Saturday, 31 August 2013

Saturday -

Prayer:  Great God,  we bring before You today the times we have sinned in thought,  word, and deed.   Heal us O Lord and continually remind us that You have already made us whole.  Our sins are forgiven.  Blessed by the name of the Lord.  Amen.

Westminster Confession of Faith – The Shorter Catechism Question #18 “Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?”

Answer: “The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called Original Sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.”

Read   Romans 5: 10 – 20       Ephesians 2: 1 – 3    James 1: 14- 15.

Sin is a real bummer.  It gets one down and mires a person in quick sand with no end.   Yet,  through the Forgivness of Sins,  we are made alive in Christ.   Our sins are forgiven.    So today,  live like a person made alive in Christ!

Prayer:   Holy Holy Holy God,  we will live this day in Your joy and Your love.  Let us lift up our hearts to You,  O Lord God Almighty.  It is in You that we find our Joy and our strength.  Amen.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Friday - the stole

Prayer:  This day O Lord,  may we live in harmony with our family and friends and neighbours. Revive our Souls and save us for the sake of Your love.  Amen.

Read  Psalm 133

The Stole is a final piece of vestment that is worn by Ministers.   This is a narrow and long rectangular piece of cloth that covers both the shoulders of the Minister and encircles the neck.  The parts unit in the front and reach to the knees.   The stole is a reminder of the priestly function of the Old Testament and is used at every exercise of that power,  in Church and in the community.  

The stole signifies the yoke or burden of the vocation of ministry of word and sacrament.  The stole also signifies the grace of the Holy Spirit which flows down upon the Minister.   This is why only Minister’s  wear stoles… the symbol of sacrifice and delight working in the service of God.   If lay preachers wish to wear a stole,  then the stole must be worn as a sash from left shoulder to right hip.  

In today’s  Church,  ministers frequently wear stoles that are the colour of the Church year.    Green is for ordinary times.  White is for Easter and funerals.  Red is for Pentecost.   Purple is worn during the penitential times of Advent and Lent. 

As the Minister puts the stole on each Sunday (or at any other times),  the minister will say: “Blessed is God,  who pours His grace upon His priests;  it is as ointment on the head, that ran down to the beard, even the beard of Aaron;  that ran down to the fringe of his clothing (Psalm 133: 2).

Prayer:  Praise the Lord to all servants of the Lord who minister by night and by day in the House of the Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Thursday - vestments

Prayer:  Great and Awesome God,  be with those students who are returning to Seminaries.   Help them to understand Your call to them and Your words of insight.  Help these students to attain wisdom and discipline so that they are grounded in Your love.  Amen.

Read  Isaiah 61: 10   and Psalm 18: 32 - 33

The Minister and vestments.  In the past,  Minister’s  wore robes during the Worship Service.  Robes were worn to distinguish the Minister from lay people as well as (and most importantly) to remind them that they are obliged to clothe themselves in the robes of the Spirit.  There are three kinds of robes worn by Ministers in the PCC.   The Geneva Gown,  the Church of Scotland,  and the Alb.  

The Geneva Gown is a type of academic robe.  These robes were used to signify that the wearer had academic training.     In days of old,  most Presbyterian ministers wore either the Geneva Gown or the Church of Scotland.   The Geneva and Church of Scotland robes are worn over street cloths (or Sunday go To Meeting clothing).    Frequently there are hoods attached to the robe.  Each of the hoods indicate level of academic training.    For Minister’s  of the Presbyterian Church in Canada,  the hood would be a Masters of Divinity.      When a Minister receives a Doctorate of Ministry,  bars are added to the sleeves of the robe.

About twenty five years ago,  Ministers within the PCC began wearing a type of robe called an “Alb”.   Traditionally the Alb was worn by Roman Catholic Priests and  Anglican Ministers.  This robe is usually white in colour to represent the tunic which the soldiers of Pilate put on Christ before his crucifixion.  The white robe also reminds us of the angel who announced to the women that the Lord had risen.   The colour white reminds the wearer of the  purity of body and soul in God which must be part of the wearer at all times.

As Minister’s  put on their robes each Sunday,  they say to God  “My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed me with the garment of salvation,  He has covered me with the robe of joy:  He has set a crown on my head like a bridegroom,  and like a bride He has adorned me with ornaments”   (Isaiah 61: 10)

The Alb is the only robe that uses a Cincture.   The cincture is a rope that holds the alb to the body as well as off of the floor.   The cincture reminds the wearer that in the time of Jesus,  people used to use a cincture to gird themselves before they set out on a journey or undertakes a task.   The minister who wears an alb and cincture remembers that a cincture girds him/her on the sacred journey of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the community and world.    The cincture reminds the minister that their strength comes from the Lord God Almighty.   As the minister types on the cincture,  he/she repeats this scripture:  “Blessed is God who girds me with strength, and makes my way blameless: who strengthens my feet as hinds’  feet and sets me upon high places”  (Psalm 18: 32 – 33).

Prayer:    Blessed are You O Lord God Almighty who girds us with Your strength and makes our ways blameless.  Strengthen my feet so that we can do Your work in this world.  Amen.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wednesday - Sanctuary

Prayer:   Your Sanctuary O Lord is a resting place for the weary.  Your Sanctuary, Creator God, is a living place of Your love.  Your Sanctuary, Redeeming Christ, is a place for renewal of enthusiasm. Your Sanctuary,  Sustaining Holy Spirit,  is a place of eternal hope. Amen.

Read:  Psalm 150

The Sanctuary is the place where the Communion Table is placed.  Traditionally the Sanctuary was built in the eastern portion of the Church.   This is so the rising sun can beam through the windows and remind the congregation that Christ is the rising sun and the new dawn of the Good News.   In Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria BC   the Church installed a stained glass window in the eastern portion of the sanctuary.  The stained glass window is called the “New Jerusalem”.  Each the sun rises and makes the stained glass window come alive with colour of the New Jerusalem.  While this window is awe inspiring,  it is also a great reminder to us of the reason for the Sanctuary to always be in the east.  So that we can see the light of  God through the rising of His Son.     

Frequently there are also large chairs for the Minister and elders to use serving Communion.       

In some Presbyterian congregations,  the Communion Table is left empty and the Session believes that the Table must be left empty except for the Food of Christ – the Bread and the Wine during Communion.   Other Sessions place the Holy Bible on the Communion Table as a reminder to us all that the Word of God must remain central in our hearts.     Sometimes some Sessions also include the offering plates on the Communion Table.  The offering plates remind us that we give of our tithes and offerings so that the mission and work of Christ can continue in this world. 

 Think of your congregation.  What else is in the Sanctuary area?      Why do you think these items are in the Sanctuary? 

Prayer:  Your Sanctuary O Lord is a resting place for the weary.  Your Sanctuary, Creator God, is a living place of Your love.  Your Sanctuary, Redeeming Christ, is a place for renewal of enthusiasm. Your Sanctuary,  Sustaining Holy Spirit,  is a place of eternal hope. Amen.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tuesday - The Nave

Prayer:  Great God  for those who preach Your Word this week,  be with them in their studies and meditations.  May the meditations of all our hearts and minds be upon Your Word this day.  Amen.

Read Psalm 119: 33 - 40

Also in the Nave is the pulpit.    Traditionally the Presbyterian Church has a pulpit for reading the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ as well as preaching the Sermon and a lecturn  for the reading of all other Scriptures.     The Pulpit is frequently large and eight sided – eight sided to represent all the days in the week but the new day…. which reflects upon our newness in Christ.  The pulpit is traditionally shaped in a roundish shape to represent the stone which sealed the tomb of Christ and the stone which was rolled away to show everyone that Jesus Christ was Risen. 

Often the pulpit is on a raised platform.  This does not mean that the Word of God is above contradiction but the pulpit is raised on an area of the Church called the Solea.  Solea is a latin word meaning “elevated place”. 

Today many Presbyterian Churches have a single standing pulpit…. Which looks more like a Professors  lecturn.  Why do you think it is important for us to remember and perhaps return to the understanding of what a pulpit means to Christians?

Prayer:  Your Word O Lord is a lamp that guides us in our living.  Your Word is a light that lightens up our lives.  Be with those who preach Your Word so that with Great Joy,  they can preach the living Good News of Christ.  This we ask in Christ’s name. Amen.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Monday - the Sanctuary

Prayer:  Great God,  You are the Maker of Heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.  Help us this day to envision Your Church that way You want the Church to be transformed.  Protect us and give us the strength to bring peace and Great Joy into Your Church.  Amen.

Read:  Psalm 27

The Nave is the space between the Narthex/Portico and the Sanctuary.   We often call the Sanctuary the whole area of the Church were we sit in pews and hear the Word of God.  But!  The area where the pews are is actually called the Nave.  In most Churches,  it is the Nave where all the stained glass windows are placed  or banners are placed.  The stained glass windows and banners aren't to brighten up the Church but are put in place in order to bring the Word of God alive.   Each window or banner tells a story about the Bible.   The Nave is the place set aside for lay people.   This is the place where the people of God gather. 

Our Churches contain pews.   Pews are for the convenience of people to sit to hear portions of the worship service.   Some pews are very comfortable and some pews are downright difficult to sit upon for an hour or more.    Some Churches today have replaced the wooden pew with padded pews or padded chairs.     

In our denomination’s  past,  some Churches used to charge a pew rent for the privilege of sitting in a pew.   Charging pew rent disappeared during the late 1920’s  and 1930’s.  Charging pew rent was a financial bonus for each congregation but was a bummer for creating equality within a congregation.       

Before the Reformation,  not many Churches had pews.  With the Word of God and sermons becoming  central to Worship in the Reformed Churches,  pews were added.    The first pews were wooden without a back.  Then came wooden pews with a back.  Then racks were added to the wooden pew backs in order to hold Bibles and Hymnals and Psalters.   

Prayer:  Teach us Your way O Lord and guide us upon Your path.  Amen.

Saturday, 24 August 2013


Prayer:  Great God,  forgive us of our sins.  Forgive us for the times we hold onto our sins instead of letting them go to You.  Forgive us for the times we hold onto our anger instead of letting the anger go to You.    Grant us Your peace… Your wisdom… and Your love.  This we ask in Jesus’  name.  Amen.

Westminster Confession of Faith -  Shorter Catechism Question #17:  “ Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?”

Answer:  “The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery”.

Read:  Romans 5: 12 - 21

Well bummer.   The fall brought us into a life of sin and misery.    There certainly is no joy nor hope in that statement.  Did one man bring us all into a state of sin and death.   Paul in writing to the Romans reminds them that all have sinned and all die.   And yet,  we know through the life and crucifixion of Christ Jesus that we are forgive our sins and our misery and given new life in Christ.   Through God we are given an abundance of grace and life through Jesus Christ.   Amazing!

Prayer:  Grant O Lord,  that this whole day may be lived in Your love.  Help us,  save us, have mercy upon us, and protect us O Lord God.  Amen.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Friday - the House of the Lord

Prayer:  For the Church universal O Lord,  and for those who enter it with faith and reverence, grant us Your love.  For those who preach about the Love of Your Son,  grant them knowledge and servanthood.  For those who teach about the Love of Your Son,  grant to them wisdom and sevanthood.  For those who reach out to those who are poor and downtrodden,  grant them peace and joy in believing.  This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It was the Roman Emperor,  Constantine,  that decided Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire.   So it was in 313 AD that Church buildings began to be built.  Glorious Church buildings so that the worshipper could worship God in all His Glory.  The idea for building stunning Churches (inside and out) was for the people in the community to want to go to Church and to make the worshippers feel that they were worshipping in the House of God – in the new Heaven.

Read  Psalm 122

The House of the Lord.    The Church we attend is the very House of the Lord.  Today we focus more of our energies on keeping the House of the Lord repaired than spending time in worship.  This is sad.   We need to be reminded yet again what our Church building is all about.

The Portico or Narthex  is the place where we enter our Church.   Traditionally the Portico or Narthex faced the west so that those leaving the Church would see the setting of the sun and stand in awe of God’s  marvelous glory.   Today we enter the Narthex and this is where we find our Church bulletins,  hang up our coats,  are greeted by greeters,  pick up any Church mail,  put any mission opportunity bags in bins, talk to our friends,   or  pick up our hymn books.  But the Narthex  is more than just  a place for Church administration and business,  the Narthex is the place in the Church were we greet God.  Each time we enter a Church,  we should say a prayer of thanksgiving that we can worship this day and delight in being in God’s presence.   Or memorize Psalm 121 or Psalm 122 and silently pray this prayer as you enter the Narthex.

Prayer:  Prepare our hearts this day O Lord to that when the Sabbath comes we may go up to the House of the Lord with great joy.  Amen.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Thursday - worshipping together

Prayer:  We are Your willing servants Lord… how can we serve You today.  We are Your willing servants Lord… how can we share Your love with others today.  We are Your willing servants Lord… grant us Your peace.  Amen.

As we come to the end of August,  our eyes and hearts are turned toward the new beginnings of September – new Church programs,  Sunday school begins again,  Bible Studies and prayer Groups begin again.  September is the month when we begin our Christian Education programs anew.  And what a better time than to begin to keep in prayer all the programs and events that help people see the Good News.

These last few days of August and then in early September will be spent focussing upon what is the Church.   We won’t be focussing upon the physical building but on what each portion of the Church building represents.  

We begin today with the beginning Church.   The Church after Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension.    The Church in the Acts of the Apostles began in people’s  homes.   People from the community would gather together to worship and celebrate the Lord’s  Supper.  In some communities,  these families were persecuted for their faith but that did not stop them from worshipping together in secret.  

Read  Acts 16:  11 – 15     and Philippians  1

After hearing the Good News of Christ Jesus from Paul,  Lydia founded the house church in Philippi.  Beginning a house church was not easy.  There was much opposition from the community who did not want a new religion in their midst.  There was also a large learning time for the house church people on what it meant to be a Christian.    Yet,  the Good News of Jesus Christ blossomed and thrived through persecutions and struggles.    

Today we look back and need to remember that the focus of worshipping the Good News of Jesus Christ in the early Church  wasn’t in the Church building but in each person who worshipped together. 

Prayer:  Shine in our hearts, O Merciful God, the pure light of Your Divine Knowledge and open the eyes of our mind that we may understand the teachings of Your Gospel.  For You are the source of Light for our souls and bodies O Christ our God.  Unto You we give glory,  now and forever.  Amen.

Wednesday - Ascension

Prayer:   In peace let us pray to the Lord.  Lord,  have mercy upon those who need You for healing this day.  Lord,  have mercy upon those who need You for learning this day.  Lord,  have mercy upon those who don’t know what they need but they need Your love.   May we continually rejoice in Your love and live in Great Joy today and always. Amen.

Luke 24: 50 – 53

The Ascension of Christ. In the Church today,  we celebrate the Ascension 40 days after Easter.  This year,  The Ascension was on May 9th. 

 Jesus led the disciples out to Bethany.  He lifted up his hands and blessed them.  As he was blessing the disciples,  he was lifted up to heaven.  

The disciples worshipped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.    Great joy.    With Great Joy.    It is this same attitude that we too must go out into our community.  We must go out with great joy knowing the love of God.     With Great Joy

Read Luke 24: 50 – 53  slowly through again.  Do any works make you pause?  Do any phrases come to mind that are joyful?  

This day and next month,  what one thing each day will you do  with Great Joy?

   Prayer:  Help us this day O Lord to live this day in Your Great Joy.  Have mercy upon us this day O Lord so that we can live this day in Your Great Joy.   Protect us this day O Lord so that we can bring the Good News of Your Son to all in this world.   Amen. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tuesday - teaching and the learner

Prayer:   Wisdom let us attend.  Peace be upon us and enliven our spirits so that each day we live and move in Your sight is a day of sharing the Good News of Christ with others.   Amen.

Read:  Luke 24: 44 – 49

Jesus’ final message to his disciples explains once again the story of redemption.   Jesus tells them that He came to fulfil the law in order for the forgiveness of sins.   Then Jesus opens their minds so that they can understand what he is teaching.    This is a gift that all teachers hope to have …  the ability to teach people so that they are knowledgeable to live life to it’s fullest in God.   Yet,  Jesus had continually taught the disciples and they didn’t always understand what he was teaching them.

Teaching anyone takes two people.  The teacher and the learner.   And sometimes it is difficult to discern which is the teacher and which is the learner!    By teaching others,  a teacher has to put into practical practice what they are teaching.  If a teacher can’t tell others in simple terms what they are teaching,  then they are not good teachers.  In the same way,  learners must be receptive to learning.   Teaching and learning is not a one time thing….. teaching and learning is a lifetime process.

And for the disciples,  their eyes and minds and hearts are finally open to the teachings of Jesus.

September is often the month when all our Church programs begin anew.   Bible Studies start up again as does Sunday School.    As we begin new programs in our Churches,  what one program or event will you sign up for so that you can further your learning of Jesus Christ?

Prayer:   Great God,  for all those who enter Your Holy Church,  may we live in faith, reverence and knowledge of You.   For the Elders in our Church who are planning for new programs this September to teach us about Christ – uphold them in Your love and grant them (and us) with renewed enthusiasm.  This we ask in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Monday - the Resurrection

Prayer:  Our hope is in the Lord God Almighty.  Our refuge is in the Son.  Our protection is in the Holy Spirit.  Glory to the Three in One.  Amen.

Read:  Luke 24: 36 – 43

As the disciples were talking,  Jesus appeared amongst them and said, “Peace be with you!”  The disciples are startled and frightened.  They think they have seen a ghost.   Yet Jesus tells them to look at his hands and his feet.  It is not a ghost but it is the risen Christ.

Jesus then asks them if they have anything to eat.   The disciples give him a piece of broiled fish.  Jesus takes the fish and eats it in their presence proving to the disciples that he is real and alive.

How often do we see something and don’t believe what our eyes have seen?  Jesus is right in their midst,  but the disciples are scared spitless.   The disciples had listened to Jesus’ teaching about the Resurrection.  The disciples had seen the healing of those who needed healing.  Yet when it came right down to it,  the disciples were having a very difficult time with the whole concept of the Resurrection.

What do we believe about the resurrection today?   The Living Faith  3.4 – 3.5.2  says that “Jesus is the Mediator through whom God has come to us and through whom we come to God.  Christ died for our sins.  The innocent one bore our condemnation on the cross  he suffered and was put to death for the sin of the world.  God’s  reconciling act in Jesus Christ is a mystery which the Scriptures describe as the sacrifice of a lamb, a shepherd’s  life given for his sheep, atonement by a priest.  It is also the innocent dying for the guilty, the ransom of a salve, payment of a debt, and victory over the powers of evil.  Such expressions interpret the love of God revealing the gravity, cost, and sure achievement of our Lord’s work.  Yet that love we cannot fully explain. God’s grace,  received by faith alone, pardons and justifies, redeems and reconciles us.  Jesus suffered, died, and was buried, but God raise him from the dead.  Risen and ascended, he is alive now, the living Lord.   His resurrection means that our faith is not empty, that final victory is assured over all evil powers which destroy and deform life, and that death, the last enemy, is conquered.”  (Living Faith: A statement of Christian Belief.   Wood Lake Books, Ltd.  Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1984.  Section 3.4 – 3.5.2).

His resurrection means that the faith of the disciples was not empty!     His resurrection means that our faith is not empty.  Hallelujah!

Prayer:  Hallelujah Lord God of Hosts.  Heaven and earth are full of Your Glory.  Glory to God in the Highest and peace be to those on earth.  Amen.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Saturday - Falling, falling, falling

Prayer:   Lamb of God,  You take away the sins of the world have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God,  You take away the sins of the world  grant us Your peace.  Amen.
Westminster Confession of Faith -  Shorter Catechism Question #16: “Did all mankind fall in Adam’s  first transgression?”

Answer:  “The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity;  all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation,  sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.” 

Read   Genesis 2: 16 – 17

Romans 5: 12

1 Corinthians  15: 21 – 22

The simple answer to this question is “yes”.      And with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus,  the simple answer to this question is now “yes but”.   Yes but…..  Jesus died to forgive our sins and give us eternal life.   How amazing.  And what a gift of peace!
In this week's news we have read of countries that are in continuous distress with protests and conflicts.  We tsk tsk over the situations but that is where we stop.   As Christians,  we must hold up in prayer these countries and all the peoples who are in conflict.    It will only be through our prayers that peace can reign in this world.  
Prayer:   Great God,  we come before You today asking that peace may reign in countries where now only war and hatred and upheaval is present.  May the light of Your love be with those who are in power that they may make peaceful decisions for their countries and for their peoples.   Send Your Holy Spirit to inspire those who can help make peace within their countries. Help us to uphold those who are in power and those who can bring about positive change into this world to know that they are being kept in our prayers.   For this and all Your mercies,  Amen.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Friday - Communion - the love of God

Prayer:   God of the journey,  to You all our hearts are open, all desires known, and from You no secrets are hidden. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit so that we may perfectly love You and all of Your creation.  May we magnify Your holy name by the words and actions we do each day. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (adapted from the Book of Alternate Service  General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada,  1985.  pg 185)

Luke 24: 28 – 35

As Jesus and the disciples came near the village,  the disciples invite Jesus to stay with them.  The disciples offer hospitality to Jesus.   

It was nearing a meal time so Jesus reclined at table with the two disciples.   This is interesting in that the disciples ask Jesus to break the bread.   Jesus acts as host.  This was very unusual as usually the oldest male would be the host and serve others.   Perhaps they asked Jesus to be the host in deference to his teachings.      Suddenly,  as Jesus gives thanks for the bread,   the two disciples’  eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus.  Jesus then vanishes from their sight.  With great delight,  the two disciples return to Jerusalem and share with the other disciples what had happened on the road and at the breaking of bread.  

Each time we celebrate Communion,  we share in the Emmaus story.   Communion is more than breaking the bread and drinking the grape juice.  Communion is a reminder for all of us of the glorious life and ministry of Jesus.  Communion is a time for us to put aside our worries and concerns and centre our lives on God.   Communion is a time of hospitality where we invite everyone to share in the meal and remembrance of Jesus.  Communion is also a time of asking for forgiveness for those we have wronged.  It is in sharing the bread and grape juice at Communion that we remember again the Good News of Jesus.

Today,  reflect upon Communion.   Is there a celebration of Communion that sticks in your mind as being a glimpse of the glory of heaven?    What does Communion mean to you?

Prayer:  Holy God,  You gave us Your Son so that we could live in Communion with You.  We give You thanks and praise that Your Son broke bread and said, “Do this in Remembrance of Me”.   Lord,  cleanse us from all our sins.   We give You our thanks that Your Son took a cup of wine and said, “Drink this all of you.  This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for all of us and forgives us of our sins”.  Lord,  cleanse us from all our sins.  Help us to always remember the gift of Your Son in our remembrance of Him.  Amen.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Thursday - sharing the Good News on the dusty road

Prayer: Creator, Redeemer,  Sustainer we frequently do not know where we are going.  Our journey in life seems dim and the path dark.  But we know O Lord,  that by giving You our lives,  You lighten up the path we take to You.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.    

Luke 24: 13 – 27  The Emmaus Story

Two of the disciples were heading to a village called Emmaus.  They were reflecting over the events of the past week.   As they are talking,  Jesus comes up to them but they do not recognize Jesus.  Why do you think they do not recognize Jesus?   Is it because they assume Jesus is dead?  Or God shielded their eyes from understanding?  Verse 16 states that their eyes were kept from recognizing him.      Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.   Anyone who has ever been in a traffic accident can tell you this same phrase.... sometimes our brain just can not process what our eyes are viewing.    In the Nicene Creed this kind of “not seeing”  is called “visible and invisible”.    Sometimes we just don’t understand what our eyes are viewing.  

Jesus asks the two disciples what they are discussing and they proceed to tell him about Jesus of Nazareth.    They call Jesus a prophet mighty in deed and word.    They continue on to tell Jesus of the women who went to the tomb but did not find his body but were told by the angels that Jesus was alive.   

Jesus then says how foolish and slow the two disciples are to not believe.   Then beginning with Moses,  Jesus interprets the scriptures as the three of them walk along the road.

This is a beautiful image.  Jesus teaching the disciples as they walk along the road.  Jesus shares in their journey and tells them the story of Good News.   

Who do you have that helps interpret the scriptures for you?  Do you find new insights into the Good News from the Sunday sermons?  Bible Study groups?  Devotionals?     In Edmonton,  the Canadian Bible Society used to have an event where the Bible was read from Genesis to Revelation.  Each participant would read the Bible for one hour.   It was awe inspiring to hear the scripture being read out loud.   This day,  think of ways you can read or hear the Bible read that will inspire you.

Prayer:  In You,  O LORD,  we live and move and have our being.   You are our inspiration and our life.    This day  may we hear Your words both visible and invisible so that we can carry out Your mission to all the world.  Amen.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Wednesday - awe and astonishment

Prayer: Prayer:  Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,  have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God, the well-spring of life, pour into our hearts the living water of Your mercy.  Lamb of God,  the source of all our comfort,  grant us Your peace.   Increase our faith, and grant that we may walk in the brightness of Your presence this day and forever.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Luke 24: 1 – 12

On the first day of the week,  the women came to the tomb to add spices to the body of Jesus.  Spices -  myrrh and aloes were used when wrapping the body in linen.     Yet why would the women have watched Joseph place Jesus’ body in the tomb and not do anything right then?  The answer is found in Luke 23: 56 – the women rested on the Sabbath according to the commandments.

Then on the next day,  the day that was not the Sabbath,  the woman continued their work of adding spices and aloes to Jesus’ body.    Are you wondering why the women seem to be doing work after Joseph completed the burial?   Frequently,  spices were used for preparation,  procession,  and then internment.    Internment would be why the women came to the tomb of Jesus on the first day of the week. 

Yet when they went to the tomb,  they found it empty.  The body of Jesus was gone!  What must the women have thought?     While they were wondering where the heck the body of Jesus had gone,  two men in dazzling bright clothes appear.   The women immediately bow their faces to the ground… they knew they were in the presence of the Holy.    

The two men then explain to the women where the body of Jesus had gone. 

Mary Magdalene, Joanna,  Mary the mother of James, and the other women go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard. 

Peter gets up and runs to the tomb.  Running was not what a dignified male would do.  For Peter to run anywhere meant something had happened that he wanted to see with his own eyes.  After he had seen the empty tomb with his own eyes,  he was amazed and went home.

What,  do you think,  the women and Peter must have thought in seeing the empty tomb?  What,  do you think,  the women thought when they encountered the two men in dazzling clothes?

Prayer:   God of Awe and Astonishment,  it is through You that we have life. Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise  for all you have done for us. We thank you for the splendour of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.  (Book of Alternate Service  The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.  1985,   page 129-130)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Tuesday - the righteous man

Prayer:  Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,  have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God, the well-spring of life, pour into our hearts the living water of Your mercy.  By Your love we know that we too are loved by You. Increase our faith, and grant that we may walk in the brightness of Your presence this day and forever.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Luke 23: 50 – 56  

This portion of scripture begins “there was a good and righteous man named Joseph….”  (Luke 23: 50  NRSV Nelson, 1989).      We learn that Joseph was a member of the council,  or Sanhedrin.   He was also longed for the coming Messiah.   Joseph did not agree with everyone else on the council concerning the death of Jesus.

Joseph went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Pilate agreed.   Then Joseph took the body of Jesus down from the cross, wrapped the body in a linen cloth and laid the body in a tomb.  We read this statement and think,  ‘What a great guy Joseph was to remember his friend Jesus”.   But there is something more that has just happened here.   Joseph specifically asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  For a body to be denied a burial was the highest form of indignity to a body.  Joseph provided Jesus with burial and thus,  honoured his friend. 

Joseph,  being a member of the Sanhedrin,  would have been known by Pilate.  As Joseph took the body of Jesus down from the cross,  Joseph becomes unclean.  Joseph was willing to help out this man Jesus by becoming unclean.   Joseph  also wrapped the body in a  linen cloth and laid the body in a tomb that had never been used before.  From this we learn that Joseph not only put his beliefs on the line by asking for the body of Jesus whom the rest of the members of council had called to be put to death but Joseph also spent money in providing Jesus with a burial in an tomb that had never been used before.    This indeed says a lot about Joseph as a good and righteous man.

Would we help out a friend today as much as Joseph helped Jesus?    Reflect today on the things that Joseph of Arimathea did for his friend Jesus.    Reflect today on the ways Joseph of Arimathea showed mercy and compassion for his friend.

Do we show such mercy and compassion for our family and friends?

Prayer:  Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,  have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God, the well-spring of life, pour into our hearts the living water of Your mercy.  By Your love we know that we too are loved by You. Increase our faith, and grant that we may walk in the brightness of Your presence this day and forever.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Monday - reflecting upon Good Friday

Prayer:  Almighty God,  it is through the agony and death of Your son that we are given renewed life.   May the renewed life of Jesus Christ enter into our hearts and minds and souls so that we can share the love of Christ with others this day.  Amen.

Luke 23: 44 – 49

The death of Christ.   We read this scripture and live this scripture during Holy Week and Easter.  Yet here we are during the summer time  reading this scripture. It seems out of place with summertime— a time of holidays  and warmth.  Yet this is the ideal time to reflect upon this scripture…. it gives us pause to read of the sadness of the death of Christ – yet we know the rest of the story… the story of joy and love.   

Jesus calls out in a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit”.  (Luke 23: 46  NIV  Zondervan, 1983).      Can we say this as well?  Can we let go of our pain and worries and burdens and say, “Father, into Your hands I give You myself”?   Often we give our burdens and worries to God  only to take them back again the next day.   Following the example of Christ,  we must totally let go of our burdens and worries to God. 

As Jesus breathed his last,  there was a centurion who witnessed the last minutes of Christ’s  life.  The centurion praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man”  (Luke 23: 48 NIV Zondervan, 1983).  Why do you think the centurion praised God and said that surely Jesus was a righteous man?      Do you think the centurion heard Jesus speaking with the criminal and telling the criminal that he would be with him in paradise?      Reflect for a moment on how the crucifixion and death of Christ made a big impact upon the centurion. Was his life changed forever? 

The crowd watching the crucifixions beat their breasts and then went away.  Beating their breasts was a sign of mourning.  A sign of grieving.   Did anyone in the crowd have their life changed or did this event trickle out of their memories after a few days?

At a distance were those who knew Jesus and the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee.   They stood and watched what happened.    While Jesus had told them that he would die and then rise again,  they are stunned.  Their teacher and leader has died.  They think that this is the end.  But we know the rest of the story.  The death of Jesus is only the very beginning of the love of God.   

Prayer:  Redeeming God,  may the renewed life of Jesus Christ enter into our hearts this day.  May this renewed life fill our hearts with joy and our minds with love so that we may live in Your radiant glory.  This we ask in Christ’s name.  Amen.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


Prayer:  Almighty God,  You are our refuge and our strength.  It is in You that we have our being.  We come this day with obedient hearts to worship You.  Lamb of God You take away the sins of the world and grant us peace.  We offer up to You our cares and concerns so that we can worship You fully this day in joy and praise.  This new day,  open our eyes to the needs of this world O Lord.  This new day,  open our hearts to the cries of those who suffer in this world O Lord. As we worship You,  we know that our old selves – with our worries and burdens are put away and our new selves are now here.    May we always serve You with gladness all the days of our life.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


Prayer:  Jesus Christ,  Lamb of God,  You take away the sins that we have committed in thought, word, and deed.  Grant us Your peace.  Amen.


Westminster Confession of Faith Shorter Catechism Question #15  “What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?”

Answer:  “The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.”

Genesis 3

Estate.  Today the word estate means an area or land.   If you follow the BBC TV show “Top Gear”,  the word estate means an Estate Car.  A car that has a huge backseat and area for storing/transporting stuff.       But this is not the meaning in the Shorter Catechism.  The word “estate” here means  condition or state of life.   God created Adam and Eve to be whole people who knew God’s  goodness and love.  God told them to  not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for if they ate of it they would surely die.       Through the Genesis 3 reading,  we know that Adam and Eve did eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.   Once they did,  they suddenly were aware of good and evil…. while God had created Adam and Eve to be whole,  God had not created Adam and Eve to know all the negative things that cause us pain.   Through eating the forbidden fruit,  Adam and Eve now knew of fear,  evil,  sin, darkness, and sadness.    

We too know of good and evil but we are redeemed.  God gave us His son as a sacrifice for all our sins.  Through this sacrifice,  we are forgiven.     And of this sacrifice,  we must always give God thanks.

Today,  write down three things that you are thankful for in your life.     Lift these three items up to God in prayer.

Prayer:  Amazing God,  we thank You for forgiving all our sins through the sacrifice of Your Son.   We thank You today for three things in our lives;   _______________  and ________________  and __________.  Hear our petitions Lord.    May we live out this day in Your glory and Your love.   Glory to You Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.