Posted on March 31, 2015
Go through the gates, prepare the way for the people.
Jesus stands in the courtyard of the Temple for almost the last time and looks at the milling crowds who have forgotten that each soul is somehow linked to another. We do bear a responsibility for each other. This is the message of the entire Bible.
In prayer today we need to ponder our role as members of a community of heart and minds.
Posted on March 30, 2015
For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
This day Jesus will confront the religious leaders of Israel with these words of the prophet burning in His heart. There are many kinds of theft and the spoiling of God’s religious heritage is one of them. God is not best served by literal attention to law. God wants justice based on love for the people in whose hearts He would dwell.
Are we open to hearing this today?
Posted on March 29, 2015
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me…
Jesus has used these words to launch his ministry in Nazareth. It is truly appropriate to hear them on this day as Jesus comes into Jerusalem in such a dramatic way. He comes as the Lord’s anointed to us. Are we ready to accompany Him on the final steps in our Lenten journey this year?
We must each take this powerful, personal challenge to prayer on this day.
Posted on March 28, 2015
Your gates shall always be open; day and night they shall not be shut.
The prophet is dreaming aloud here. He sees his loved city of Jerusalem as welcoming and ready for all those who would come to find God within its walls. And our churches? Are they as ready as this future Jerusalem to make room for sinner and saint, for the privileged and the seeking, for the lost and the found? Hospitality is the first gift we can offer the stranger to our pews.
Let us ask for the grace to welcome everyone who comes to our church community.
Posted on March 27, 2015
See the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ears too dull to hear.
Does it sometimes seem as if God doesn’t hear us or that God fails to act as we wish? This phrase is both reassurance and challenge. God can and God will, but always in accordance with a divine wisdom greater than our suggested list of things we think He should do.
In our prayer today let us make an act of faith in God and ask for the grace to see with God’s eyes.
Posted on March 26, 2015
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
There is a challenge. On what do we spend our energies and fix our desires? Lent is not over and there is always time to orient our compasses anew. In a world of so many distractions, what most attracts us and why?
Let us stay quietly with these words from Isaiah as a personal invitation to reflection.
Posted on March 25, 2015
Enlarge the site of your tent…do not hold back the length of your cords…
This admonition is just another way of stating one of the oldest rules of the spiritual journey: one must grow. We sometimes limit ourselves to a little patch of earth. The prophet hears God say: dream a bigger dream. You are capable of much more.
Let us reflect on the obstacles to our enlarging our spirit for the service of God.
Posted on March 24, 2015
See I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.
What an image the prophet offers in this phrase! Anything written on the palm cannot be ignored. Isaiah hears God so indicate that this people is always before God’s eyes, always front and center. On dark days when we feel so lonely and perhaps neglected by friends and/or family, read these words again. God remembers.
Our prayer today has to be a loving response to God.
Posted on March 23, 2015
I have called you by name, you are mine.
In what often seems to be a rootless and individualistic world, these words are our assurance that someone cares. Since we are a people with free will, God’s claim has to be validated. God wants us in a deeply intimate way but God cannot force our will. The choice remains ours.
What is our response to a God who personally speaks our name?
Posted on March 22, 2015
I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?”
Do we hear the same voice? We should, because we are the only hands and feet God has in our world. Isaiah’s openness means that the Lord can use him to carry a message to the people of Israel. His response is: “Yes.” Are we as ready to be disciples?
In our prayer let us examine our readiness to answer this call.
Posted on March 21, 2015
You are the man.
2 Samuel 12:1
The prophet Nathan has the courage to indict David for his seizing Bathsheba as his own and for arranging the death of her husband. After hearing a parable about similar conduct, David is righteously indignant and condemns the fictitious sinner. Nathan tells him that he has done the same. How easy it is to judge others; how justifying we often are about ourselves. This is a day to seek the gift of clarity about our conduct.
May our judgments be against ourselves today and less against others.
Posted on March 20, 2015
Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?
2 Samuel 7:18
While this is David’s prayer as he assumes his role as king, it can also be the wondering utterance of every soul that is conscious of God working in and with each human person. This is a day to marvel at why God bothers, to pray with gratitude and awe for the gift of knowing a God who gives life and growth to each of us.
In prayer, let us make David’s words ours.
Posted on March 19, 2015
I will not take my steadfast love from him…
2 Samuel 7:15
I love this adjective “steadfast” that is part of the core of our English language. It is the characteristic of our God who holds firm, regardless of our instability. God never gives up on us. This is the great lesson of this blessed season of reflection and renewal. Love upon love comes our way.
In prayer today let us renew our steadfast loyalty to our God.
Posted on March 18, 2015
I will not raise my hand against my lord. He is the Lord’s anointed.
I Samuel 24:8
David, pursued to the limits by Saul, will not avail himself of the opportunity to take vengeance. Regardless of his actions, Saul is the king and his office must be respected. In our world where all becomes personal, we have to ask if such nobility still exists. Are we capable of distinguishing between office and office-holder?
May we try walking in an opponent’s shoes today to see if there are not areas where we agree.
Posted on March 17, 2015
Look for someone who is skillful in playing the lyre… he will play it, and you will feel better.
I Samuel 16:16
This advice to the troubled Saul is the first indication in the Bible of the healing and elevating power of music. We have no instruments from biblical times nor any notation for singing the psalms, but Israel was a singing people. We all need a song to lift our spirits, a melody to give back to God one of our human gifts.
What song might your heart sing today in gratitude for these days of Lent?
Posted on March 16, 2015
When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him for he was only a youth.
I Samuel 17: 42
We all know that Goliath learned, to his dismay, that even a youngster might carry a secret weapon. Appearances can be deceiving. This mighty Philistine warrior scorns the child who holds a slingshot. Whom do we scorn as perhaps not worthy of our attention? How can we look inside people before we brush them off?
May we in prayer seek not to be as foolishly judgmental as was Goliath.
Posted on March 15, 2015
The Lord does not see as mortals see.
I Samuel 16:7
We ought to post these words somewhere in our hearts! While they here refer to the improbable choice of young David as the next king, they are relevant to every phase of our lives. We make beautiful plans, tell God about them, and then wonder why God has other ideas!
May we pray today for the gift to understand that God’s ideas often differ from ours.
Posted on March 14, 2015
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.
I Samuel 15:22
Saul, the first king of Israel, will lose that position because he felt that, as king, he could also assume the role of the absent priest. This is the hard lesson that he must absorb. Sacrifice in itself has no value unless it represents the willing heart. Too late, Saul learns that boundaries are part of every life, including that of the king.
In prayer, let us ponder this lesson and make it ours.
Posted on March 13, 2015
I will declare to you all the saving deeds of the Lord that he performs for you and for your ancestors.
I Samuel 12:7
Hannah’s song of triumph consists in her telling the world around her that God is good. What do we share with those on our path? Is it our complaints, our criticisms (often disguised as “recommendations”), our carpings? Do we ever speak words of positive possibility?
Let us ponder what we have to “declare” this day about our God?
Posted on March 12, 2015
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
I Samuel 3:9
Young Samuel is about to be called into God’s service, so Eli directs him to indicate his readiness. He does. Have we the courage to say that we too are ready if God has need of us? We might not hear God’s voice, but circumstances are often the way He speaks to us today. We too have to be alert.
Can we pray with Samuel today that we are available if God has need of us?