Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

Saint Anthony Abbot Blessing the Animals, the Poor, and the Sick; Image via Wikimedia Commons

Our sermon series on nature continues with a look at animals. In preparation for worship, read Job 40:15-41:10 and Isaiah 11:6-9. What strikes you as important from each of these readings?

As you journey toward Sunday, may the following song of praise ( a version of Psalm 148) make you ever more aware and appreciative of God's wonderful creatures.

All dogs and cats, large and small:
Praise the Lord!
All rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs:
Praise the Lord!
All goldfish, guppies, and swimming creatures:
Praise the Lord!
All robins, wrens, and singing birds:
Praise the Lord!
All bats, squirrels, and raccoons:
Praise the Lord!
All horses, cows, and sheep:
Praise the Lord!
All lizards, snakes and creeping things:
Praise the Lord!
Every animal in the sky, the sea, and the forest:
Praise the Lord! [i]

May God continue to rain blessings down upon you this week. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.

[i] http://www.letallcreationpraise.org/worship-services/blessing-of-the-animals

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

This Sunday the nature sermon series continues with a look at birds. In preparation for worship, you may wish to read Genesis 1:29-31, Psalm 84:1-5, and Luke 12:4-7. In these passages, what do you find most interesting about birds? If you had to pick a favorite bird, which one would you choose? Why?

Image via Wikimedia Commons
The photograph of the statue above is of Saint Francis of Assisi, who is well known as a man of God who loved all of God's creation. In fact, he is often pictured with a bird because, tradition tells us, he preached even to the birds. Below is one such "sermon." Take time to read it slowly and prayerfully.
My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noah that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though ye neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favored you with such bounties. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.
As you journey toward Sunday, may you be blessed by a bird in song. May you join the tune with your own notes of gratitude.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

The third of our 6-week sermon series on nature allows us an opportunity to 
consider the importance of trees in Scripture. 

Garden of Gethsemane via Wikimedia Commons
As you prepare for worship, slowly and prayerfully read Psalm 1 and then consider the following:
  1. Who are "like trees" in this text? 
  2. Where are they planted? 
  3. What is their function?
Turn to Genesis 1. Read through the chapter until you find a reference to trees. In what verse do you find the word "trees" for the first time? Read Deuteronomy 20:19-20. What do you learn about trees in this text?

Now turn to Luke 13:6-9:
  1. Read through the passage once. 
  2. While imagining you are the tree in the story, read it again. 
  3. Finally, meditate upon this question: Today, if Jesus came digging around your "soil," what evidence of fruit-bearing would he find?

I pray you are having a wonderful week, keeping dry when the rains pour, and enjoying the sun when it shines!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

The second of our 6-week sermon series on nature allows us an opportunity to consider the importance of mountains in Scripture. 

As you prepare for worship, read the following texts: Exodus 3:1-12: 19:16-20 & Matt. 4:23-5:2a. Then meditate on the mountains pictured below. Finally, consider how mountains (either physically or spiritually) have played a role in your faith journey.

Mount Sinai [All images via Wikimedia Commons]

From Mount of Beatitudes with a view of the Sea of Galilee

Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives

As always, I look forward to worshiping with you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

Image of The Sea of Galilee via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday we begin a six-week sermon series on Nature. We will consider images and/or stories of water, mountains, trees, birds, animals and the overall message creation speaks to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear. In readiness, instead of the usual Blog contents, I will provide mostly pictures and poetry, with a few key Scripture verses to help you along the way.  Hopefully, you will journey through the next 6 weeks with an "eye" toward God in nature.

Key Texts: Genesis 1 and Psalm 8. May these passages give you a starting place to ponder the wonder of God's creation, in general, and the theme of water found in God's Word, in particular.

The following is a Water Prayer that recognizes our misuse of this life-giving resource. May it be our prayer this week:

Loving God,
whose son Jesus Christ
called all who were thirsty
to come to him, believe and drink,
Look in mercy
on your people living in dry lands, and
struggling to survive without access to
safe drinking water.
Forgive our selfishness in life and our
misuse of
our natural resources.
We commit ourselves to value and care
for your gifts to us.
May rivers of living water
and practical compassion for all who
suffer flow out from our hearts.
Refreshed by your Spirit,
and following in the way of Jesus
We will continue to serve you
in the people and creation entrusted to
our care.

(Adapted from a prayer by Rev Canon Paul Robertson 2004)

May the Lord bless you this 4th of July week. I look forward to our Sunday worship, especially as we gather around the waters of our baptism to confess our sins, and around the Table of our Lord to partake of  Holy Communion.