The Dark Path of Want


You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

Something kept from us by law, marriage, ownership, or money is a virus when we dwell on it.  Like a slavery that takes ownership one piece at a time we move from that initial pang of separation to a black hole of thoughs to scheming plans and lying words.  We are chained to the point that nothing else exists and no other happiness could be imagined except by possessing, truly controlling, even enslaving what we want.  Ahab’s dark path lead to death, one innocent and his own.  What a bitter vintage.

Published in: on February 5, 2015 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Good Medicine

Praise to You, the Medicine of life, who has converted all who are baptized to Him who is life of all and Lord of all! The lost who are found bless You, for by finding the lost, You have given joy to the angels that are found and were not lost. – Ephraim Syrus

If someone gives you good medicine they desire your health. The medicine works even if you don’t want it to. Of course there is a lot more to being healthy then simply having the destructive sickness destroyed by a medicine. So if a person that cares about my wellbeing gives me medicine, even when I am not able to speak for myself, doesn’t it still have power? I find this to be a helpful insight into the baptism of a child whose parents and faith community care about their wellbeing.

Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 30 Reflection

Psalm 30

I will honor you highly, O Lord,
    because you have pulled me out of the pit
        and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord my God,
    I cried out to you for help,
        and you healed me.
O Lord, you brought me up from the grave.
    You called me back to life
        from among those who had gone into the pit.
Make music to praise the Lord, you faithful people who belong to him.
    Remember his holiness by giving thanks.
His anger lasts only a moment.
    His favor lasts a lifetime.
    Weeping may last for the night,
        but there is a song of joy in the morning.

When all was well with me, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.”
O Lord, by your favor you have made my mountain stand firm.
    When you hid your face, I was terrified.
I will cry out to you, O Lord.
    I will plead to the Lord for mercy:
“How will you profit if my blood is shed,
    if I go into the pit?
    Will the dust of my body give thanks to you?
    Will it tell about your truth?”
10 Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me!
    O Lord, be my helper!
11 You have changed my sobbing into dancing.
    You have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy
12 so that my soul may praise you with music and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 29 Reflection

Psalm 29

A psalm by David.

Give to the Lord, you heavenly beings.
    Give to the Lord glory and power.
Give to the Lord the glory his name deserves.
    Worship the Lord in his holy splendor.

The voice of the Lord rolls over the water.
    The God of glory thunders.
        The Lord shouts over raging water.
The voice of the Lord is powerful.
    The voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars.
    The Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
        He makes Lebanon skip along like a calf
            and Mount Sirion like a wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the wilderness tremble.
    The Lord makes the wilderness of Kadesh tremble.
The voice of the Lord splits the oaks
    and strips the trees of the forests bare.
        Everyone in his temple is saying, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sat enthroned over the flood.
    The Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 The Lord will give power to his people.
    The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

The Worst Gets Worse

When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

The Prophet Malachi

The prophet Malachi by Duccio di Buoninsegna, Italian in the 1300s

If we give of our lives to God it is a question of relationship. What we give to God expresses what kind of relationship we have.  If we give anything to God it should come as a response to the actions of God for our sake*.  God gives, we respond but our response has consequences. When we give without sacrifice or finding a way to make it hurt the least then we’ve made a choice about how we relate to God and even say something about how we want God to relate to us.  Our faith is a response to God’s actions, our actions are a reflection of our faith, if we devalue our response to God than something else has taken priority in power or worship in our lives.  Where does the prime, healthy, valuable parts of our lives go?  Those actions say something about where we put our trust, hope and even our fear.

Malachi Word Cloud

*Start big with a creedal list of God’s actions for you in the words of the Apostles Creed perhaps the explanations can help your meditation begin to apply actions that God has taken to your day to day life.

Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 28

Psalm 28

By David.

O Lord, I call to you.
    O my rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me.
    If you remain silent,
        I will be like those who go into the pit.
Hear my prayer for mercy when I call to you for help,
    when I lift my hands toward your most holy place.
Do not drag me away with wicked people,
    with troublemakers who speak of peace with their neighbors
        but have evil in their hearts.
Pay them back for what they have done,
    for their evil deeds.
    Pay them back for what their hands have done,
    and give them what they deserve.
The Lord will tear them down and never build them up again,
    because they never consider what he has done
        or what his hands have made.

Thank the Lord!
    He has heard my prayer for mercy!
The Lord is my strength and my shield.
    My heart trusted him, so I received help.
    My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.
The Lord is the strength of his people
    and a fortress for the victory of his Messiah.
Save your people, and bless those who belong to you.
    Be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

Published in: on September 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 25 – Lost in the Woods

Deep in the Woods by Gate-To-Nowhere

Published in: on May 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Psalm 23:1 A Challenge


  David wrote about what he knew.  He grew up being a shepherd, this was his occupation and his upbringing.  From that experience who wrote a psalm about God.  The perspective was from within the work he knew. Could you write a psalm from your perspective, God in the context of your work?  Instead of the Lord is My Shepherd, how would you replace shepherd and how would your psalm read?



Psalm 23:4

Psalm 23-4

Published in: on April 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 20

Constantine sees the sign in the heaven by which he’ll conquer

We wrestled with this Psalm since it seemed that there were two parts to it.  We decided that the first five verses were spoken in a way that sounded like the troops were talking about the king.  Then the last verses were the king speaking.

The troops recall those places where they find strength and assurance.  Calling on God in prayer.  Asking God to remember the sacrifices in the temple where He promises that there is grace.  And rallying around the military banners that call the clan/tribe/troops together.

It is a stirring picture to visualize this psalm.  The troops shouting their parts and the places that give them courage and then the king responding.

This is certainly a wakeup call in the words of the king.  There is no firm place other then with God.  If we trust in power, government, war machines or anything else we will fail.  This challenging word that comes up again and again – salvation/victory, causes us to wonder what is really being spoken of?  What is the word pointing to?  Salvation is heard as spiritual but in this context it seems like it should be thought of as a victory over a physical / political enemy.  What do you think?

psalm 20 7

Published in: on March 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 19


We were struck by the power of God’s presence in the first six verses.  Especially because God could be seen in the things that are around everyone.  Information that is available to everyone.  We considered that God would come across as both immense but also caring by what you see in a typical day.  I wondered how much the city and urbanization shuts these kinds of things out?

Sometimes the immensity of the universe seems to be the message of science.  First that the universe is immense but but not infinite.  Also that the earth is not that unique and that there is the possibility of many life bearing planets in the universe.  So on the one hand we are made to feel small but on the other the inference of a divine presence is often denied.

These first six verses are usually called general revelation or a natural knowledge of God.  These verses tell us that without words anyone can know something about God or that a power greater than themselves exists in the universe.  What conclusions would people come to about God with only this information?

Verses 7 to 9 start to repeat different words for the teachings of God.  This reminded me of the kind of poetry you see in the psalms often, a repeated phrase that either duplicates or builds on the content of what came before.  The psalmists begins to talk about the rewards of following the precepts of God.  Lutheran likes to focus on the Gospel and minimize the effects of the Law but even Martin Luther describes three uses of the law: a mirror (which compares us to the requirements of the law so that we recognize our sin), the curb (which are the basic boundaries for a society to function based on the law) and the guide.  Does the guide of the law remind us that the boundaries that God has established revive us, provide a great reward, and are like the drippings of a honeycomb.  What is there in the limiting that also provides life and reward?

One of the group mentioned that drippings really are the best of the honey.  An experience everyone wished we could taste.

So this psalm moves from the general to the specific. The clues in the universe that God exists and the specific ways that God teaches about Himself and His hopes for our lives.  There is a sense of great joy that so often seems missing in our world.  People don’t like to be told what to do, they don’t like boundaries and rules but the opposite must be try without those boundaries the opposite happens-life is bitter, is kills and punishes us.  That is no alternative.  I pray for those who sense there is something more to this existence and sense in the immensity and beauty of the world that there is something behind it all.  I pray for their courage as well to seek and discover an answer and that they would meet the God of His Word.

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