Blog
Daily Devotion – February 17, 2018
02.17.18
Mark 1:9-12

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
Reflection by Janet Derby
Immediately after Jesus is affirmed by God, he goes out to the wilderness. In some ways, that seems a bit odd. I would have thought an experience like that would have made him eager to go out and begin his ministry. I usually think that Jesus went to the wilderness because he understood that he needed the time to commune with God and prepare himself for his ministry. When I read it this time, I wondered if he was instead trying to escape from what God was calling him to do. (Perhaps that says something about where I was coming from when I read it!) Either way, God’s spirit was with Jesus as he was off by himself. As we enter the wilderness of Lent, it is good to spend time listening to God also. Like Jesus, we should remember that we are God’s child with whom God is well pleased and perhaps also considering what message we are trying to avoid hearing.
Prayer:
Spirit of God,
Be with me this Lenten season, helping me to discern what direction God would have me take. Amen.


Daily Devotion – February 15, 2018
02.15.18

 

Joseph’s Tears

March 09, 2016
Written by Mary Luti

“Reuben replied, ‘I told you not to sin against the boy, but you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.’ They did not know he could understand them… Joseph turned from them and began to weep.” – Genesis 42:22-24

Joseph’s brothers stand accused of espionage. They aren’t spies, of course, just starving Canaanites. So they protest their innocence, but no one cares or helps. It’s as if they’ve been seized, stripped, and thrown into a pit. The irony doesn’t escape them. “We killed our brother,” Reuben says. “This is payback.”

They don’t know that the powerful, enigmatic man who accused them is that brother. They don’t realize he understands them. But he does, and this is how Joseph learns something immensely disorienting—his brothers are remorseful, they comprehend the gravity of what they did.

The horrors of that day, the pathos of siblings who regret their crime, grief over so many lost years, confusion about what to do with them now that he can do anything he wants—it’s all too much. Joseph breaks down and weeps.

He will weep again. The remaining chapters are drenched in his tears. They spring from a thousand wells, but surely this is one: even if he can pardon them, taking them in his arms, the sad past remains. Nothing can change or repair the damage. It can only be grieved, it can only be borne. For some things, all you can do is weep.

We know we must forgive. But sometimes, like Jesus on the cross, the best we can do is find a way to say to God, ‘Father, you forgive,’ weeping and grieving as we pray.

Sometimes we have to trust the sufficiency of tears. Sometimes the important thing is not so much to finally fix, but to fully feel.

Prayer

Receive my tears, O Christ, who wept for me.

 

About the Author

Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.

 



Daily Devotion – February 13, 2018
02.13.18

Psalm 25:1-8

 

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust;

   do not let me be put to shame;

   do not let my enemies exult over me.

Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;

   let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;

   teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me,

   for you are the God of my salvation;

   for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,

   for they have been from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

   according to your steadfast love remember me,

   for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;

   therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

 

Reflection by Janet Derby

 

The season of Lent begins tomorrow, a time for self-denial, reflection, and discernment of God’s will for our lives. The psalmist reminds us that we can trust God to lead us in the right direction. It is not easy to set aside time each day to listen to God, but Lent gives us an opportunity to recommit ourselves to doing that. Whatever Lenten practice we use, whether it is giving up or taking on something, the conscious effort is a reminder that God is with us, helping us along the way.

 

Prayer:

 

Steadfast God,

Make me to know your ways, teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation. Amen.



Daily Devotion – February 11, 2018
02.12.18
Mark 9:7-9
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.
 
Devotion by Laurie Spencer
The disciples had not yet seen Lazarus raised from the dead so it’s understandable that in this passage they are discussing what that concept actually means. But more amazingly, they kept the matter to themselves of seeing their Lord transformed, of seeing Elijah and Moses disappear in a cloud. That in itself is a miracle. For I would have been shouting from the rooftops.
Prayer:

Father Mother God, loving me, let me be obedient to your will. Even when it’s very hard.

 



Daily Devotion – February 9, 2018
02.09.18

Then God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.  Jonah 3:10

Reflection by Matthew Alexander

One of the great theological questions that many people struggle with is whether or not God causes good and bad things to happen to us.  In the days of the Hebrew people, all things came from God both good and bad.  If you were receiving good fortune it was because God was looking upon you favorably.  In contrast, if life was not working out it is probably because you are not living according to the will of God.  Many folks still carry this belief about God.  It is a good view until things in life starts to unravel.

From firsthand experience, I know that bad things happen to good people.  I know that life happens to us all at some point and we struggle no matter how much faith we have.  I don’t believe that God is punishing us in those instances.  Rather, I believe that God is right there with us just like God was there with Jonah throughout his ordeal.  If God, then, is for us then how do we understand this passage?

What I have experienced in life thus far is that when we turn away from the giftedness God has instilled in us and ignore the divine spark within then darkness begins to take over.  Once we allow the divine light to dim within us then the struggles of life become overwhelming.  Eventually, this overwhelmed feeling becomes disastrous to our lives, leaving us feeling as though we are living deep in the belly of a whale.

When we trust God it doesn’t mean life won’t happen to us.  What it does mean is that the gifts, talents and spark God has instilled in us will help us through.  We mustn’t allow our giftedness to be dimmed by fear which will lead to disaster every time.

Prayer:

God, show us the light and giftedness you have instilled into each one of us.  We were created in your image with Your strength, Your courage, and Your unending hope.  May we never lose sight of that and may our light never grow dim.  Remind us always that You are with us always.  Amen.



Daily Devotion – February 6, 2018
02.06.18

2 Kings 2:4-8

 

4 Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. 5The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’

6 Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. 7Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

 

Reflection by Lynne Buell

The stories of human transformation seem unrealistic and are part of the reasons many enjoy watching sci-fi movies.  (Just for the record, I don’t enjoy watching sci-fi movies.)  Elisha was not a skeptic as he traveled with Elijah, and he was totally devoted to Elijah.  Elisha eventually was witness to the amazing way that Elijah was taken up and away from the earth.  I wonder how this event affected Elisha?  I think he was filled with hope.

When I read and listen to the scriptures of transfiguration and the resurrection of Jesus, I am filled with a feeling of hope that the world will soon turn to love rather than hate and outrage.

I have hope for a peaceful world.  Monday morning, I had heard that many of the ‘emotional’ commercials that were shown during Super Bowl 52 are due to the influence of the Millennial generation.   One of the differences with this generation and previous generations is “They hope to be the next great generation & to turn around all the ‘wrong’ they see in the world today.”  Perhaps we will see miracles and the transformation of our world with the help of the Millennials.

 

Prayer:

God, you are the source of light in the world.  Shine in our hearts that the world may see the glory of Go and the compassion of Christ.  Amen.1

 

  1. Seasons of the Spirit™ SeasonsFUSION Advent • Christmas • Epiphany 2016–2017

 

 

 

 

 

 



Daily Devotion – February 5, 2018
02.05.18

2 Kings 2: 1-3 

1 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”

Devotion by Laurie Spencer

Elisha demonstrated great faith, didn’t he?  Persistent faith. In later verses he repeats this faithfulness as he follows his adopted father Elijah wherever he travels.

I think back to Trish’s sermon yesterday and the image of her holding up a sign that said, “We will wait upon the Lord”.  It made me think about patience and loyalty. As Trish described in her own life (and it’s certainly true in mine), it’s hard to make time in the morning to sit quietly with God. So often the only thing on my mind is packing my lunch for my first job and packing my dinner for my second job.  Yet building a habit of waiting, listening, giving our relationship with God some Loyal, Faithful Time; this is a habit that truly blesses us and lifts us beyond our every day lives.

Elisha was given great power as reward for his faithfulness.  Who knows what blessings will come our way for our patience and loyalty?

Prayer

Father, Mother God, loving me so much that you wait for me daily.  Please help me to wait on you also. 



Daily Devotion – February 3, 2018
02.03.18

Isaiah 40:21-24

Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand?   Are you deaf to the words of God—

the words he gave before the world began?   Are you so ignorant?

God sits above the circle of the earth.  The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!

He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.

He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing.

They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. 

The wind carries them off like chaff.

 

Devotion by Chris Shiver

In comparison to God we are like nothing.  And before I met Jesus that was how I felt, how else could I relate to an omnipotent, all powerful, universe creating entity.  Just another dust mote among many in the sight of God, if he even bothered to take notice.

What changed all that for me was the love of God revealed to me through Jesus, and Christians who understood that love to be all important.  The meaning of the above verses were changed also – from viewing God as a distant power who might snuff me out on a whim – to a view that without God I really am and have nothing.  I am dependent on God for everything of value in my life, and rather than taking pride in what I think I have accomplished, I must acknowledge what God has given me and made of me through Gods care and strength.

 

My Prayer:

Jesus, I pray that each day I acknowledge that any power I have to do anything comes solely from you.   Amen.



Daily Devotion – February 2, 2018
02.02.18

 

Mark 1:35-39

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

 

Reflection by Janet Derby

 

It seems that everyone was clamoring for Jesus’ time and attention. Little wonder, since he was proclaiming God’s love and healing to all. I can imagine that Jesus may have wanted to just retreat farther into that deserted place. Just this morning, I woke up before my alarm went off and I wished I could just turn it off and go back to sleep. Then I thought about how when Joshua was ill, he so wanted to be able to go back to work. Recalling his eagerness to fulfill a purpose always makes me recognize what a blessing it is to be able do just that. Jesus clearly understood that as well. He knew what he was called to do and summoned the energy to do it. Simon and the disciples also understood that they needed to seek Jesus out and encourage him in his ministry.

Particularly in a time of transition, it is easy to sit back and hesitate to be involved. I don’t believe that is what we are called to do. We are all called to help act the world into well-being. Are we answering that call?

 

Prayer

Caring God,

Thank you for those who bring your message to me. Help me today to respond to it. Amen.



Daily Devotion – February 1, 2018

Isaiah 40:21-31

Psalm 147:1-11, 20c

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Mark 1:29-39

 

Reflection

 

Today is the beginning of a new set of devotions. As there is no assigned devotion writer for today, the CE committee thought it would be appropriate to explain a bit about the devotion writing process. Each month a list of Scriptures is sent to the devotion writing volunteers. Have you noticed that the devotions you read most weeks are in line with the upcoming worship service? Perhaps not, but the passages are chosen from what is called the Revised Common Lectionary. This is a three-year cycle of weekly readings built around the seasons of the Church Year, and includes four passages of Scripture for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days. Most of the time, these Scriptures are used as a basis for Sunday worship and the sermon at Pilgrimage with a concentration on one of the passages. Now that you are aware, you may wish to delve a bit further into the lectionary. The set of Scriptures for the coming two weeks are always listed on the left side of our e-tidings. In addition, each Sunday morning at 8:30, Steve Owens leads a class discussing the week’s Scriptures. All are welcome to join any given week. Read more about this in the February newsletter. Or, if you are interested in possibly becoming a devotion writer (no experience necessary), contact the office or the Christian Education committee.

 

Prayer:

Still Speaking God,

Thank you for all those who help us to discern your word to us. Help us to continue to search for your truth. Amen.