A Devotion for Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NRSV)
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
Promise of Blessing
“Now may the God of peace … by the blood of the eternal covenant.”
When family and friends gather at the cemetery for the burial of their loved one, the spoken benediction in the liturgy I follow includes the words we read today from the book of Hebrews. I wonder if these words of blessing make sense to everyone. Then I am reminded that God’s blessing in our lives is not based on how much we understand or even the specific words we use. Rather, God blesses us because that’s who God is. God delights in providing for us and being present in our lives.
This delight is what led God to establish the covenant with Abraham. This delighting God, who raised Jesus from the dead, makes us wholly complete to trust God and love and serve others. In life and death – no matter what – God is faithful and promises to be our God. This is a remarkable promise and one of the most precious blessings there is.
Prayer: Steadfast God, bless me with your presence, that I may know and share your love. Amen.
Prayer Concern: Funeral Directors
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
1 Peter 5:1-5 (NRSV)
Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you 2 to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it – not for sordid gain but eagerly. 3 Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
When I begin each day one of the decisions I have to make is what I’m going to wear. Even in these days where many who are sheltering in place don’t have to wear their usual “garb” – especially if they are working remotely, or not at all – we still make a choice about what we will wear – even if it’s our pajamas.
Peter talks here about a different kind of “clothing,” about how we clothe our lives – who we are, how we think and act, how we make decisions and prioritize our words, actions and lives. It’s about our spirit and living in a certain way. Will it be about me, and what makes me look good or what is beneficial for me? Will it be about how important I am, or how successful I am in other’s – and my own – eyes? Peter tells us that in the Christian spirit – and Spirit – of things, we kind of “dress down” when it comes to how we act and how we put ourselves out there in front of other people. “Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another,” he writes. Humility, not being humiliated, but acting humbly, in a way that lifts others up before ourselves.
Jesus put it this way in John 13: “Love one another as I have loved you.” And how did Jesus love us? By leaving behind his divine rights and privileges to come among us as one of God’s created beings. By bringing healing and forgiveness and comfort to people. By giving his own life up so that we might live. His was a sacrificial love – His was a humble love. And that is the example we have as we live out our faith, as we live in His name. It’s not about me. It’s about you, about them. Christ came so that we might live in a new way, and died that we might live forever in His love. How might we live more humbly today?
Hymn for Reflection:
“We are Called” (ELW #720)
Come! Live in the light! Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!
We are called to be light for the kingdom,
To live in the freedom of the city of God.
We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly;
We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.
Come! Open your heart! Show your mercy to all those in fear!
We are called to be hope for the hopeless
So hatred and blindness will be no more. Refrain
Sing! Sing a new song! Sing of the great day when all will be one!
God will reign, and we’ll walk with each other
As sisters and brothers united in love. Refrain
If you would like to borrow an ELW or a WOV hymnal (or both) during this time of sheltering in place, you may pick one up in the narthex on the table to the right as you come in. They have been sanitized for you protection.
Please put your name on the check-out list so we can remind you to bring it/them back when we are able to resume worship in the sanctuary. Also, please sanitize them before you bring them back.
“The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.”
– Proverbs 22:4 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter
for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Danielson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery (place in the basket in the breezeway).
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.
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.
Write a Devotion
to post here and share with others, something encouraging or inspirational.
Perhaps it could be a remembrance or experience of God’s faithfulness or love at work in your life.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially Felicity Luthanen who has tested positive.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
What about a Sign Campaign?
Would we want to make simple roadside signs – from the people of Messiah – indicating prayers and support for medical, food, pharmacy, and other essential service workers (especially “on the front lines”)? What do you think? Could be a visible way of “sharing the love of Christ” in this time.