Morning Prayer: June 23rd

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Psalm: 105:1-22
Old Testament: 1 Sam 8:1-22
New Testament: Acts 6:15-7:15

‘Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you (1 Sam 8:7b-8)

Disaster. In many ways here we have the beginning of the end for Israel. Despite Samuel’s warning that a king will cause the people to become vassals and slaves, they are insistent in getting their own way.

Initially, Saul is picked…which leads to civil war. Then David is chosen…….which goes well for a while, but eventually crumbles. While David’s son Solomon shows early signs of promise, he becomes corrupt and turns Israel away from YHWH and straight into the arms of Baal.

But what do we do with this story in 2011??? Other than saying “HAHAHA! silly Israelites”???

One place to start is to look at the deeper context. Israel is not just asking for a leader…..they are asking for a leader other than YHWH and his chosen prophets.

Their request for new leadership is not so much a “reasonable request” by poor nomads who are surrounded by monarchies…..it is an echo of their complaining in the desert..

Instead of complaining about miserable manna, they are now complaining about the way God chooses to govern them.

“What kind of God would give us a measly judge??? Don’t we deserve a king???? What has YHWH done for us lately anyhoo???”

Call me crazy…but I don’t think that sentiment is completely foreign to our own time. Even in my own experience, I question the way God works all the time….and a lot of time, I wish things could be different.

What causes those kinds of emotions, though? I think that more often than not, it stems from the fact that we forget God is our King. That he is the one in charge of our lives.

We forget the promises of Christ that we–like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field–will be provided for, loved, and protected. We want to be masters of our own destiny.

As we pray each day, let us remember that our God is indeed a great God and king above all others. O come let us worship +

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Morning Prayer: April 8th

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Psalm: 102
Old Testament: Jeremiah 23:1-8
New Testament: Romans 8:28-39

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

A little bit of personal indulgence here. I have to say–as someone who feels called to ordained ministry–this passage scares the crap out of me. đŸ˜¦

I feel like I make mistakes all the time. I flub liturgy, give people bad advice….I have days where I don’t care about what I do and don’t have the patience to deal with human weakness.

Don’t get me wrong…..I believe that (through pure Grace) there are other points in which I have actually led liturgy in a way that allows people to see God, not me. I believe there are times when I have pointed people in the right direction. I believe that there have been times when I am there for people who are suffering…..but i always wonder…..is it enough????

I don’t mean this in terms of “works vs. grace” deal…..Rather a question of whether what I am doing is leading others to life or sending them over a cliff that leaves them confused and with God nowhere to be found. If I am totally honest with myself, as a potential leader in the Church, I feel responsible towards those I serve.

I suspect that this is true for all who feel called to ordained ministry…..or anyone who feels called to their particular vocation whether as a parent, a spouse, or career.

As a result of our nature as stewards and agents of creation, the world is affected by our actions. What happens if those effects are for the evil instead of the good? Does that mean we are screwed???

Yet……in all of these doubts, I find myself confronted with Paul’s words:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Whatever my doubts and fears…..whatever your doubts and fears……whatever our doubts and fears as a community together….we are never totally lost….we are never irredeemable, we are never beyond the pale…..and God loves us just as we are. +

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