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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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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Friends

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 Jesus said, … “I have called you friends…” John 15:15 The landowner replied, “Friend…” Matthew 20:13 One of the realities of the pandemic is that many of us have not been able to see our friends in person as much as we usually see them. We have “made do” by keeping in contact through texts, phone calls, written notes, FaceTime or Zoom calls, and in a few cases, by including them in our “bubbles” and…

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“Trust Me, I’ve Got This!” says God

"If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you… Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this… And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there.” Jesus says.(Matthew 18:15, 18, 20 The Message)As those of us who try to live faithfully…

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Grace, Grief and Voices of Hope

We are 5 months into this pandemic and we still don’t seem to know what is happening to us. The evidence is right before our eyes. There is the ominous daily (steady or rising) count of new cases and deaths from COVID-19. Our public health experts have given us a fairly specific set of practices to follow that could lessen the severity of our suffering significantly, but we as a society are divided as to whether to follow them. We are also conflicted…

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What’s the Story Here?

I miss church. If being a part of a Christian community of faith has been a part of your life before this pandemic, you probably are missing church too. Oh, we have our online worship, Zoom groups and meetings, phone calls, and texting as ways of trying to find some semblance of the togetherness we experienced when we could gather every week. Some of us have even met with a few friends and members every now and then while trying to be safe…

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New Applications for Tools of Our Faith in this Moment

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 I recently read the thoughts of two (white) Christian commentators who challenged me to think about racism and white privilege from the perspective of Christian faith differently than I have thought about it recently.…

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Small Gestures

Summer is here and, as some have suggested, we are in for a summer like no other in the lifetimes of most of us living today. We have a continuing pandemic due to the corona virus that does not seem to be subsiding in the number of cases and deaths. We also have continuing protests and demonstrations in the streets and public places for justice and better lives particularly for black and brown people (but ultimately for all races and peoples) and they…

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Faces

What I have noticed most are the faces in the crowds. Faces of every race and many nationalities. Angry faces. Tearful faces. Masked faces. Somber faces. Loving faces. Staring faces. Pained faces. Children’s faces. Aged faces. Determined faces. Sad faces. Smiling faces. Gentle faces. Scarred faces. Anguished faces. Hopeful faces. Faces, faces, faces…so many faces.

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The Perspective of Looking Up

“After Jesus had said this and while they (Jesus’ disciples) were watching, he was taken up into a cloud. They could not see him, but as he went up, they kept looking up into the sky.” Acts 1:9-10Four years ago we moved to our present home that is near the base of the foothills. Since then a number of new homes have filled the space between us and where the hills start going up. Yet, on most days of the year, all we…

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The Way Things Can Be – Jesus’ Way!

We see it as one of the leading stories in any report of the news these days. Our country is “opening up” and trying to get back to “the way things were just 3 short months ago.” COVID-19 stopped our country and the world in our tracks and stunned us with a reality that we never dreamed could happen to us. But it did. And now we are trying to find our way to recovery. Some voices among us clamor to get back…

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Solvitur Ambulando “It is solved by walking”

That same day two of the disciples were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened.  Luke 24:13-14 The Message In these weeks when we have been mostly cooped up in our houses, we have had few opportunities to leave the confines of our garages, patios, and yards. Yet, there is at least one simple activity that we have been told we can do, “Go outside and…

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Living Joy in the Face of Suffering

So (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:8I am writing this on Easter Monday. We are now on the “joyous” side of Lent/Easter 2020 as we celebrate the life-changing Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection. We proclaim this event offers all who believe it life forever in God’s community of love.Yet, as I listen to news reports and read the reflections of persons who are trying to make…

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Onlookers

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30It’s Good Friday—the darkest day of the Christian story. Jesus, the Innocent, was cruelly nailed to the cross and died. Here his story seemed to end where we fear our stories will end too—at our deaths. But on this darkest day, God was at work showing that in this story God wasn’t defeated yet! Easter is yet to come. But we…

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Gratitude

Be Still... Give yourself a minute or more to quiet down and be in the presence of God.Breathe deeply and feel the peace that comes upon you. Read... Paul and Timothy, writing to the Philippian Christians, say this: Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 Good News Translation These…

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