THIS IS THE FIRST SERIES FROM MAY 27-JUNE 17
EXODUS 19:1-6; 20:1-17
19 In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt — on the very day they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and caped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
20 And God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of any thing in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventhday. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. Youshall not vovet your neighbor’s wife, or his mainservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Beginning this Sunday, May 27th, we will take a break from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) for our scripture readings. The RCL united congregations across denominations in scripture readings and attempted to organize the readings in such a way that more of the Bible was read in a three year period. In addition, the RCL assigned an Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel reading each Sunday organized around the church season. This Lectionary has served us well for many years. In recent years, professors at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, have created a new lectionary: the Narrative Lectionary. This was in response to the needs of our changing times and the way the RCL breaks up non-Gospel readings. The Narrative Lectionary focuses on one book of the Bible and allows us to delve more deeply into the stories, especially those in the Old Testament. Because the scripture readings build upon each other as each week continues to tell the story of God’s faithfulness and great love, I encourage you to take the time to read the upcoming scripture readings each week published in this article and weekly bulletins. During the summer, the Narrative Lectionary invites us to focus on the catechism, Old Testament, New Testament.
THEY WILL BE POSTED EACH AS A SERIES……THE SERIES ARE….
1.) 10 COMMANDMENTS
2.) 1 JOHN
I WILL ALSO FOR THOSE THAT ENJOY THE REGULAR READINGS POST THE WEEKLY SUNDAY READINGS.
“Lutherans pray the rosary? I thought only Catholics did.” That was a comment made to me several years ago during a meeting. How we got on the subject I have no idea but it began a conversation and a promise to introduce prayer beads to St. Timothy.
The use of rocks, stones, and knotted ropes to aid in prayer predates Christ. Traditions like Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism were using aids in their prayers and chants long before Jesus. The earliest monastics who ventured out into the desert used rocks to guide their prayers. Later, monks used prayer beads to guide them as they daily prayed all 150 psalms as they sought to pray without ceasing. The rosary was then created for the mostly illiterate laity to guide them in their daily prayers.
During the Reformation, many traditions and spiritual practices were stripped away. Reformers believed that Jesus desired a personal relationship with us and anything that came between us and a direct relationship with Jesus (no matter how wonderful a practice) was removed. Many of the Reformers forbade followers to pray their rosary but Martin Luther did not. He removed supplications to Mary, mother of Jesus, but allowed people to use the ancient spiritual practice. Still, the use of prayer beads fell away for Lutherans.
In the 1980’s, an Episcopalian congregation was studying contemplative prayer. During the course of this study they grew intrigued with prayer beads and decided to create their own set of prayer beads with a different number and organization than the Catholic rosary. They also decided that there should not be one way to pray using prayer beads and that they could simply be a tool to aid one in praying.
We are encouraged to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (Thessalonians 5:16-18). Beads have served as an aid in expressing joy, praying, and giving thanks to God. Especially for those who find it difficult to sit still and focus, prayer beads offer a physical grounding to help them focus on their prayers. For others, feeling their prayer beads in their pockets have helped them to pray throughout the day. Also, the structure of the prayer beads can be helpful in guiding our prayers so that we give thanks and rejoice in the blessings of God instead of focusing all our attention on our concerns and wants.
This is just a quick history of the use of prayer beads and their potential benefit in one’s spiritual life. If you are curious to know more or would like to try praying with prayer beads, please come talk with me.
By Pastor Jennifer Biel
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God wer not with him.”
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who has came from heaven — the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Manmust be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength th his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touchd my mouth and said, “See this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.
“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
“I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.
“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin because men do not believe in me; in regards to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
John 15:26-27; 16:4-15