Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

Picture via Google Images

Above is a photo of a place known as the Baptistry of Lydia, the place where, tradition holds, Paul baptized Lydia. Notice the water running through the baptistry.

In preparation for worship on Sunday, May 5 read John 14:23-29. In this text, Jesus says to his followers, "Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you." Now read Acts 16:9-15. Where did Paul and his companions go on the Sabbath day? They went by the river where they expected to find a place of prayer.

Reflect on this for a moment. Paul expected the river to provide a place of prayer. In your life, how has water (streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc.) spoken to your heart and soul?

Take a few moments to meditate on the following photographs of water. How do they speak to you? Do you find peace in them? In what other places do you find peace? How often do you visit such beloved places?

Gala Water (countryside; Scottish borders) by James Denham via Wikimedia Commons
James River; Appalachian Mountains; Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway via Wikimedia Commons
Virginia Beach Sunset via Wikimedia Commons

Sycamore Shoals along the Watauga River in Elizabethton, TN by Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

St Martin's Cross, Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona, Scotland by Akela NDE via Wikimedia Commons

As you journey toward Sabbath rest, may you be blessed with holy peace, the peace of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

I hope to see Sunday as we gather to worship and partake of Communion from the Lord's Table.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

The Scriptural readings for Sunday, April 28 include John 13:31-35 and Acts 11:1-18. Take a few moments to read the gospel text. Then respond to the following:
  1. Verse 31 begins, "When he had gone out..." Who is "he"?
  2. In what endearing way does Jesus refer to his followers?
  3. How does it make you feel that Jesus thinks of us in this way?
  4. What commandment does Jesus give?
  5. In what way might it be considered new?
Now turn to the reading from Acts and prayerfully read through it using the spiritual practice of lectio divina.  After the first reading, note what strikes you as most interesting. During the second reading, pay attention to the role of Peter in this story. During the final reading, pay close attention to the role of the Holy Spirit.

Herein, Peter, led by the Spirit, discloses God's new directions to heal creation, and the church changes its social boundaries. The Gentiles, who were excluded from the church in Jerusalem are now included by the reconciling work of the Spirit. Where is God's Spirit opening us to new directions in mission this day?

I pray that you are having a blessed week and are looking forward to VSU's Campus Ministry being with us on Sunday.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

Tabitha Raised from the Dead by Saint Peter; Image via Wikimedia Commons

The readings for Sunday, April 21 include John 10:22-30 and Acts 9:36-43.  Take a few moments to meditate on the gospel reading. Then reflect upon the following:
  1. Those who question Jesus do not belong to him. Why?
  2. What sort of connection do you imagine exists between a shepherd and his sheep?
  3. Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand." What does these words mean to you in your own spiritual journey?
Now read through the passage from Acts at least twice. Then consider:
  1. Is this "the same Peter" who denied Jesus three times? How is he different?
  2. Who is Tabitha (or Dorcas)?
  3. What sort of impact has she had on the community in her life?
  4. What impact does her being brought back to life have on the community?
I pray you are having a blessed week filled with opportunities to be a blessing to others. As always, I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday morning.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

Saul on the Road to Damascus; via Wikimedia Commons

On the journey toward Sunday, take time to read John 21:1-19 and then answer the following:
  1. What does Peter say that he is going to do?
  2. How do his friends respond?
  3. How is this encounter with Jesus different than recent encounters?
Now read Acts 9:1-20. 
  1. In the conversion story of Saul, what strikes you as most important?
  2. If you could speak to Saul today, what one question might you ask him about this time in his life?
May your journey toward Sunday be enriched by the following poem entitled "It is the Lord," by David Adams.

It is the Lord, in the dawning,
in the renewal,
in the arrival, in the new day.

It is the Lord, in the crows,
in the church,
in the conversation,
in the crisis.

It is the Lord, in our joys,
in our sorrows,
in our sickness,
in our health.

It is the Lord, in the stable,
in the humble,
in the stranger,
in the poor.

It is the Lord, risen and returned,
alive for evermore,
giving me new life,
saving me in strive.
It is the Lord.

Blessings on your week.