

11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

I know your hand holds me…you carry me in the sands of are my strength.

12Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

13they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;

15my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

16For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;

17I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;

18they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.

19But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!

No matter how awful this life becomes…I know you, Oh God!  I know you are here….you hold us!  You know us!  Don’t leave us forsaken completely.

20Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!

21Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.

It is in your power…your might…your mercy, Oh Lord…it is only in you that I know I will be saved.  That my pains…the pains of our world…will not win!  They will not have the last word…You Will! 

22I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

I will share you, O Lord…I won’t keep you to myself and hide you…I will share our relationship with the world without shame…I am yours and I love you!  I will tell others of your amazing love…

23You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

Don’t hide…let your life show your love of God…don’t make God less than money…make God the greatest part of your life…Sing his name in hallelujahs and offer blessings in his name!

24For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.

He didn’t leave the broken…he stayed!  He didn’t run away like a fair weather friend when we hurt…he didn’t leave us in our pains to be consumed by them.  He hasn’t turned his back on the groans of pain from the creation…he hears the children who are starving and the mothers grieving their babies.  He hears us in our pain!

25From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.

26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek you shall praise the Lord. May our hearts live forever in you!

God will answer the needs of the afflicted! There is joy in know God is God…there is relief in not being left in the pains and agonies of this world without, you, oh God…We need you! 

27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

28For dominion belongs to the Lord, and you rule over the nations.

29To you, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before you shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for you.

30Posterity will serve you; future generations will be told about the Lord,

31and proclaim your deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that God has done it.

We are his children…to live the love and the gift.  Amen!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mark 14:32-15:47

32They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”33He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated.34And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.”35And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.36He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”37He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour?38Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.40And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.41He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.42Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
43Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.44Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.”45So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him.46Then they laid hands on him and arrested him.47But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.48Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?49Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.”50All of them deserted him and fled.
51A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him,52but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
53They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled.54Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire.55Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none.56For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree.57Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying,58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”59But even on this point their testimony did not agree.60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?”61But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”62Jesus said, “I am; and
‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power,’
and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
63Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?64You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death.65Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.66While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by.67When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.”68But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed.69And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.”70But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.”71But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.”72At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
15As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.2Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.”3Then the chief priests accused him of many things.4Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.”5But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
6Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked.7Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection.8So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom.9Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”10For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.12Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?”13They shouted back, “Crucify him!”14Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort.17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him.18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!”19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days,30save yourself, and come down from the cross!”31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
40There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.41These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
42When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.44Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time.45When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.46Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

For some today is Opening Day and nothing else....for some people the days ahead are about bunnies and candy.  For some the excitement is all wrapped up in new dresses, hats and white gloves.

For those of us who truly delve into the faith of Easter it is time to engage our hearts and mourn.  It's time to begin the painful journey of the cross.  Our Lord and Savior is going to die to save us.  The greatest gift of love.

It's time!  It's time to truly confess our sins.  It's time to egage our scriptures and know our story.  It's time to be Christian.

Lord, forgive us for those times we have not loved you by loving others.  Forgive us for not loving ourselves as you love us.  Forgive us, o Lord, for those moments we deny our faith and live as if it doesn't if you don't matter.  Open us, come into our hearts, brush awway our sins and claim us as your own.  Amen.


Mark 14:1-31

The Plot to Kill Jesus

It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him;for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’

The Anointing at Bethany

While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way?For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her.But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he came with the twelve.And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’

Peter’s Denial Foretold

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters; for it is written,
“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.”
But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’Peter said to him, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not.’Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’But he said vehemently, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And all of them said the same.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

 Today's scripture is not an easy one to read.  It's difficult in many ways. 

Lord, in the midst of suffering hold us.  In the midst of the pains of our world break in and be peace. Amen

Mark 13

As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray.Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray.When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come.For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.
‘As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them.And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations.When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
‘But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains;someone on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away;someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat.Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days!Pray that it may not be in winter.For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be.And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days.And if anyone says to you at that time, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “Look! There he is!”—do not believe it.False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.But be alert; I have already told you everything.
‘But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory.Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

12Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.2When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard.3But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.4And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted.5Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed.6He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’8So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.9What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.10Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
12When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
13Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said.14And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?15Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.”16And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.”17Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.
18Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying,19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’20There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children;21and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise;22none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died.23In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”
24Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?25For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?27He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
28One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one;30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”32Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’;33and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
35While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David?36David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
37David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
38As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!40They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.43Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Lord, today show me the ways to love you and your children.  Open my closed places to love my neighbors.  Take away my hesitations and fears in loving the people I don't know.  Push, oh Lord, to express that love beyond thought and heart.  It's a world full of hate based on appearance and assumption, Lord, set me aside from this world so I can love beyond the rules of our society.  Let me see my brothers and sisters through the eyes of love and faith.  Amen

Monday, April 2, 2012

12On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.14He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
15Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves;16and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.17He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”
18And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.19And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
20In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.21Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”22Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.23Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you.24So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”27Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him28and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?”29Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.30Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.”31They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’32But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?” —they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet.33So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

God with a temper,
  As we begin this journey to remember and reclaim our faith this week deepen our roots.  Amen

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mark 11:1-11

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciplesand said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it.If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’”They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it,some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it.Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.