P: Jesus called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits… So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them (Mark 6:7, 12-13).
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).
P: Let us pray to the Lord—for our individual needs, for the needs of the whole people of God, and for the needs of all people.
P: Lord, hear our prayers. Read the rest of this entry »
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Yesterday, a few of us at Unfailing Love met for a small worship service in my home. Even though the lectionary provides four Scripture passages each week, I specifically focused upon two this week: Psalm 23 and Philippians 4. There has been some hardship in the Unfailing Love community recently, with one person becoming hospitalized and now in rehab, and another person experiencing the death of a family member. With these events in mind, Psalm 23 and Philippians 4 seemed like the perfect passages to focus upon.
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today’s gospel passage in the lectionary follows a similar theme as we reflected upon last week. In last week’s gospel reading, which was from the same chapter, Jesus challenged the Jewish clergy of his day. Jesus tells them very plainly that the tax collectors and harlots (i.e. traitors and sinful women) are going into God’s Kingdom before they are. Today’s passage continues the story. Read the rest of this entry »
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In today’s Scripture readings, I want to call special attention to the readings from Matthew’s gospel and Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In both these two passages, we find out a lot of information about the nature of Christ’s message. Read the rest of this entry »
Through my life as a Christian and my activities as a minister, I have found myself in many churches whose views were far more conservative than my own. One of the issues that often comes up when I visit more conservative churches is the issue of women’s ordination. This issue also comes up frequently on the Internet. So common is this debate to the church that is was a problem as far back as the second century. The Montanists allowed for female elders and bishops at the time.
For some people today, this issue seems incredibly foolish. Men and women deserve equal opportunities, as do all people. Right? Well, if you take the Bible and church tradition with reverence, there is a problem. For the Roman Catholic Church, the issue is easily settled due to their reliance upon sacred tradition. The roles of men and women are settled, and have been for a very long time. In our church (the UCCA) and all other churches coming from the Protestant Reformation, we believe in cutting through tradition to the Bible. However, there are even many Protestant churches that still affirm that ministry (especially pastoral ministry) is reserved for men. It is this point that I think needs to be addressed. I have no place to argue sacred tradition with a Roman Catholic, but I can argue the Bible with other Protestants. Read the rest of this entry »