Morning Prayer: Friday in Easter Week

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Psalm: 136
Old Testament: Daniel 12:1-4;13
New Testament: Acts 4:1-12

This Jesus is
β€œthe stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.”
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12)

Well after a brief stint of computer problems, compounded by my own laziness, I am back on track with the blog :). I hope all of you have had a wonderful Easter season thus far filled with chocolate, friends, family, and liturgy that has moved you. πŸ™‚

In today’s reading from Acts, Peter gives this response to the question: from where do you get your authority?

The answer he gives harkens back to Psalm 118, which is a song which looks forward to the Messiah.

In using this as a proof-text, Peter is spreading the gospel, the new and radical message that a crucified and risen criminal was indeed the one Israel had been waiting for so long.

More than that, he insists that the miracles he and the other apostles are performing have nothing to do with them, and everything to do with the power of God.

I wonder how often we take credit for our own ministries and talents without giving credit to the source?!?

I don’t mean to say that it is wrong to have a sense of self-worth or accomplishment in what we do every day and the positive ways in which we touch the life of the world and those inside it……but at what point does the line get crossed between self-reliance and salvation, and being redeemed through God’s Grace alone?

It is a slippery line to be sure….and I hope that I continue to walk in the knowledge that I am nothing, but for God’s love that has been shown to me in Christ. +

Morning Prayer: Feb. 28th

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Psalms: 1, 2, 3
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 4:9-14
New Testament: 2 Cor 10:1-18

Know, then, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to occupy because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. (Deut 9:6)

Speaking of my own experience, I used to think that the spiritual life was about being righteous so I could get stuff. Blessing, entry into heaven, fruitful relationships… all the things that make life worth living.

It makes sense right??? You get what you work for. Gotta work hard for the things that you want. You are responsible for your own actions.

But that’s not the Gospel message. The Gospel message is that the things we want are bestowed as gifts, that forgiveness is freely given, and that Jesus–not us–is responsible for the consequences of our action.

Here in Deuteronomy, the LORD makes it very clear that everything He does flows from His own nature, rather than any deeds we have done. The idea that Judaism is a religion of following rules vs. Christian Grace is simply not true.

God help us if we ever use the free gift us Grace to create an “us vs. them” mentality.+

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