Anguish for Justice

“You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing; when you bear witness in a lawsuit, you shall not side with the majority so as to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to the poor in a lawsuit.” (Exodus 23:2-3)The verses above come from today’s reading from the Daily Lectionary (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 1149). Over time these daily readings allow us to revisit the depth and breadth of what is at the core of our Christian faith.The reading—Exodus 23:1-9—is part of a…

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Tears…(Again!!!)

“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?...Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword…For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things…

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Let Your Light Shine!

“This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.” John 3:19 The MessageI presided and preached at worship this past Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent. The text for my sermon, John 19:1-16a, was from the Narrative Lectionary. In the Narrative Lectionary for this year—the year of John—the texts for all the Sundays of Lent are events in…

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Read more about the article Lenten Devotions
The sanctuary at First Congo during the Lenten season is filled with bare branches that create a haunting space casting long shadows.

Lenten Devotions

On Ash Wednesday and then each Tuesday and Thursday through the weeks of Lent, we will feature Liturgical Artist Mary Button’s Stations of the Cross: Pandemic Hope. You can learn more about Mary here.  You can learn more about Stations of the Cross here or through your own internet search. For those who receive devotions by email, please be sure to fully open the post on TVPrays.org to view the meditative art.

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A ‘Mirror’ Opportunity!’

“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." (Deuteronomy 9:6)The verse above comes from a reading in the Daily Lectionary for today (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p.1144). It recalls Moses speaking to the whole people of Israel concerning their actions during the 40 years they spent in the wilderness. It occurred to me as I read the text that this verse can help us as we make…

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Hope Arising…

“… (Jesus) passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” Luke 4:30 In recent months I’ve had the occasion to interact with persons in our health care system—from the persons who greet me when I check in for an appointment to the those who care for me in the hospital and examination rooms. I’ve been struck numerous times with this thought: “This terrible pandemic has actually made these persons better people!” They interact with me in caring, committed, professional, and…

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Why Are You Still Going to Church?

I’ll Venture that You Have Some Very Good Reasons Others Would Like to Hear!In early November, Anthony Robinson, a United Church of Christ pastor, consultant, and blogger, pointed me to an October 2021 article in Christianity Today that I’ve been pondering all month. The article has the intriguing title “Empty Pews are an American Public Health Crisis.” Obviously the present COVID-19 pandemic and other every-day societal turmoil such as guns, addiction and violence have been related to public health—but now empty pews???! The gist of…

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On the Way to the Future

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”(John 8:31-32)This coming Sunday, October 31, is Reformation Day. This is the day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, the event that gave rise to the Protestant Reformation.It is a dilemma for us Lutherans as to whether we want…

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Teachable Moments on Steroids

(Jesus and his disciples) went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:30-32) I am struck by the number of occasions in Mark’s gospel…

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Seeing All There Is to See

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children— how you once stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, … you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain while the mountain was blazing up to the very heavens, shrouded in dark clouds. Then the Lord spoke…

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How Can I Help?

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?"That's exactly what Jesus did. He didn't make it easy for himself by avoiding people's troubles, but waded right in and helped out. "I…

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Food/Life for Everyone!

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. John 6:11-13 NRSV During five summer Sundays in July and August,…

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Keep Faithing It!

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not…

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Transition!

As you see in the previous post, we are in transition here at TVPrays.org this summer as to the frequency of the posting of these devotions. Beginning tomorrow, May 31, we will be posting devotions Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week through the end of August.Living with and in transition is often a disquieting and uncomfortable experience. We have been learning that acutely since the pandemic officially began now more than 15 months ago.While the pandemic appears to be subsiding in our communities…

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A Community of Loved Ones

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14We have heard much conversation during the last year about what we all have lost during the pandemic.  Some have described it in terms of losing a year of their lives! For others it may actually be in terms of…

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The Time of Our Lives

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead. So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand. Acts 4:1-4The words of the late John Lewis,…

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Read more about the article Joy Comes with the Morning!
man embracing joy in the morning

Joy Comes with the Morning!

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.Psalm 30:5bToday we are in the midst of the Easter Three Days, the high point of the liturgical year beginning the evening of Maundy Thursday and continuing until the evening of Easter Sunday. These three days are a single celebration that mark the end of the season of Lent to the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection at the Easter Vigil and the later Easter Day worship celebrations. (Go here for a slightly longer…

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“Mercy!”

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.1 Peter 4:10Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.Matthew 5:7“Mercy!” An exclamation of surprise or fear.Mercy—a word that radiates compassion, grace, charity, forgiveness, humanity, tender-heartedness, kindness, liberality, or generosity.Mercy as gift—the descriptor of the gift of our God who created the world and universe as we know it and all of humanity who live in it.Mercy—the descriptor of both…

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Wait!

“Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) Recall the childhood game of “Hide and Seek.” I expect many of us have memories of how we played that simple game. In the one I remember, one person would volunteer to be “it” (the seeker) and everyone else would go hide, hoping to find a place that was so…

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. Psalm 139: 1-2, 13-14 NRSV As I was pondering the words of this psalm, I ran across a meditation that…

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Simply 2021…

These are the wise sayings of Solomon,David's son, Israel's king—Written down so we'll know how to live well and right,to understand what life means and where it's going;A manual for living,for learning what's right and just and fair;To teach the inexperienced the ropesand give our young people a grasp on reality.There's something here also for seasoned men and women,still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.Proverbs 1:1-6 The…

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Simply 2021…

These are the wise sayings of Solomon,David's son, Israel's king—Written down so we'll know how to live well and right,to understand what life means and where it's going;A manual for living,for learning what's right and just and fair;To teach the inexperienced the ropesand give our young people a grasp on reality.There's something here also for seasoned men and women,still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.Proverbs 1:1-6 The…

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“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (God with Us!)

O come, O come, O Lord of might, as to your tribes on Sinai’s height in ancient times you gave the law in cloud, and majesty, and awe. Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel. You may recognize this verse as one from the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” a hymn that is beloved by many of us. The words of the hymn come from the “O Antiphons” that have been sung in the church since at least the…

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Just One More Surprise!

“Then the righteous (the sheep) will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?... Then those on his left (the goats) also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Matthew 25:37, 44We have come to the end of another church year—a year that has been…

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A Thanksgiving Hymn for 2020

(Written ca 1637) “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Jeremiah 33:11In less than two weeks we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving, as we say, like no other that most of us have celebrated in our lifetimes. In these days the cases of Covid-19 seem to be rising relentlessly as hospitalization increase and families continue to lose precious loved ones. We are being greatly encouraged not to gather in large family gatherings…

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Love Your Neighbors

Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31 “…the justice/righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ for all who believe. Romans 3:22 This devotion is being written ten days before the US election and is intended to be posted the day before the election, November 2. However, because it will serve as a backup, it is possible that it could be…

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“Do the Right Thing, And…”

Jesus (speaking to the chief priests and elders of the people) said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” Matthew 21:31 There’s this one little (unspoken, but certainly implied) message in this story of Jesus’ encounter with the chief priests and elders of the people during his last days before his crucifixion that teachers and preachers commenting on this story often don't tell you: the chief priests and elders get into…

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