Prayer Journey Week 7: Serve – John 13:1-15

Recently I have thought that when we baptize, it would be better if we poured water over the feet rather than the head. Now, who am I to buck 2,000 years of church history, but I think we loose something with this preference for the head rather than the feet. My thoughts about this are based entirely on upon this action of Jesus in our text for this week. For Jesus, the love of God is all about service towards others, and Jesus demonstrated that love by washing the feet of his disciples. Then he said, “I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” A few moments later he said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

One of the things that I like about the thought of washing the feet in baptism is that it embraces this mandate from Jesus, that we are love as he loved us. It sets the tone right at the very beginning that when we get connected to our Lord through baptism, it is FOR something; it is FOR service; it is FOR being the love of God in the world each and every day. Baptism is more than just a nice ceremony for remembering the love of God. We take on a lifetime career through Baptism, and I think washing the feet makes clear exactly what that lifetime career is: We are to wash one another’s feet.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

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Prayer Journey Week 6: Give – Luke 10:29-37

Before I begin, please note that there is a typo in your devotion booklet. The first Supporting Text, is not from 1st Corinthians. It is from 2nd Corinthians. The chapter and verses are still the same. (Thank you Pete.)

Our text for this week is so rich. There is so much going on. Certainly it is one of the best known of Jesus’ parables, and for good reason. It gets at the heart of what God has called and equipped us to do. We are to be God’s love in the world, and that love looks an awful lot like the care offered by the Good Samaritan.

One of the important details of this story that can easily get lost because of the many years between Jesus telling it and our reading it, is that Jews and Samaritans hated each other. For Jews, there was no such thing as a “good” Samaritan. They were all bad. And Samaritans thought the same of Jews. So imagine the reaction of Jesus’ original Jewish audience when “hero” of the story is a Samaritan.

The Samaritan gives of himself in so many ways. First he takes a risk by going to help this man who had been beaten by robbers. It could have been a trap, putting him at risk of being robbed and beaten himself. Next, he helps the man who is bleeding, putting himself at risk of being contaminated by the blood. Surely this was the main reason that the Levite and the Priest walked by on the other side of the road. Religious law prevented them from coming in contact with the blood of others. After that, the Samaritan gives of his time. Binding up the man’s wounds and taking him to an inn took precious time away from whatever he had been engaged in prior to this encounter. Then, he gives two full day’s wages to the inn keeper. For the median family in Marinette, that earns $45,000 a year, that means he left $346. And then he promised more if it was needed and he promised that he would come back that way to check on things. So he committed more time and more money if needed.

Is there more giving happening in this text?

And what about that Good Samaritan? How do we know that he was happy about giving so much of himself to this stranger who fell among robbers?

I look forward to your comments.

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Prayer Journey Week 5: Encourage – Acts 2:41-47

Is it possible to overemphasize the power of breaking bread together? I don’t think so. Throughout the centuries, eating together has been a central feature of fellowship. The memories and the traditions we have that include eating together are surely the most numerous of all.

In this passage it is not clear as to whether they were celebrating Holy Communion or simply enjoying meals together. Surely it was both. And what an image that is for us; to think of our meals together with the same reverence we give to Holy Communion; to look for the presence of Christ within our times together with the same anticipation that we have with Holy Communion; to embrace the fact that our time together with others is just as holy as our time together in worship. Food, given by the hand of God, plays a central role in both.

Click on the title of this posting in order to share your thoughts at the bottom of that new window. We will keep this conversation thread open all week and beyond, so please come back to view how the conversation is going.

Prayer Journey Week 4: Invite – John 1:43-51

At first I saw two invitations in this passage. Jesus invites Philip and Philip invites Nathanael. Are there more? Does Jesus invite Nathanael? I think so, but it doesn’t look the same as the invite he gives to Philip. The invite he gives to Nathanael is THROUGH Philip, and I think he underscores this invite by saying that he saw Nathaniel under the fig tree before Philip called him. We don’t know what was going on between Nathaniel and his Lord before Philip called him, but obviously something happened. That invite from Philip connected with Nathaniel in some way, and he came to see Jesus. It was Jesus’ invite through Philip.

So, that makes three invites in this passage. Are there more? I think so. I think Jesus uses these words in Holy Scripture to invite us to follow him, just as he used Philip to invite Nathanael. So, there’s four invitations. And maybe Jesus is also using my words to invite you into a deeper awareness of your calling to follow Jesus. So, maybe that’s five? Is there a sixth or even more? Surely. This happens when we live out this invitation in our daily lives, letting the invitation of Jesus flow through our actions and our words.

How many invitations do you see?

Click on the title of this posting in order to share your thoughts at the bottom of that new window. We will keep this conversation thread open all week and beyond, so please come back to view how the conversation is going.