A Devotion for Monday, April 20, 2020
Psalm 114 (NRSV)
1 When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
” Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.”
It is thought that this psalm was used as part of ancient Israel’s Passover celebration. The writer highlighted God’s hand in history in contrast to the mythology of Israel’s neighbors, Mesopotamia and Egypt. In light of God’s wonderful presence with God’s people throughout history, the psalmist reminds readers to have reverence before such an amazing God: “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord.”
How might we give daily reverence to God? By pausing to praise God for a shimmering sunrise? By seeking reasons to be grateful to God? By praying for guidance as to how we can honor God above all each day? I think you would agree that God is worthy indeed!
Prayer: Holy, holy, holy God, help me remember to give you daily praise, honor and reverence. Amen.
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
John 20:19-29 (NRSV)
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
For your personal reflection: As you read this passage, try to put yourself in that locked room, in the company of the disciples, one of them, and reflect on what you hear – and experience. Read the passage aloud once, let it settle in your mind. Then read it silently, to yourself. Again let it settle in your mind, and in your heart. Then read it aloud one more time, and reflect on what it might mean for you, and for living your faith – especially in these days. What peace does our Lord give to us? What peace do we yearn for?
If you like, do a journal to write down your thoughts. If you can share this with a spouse or other home companion (child, parent), you can take turns reading the passage aloud – one reading the first time, the other the second time – then after the second reading aloud, you could share your thoughts with each other.
Hymn for Reflection:
“Blessed Assurance” (ELW #638, WOV #699)
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long:
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight; visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love. Refrain
Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love. Refrain
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
– John 14:27 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter for our elderly friends at Senior Star (there’s a bin in the breezeway where you can place them) – or for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Danielson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery.
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork – for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Sign up to ring the church bells to send the message to our community that God is with us in the midst of this time, and that we at Messiah are praying for those who are affected, and for an end to the pandemic.
Do you Quilt? How about making Masks out of quilting fabric? It’s supposed to be one of the best fabrics to use, and there are patterns online to make them.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!