Prayer for the Week: O Holy One that swept across a formless void, I pray this day that wherever there are voids within your creation that you hover and bring forth life and light. Sweep across my life, even on my good days, for there is always something that needs my attention; something I need to acknowledge; something that needs healing. As you work with me, let me always see within your gracious activity a purpose beyond myself. As you blessed Sarah and Abraham, you did so for the purpose of blessing all of humanity. May that story encourage my thinking about your work in me, Lord God, for I desire to be a channel through which your love and mercy are able to bless others. As I look to this coming week, provide me eyes by which I can see the needs you see. Give me a heart that breaks for those things that break your heart. Allow me to feel the compassionate ache that pulsates within you, and then – empowered by your Spirit – guide me to those places where my gifts can make the greatest impact. This I pray in the name of the one who gave witness to the Spirit, Jesus Christ. Amen.
THIS COMING SATURDAY
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Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
Thought for the Day: Scripture speaks of a wind (or breath or spirit) that swept across the face of the water, a formless void. Some translators offer a slightly different word to describe what this wind/breath/spirit did, translating the word as hovered. The Hebrew word is Rachaph, and it describes a mother bird standing over her eggs and warming them by fluttering her wings. The eggs are life waiting to emerge, but without the mother’s care, life will not be. This is powerful imagery, for it does not simply describe one moment at the beginning of creation. It is a description of the Spirit’s ongoing work in the world and in our lives. Wherever life is waiting to emerge, the Spirit is at work like a mother bird who patiently and with care hovers over those places that need the divine warmth if they are ever going to move toward life.
Prayer: In all those places in life, O Creator God, that new life remains a distant hope, I pray for your Spirit to hover and warm the potential into the fullness of life. Amen.
Scripture: 1st Corinthians 12:7
A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.
Thought for the Day: Some translations say, “manifestation” in place of “demonstration,” but in either case, there are two important ideas that jump out for me. First, this gift we have is really not ours. We should not pridefully show it off as if we are its owner. It belongs to the Spirit, and thus we are to allow the Spirit to instruct us on its use. Second, and building on the last sentence, we use these gifts for the common good. I don’t know how Christians get so easily confused on this idea. As humans, we can strangely justify a lot of selfish things, yet at the end of the day it should be pretty clear whether the common good was enhanced or just our own existence.
How might your gift (or gifts) be used today for the sake of the common good? Remember, it requires the Spirit’s guidance if the impact is going to be significant.
Prayer: O Creative and Gracious Spirit, in this culture that encourages an arrogant attitude toward self-achievement, let me always be mindful and thankful to all those who have assisted me along the way. And of course, let me give thanks to you, O Merciful One, for you are the Ultimate Source of the gifts I have and those gifts that have blessed my life. Amen.
See You In Worship
Rev. Peggy Edge
will be our guest
Scripture: 1st Corinthians 12:1, 4-5
Brothers and sisters, I don’t want you to be ignorant about spiritual gifts. …There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone
Thought for the Day: On this day in 1981, we first encountered the mouse. Just a reminder for those who now use a touchscreen, it is that little handheld device that allows you to move the cursor on a computer screen.. I remember the first time I was introduced to a mouse back in high school. I’m pretty sure I made some comment like, “I don’t see how this is going to be helpful…” The interesting idea to consider is that in another decade, the mouse might just be obsolete. It will have only had a lifespan of 50 years, though I guess in technology circles, that is a very long time. When computer manufacturers first started putting a mouse with every computer, we never really thought of it as just a step to the next thing. And for many of us, we become very comfortable with the new thing and fight when asked to give it up, when like the mouse, it is only a bridge technology.
I don’t want to dismiss the important gifts we bring to this moment in life, but for most of us, the gifts we share are probably more of a bridge to what is to follow. They are important, and they will help to make ready what is to come…which will probably be another step to the next thing. This shouldn’t impact our willingness to share. If anything, we should see how important we are as a bridge to the next generation. At the same time, we should not cling to what we give and become a roadblock to what needs to follow.
Prayer: God, you are the one who provides and empowers the gifts we share. Allow me to offer my gift, relinquishing it to your Spirit who connects to other gifts for the work of your kingdom. Amen.
A Week From Saturday
Scripture: Romans 8:5
People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit.
Thought for the Day: St. Catherine of Siena is one of the great voices of Christianity, though a lot of Protestants have never heard of her. She lived in the 14th century, and was a powerful advocate of the Pope during the schism between East and West. One of my favorite quotes from St. Catherine is:
Enrich your soul in the great goodness of God: The Father is your table, the Son is your food, and the Holy Spirit waits on you and then makes His dwelling in you.
Though we are not yet to Pentecost Sunday (when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit), I love the image of the Holy Spirit waiting on us and then dwelling within us. Though I don’t know for sure what St. Catherine meant by those words, I picture the Holy Spirit’s comforting presence continually serving us. In our recognition of the kindness and compassion shared by the Spirit, we feel comfortable enough to open ourselves to this Holy Gift.
In a time of great difficulty or need, how has the Spirit attended to you? Was it an unexplained feeling of comfort or was it in an unexpected call from a friend that could only be explained by the Spirit at work?
Prayer: Holy and Gracious Spirit, you have been the Source of encouragement and hope for so many. Thank you for your presence in my life and in the life of the faith community. Amen.
See You Sunday In Worship
Do you want to go?
Scripture: Matthew 11:25
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;
Thought for the Day: Though a lot of quotes are attributed to Albert Einstein that, in fact, were not his, I’m pretty sure it was Einstein who wrote:
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Clearly, those words could be heard as a bit arrogant and elitist, but I don’t want to go there because I believe there is a lot of truth in what he says. Our culture has allowed everyone with a Facebook page or Blog to become an expert who clearly is not an expert. At the same time, these sharing venues have allowed for new ideas and insights to be offered and wonderful conversations to occur. This is good, but just because two friends click LIKE on your pithy thought does not make it worthy of a doctoral dissertation.
These thoughts might sound contrary to the words of Jesus in Matthew 11, but I would suggest that “infants” (or little ones) are able to see because they don’t think too much of themselves. They are not yet caught in our culture’s “I can’t let anyone see my weakness” mentality. And notice, it is these little ones who perceive the divine message…they did not create the divine message and are not presumptuous to think they did.
Prayer: Where great minds and ideas should be respected, O Lord, let me offer my respect. Where the simplicity of your message must be understood from a place of humility and simplicity, let me listen to those who do a better job of relinquishing their ego. Amen.
Rev. Peggy Edge
Area Minister of the CPA
Will Be With Us
In Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 11:18-19
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”
Thought for the Day: In the second chapter of the book, Made for a Miracle, Michael Slaughter suggests that the second greatest title given to Jesus (behind Son of God) was Friend of Sinners. When I first read his suggestion, I wasn’t too sure if I agreed. Then I spent a few days rereading parts of Luke’s Gospel and all of Matthew’s Gospel, and now I’m not too sure if Friend of Sinners shouldn’t be the greatest. Of course, the title was given in a sort of snarky and demeaning way, but like so often in scripture, the negative becomes the positive while the positive becomes the negative. And as Paul reminds us in Romans 3, “…all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” So to claim Jesus as a friend of sinners is to claim Jesus as a friend of everyone.
Prayer: Thank you, O God, for your incarnation of love. Thank you for befriending me even when I wasn’t much of a friend. Amen.
12:15 & 6:45pm
Come to the chapel and pray…
Prayer for the Week: O Holy God who moves with us through each season of the year and every season of life, we acknowledge the change in our schedules as we move from the dormant stage of winter to the renewed energy of spring. With new life bursting all around, we find ourselves taking notice of the awakening that appears to animate every living creature. Allow this energy, infused with your Spirit, to awaken us and to animate our lives of faith. As your church moves into these post-Easter weeks, keep us connected to the Good News of the empty tomb. Let us sing resurrection and dance with those who have found rebirth. Wherever you need us to go and to become this message of life, we ask that your Spirit whisper to us and then guide us into the Judeas and Samarias of our 21st century context – for so many individuals near and far need the unconditional love made real in Jesus. May his life and witness continue to encourage our willingness to listen and follow. Amen.
12:15pm & 6:45pm
Praying for Our Children & Youth
Scripture: Acts 1:2b
Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen.
Thought for the Day: For the last few Sundays (and for a few more to come), we have been focusing on a selection from Acts 1. Each week, we have started with vs. 3. For that reason, I decided to back-up just a bit and reflect on what came before vs. 3. Notice how it says that Jesus instructed the apostles, but he did so as one “working in the power of the Holy Spirit…” Wouldn’t you have thought that Jesus, the Messiah (the saving one of God), would have been capable of teaching the apostles without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. He had just experienced death firsthand, and then on top of death, he knew the power of resurrection. That alone gives someone a lot of authority. Yet for the writer of Acts, the Holy Spirit was a main actor that could not be ignored. This is the reason some people have suggested that the Book known as the Acts of the Apostles (full name) should have been called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Though in good trinitarian thought, it can be assumed that Jesus and the Holy Spirit never did anything apart from the other. With that said, the inclusion of that information is key to understanding this underlying character that is present throughout the Book of Acts.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, allow for your power to be fully present to me. Allow for me to be made available to your presence in the same way Jesus was available to you. Amen.
SEE YOU IN WORSHIP
Scripture: Psalm 27:11
LORD, teach me your way; because of my opponents, lead me on a good path.
Thought for the Day: Do you ever have those moments where you wonder what planet you’ve been living on? I had one of those moments earlier this week. I had no idea that the advice columnists, Ann Landers (Esther ‘Eppie’ Lederer) and Dear Abby (Pauline Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren) were twin sisters. In talking with other people, I discovered that most everyone else knew…or they were too young to even know their names. These two prolific mediators of advice seemed incapable, for most of their adult lives, to utilize their own advice. The two women were almost always in a battle over something. Now their sibling conflict is not unusual, but it’s a good reminder how even the best of us needs advice, counsel and spiritual direction.
Prayer: Give me guides, O Merciful Creator, as I deal with those who seek to oppose me. Let me be open to the real possibility that I am the source of the conflict that I feel. Amen.
COME OUT TODAY