Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blogging toward Sunday

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Lectionary readings for Sunday include Ruth 1:1-18 and Mark 12:28-34.

In preparation for worship, I invite you to find a nice, comfy place to sit with your Bible and journal (or whatever you like to use to write down thoughts, prayers, etc.). First, consider Ruth. Read through the passage and note what intrigues you. Jot it down. Read through the passage a second time, slowly and prayerfully. Do you come away with any new learning this time? If so, make note of it. 

Now, consider the following:
  1. What is your favorite part of the story of Ruth?
  2. Generally, how does our culture portray the relationship between a daughter and her mother-in-law?
  3. In what ways is this story extraordinary?
Let us turn to the gospel reading. Using the same method, read through the text at least twice. Note what strikes you about Jesus' encounter with this religious expert.

Now, consider the following:
  1.  How is this interaction between Jesus and a religious expert different than most?
  2. What was the confrontation over in the text just prior to this reading?
  3. Why do you think no one asked Jesus any more questions after this episode?
Take a few moments to examine your own faith journey. How have you lived a life loving God and loving others? Take a moment to confess to God those times when you have failed to be loving--toward God, toward others, toward yourself. Then rest in God's mercy and love. Take a moment to give thanks for those times when God has empowered you to be loving--toward God, toward others, toward yourself. Then rest in God's strength and grace. Yes, you are a beloved child of God, whom day by day God is forming into the person God wishes you to be. Thanks be to God!

Remember that Sunday we celebrate All Saints' Day. I look forward to seeing you then.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blogging toward Sunday

The texts for Sunday, October 28, include Job 42:1-6, 10-17 and Mark 10:46-52.
Image via Wikimedia Commons   
The above image is entitled "Christ Giving Sight to Blind Bartimaeus" by William Blake. As a prayerful meditation practice, first read Bartimaeus' story found in Mark 10:46-52. Then take a few moments to gaze at the picture. What do you find most interesting about this piece of art? What new insight does it provide you about this well-loved story?

Now read the poem provided below, penned by John Newton:


Mercy, O thou Son of David!
Thus blind Bartimaeus prayed;
Others by thy word are saved,
Now to me afford thine aid:
Many for his crying chid him,
But he called the louder still;
Till the gracious Saviour bid him
Come, and ask me what you will.

Money was not what he wanted,
Though by begging used to live;
But he asked, and Jesus granted
Alms, which none but he could give:
Lord remove this grievous blindness,
Let my eyes behold the day;
Strait he saw, and won by kindness,
Followed Jesus in the way.

O! methinks I hear him praising,
Publishing to all around;
Friends, is not my case amazing?
What a Saviour I have found:
O! that all the blind but knew him,
And would be advised by me!
Surely, would they hasten to him,
He would cause them all to see.

When the blind man approached Jesus, what did Jesus ask him? Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" Imagine for a moment that Jesus stands before you right now. Perhaps you bow humbly before him as he asks you the same question he asked Bartimaeus: "What do you want me to do for you?" What will be your response? In your heart of hearts, above all else, what do you wish for your Savior to do for you? 

Then you must ask yourself one more question: How will you respond? Bartimaeus responded with his life for he followed Jesus on the way. Are you following Jesus? Is your following an act of thanks? 

May God bless you and your loved ones this week on the journey toward Sunday. As always, I look forward to seeing you in worship.