Outside the Gate

2 Kings 7:3-4a, 5b-6a, 7b-8a, 9
“Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate.  They said…‘Why stay here until we die?  If we…go into the city—the famine is there…So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender.’…When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army…They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.  The men who had leprosy…ate and drank and carried away silver, gold and clothes and went off and hid them…Then they said to each other, ‘We’re not doing right.  This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves…Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.’”

Luke 17:12-16
“As [Jesus] was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.  They stood at a distance and called out…‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’  When he saw them, he said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’  And as they went, they were cleansed.  One of them when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet—and he was a Samaritan.”

Hebrews 13:12-13a, 15-16a
“And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy…Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore…let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise…and do not forget to do good and share with others…”

Father God, you define the centre and you encompass all borders.

outside the gateYou find us when we are outside the gate, alienated from approval.  In the wasteland you provide unexpected treasure.

Remind us to fill the desert with praise, and to bring the good news back to the lost insiders.

Through Christ we pray, who surrendered to a forsaken death to heal the citizens of a hurting world.

Listen to ‘Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners’ by Ordinary Time

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , ,

Temple Treasury

1 Samuel 1:24-28a
“After he was weaned, [Hannah] took the boy with her, young as he was…and brought him to the house of the Lord…they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, ‘As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.’”

Mark 12:41-44a
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury…a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything…’”

2 Corinthians 8:2-3a, 5b, 12
“Out of the most severe trial, [the Macedonian churches’] overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability…they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will…For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”

God our Father, you open your generous hand to empty your riches upon us.

temple treasuryYou did not withhold your firstborn Son, but freely gave him as a fulfillment of your covenant promise.

Because of this deep extravagance, may we in overflowing joy surrender our very lives in service to you.  Keep us from clutching our insignificant copper coins as if to be saved by them.

We ask this in the name of Christ, your precious treasure given for us and for our salvation.

Listen to ‘Take My Life and Let it Be’ by A New Liturgy

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , ,

Mountains

Mark 11:22-23
“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.  ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.’”

Psalm 46:1-2
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”

1 Corinthians 13:2
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

All-powerful God, earth’s towering,  jagged peaks are simple stones to you.

mountainWhen the mountains obey, it is only by your strength that these obstacles are transformed into miracles.  When our faith is weakened by an avalanche of disaster, you shelter and comfort us.

Guide us in every circumstance to climb to the higher height of love.  Lead us in the path of conquering compassion so that echoes of your glory fill valleys of despair.

We believe all things are possible only in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, who has loved us with immoveable love.

Listen to ‘Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul’ featuring Sandra McCracken

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , ,

Living Stones

Nehemiah 4:6-7, 13-15
“So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.  But when [the officials] heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry…Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest point of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to…the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’  When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.”

1 Peter 2:4-5a
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…”

Jude 1:20-21
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

Lord God, you are the rock that breathes upon us and encompasses us with love.

living stoneWhen you are our foundation we take our life from you, and your love, like animated mortar, joins us to our brothers and sisters.

Build us into a worthy home for your Spirit, holy and beautiful.  Give us the courage to repair the enemy’s damage and fight for our spiritual family.

All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our living Stone, who rose from death’s rubble as the rock of our salvation.

Listen to ‘For All the Saints’ featuring Dan Haseltine

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Ashes

Psalm 8:4
“…what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Daniel 9:3-5a, 18b-19
“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.  I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:  ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong…We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, hear and act!  For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.’”

Hebrews 9:13-14 (GW)
“The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of cows sprinkled on unclean people made their bodies holy and clean.  The blood of Christ, who had no defect, does even more. Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God and cleansed our consciences from the useless things we had done. Now we can serve the living God.”

Immortal God, in love you have bound yourself to mortal concerns.

We confess that we neglect and disappoint you, and we anoint ourselves with the ashes of integrity that once burned bright.

ashesAccept our dusted heads as a symbol of our contrite hearts.  Remind us that even our gestures of repentance are not adequate to earn your favour, but grace is the only redeeming mark on our brow.

Hear our prayer in the name of Christ, who wrapped himself in the dust of man’s flesh and died to crown us with forgiveness and joy.

Listen to ‘Kyrie Eleison’ by High Street Hymns

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Wisdom

1 Kings 3:5, 9a, 10, 12a, 13
“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’  Solomon answered, ‘…give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.’…The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.  So God said to him, ‘…I will do what you have asked…Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.’”

Mark 6:1-3a
“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.  ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked.  ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!  Isn’t this the carpenter?’”

James 1:5
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

All-knowing One, the depths of your thoughts are beyond all mark or measure.

wisdomThe gift of discernment is a treasure worth more than the earthly rewards we strive for.  By its majestic presence a king may hope to resemble a carpenter.

Overshadow our foolish dreams with a vision of your profound understanding.  Transform our desires so that we abandon our self-advancement and seek only to be wise.

Humbly we ask this in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who pleased you with his wisdom and served us with his love.

Listen to ‘Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise‘ by Jaron and Katherine Kamin

Posted in Christianity | Tagged ,

Coal

James 3:5-6
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

Isaiah 6:1b, 5-7
“…I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple…‘Woe to me!’ I cried.  ‘I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’  Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’”

Romans 10:8b-10
“‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:  That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Holy and beautiful are you, Lord God Almighty.

coalBy our untamed words we are guilty of igniting a blaze that burns foul and black.  Sin smoulders in our rebellious speech.

Touch our lips with forgiving fire.  May the coal of our confession that ‘Jesus is Lord’ refine and restore us.

Hear us for the sake of this atoning name that purifies the pyres we have set to flame.

Listen to ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ by City Hymns

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , ,