Daily Devotions

Center your thoughts on God and focus on a scripture passage and a prayer each day

God is with us always and everywhere

  • April 17, 2021

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


    The Good News: The Greek word translated “handiwork” is poiema – from which we get the word “poetry.” You are God’s poem – you are filled with meaning; you are carefully crafted; you are beautiful.


    Prayer: Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins (British Jesuit priest; 1844-1889; public domain)

    Glory be to God for dappled things -

    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim:

    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;

    Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow, and plough;

    And àll tràdes, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;

    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

    Praise him. 

  • April 16, 2021

    1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


    The Good News: Love makes the world go ‘round. The relationships we receive and cultivate through life provide meaning and blessing. God loves you. Let us love one another.


    Prayer: How does it happen, Lord? How does it happen that a child is born and life instantly expands and love arrives where there wasn’t love before. Thank you for not making love a scarce commodity or something that has finite limits. What a paradox that the more love we give away the more that we yet have! Yet of course, you set the example – as your child was born and through the incarnation the entire world was forever changed. Through your love, we receive love. May we follow your lead and offer loving-kindness to family and friends, and also to strangers. As you rule the world with truth and grace, may we reflect the wonders of your love, O God! Amen. 

  • April 15, 2021

    Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.


    The Good News: The pandemic is a scourge that seeks to undo us at every turn. Yet there is safety, blessing – and refuge in God. Even when the going gets tough, God is tougher and stronger.


    Prayer: Sustaining Spirit – in these days of uncertainty we come with our urgent pleas. We pray for those who are sick and suffering – how our hearts ache for those who are facing diagnoses that require consuming treatment and care. We pray for those with cancer… Alzheimer’s and dementia… COVID-19 and its variants… post-traumatic stress syndrome… diabetes… lupus, m.s., and autoimmune disorders… fibromyalgia… We pray for those who have suffered a stroke… We pray for those who need dialysis… We pray for those awaiting an organ transplant… We pray for those with mental illness… We pray for those who live with conditions that aren’t diagnosed, but which cause a lessened quality of life. Give strength when we are weak, provide hope when we are discouraged, offer blessings when our souls are feeling depleted. And when our time on earth comes to a close, bring the ultimate healing of being made whole in heaven – for we pray in the powerful name of our Risen Savior, Amen.

  • April 14, 2021

    Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.


    The Good News: When we enter the Kingdom of God and abide in the very presence of the Almighty, we won’t just be observers, but full participants of the glory – gazing upon beauty, brimming with joy, resting in peace.


    Prayer: Heavenly Father, we approach your throne of grace with gratitude for your filling our world with beauty. But even the trees budding, the grass greening, the flowers blooming are but a preview of coming attractions! When your Realm comes into its fullness, what joy will there be. No more debating and division, no more lonely nights and fretful days, no more pandemic or problems. All made right, everyone included. Thank you! Until the dawning of forever, may we continue to be bearers of goodness and grace, providing for others a glimpse of what is yet to be. Help us as we practice kindness. Heal our world and guide its leaders. Thank you, Lord Jesus, – Amen! 

  • April 13, 2021

    Romans 8:31-32 “So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?”


    The Good News: Questions abound. The answers aren’t always clear. Yet the Good News of Jesus strengthens and sustains us. Bring your questions! – God is always ready to listen and provide.


    Prayer: O God of resurrection – we bring our praise for your presence and blessing. So many are in need of help – so along with our gratitude, we pray, “help!” Help those who are laboring so that we may be fed: farmers, truckers, grocery store clerks. Help those who are laboring so that we may be healthy: doctors and dietitians, therapists and trainers, counselors and coaches. Help those who are laboring so that we may be free: governmental leaders, those in our military, first responders. Help those who are laboring so that we may get out and about: car mechanics, gas station attendants, airline personnel. Help those who are laboring so that learning may happen: educators and librarians, parents and grandparents. Help those who are laboring so that we may grow in faith: ministers and musicians, missionaries and church school teachers and choir directors. For these and more, hear our prayer: Amen. 

  • April 12, 2021

    John 16:33 “I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”


    The Good News: We continue to deal with distress. The 24-hour news cycle continually feeds us information that disturbs and disrupts. That’s the news of this world. The Good News of Jesus is what lasts – and that news is of peace and victory.

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    Prayer: One year ago it was Easter Sunday. We were trying to figure out how to worship in new ways. The time of lockdown meant no in-person celebrations. We were learning what/how to steam worship online. New technology! Yet, with the perspective of time, a sliver of something positive from the pandemic is that we were forced to adapt in ways we would never have had to before. Now people from Colorado can zoom in for Bible studies. Our worshiping community is broad and wide. We can be connected in celebration and praise across the miles. People who would never have entered a church building are hearing the Good News because it is available in fresh ways. Thank you God for these opportunities. May more and more people come to embrace the life-bringing faith of your Son, our Lord. Come Holy Spirit to refresh the world with your presence! Amen.

  • April 10, 2021

    Psalm 31:24 “All you who wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage.”


    The Good News: We wait… and wait… and wait… for many things. We certainly wait for this pandemic to end. As we wait, know, remember and believe that we do not wait alone. God is with us. Courage!


    Prayer: O Eternal God, you provide so much for us to enjoy, to use, to thrive. Yet in these days we are reminded how vulnerable we are. Much of what we expected to always go on and on and on has been proved to be so fragile. Yet the grass is re-greening and the flowers blooming. Beauty is yet possible. So attune us to caring for your creation. Help us to be mindful of ways to be better at being good stewards of your earth. Help us to become instruments of a new creation, founded on the covenant of your love. So we pray for Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures. Amen. 

  • April 9, 2021

    1 John 4:8-9 “The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him.”


    The Good News: The scripture that many learn and memorize first is that “God is love.” It is foundational. It encapsulates so much – love is love is love is love. Who doesn’t want to be loved? God’s love lasts. God loves you.


    Prayer: Dear Lord – we lift up prayers for others and for ourselves. We pray for the young children of the world; how will this pandemic affect them long-term? Childhood is such an important time for growth – not just physically but also socially. So we pray for reliance and positivity. May there be no ill long-term effects from isolation and limited play. Wearing masks prevents us from seeing smiles – and how we miss those, so while grateful for all that ensures health, may the countenance of love be evident. So bring healing, restore health, help us to hang on to hope for people of all ages. Smile on us, O Loving Lord. Amen!

  • April 8, 2021

    Romans 5:4-5 “Endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”


    The Good News: This has been thirteen months of endurance. This is no sprint, but a marathon. So we’ve been schooled in “hope.” May this give us a deeper reliance on the Holy Spirit.


    Prayer: O God of Easter-power and resurrection-presence, we sing/pray/believe that “you sent your Son, they called him Jesus; he came to love, heal and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon; an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. Because he lives I can face tomorrow; because he lives all fear is gone; because I know he hold the future and life is worth the living just because he lives! May your Holy Spirit bring a tangible reminder that we are forever-cherished. May we likewise be channels of hope for others. To you, O God, be all glory! Alleluia. Amen. 

  • April 7, 2021

    Philippians 4:13 “I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.”


    The Good News: “Jesus loves me, this I know – for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong – we are weak but he is strong!”


    Prayer: You are the only source of salvation and the path of peace. We await the time when we can again sing full-throated doxologies of praise together – but until then, we pray for our friends, our families, our church family, ourselves. We pause to ask you to, in particular, support those who are in 12-step programs or dealing with addiction. Without in-person meetings to provide a safe place to keep sobriety, we pray with them: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

  • April 6, 2021

    John 3:16-17 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.


    The Good News: We have missed the mark; we have sinned; we have fallen short of God’s design for how we should live. BUT! – we are not condemned! We are saved! Alleluia!


    Prayer: O Sovereign God of Easter-power, we sing/pray/believe that “you sent your Son, they called him Jesus; he came to love, heal and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon; an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. Because he lives I can face tomorrow; because he lives all fear is gone; because I know he hold the future and life is worth the living just because he lives!” To you, O God, be all glory! Alleluia. Amen.

  • april 5, 2021

    John 16:22 Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.


    The Good News: Jesus lives! Death is defeated! Victory is ours. No one – or nothing – and ever again fully nor finally take away our joy.


    Prayer: God of victory and life – Alleluia! Even in these troubled times, we lift up our praise. For though we live with so much uncertainty, what we claim as certain is your power and presence. Thank you for not abandoning us. Bolster us so that we can yet be a blessing. Strengthen our resolve and steady our faith. We lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred name. May this not be just another Monday – but rather the Monday of a new era, when more and more people accept the gift of life and love that you offer – and in return, commit to your holy purposes. Thank you Jesus for your love. Blanket our world with your healing. In Christ’s prevailing presence, Amen!

  • April 3, 2021

    John 19:28-30 Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


    The Good News: Jesus didn’t give up and say “it is finished” with a cry of defeat, rather his last earthly words were ones of victory that all that he was sent to do was accomplished. Humbly and obediently, Jesus reconciled us back to God, and in so doing provides us eternal life.


    Prayer: O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, receive our prayer, and grant us thy peace. We yearn for peace – for peace for the world, for peace for our bodies. Peace for our souls. As we remember Jesus in the tomb, we pause acknowledging the pain and problems, the sin and suffering, the disease and death that were vanquished by God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  • April 2, 2021

    John 18:36 Jesus (speaking to Pilate) said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”


    The Good News: Driven by jealousy, hatred and greed, some people wanted to silence Jesus once and for all. Jesus, however, was not shaken in the face of this injustice; his faith and trust in God were unmoved. God’s ways are not our ways and neither is God’s Kingdom marked by geography or acreage. God’s Realm is marked by justice and joy.


    Prayer: On this Good Friday, we come beneath the cross of Jesus to pray – humbly, tearfully, gratefully.

    We pray for all who have not received or accepted the good news of salvation. We pray for those who have lost their faith; for those hardened by sin or indifference; for the contemptuous and the scornful; for those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples and for those, who in the name of Christ, have persecuted others. O God, open all hearts to your truth and lead all people to faith and obedience. We pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of your son Jesus Christ, and with all those whose faith is known to you alone, one day may we be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of heaven and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection. We humbly pray this in the name of your blessed son, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • April 1, 2021

    John 17:20-21 Jesus says, “My prayer is not for them (the disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”


    The Good News: This was the last prayer that Jesus would share with his disciples before his arrest, and he wasn’t fooling when he seeks unity for us and with us. All people are of value and worth.


    Prayer: As we pause in prayer on this day of the Last Supper, we remember, O Lord, that we are connected in a real way to you, and then through you, to one another -- even to those past and yet to come. It is truly the “communion of the saints.” So, we pray for one another. We think of those who brought us to faith, our church schoolteachers, our parents and grandparents, youth group leaders. We think of those with whom we’ve worshiped, those who have served with us on church committees and choirs, joined us on mission trips, those we’ve missed at coffee hour! We also ask that you would make our unity more a reality – we are all your children: police officers, pediatricians and pastors; black, white, Asian; LGBTQ; those who claim the name “Christian” and those who don’t. Ease our anxiety and heal our communities, O God. Help! Amen.

  • March 31, 2021

    John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


    The Good News: The world is full of trials and tribulations – terrorism and tumors. These and more seek to upend us. And for a season, they do – but take heart. Jesus overcomes all of these. Even death is defeated. Peace is our promised destiny.


    Prayer: O God of sacrifice and service and salvation -- we pray for all nations and peoples of the world that you so love -- and for those in authority among them. We pray for our country -- our president, members of Congress and the Supreme Court; we pray for those who are members of our armed services. We pray for their safety and protection, but we pray that all may be given your wisdom and counsel, O Mighty God, that by your help all people may seek justice and truth and so to live in peace and good will. And Compassionate Physician, we pause to pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind. We lift before you those who are hungry, the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed. We pray for the sick, the wounded, the disabled; we pray for those who are lonely, fearful, or distressed. We pray for those who face temptation, doubt, and despair. We pray for the sorrowful and the bereaved that you, O God, in your mercy will hear our cry and by your Holy Spirit, bring consolation, comfort and relief. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

  • March 30, 2021

    John 14:1-3 Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”


    The Good News: Even though Jesus knows that he—and not the disciples—will soon face the suffering of the cross, he is the one comforting his disciples (and us), saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”


    Prayer: Promise keeping God, we wonder about so many things. We ask, “Are we safe post-vaccine?” “Will the vaccine be effective against any variant strains?” “What about the future – for me? for the church? For our country? For the world?” How many questions must your Son have also had as the day of his crucifixion drew nearer. Thus, we are grateful that we do not go through this alone, but that you accompany us and know all our emotions. We pray for those who staff our hospitals and pharmacies, researchers and first responders. Protect them, Lord! Save us! Amen.

  • March 29, 2021

    John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


    The Good News: After sharing the Last Supper, Jesus used the words, “as I have loved you.” He reminds us that we have first received love – and with this love we ought to love all others.


    Prayer: Praise, glory, laud, honor to you, O God! In and through this Holy Week we remember how you packed so much into the last week of your earthly life. Prayerfully we now pause to reflect on the new commandment you gave. Love one another. We aren’t merely to lecture one another, to have high expectations of one another, but to love. Help us to show up when others are weary. Help us to listen when others are in need. Help us to be conduits of your lavish love. Thus, we lift up loving prayers for others. We pray for those in positions of responsibility and authority. We pray for those who are vulnerable and marginalized. We pray for those in our church and community. We pray for loved ones far and near. We pray for those whose self-esteem has been bruised. We pray that the Commonwealth of God would extend and expand and that, as far as it depends upon us, the circle of welcome would be wide. Thank you for embodying God’s love for us, Lord Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen. 

  • March 27, 2021

    Psalm 118:22-26 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.


    The Good News: What is translated as “Lord, save us!” in verse 25 is, in Hebrew, “Hosanna.” As we are about to enter Holy Week, we know that Jesus was rejected by this world, but becomes the architect of our salvation. We are saved! Let us rejoice and be glad!


    Prayer: Sometimes O Lord, we expect you to act like we want – just like the Palm Sunday crowd did so long ago. They wanted someone to liberate them from Rome, but instead they got so much more. So, save us from our limited thinking and narrow perspectives. We pray an expansive prayer – for peace not just for us, but for all nations. We pray for healing for the whole world. We ask that you would so renovate Creation that even our boldest hopes would seem small in comparison. So bring a holy inversion that there would be no first or last, no abundance vs. scarcity, no “haves” and “have nots” but rather that all would be enveloped in the glory of your Kingdom – on earth as it is in heaven. Praying for blessings for all – in the name of Jesus. Amen.

  • march 26, 2021


    John 11: 33-35 When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him (meaning Lazarus)?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.


    The Good News: Jesus knew the reality of resurrection and eternal life. Yet that didn’t diminish his grief at the death of his friend. We too weep at all that seeks to diminish and demean: disease, depression, dissension, dementia, and death. Jesus is our companion both in sorrow and in joy.


    Prayer: Gracious God – we thank you for all in this life that speaks of goodness. There are people who bless us with their support, nurture, and love. Thank you! Thank you for family members who sacrificed for us and provided for us and poured out unconditional love for us. Thank you for friends that listened to us and laughed with us. Even in our thanks we recognize that life is fragile and that those whom we have loved are taken from us far sooner than we would ever want. Heart ache is real. Tears flow. We wonder if we’ll ever be okay again this side of heaven. In these grief-times console us O God. Thank you for sending a Savior who cries alongside us and who is well acquainted with grief. With sacred memories we pause in prayer. Help us to continue a legacy of love until we all are gathered together in a reunion of unending joy. All praise to you O God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen.

  • March 25, 2021

    John 11:25-26 Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”


    The Good News: This proclamation of Jesus, as he was talking about Lazarus, is bold and true. It got Jesus into trouble – setting into motion the trouble with the religious authorities who believed this to be heresy. The crucifixion would soon follow. But resurrection has the last word!


    Prayer: O God of hope, your question to Martha is also posed to us. So, help us. We want to believe – and at many levels we do. But there are those nagging doubts. So when we feel that religion is just more rules or simply a morality code – help us to know, remember and believe that you sent your Son not to establish a religion, but to establish a relationship of love, grace and reconciliation. So help us when we are questioning to remember that you are okay with all aspects of our life. Give us faith for the journey, peace for the dark nights of the soul, mercy for when we sin, hope for the times when the road is too long, joy for the reality of heaven, and for the abundance of love that we can both give and receive without being depleted. Remembering those who have died and who we will see again, we bring our prayers of gratitude. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen. 

  • March 24, 2021

    Daily Devotional: March 24, 2021

    1 Corinthians 1:8–10 "He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."


    The Good News: Take heart. God’s love made manifest to us through his son, Jesus Christ, will never falter.


    This was the devotional prayer from March 24, 2020. Keep praying! We’re more than a year into this pandemic, but God is at work.

    Prayer: Powerful God – we are trying to have courage and feel strengthened, but there are just so many unknowns. But we do know, remember, and claim the promise that you are present, powerful, and perfect. So, we pray --- we pray for peace for our bodies, our minds, our souls. We pray for the healing of the nations. Especially be with those who are alone and those who are now unemployed. Help! In the name of the one who is the Keeper of Promises and the Composer of Grace, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  • March 23, 2021

    Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”


    The Good News: In this season of Lent many people “give up” something – eating meat, alcohol, chocolate, etc. The goal is to sacrifice as Jesus did. To be mindful of not our wants but the needs of others. God asks us to focus outward!


    Prayer: It is hard to comprehend the depths of love and obedience of your Son, O God. Thank you Jesus for not swerving from the path to the cross. You didn’t opt out. You didn’t change your mind. You didn’t complain. But it couldn’t have been easy. So, in humility we just say, “thank you.” Thank you for loving us and for giving yourself for us. Help us to be attuned to how we can model your love for others. So many are sad, suffering, and silenced. Help us be people of compassion. Let your light shine through us so that others might see you living in what we do and say. Grant us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Bring peace to your world. For the sake of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

  • March 22, 2021

    Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”


    The Good News: We do worry! Worry is like being in a rocking chair – we expend a lot of energy and get nowhere! Rest in the presence and power of your Heavenly Father – who loves you unceasingly.


    Prayer: We pause now to remember that we belong – in life and in death – we belong to you, O loving and faithful God. There are seasons of winter --- but also of spring. Times of challenge and times of ease. Times of joy and times of sorrow. To everything there is a season – and we know that you are with them in them all. Still we get anxious when we wonder about the future. So much is yet uncertain – so please, O God, place a spirit of calm into our troubled souls. Help us to change the things we can, to release to you the things we can’t, and to rest in the knowledge that you love us unceasingly, everlastingly, unconditionally. Thank you for the gift of your son, our Lord and Savior Jesus – through whom all ultimately will be well. Amen.

  • March 20, 2021

    Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”


    The Good News: The world’s ways are often driven by ego. Christ’s ways are of self-sacrifice, laying down life, and loving even when it’s hard. Our God-set agenda? Not conformation, but transformation. God blesses you!


    Prayer: Lord of love and life – we pray with gratitude for your blessings. Some days those blessings are really evident, and we give thanks. Some days those blessings are more hidden or more elusive, yet we still give thanks. Open us to your will that we might be refreshed by your Holy Spirit. Help us this day to be attentive to the needs of others. Thus it is that we lift up prayers for those who regularly go the extra mile – that person in our lives who just is an amazing source of encouragement. We pray blessings for people who have picked a vocation or taken a job within their vocation that could have paid more, but felt called to serve. For care-providers, for meal-preparers, for child-minders, for floor-cleaners, faith-sharers, for vaccine-administers, for joy-spreaders: thank you, O Lord! Amen.

  • March 19, 2021

    Psalm 121:7-8 “The Lord will keep you from all harm — He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”


    The Good News: We come and go. And come and go. And come and go. Our lives are filled with responsibilities and errands. Whether major travels or short-treks, God is watching, guiding, and keeping us close.


    Prayer: O Lord – for many people the commute to work has shifted. The plans for vacations were altered. The miles put on our cars was significantly lessened. Yet we still come and go – just in different ways. Our ultimate destination is still the same. We want to journey with Jesus, even taking up our cross, so that we would end up with joy, peace, salvation, and eternal life. Thank you, God, for your amazing grace. So be with us (we know you are!) – as we venture out. Keep us safe. Bless us so that we can be a blessing to all fellow travelers along the way. Be our refuge. Be our home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way from the burning of the noontide heat, and any burdens of this day. Amen. 

  • March 18, 2021

    1 John 4:8–9 "Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him."


    The Good News: Jesus has redeemed the world and is our only comfort in life and in death. Accept this gift of grace and rest with confidence in the arms of our merciful God.


    Prayer: Ever gracious God, how wondrous and wonderful to know that we are not alone, but that you are with us… now and always. During this season of Lent we call to mind how your Son was obedient even unto death, and because of his obedience, we have life that is both abundant and eternal. All praise to you for bringing us back to you, though we have strayed and sinned. Mindful of all the brokenness in our world, may we be agents of renewal and reconciliation. When harsh words are spoken, may we respond with kindness. When others berate and bully, may we not retaliate, but take a higher road. It’s not easy, O Lord, to turn the other cheek – so strengthen us to love as you would have us love. We pray for our mission partners and organizations that combat the forces that destroy and demean: hunger, homelessness, prejudice, this pandemic, addiction, lack of opportunity… We pray for those whose esteem has been shattered and whose dignity has been diminished. Lift us up and let us love courageously after the example of our Savior Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen. 

  • March 17, 2021

    John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””


    The Good News: Though the chaos and darkness are present, Chris is also present and the light dispels all darkness. Evil is defeated. Peace is God’s gift. Receive it and live!


    A Gaelic Blessing:

    Deep peace of the running wave to you;

    Deep peace of the flowing air to you;

    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you;

    Deep peace of the shining stars to you;

    Deep peace of the gentle night to you.

    Moon and stars pour their healing light on you;

    Deep peace of Christ, of Christ, of Christ, the light of the world to you.

    Deep peace of Christ to you. 

  • March 16, 2021

    1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be strong. Everything should be done in love.”


    The Good News: So many of the problems in our world are because people are angling for more power, more money. God’s shows a better way – saying there is enough to go around. That doesn’t mean to be a doormat – no! Be brave. Be strong. But base everything you do in love.


    Prayer: Precious Savior, sometimes we hold back from doing all we could and should to make this a better world. We confess that failing. Yet we want to do better. To be better. So, help us to accept that you cherish us, claim us, call us, and commission us – just as we are – for the up building of your Kingdom. So thank you for making each of us exactly how you did. Sure – there are things we might change, yet in your wisdom, you’ve given aptitudes and abilities to match what is needed in this world. So now, we pray for the opportunity to make a difference. Changing the focus from “we” to “I” – Lord I pray that, despite all that is going on in the world, may I, in my small sphere of influence, testify to your amazing grace and unconditional love, O God. May my words be clear in compassion and may my actions glorify your Name. So strengthen me, support me, sustain me. In response to your forgiveness, may I forgive. In response to your loving me, may I seek to love others generously. May thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen. 

  • March 15, 2021

    Proverbs 3:3-6 “Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and approval in the eyes of God and humanity. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.”


    The Good News: We tend to make ourselves the center of the universe. God says that though we are chosen and cherished, it’s not all about us. We are to honor God and love our neighbor. Follow the pathways of God. Let him lead! It’s the better way.


    Prayer: We want to trust you O God. That’s our prayer. Help us trust you. Day by day to trust you more and more. We pray that because it’s been a year of day-by-day. It’s been a whole year since we began to wonder, “What will happen? Are we really not supposed to gather for worship? How bad will this get?” So as we masked-up, and got used to washing our hands more often, and refrained from touching and traveling, we wondered. And we still wonder. The question of “how long” still lingers. We continue to be in awe of and lift up our deepest thanksgiving for our front-line medical workers. First responders – yes, thank you! We are grateful for those who helped pivot us into a world of zoom and on-line learning and contactless shopping. We continue to pray for those who have taken a hard hit – the suddenly unemployed, the small-business owners, those in the restaurant and hospitality business, teachers and students… So as we see signs of health and healing and hope, grant us resiliency. Help us to help others in this time of recovery, leaving no one behind. And so, O Lord, humbly but expectantly, bless all people – but in particular we lift up our friends and family. Bless our church so that we may be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

  • March 13, 2021

    Lamentations 3:22-23 “Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”


    The Good News: God gives strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. There are times when we feel that God has abandoned us; there is so much sadness and sickness in our world. Yet we aren’t privy to the bigger picture in which God is actively and personally making all things right. So we wait and wonder and watch and weep. In them all, God is compassionate and cradles you in his arms.


    Prayer: Glory, praise, honor and thanksgiving to you, O living God. We are grateful for the way that spring follows winter and day comes after every night. Thank you for babies born, birthdays and baptisms, and for reasons – great and small – for rejoicing. We look forward to the new ways you will bring grace and beauty and healing and help to our world. Not wanting to rush things though – we pause in thanksgiving for this day, a gift from you to us. Help us to breathe in the joy you intend for us. Help us to share your Holy Spirit’s encouragement with others. We are mindful though that not everyone is having a happy day – there are those who are hungry and homeless. Provide opportunities for them to having their needs met. Thus, provide opportunities for us to be partners in advocacy, provision and blessing. Sustain the aging; assist those who are ill; uphold those who are grieving. Help us Good Shepherd – for we ask you to lead us in love, liberate us from sin, and lavish us with your grace. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

  • March 12, 2021

    Psalm 9:9 “The Lord is a safe place for the oppressed — a safe place in difficult times.”


    The Good News: Despite the advances in vaccinations, these are yet difficult times. So little is certain. Yet what is certain is that the Lord is a safe place, therefore, fear not! Let God be your shelter.


    Prayer: Shelter me, O God; hide me in the shadow of your wings. You alone are my hope. This has been a difficult winter – the snow has diminished opportunities to gather outside with friends and family; the dark and cold have added to the depression and isolation; we are weary of this marathon of dealing with covid-19. And yet…! You provide soothing safety, steady strength, and all-sufficient salvation. Thank you for the sunshine of spring. Thank you for the gift of your Son! Thank you for signs of hope and blessings all around. Thank you for so many who share unselfishly in their vocations, those who share as neighbors, those who share through small acts of compassion. We are grateful for those who brighten our world. May we also live and love like Jesus. Help us to transform this from “just another Friday” to a day in which we cultivate kindness and walk humbly with you O God. Amen. 

  • March 11, 2021

    Romans 8:31 “So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”


    The Good News: So many things purport to be against us – and indeed the roadblocks are many. Debt. Disease. Depression. Doubt. God deals decisively with these are more. The roadblocks are neither eternal nor ultimate. God is for us. God is for life. God is for love. God is for peace. God is for ever!


    Prayer: Almighty and eternal God – thank you for giving us the gift of your Son. In this world we have many challenges, but with your Son, we have salvation. Eternal life! Meaning! Purpose! Love! And how we need those – because without your abiding hope, this would have been a lost year. We still don’t see what good you will bring from it, but we know that you are for us, and for that we are grateful. For us, it’s been now a full year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 virus a pandemic. A year of world-wide restrictions, world-wide loss, world-wide death. As we have been united in disease, may you unite us in faith. Help all people to lay down weapons, to listen to others more intently and forgive more often. Heal our world. We pray that you would turn the hearts of people to the love of your Son, our Lord, the one who went to the cross so that all would have life. Amen.

  • March 10, 2021

    Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever!”


    The Good News: In these days when we aren’t singing indoors due to COVID-concerns about the spreading of aerosol germs, we yet have this song of praise. Reflect on the words: thanks, good, faithful, love, forever! Love lasts. No virus will halt the eternal embrace of our God!


    Prayer: Gracious and giving God -- having been sought out and saved, we pray for others -- especially for those who suffer and those in need. We pray for children—in these days of pandemic, we pray that they would suffer no adverse effects, but would continue in the joys of finding friendship, of learning and growing, of playing and thriving. We pray for all of those who live alone, the homebound and the aged. Isolation is never easy, but in these times of restrictions, we lift up those who are dis-connected. Bring them a tangible sense of your presence and our concern. We pray for those who are absent from us—those who live far away, or are stationed in far places: our military, our missionaries; and for those who may live close but are far away because we aren’t able to visit as we’d like – especially those in hospitals and nursing homes. So bring a time of help and healing, we humbly pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • March 9, 2021

    Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good: His love endures forever."


    The Good News: In our world not much lasts. We trade in old models for the new and improved. Instead of repairing things when they break, we just replace. We’re used to a disposable culture. But one thing lasts – endures – forever. God’s love is dependable. And God loves you. Always.


    Prayer: Enduring and Loving God – praise be to you! We honor you and praise you for creating this world and for giving us others with whom we can laugh, and cry, and work, and create memories. Sunrises and seascapes; green pastures and still waters; the first hint of a daffodil emerging; a robin!? Thank you! We also pray for those who labor selflessly for our well-being… thank you for first responders (protect them), essential workers (encourage them), those who clean our homes and cook our meals (watch over them), employees and the many volunteers in mission agencies and soup kitchens and food pantries and group homes (bless them.) We lift up the homebound and frail elderly that they would know of your care and our concern. We pray for those expecting a child, may they greet the miracle of birth with a safe delivery and a joyous announcement. We pray for the lonely and those who are the least among us: grant your presence and your peace. In the name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

  • March 8, 2021

    Philippians 4:13 “I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.”


    The Good News: This pandemic can weaken our resolve. Our physical strength diminishes over time. Emotional reserves become depleted. Receive the gift of God who restores, reverses and reinstates. Weakness is replaced with the strength of God!


    Prayer: Lord of our lives, are we really seeing the light at the end of this year-long tunnel? Thank you for hearing our prayers and bringing health and healing to our world. As the vaccine-roll out is reaching more and more people, we are cautiously encouraged that the time will come when hugs and handshakes will once again be offered and received. So continue to work in ways that allow for contacts and connections. We look forward to the possibility of coffee hours and choir rehearsals. Yet as we together work towards that, may we not take any of this precious life for granted. Help us to forgive more freely, to pray more regularly, to laugh more wholeheartedly, to offer to help more frequently. We pray for those facing surgery that your Spirit would guide the doctors and all who attend the procedures. We pray for those who are grieving that they would find comfort in memories that are forever sacred. And we pray for ourselves – for our place in your story, O God – may we be diligent in our praise and faithful in our witness to your grace and glory. Help us. Sustain us. Bless us that we would be a blessing to others, we humbly pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • March 6, 2021

    Hebrews 12:1 “So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up.”


    The Good News: Can you call to mind the faces in the heavenly crowd who are cheering you on? They are there to encourage you. Let’s give them more to cheer about. Let’s ditch the sin and live with freedom and faith!


    Prayer: You O God, in your wisdom and generosity planned that we would not be alone, but rather, in a truly amazing mystery, be accompanied by those past, present and even yet to come. Thank you! Thank you for those who have loved us and cradled us during our earliest years. Thank you for our schools (and for our church’s Early Learning Center!) and our teachers. Thank you for coaches and choir directors, for neighbors and godparents, for youth group leaders and scout leaders. Thank you for colleagues and co-workers. Thank you for missionaries. And thank you for those who are now part of the church triumphant – the saints who have blessed us on our way and now have peace in heaven with you, O Savior. Hear us as we remember them name by name… We feel our loss, but give thanks that there will be a glad reunion in that time when you will wipe away all tears, when mourning shall be turned to joy, and when death is defeated once-and-for-all-time. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • March 5, 2021

    Romans 5:3-5 “The Good News: We know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”


    The Good News: God doesn’t just give a bit of love, now and then, here and there. It’s poured into your life. And God knows we need it because we live in a world of trouble. Receive God’s love and you’ll learn to endure! Hold on to hope!


    Prayer: O God of Abraham and Sarah, of the disciples and of Paul… O God of past, present and future, thank you for your abundance. Thank you that your grace is for everyone and that your salvation is offered to all. Thank you for our church family as it grows wider and deeper and stronger with our online connections. With these thanksgivings we also bring our petitions -- because so many people are having a tough time. We pray for those who are languishing physically; those undergoing chemotherapy, those with covid-19, those with bodily stresses and strains. We pray for those who are suffering mentally; those with dementia, those with “so much on their minds” that they toss and turn all night. We pray for those who are ailing emotionally; those with depression, those who are lonely, and those who are listless and without direction. We pray for those who are hurting economically; those who are unemployed or underemployed, those whose businesses took major hits during this pandemic, and those whose retirement funds are running low. We pray for those who are aching spiritually; those whose faith leaves them with more questions than answers, those who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and those who have been so affected by bad news that they cannot open their hearts to Good News. Hear us and help us, O God. Amen.

  • March 4, 2021

    Romans 12:12 “Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer.”


    The Good News: It’s not easy to be happy just because we are instructed to do so. It’s not easy to stand your ground when the tough times come. But we can devote ourselves to prayer – and in so doing, we are provided a connection to God, contentment for our lives, and the conviction that trouble will not last.


    Prayer: All praise and honor to you, O great and gracious God! As we march forth into the world you have given to us, may we pause to behold the beauty of creation, may we gripped by grace and surprised by joy. Although you are involved in the farthest-reaches of the galaxies you have made, you also fully care for each of us. That’s amazing. And such a blessing! So into our lives of burdens and blessings, help us. Guide us when perplexed. Encourage us when we’re in trouble. So it is that we are grateful for these moments of prayer. That you would invite us to share with you all that’s on our minds and in our hearts, is comforting. That you would then pave the way for us to receive your Spirit’s guidance is an encouragement and blessing. Thus we bring to you our deepest longings – that our lives would have purpose, that our loved ones would be protected, that our future would be one of peace. With our praise and our prayers we worship you, O Lord. Amen.

  • march 3, 2021

    2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”


    The Good News: Not that our past was necessarily bad - it is just that the future with Christ is guaranteed to be great. Jesus Christ is good news.


    Prayer: O loving Lord – how we need good news. It seems like this has been a year of hard times. We pray that the hard times would come around no more. We are weary and worn down by the old arguments, the same-old-same-old problems that just persist. We read the news, but it almost as if the stories are the same, just the names change. Another natural disaster. Yet another mass shooting. Another tragic accident. Another politician saying whatever needs to be said to get elected. Another church-leader in yet another scandal of impropriety. Really, God?!? How can you let all this go on? Usher in your new creation; use this pandemic, as awful as it is, to help your world to recalibrate and get back on track. Renovate our souls so that we would be a society where respect and consideration and generosity and kindness would be ordinary and normal. But until that time comes when you, in power and judgement, make all things bright and new, help us cope. Grant us the comfort of your love and the companionship of your Spirit. Fill us with hope and create us to be conduits of your grace to all who are in need. For the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

  • March 2, 2021

    1 Peter 5:10 “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the one who called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore, empower, strengthen, and establish you.”


    The Good News: Some people suffer a bit. Some suffer more than just a little while. We don’t understand why things happen the way they do – but we can understand, and know, and claim the promise that tough times won’t last. We will overcome! God is in the restoration business!


    Prayer: God of yesterday, today and tomorrow – we are ever-grateful that you entered into our history through your son Jesus. You didn’t remain just ‘creator’ – but also became involved in loving us, helping us, saving us. We cannot manage life as a solo act. So we thank you for those you’ve given to us to know and love. For grandparents and grandchildren… for siblings… for children and parents… for those who have become family through affection. We thank you for our church family – for fellowship opportunities (please, Lord, help us to get back to things like coffee hour and choir and dance lessons!). For the variety of ways our church is engaged in mission; thank you for giving us opportunities to bear witness to your love through our sharing. We give thanks for our congregation’s educational opportunities – Bible studies and church school, on zoom! And we thank you that sixty years ago today President Kennedy announced the creation of the Peace Corps – so for that program and how it has been a worldwide blessing both to volunteers and for those receiving assistance -- we return thanks. So continue to provide peace – and use us to do that – to be proclaimers of your peace, practitioners of your peace, promoter of your peace. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • March 1, 2021

    Romans 15:4 “Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures.”


    The Good News: The Bible is not just a book of feel-good stories. It is the record of the pervasive promises and the grand-drama of salvation. History is not just a bunch of random events, but all is leading to a future of the fulfillment of God’s purposes and plan. Hang on! Hold on!


    Prayer: Lord of encouragement, how we need large doses of your encouragement! Encourage us by your Word. Ground us in the foundations of your commandments, parables, and stories-of-old telling of how you are working in and through history. And now we add our own narrative to the stories of your generations of faithful people. We may never get our names in any record-book of faithful courage or amazing service, but help us to do our part in enlarging your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Use us, we humbly pray, that this new month, this new week, this new day, we could quietly make a life-affirming difference in the life of even just one person. So grant us that opportunity. Guide us into doing the right thing. Aid us in being ambassadors of your Son Jesus. We pray that we might be bold in the Spirit. We also hold in pray those who hold positions of authority and responsibility – leaders in government, court officials, those serving in the military. Give wisdom. Additionally, we pray for our teachers. It’s been a tough year for students and teachers (and parents). Come alongside so that learning could happen effectively, safely and successfully. Help your world in and through us all. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • February 27, 2021

    Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong! Be fearless! Don’t be afraid and don’t be scared by your enemies, because the Lord your God is the one who marches with you. He won’t let you down, and he won’t abandon you.”


    The Good News: This world is filled with so many unknowns. So we get scared. We worry. God is bigger than our fears and carries us beyond our worries. Blessed assurance!


    Prayer: God of grace and God of glory, we bring our prayers of “Wow!” – the technology that allows for connections despite isolation, the beauty of early sunsets (but also how it is getting lighter later!), the constancy of the ocean waves, the deliciousness of fresh fruit even in winter, the laughter of a baby. We also bring our prayers of “Thanks!” – the friends we enjoy, the church that blesses, the opportunities for renewal and refreshment of this Saturday. We also bring our prayers of “Help!” – help those who are sick and suffering, help those who are grieving, help those who are both physically distanced and emotionally distanced from family, help those who are marginalized because of their sexuality, help those with addictions, help those who are financially distressed. We lay our requests before you O God, and wait expectantly… Amen.

  • February 26, 2021

    Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”


    The Good News: What joy awaits! It certainly isn’t the case yet – we are well acquainted with mourning and crying and pain. But we are gripped by the grace of God that assures us that the day will come when all will be right, all will be peace, all will be joy! What a day of reunion and rejoicing!


    Prayer: God of solace – we turn to you as we think and remember those who are sad and sorrowing. We are all too well acquainted with grief. We lift up to you those who endeavor to relieve suffering, heal disease, and reduce the emotional aches and physical pains of life. Thus we are grateful for the work of (and ask your blessing on) doctors, nurses, veterinarians and those who work in their offices. For those doing hospice work. For EMTs and first aid providers. For first responders. For hospital personnel. For scientists and researchers and pharmacists. For psychiatrists and counselors. For dieticians and therapists. For morticians and funeral directors. For ministers and church staff members. For social workers and counselors. For volunteers at soup kitchens and food pantries and homeless shelters. There is so much need, O God – but despite all the heaviness of heart, you also lift us up. So grant us glimpses of grace, whispers of love, and hints of heaven. We bring before you those who are ill and languishing. Thank you Jesus for going to the cross so that we would be ultimately healed, forever forgiven, and granted life eternal. We lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, until all the world adore your holy name, O God. Amen. 

  • February 25, 2021

    Romans 8:24–25 “We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.”


    The Good News: There is so much we can’t see, but that means that we abound in hope! Hope is not just wishful thinking or some passive “wait and see.” Yes, it involves patience, but there is a very powerful, active sense to hope. God is involved – so we hope for many things because we know the source: God, who is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer!


    Prayer: It’s meant to be funny, but it contains truth when we ask: “O Lord, grant me patience – but please give it to me now!” We had been a society that grew to expect instant results – we were all about fast food, speedy internet and quick answers. This pandemic has certainly slowed us down. Not wanting to be impertinent, but don’t you think we’ve got the point? We weren’t able to worship together for Easter. But we adapted. We weren’t able to travel for vacation. But we sacrificed. We opted out of large family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we wanted the common good and to flatten the curve and to save lives. But, “how long, O Lord?” So thank you for the vaccines – we are grateful. May more and more people be able to get appointments and bring us into a season of re-learning how to interact safely, compassionately, vivaciously, and lovingly. Help our economy to rebound, our businesses to revitalize, and all your people to live with hope in their hearts. In the name of Jesus, living Lord and Savior. Amen. 

  • february 24, 2021

    John 3:16 "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."


    The Good News: What a beloved verse! That is because it encapsulates the Good News. Jesus + Us = Eternal life!


    Prayer: Thank you, loving and grace-filled God! Thank you for this day – despite any challenges and concerns, problems or pain, you provide us with your presence. Thank you for sharing your Son with us. To have you identify with our every-day needs and our highs and lows (laughter and tears) makes all the difference. We are not alone – and for this we return heart-felt thanks. Yet we confess that sometimes, O God, we wonder why we are here. Just to try to learn information so we can earn a paycheck so that we might have enough to someday retire? What is our purpose? Is our future just more isolation and the dread of disease? Implant grand dreams into us, and provide opportunities to make meaningful differences in this world. We don’t want to just exist. So give us people to love. And a world to care for. And beauty to create. Lots of times we can’t figure out what we are supposed to do in your grand plan, so make it clearer how we can make the burdens of others lighter, any injustices fairer, and the faith in eternal life stronger. Bless us so that we might reflect your goodness and glory. Direct our paths, for the sake of Jesus, our Lord and Savior of the World. Amen.

  • February 23, 2021

    Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good: His love endures forever."


    The Good News: God has been leading and nurturing and nudging all of creation towards the time when justice and joy will meet, when salvation will be our full and final gift, when love endures forever.


    Prayer: Perhaps this is just another Tuesday on the calendar. We have chores to do and lists to complete and taxes to file and e-mails to return. With you O God, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. This is a day of your provision. Thank you for loving us! Hooray for love! We are not alone. In response, we lift up our prayers of gratitude for your amazing grace. Thank you for giving us the companionship of your Holy Spirit. Come into our lives to renovate our souls that we would see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly, day by day. As we return our gratitude, we remember before you those in society who are empty. Those with empty wallets, empty stomachs, empty emotional reserves. Please come and fill up those in need. And help us to be a blessing to those who are suffering. We pray for those who word in food pantries and soup kitchens. We pray for those who staff homeless shelters and advocate for long-term solutions for society’s chronic problems. We pray for those who provide respite care and those who provide nurture at group homes. So many needs O Lord. But you also match that with your presence and purpose. Thus, come Lord Jesus to make this a day infused with help, hope and healing. Amen! 

  • February 22, 2021

    Isaiah 66:13 "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you…"


    The Good News: What a delightful analogy! We are cradled and lullabied. When the night is too long we are soothed, and when the day is tough, we are reassured of God’s unconditional love.


    Prayer: Tender God – when the world is too harsh and we feel bullied and ready to break, come and comfort us. Too much of life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. So we sigh. And wait for you to make things right. But waiting is hard because your timing isn’t our timing. So in the meantime, hold us and help us …when the job we want goes to someone else …when we get picked last, or sometimes not at all …when the doctor says, “it’s cancer” …when the one we love, loves someone else …when we are falsely accused …when the night is too long. So be as a mother to us and bring the comfort that is so needed, especially in this time of COVID detachment. We long to be held and to be reminded that although it seems all wrong, that it will be all right. Help all your dear children, O God. (And if you don’t mind our impatience, “please hurry.”) With mindfulness of the needs of others, we come to you in prayer. Amen. 

  • February 20, 2021

    Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."


    The Good News: Though and through. Two words that are so close in spelling in the same verse. Though we live with suffering and sadness, God leads us through. We are not left in the valley forever. God is with us. Through the cross we are conquerors. Death is defeated!


    Prayer: Precious Lord, take our hand and lead us through the darkness, the disease, the depression, the difficulties. Claiming your perfect provision, we lift up prayers of gratitude for all those who are life affirmers. So among the many we could call to mind, today, O God, we thank you for… grandparents… for doctors and physician’s assistants and nurses and EMTs… for pets… for the person who didn’t honk their horn even though we inadvertently cut them off in traffic… for missionaries… for philanthropists and generous benefactors… for physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, counselors… for people who make us laugh… for funeral directors and those who offer comfort and clarity in distressing times… for brewers and vintners and distillers… for novelists and poets… for those who plow the snow and shovel our sidewalks… for teachers… for people who ask “how are you” and then stop to listen to our response… for your Son, our Savior, Jesus, in whose name we pray, Amen. 

  • February 19, 2021

    Matthew 17:20 "Our faith can move mountains."


    The Good News: This doesn’t mean “Just believe hard enough, and you’ll get what you want.” Our relationship with God isn’t some magical power, but rather that mountain-moving faith comes from trusting God and yielding to God’s will. God wants and wills ultimate blessings.


    Prayer: God of provision and protection, we call on you this day! We are grateful that vaccines are happening and that there is a light at the end of this siege of covidity (dare we even believe that to be true?) But even getting an appointment to get the vaccine seems like an obstacle course. So help us navigate these days. May all who want and need this inoculation get it – and quickly. We are putting so much hope that once most receive it then we’ll be better able to plan. We want to plan to travel. We want to be able to attend weddings and baptisms and even funerals. We want to go to restaurants. We want to hug and kiss. We want to sing in choir. Yes, we want!!! Is that greedy or too demanding, O God? I hope not. I hope you understand our fragile emotions. But we also lift up prayers that we may, despite what comes, trust and obey You. Not our will, but yours be done. We yield to your Upper Story of provision and salvation and blessing. So humbly we say, “please hear our prayers and be mindful of our needs.” For the sake of Jesus, Amen. 

  • February 18, 2021

    John 4:18 "There is no fear in love; for perfect love casts out fear."


    The Good News: Some fear is innate and some we have learned. Let us also learn that we were created not to live in fear, but to live by the law of love. Love God and love your neighbor and all will be well.


    Prayer: Ever-present and Ever-loving God – thank you for all that you do for us. Though you are creator of the cosmos, you care for each of us as if we were the only person in the world. Your focus and love is that genuine. Wow! And we pray “wow” because, we confess, there are plenty of times when we don’t feel so loveable. We don’t trust fully. We don’t follow the commandments. Lots of times we can’t even remember what the commandment all are! Yet you still love us with an everlasting love. So yes, “wow.” Your forgiveness is full and your blessings are real. So we come with longing hearts, asking that you would cast out our fear. We are afraid of so many things – afraid that you will forget or forsake us. We are afraid that our health will fail us. We are afraid for our children and grandchildren that they will encounter violence, hatred, and a fractured future. And we are afraid of being alone, left out, left behind. So give us love. Please, O heavenly Father, give us people to love, and grant that some will love us. In the name of Christ, our brother, Amen. 

  • February 17, 2021

    Genesis 3:19 ”By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”


    The Good News: Our lives are rarely as long as we’d like, but we get worn out and worn down. So yes, ashes to ashes and dust to dust. But this earth is not the only venue of life. Heaven and eternal life are our destiny. We remember our mortality, but do so in the context of resurrection!


    Prayer: (from the Book of Common Prayer; Church of England/Episcopal Church; prayer for Ash Wednesday) Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

  • February 16, 2021

    Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good: His love endures forever."


    The Good News: Many take the opportunity for feasting and fun on this day before we settle into the penitential season of Lent. Although we live with the all-to-real evidences of this pandemic, may we remember that after the cross there is the empty tomb, that after death there is eternal life. We were created not for despair, but for joy!


    Prayer: O Holy Spirit – may we dance to your rhythm of celebration! We know the challenges of life (and death) all too well. We aren’t pretending that there isn’t unemployment and that all is just rainbows and puppies. So we do pause to lift up in prayer those who are sorrowing and suffering – be their strength and stay. But also, grant us the eyes to behold beauty and the ears to perceive the promise of joy. We call to mind the mountain-top, breath-taking moments of “wow!” We call to mind those people who make us laugh. We call to mind the unconditional love of pets. We call to mind the music of the spheres that is so ineffably sublime. So send your angels today to prod us into gratitude and grace. Fill us to overflowing with the love of Jesus so that others may receive from our faith-abundance, the blessedness of being your cherished child. Thank you God for always loving us – and for ultimately saving us and granting us eternal life. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

  • February 15, 2021

    Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."


    The Good News: There are times when we have energy and enthusiasm, but there are times when we are weary, worn and weak. It happens. But no matter what, we are never alone. We are invited to cast our concerns into the wide embrace of God. God receives them and gives us rest.


    Prayer: Okay God – are we supposed to be learning lessons through this pandemic? Eleven months in and we’re trying… trying not to take anything for granted, trying to be more generous to small businesses, trying to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t. Though we are grateful that there are signs of hope, too many have died of COVID-19. We grieve for them and with their loved ones. We are heart-heavy that people have been so isolated – not being able to visit, to hug and hold, to extend care. Babies are born and we can’t cuddle them; People are dying and we can’t comfort them. So, yes – sometimes we are angry about all this, but mostly we’re just worn down. Hear our cries. Bring relief. (Soon!) So thanks for hearing us and that more are being able to receive the vaccine. Heal our world. Help our souls. When we are weary, give us your rest, and when the healing seasons come, grant us opportunities to extend your blessings. In the name of our risen Lord, Amen.

  • February 13, 2021

    1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.


    The Good News: Love is one of those words that covers a multitude of situations. But this isn’t “I love French fries” or “I love handbells” (as good as they are!) – this is self-sacrificing, God-glorifying love of other people… all people. Love wins!


    Prayer: God of Life and Love, you have created us for connections. Your design is that we ought n7ot be alone, rather to be part of a community. And sure, relating to/living with/being neighbors with other people can lead to challenges. We are sinful people and don’t always put the needs of others before our own. So forgive us when we push our own agenda or insist on getting our own way. As it has been said, “just because we have a right to, doesn’t mean it’s right to.” Help us to be more loving, following the example of Jesus. As we pray for raising our own kindness-quotient, we pray for those we are given to love. We pray for our families – for those who nurtured us, and who picked us up when we were down. We pray for those who loved us enough to guide us in faith. We pray for those who have shared our moments of pure joy, and for those who came alongside in our deepest sorrow. Thank you for those we love and so we just pray for their happiness, well-being and protection. Enlarge our circle of love and blessing. Help us not be alone. We pray in thanksgiving for the cherished love and friendship of Jesus, Amen.

  • February 12, 2021

    Psalm 138:3 "When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted."


    The Good News: Throughout the centuries there have been untold dangerous and desperate circumstances. God does not abandon his children but instead responds to our cries and gives the spirit of bravery and courage to the right people at the right time to do accomplish great things.


    Prayer: O God. I pray for all sorts of things – for protection and safety for my loved ones, for health and happiness, for deepening faith, for our country and our world. I pray that those who are in need would find support and help, so that those who are hungry would be fed, and those who are lonely would be find companionship. I thank you that you hear not only these prayers, but also prayers that aren’t fully formed. One of those prayers is that you, O Lord would grant me courage for the living of these days. Not that we see ourselves as being in the league of, say, Abraham Lincoln, but if the occasion should arise?... May we step up to do what would need to be done to promote justice, to extend faith, to lift high the cross. Thus we pray for all those who already serve diligently and quietly, but oh so effectively and necessarily. We pray for missionaries and believers who live in Christian-minority countries. We pray for those in our military and first responders. We pray for those who sacrifice popularity or position in taking stands on behalf of those who are too often marginalized, bullied or voiceless. May we be found faithful. For the sake of Jesus, Amen. 

  • February 11, 2021

    Psalm 149:4 "For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation."


    The Good News: You are royalty! But the crown is not for those who are all about self-promotion or pride. God lifts up those who put others first, who encourage others, who are humble.


    Prayer: We lift up those who live and work so that our lives may be safer, better, brighter. Watch over and lay your protecting shield of grace on those who serve selflessly. For teachers. For those working in continuing care communities, and nursing homes, and rehab centers. For parole officers and prison guards. For scientists and researchers. For sanitation workers. For therapists. For long-haul truckers. For enlisted military personnel, firefighters, and police officers. For snow plowers and shovelers. For chaplains. For farmers. For musicians and artists. For doctors and nurses. For those who do home deliveries of food, prescriptions and packages. For moms and dads. There are so many who contribute to the fabric of society who continue doing what they do without seeking accolades or amassing personal credit – for those who are un-named and under-appreciated, we simply whisper, “thank you God for giving us such a community of commitment.” May we then in turn be a blessing to those who seek support from us. May we be conduits of blessings even as your Son, O God, is the best of all blessings. To you be all glory, honor and praise. Amen and amen.

  • February 10, 2021

    Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."


    The Good News: We cannot see the Holy Spirit – just the evidence of how the Spirit acts. We cannot see love – just the blessings that love provides. We cannot know the future – yet God will provide, not in ways that we would predict, or sometimes frankly in ways we even want. God is persistently working in ways that ensure our salvation.


    Prayer: O God of wows and wonders – we praise you for crisp mornings and stellar sunsets. We lift up our gratitude for the intricacy of your creation – from the unique crystalline snowflake to the push-pull of the oceans’ tides. Thank you for babies’ babble, for poet’s precision, and the kindness of strangers. What mysteries of beauty: a symphony by Beethoven, a school of fish swimming in tandem, the synchronicity of mind and muscle. Who can account for these blessings? Thank you, O Triune God, for the blessings which are so lavishly given. Now we look forward to the time when we can worship in community together! So bring healing to our world. Banish this virus. Do not let any variants take hold. There already has been too much sickness, sadness and suffering. We walk into the future by faith, and in the name of our Savior Jesus. Amen.

  • February 9, 2021

    1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."


    The Good News: Anxiety! Now there’s a word for the 21st century. We are anxious about so many things – from our health, our finances, our democracy, our safety, the vaccine (How to get it? Will it work?), to the weather forecast and what to wear. God invites us – actually we’re instructed – to give all these, big and small, over to God. Because you are cherished! Never forget that!


    Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are strong enough to deal decisively with the myriad of problems in the world (thank you!), and you are tender enough to embrace each one of us personally. Thank you for giving us your Son Jesus. We need Him to have access to your holiness despite all the ways in which people have colluded with evil. The problems of the world persist, yet because of our Savior, they will not, cannot, persevere. Your grace, love, mercy, and peace prevail! So it is with gratitude that we give you all our fears and worries. Take them. All of them – all of those things that make us anxious: our finances, our health, our country’s division, the weather, meeting new people, the future… So forgive our sins, give us a glimpse of your promised joyful future, and bless us, we humbly pray. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

  • February 8, 2021

    2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight."


    The Good News: We prefer to walk being able to see what’s ahead. We don’t want to stumble or fall. And that’s good for hiking or managing stairs. But when it comes to the journey of faith, God shines a lamp onto our path just far enough into the future to carry on, but not see the entirety of the road. We trust God, who guides. How good it is that we cannot know every aspect of what the future holds. But by faith – we know who holds the future!


    Prayer: Loving God – we entrust the events of our yesterdays to you. Help us savor memories that are sweet, and may you sanctify those that are sour. For today, we bring ourselves, wanting and willing to be vehicles of praise and blessing. For the chores and appointments of this Monday, we ask for You to watch over us, to protect us, and to surprise us with joy. For the days and weeks yet in the future – help us to trust you. Like a child standing on the edge of the pool, scared to jump, help us leap forward knowing that you are there to catch us. You will not let us fall. So grant us the assurance for those things that are unseen. We obviously don’t know what is in store for us, but please – improve our lot. May our lives travel in pleasant places. Keep the variant strains of the virus contained. May more and more of us become immune. And guide and watch over our country in these days of challenge, trial and anger. Help us, Lord Jesus. Thanks for listening… Amen. 

  • February 6, 2021

    Psalm 119:50 “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”


    The Good News: Life is not always easy. We toil and we struggle. There is yet racism and sexism; there is yet homophobia and xenophobia. So many afflictions. YET! – yet with God what is positive and good and right and true is what is lasting. We are not defined by labels – excepting the one that says that we are children of God.


    Prayer: O Lord of life – too many aspects of life seem to be about getting and gaining, having and hording. We spend a lot of energy making sure we are first in line, or that no one will have more than we have, or that others will lose so that we can win. Help us remember that winning has its time and place (football, tomorrow, Tampa), but that life isn’t a game. You love us each and you love us all. There is enough to go around! Thank you for your blessings and help us to be generous in sharing them. To that end, we are mindful of those who are dealing with hardship. We pray for those who are grieving. For those who are struggling to make ends meet. For those who are persecuted for their faith. For those who feel left out. For those who feel left behind. For those who have had challenges come out of left field. We pray for owners and employees of businesses that are hit hard economically because of the pandemic. We pray for the unemployed. We pray for the sick and ailing. We pray for those marginalized and stigmatized. O Lord, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen. 

  • February 5, 2021

    Isaiah 40:31 "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."


    The Good News: God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but no matter our age, God embraces us and cradles us with the renewal of the Holy Spirit.


    Prayer: O God of both now and then, of there and here – thank you for your care and providence which is for always and everywhere. So we give thanks and ask for strength. For our infants and toddlers – thank you for their very presence – how they are a vote in favor of tomorrow just by their smile, their baby-smell, their innocence. Keep them in your care. We pray for our elementary and middle school-aged children; thank you for their inquisitive natures and their cuddles. Keep them in your care. We pray for our high school and college-age youth; thank you for their fearlessness and desire to make the world a better and brighter place. Keep them in your care. We pray for those whose focus is on establishing careers, creating relationships, starting homes, and a cultivating a personal faith. Keep them in your care. We pray for parents and grandparents; for those of middle-age and increased responsibilities. Keep them in your care. We pray for those who are retired and in the so-called golden years as they seek to be purposeful and healthy. Keep them in your care. So O Lord – whether 6 months, 16, 36, 66 or 96 years old – watch over us. Guide us. Love us. Bless us. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • february 4, 2021

    John 3:16–17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”


    The Good News: Eternal life! What we have here and now is sacred, blessed and good – but it’s only for now. What endures is life that is freed from pain, problems, sadness or worry. Accept God’s offer of love. Invite Jesus to lodge with you. With that, a glad reunion awaits for all those who live eternally with God.


    Prayer: God of our life, through all the circling years, we come to you in prayer and with praise. What an awesome reality – that we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to you. So we will, one day (not so soon, please!) join with all the heavenly hosts and all those who lived before us – and even those who will come after us. I can scarcely imagine the joy of that reunion. So as we still yet are people who grieve here on earth, we ask for your sustenance and provision. We weep with those who weep, and we rejoice with those who rejoice. Thus we pray for those on hospice care (and for their nurses and caregivers). We pray for those whose loved ones died suddenly and life literally changed in a minute. We pray for those with other losses – loss of a dream, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, loss of a pet, loss of a pregnancy, loss of health, loss of faith. We also pray for those with good news – we celebrate those with new opportunities, those welcoming a child, those getting married despite not having a reception as they might have planned, those for whom the relationship with you, O God, has taken on a vibrancy heretofore unexperienced. So, for the mountain-top moments, we thank you. For the dark nights of the soul, we ask for your profound presence. In them both, thank you for not failing, nor forsaking us. In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Amen. 

  • February 3, 2021

    Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."


    The Good News: More than just watching from a distance, God goes with us; God takes us by the hand and guides on our earthly journey until that day when we lay our burdens down and God leads us home. Blessings today; blessings forever!


    Prayer: We’ve been spending a lot of time, O God, at home and isolated. The pandemic, the colder temperatures, the snow – these all keep us from gathering. Frankly, it’s taking its toll. There are just so many TV shows that we can watch or jigsaw puzzles we can do. We are grateful for facetime and zoom calls, but how it would be fun to have church coffee hour and just have a casual conversation with others! – to make new friends and savor old relationships. And to think of those seeking romance and dating? – how challenging to create connections like those during these days?! Thus, we plead with you gracious God, to help make the vaccines – or whatever way you choose – to bring health, healing, hope and happiness. Yet we aren’t all just about our petitions, we do also offer our prayers of thanks. We are grateful for hobbies to pass the time, for these moments of less-busyness so that we can pause to pray, for the simplicity of a cup of coffee, for snow angels, and for real angels that watch over us and are with us in ways we cannot even fathom. Thanks for loving us! Thanks for leading us home. Thank you, God. Amen.

  • February 2, 2021

    Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."


    The Good News: In fun, many look for the groundhog’s shadow; as Christians, we also look for the Kingdom of God. With God there is no shadow of turning! God changes not, God’s compassions, they fail not. As God has been, forever will God be. “Great is Thy faithfulness!”


    Prayer: God – whether or not there will be six more weeks of winter, we have it today! As we dig out from the accumulated snow, help us to pause and appreciate the beauty of your creation. And we thank you that we live in an era of central heat, indoor plumbing, snow plows and cell phones. What conveniences! Yet as some lose power, or must work long hours for our safety, or deal with homelessness and hunger, we are mindful of our neighbors. We are on our journey of life with responsibilities to love, care for, feed, check on, pray for, and help others. Bless us Heavenly Father that we may then be a blessing to others and so enlarge your Kingdom. To your glory, we pray. Amen.

  • february 1, 2021

    1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."


    The Good News: It’s easy to relax our guard or to take an easy road – but God calls us to be vigilant against evil and to work for grace and goodness. Its important work we are called to do – so be courageous!


    Prayer: God of yesterday, today and forever – we think back to February last year and can scarcely believe how different life has become. We were just going along, making plans and assuming that those plans would come to pass. Instead we’ve been shut down and isolated week after week, month after month. We are hesitant to make plans. Yet --- dare we even think it? --- we are hopeful that as more and more are vaccinated, we can slowly emerge from these seasons of our discontent. So please, please, please O God – hasten the time of healing and restoration. We recognize that society has been forever altered, but how we long for the possibility of laughing without masks, of eating indoors at a restaurant with friends who haven’t been part of our “pod”, of singing in choir, of going to Broadway shows and sports events, of worshiping in a full sanctuary. Humbly we come before the throne of your grace, recognizing that your timing is not our timing and your ways are not our ways. So we submit to You. Help us to trust and obey. For the sake of Jesus, our Lord. Amen. 

  • January 30, 2021

    Psalm 30:11 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness."


    The Good News: Tough times are part of life. We don’t escape broken hearts and anxious souls. Grief is real – even for Christians. Yet as followers of Christ we know that death is not the end of the story, it is a comma, not a period. The best is yet to come!


    Prayer: O God of resurrection and eternal life – how we are grateful for the promises which are confirmed and completed through Jesus! The time will come when there will be no more mourning – for it will be replaced by dancing! The time will come when there will be no more COVID or cancer, Alzheimer’s or AIDS for they will be replaced by health and healing, embracing and eternal life. Yet we still pray, “How long, O Lord?” We are tired of the pervasive sickness and how we need to be so vigilant at all times. So strengthen us to not grow weary in doing what is necessary to promote health and preserve life. We lift up prayers of intercession on behalf of doctors, nurses, and all who work in our hospitals, long-term care centers, and nursing homes. We lift up prayers of intercession on behalf of patients, those facing surgery, and those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Pave the way for hope! For we pray in the name of the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  • January 29, 2021

    Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."


    The Good News: These words – and the faith expressed in this Psalm – has comforted many throughout the ages. As we yet contend with a pandemic, we seek the nurturing protection of the Great Shepherd. Jesus provides!


    Prayer: (from Rev. W. Y. Fullerton, 1920)

    I cannot tell how he whom angels worship should come in flesh as prophets long foretold, or why the Shepherd longs to save the wanderers and bring them back rejoicing to the fold. But this I know, that he was born of Mary when Bethl'em's manger was his only home, and that he lived at Nazareth and labored, and so the promised Savior of the world, is come.

    I cannot tell how silently he suffered, as with his peace he graced this place of tears, or how his heart upon the cross was broken, the crown of pain to three and thirty years. But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted, and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear, and lifts the burden from the heavy laden, for still the suffering Savior of the world is here.

    I cannot tell how he will win the nations, how he will claim his earthly heritage, how satisfy the needs and aspirations of east and west, of sinner and of sage. But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory, and he shall reap the harvest he has sown, and some glad day his sun will shine in splendor when he the risen Savior of the world, is known.

    I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship, when, at his bidding, ev'ry storm is stilled, or who can say how great the jubilation when ev'ry heart with perfect love is filled. But this I know, the skies will sound his praises, and countless voices then will join to sing, and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer, 'At last the living Savior of the world is King!' 

  • January 28, 2021

    Psalm 46:7 “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”


    The Good News: A fortress is a place of safety and security. It is also a place from which we can mobilize the sharing of God’s Good News and the living out the ways of Jesus. Praise be to God!


    Prayer: So many people help make our lives better. Thank you O God for them – for neighbors who pick up our mail when we go on vacation. For our veterinarians, our pharmacists, our school nurses. For coaches and choir/band directors. For those who fix our cars, our furnaces, our wells. For librarians. For those who plow the snow and de-ice our roads. For those who bake birthday cakes. For tax accountants. For dry cleaners and coffee baristas. And as so many work and care in order to make our lives nicer, so then O God, may we be agents of blessing for others. Take whatever talents/abilities/aptitudes we have, no matter how meager, and use them to lead people into deeper faith, and to reflect the compassion of Jesus. Make us servants today! Amen.

  • January 27, 2021

    1 Peter 4:8 "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins."


    The Good News: Not just love – but fervent love. As the world is filled with disease and dis-ease, we need to be active and bold in reaching out to others with the kindness, grace and love of God.


    Prayer: How wonderful it is that you, O providing God, have given us the gift of love. Of course it hurts immensely then when love is absent, ah but to have the blessing of love give and love received? – nothing compares. So bring love to our world. Thus we give thanks for pets that can become as family. We thank you for friends with whom we can laugh and cry and dream and create memories. And thank you for those who loved us in such a way as to make us who and what we are. Help us to be channels of your love unto others. As we pray and offer praise for you unconditional love O Lord, we lift up our desire to impact others positively by our example and our kindness. May we not take love for granted nor pass up an opportunity to make someone else’s day a bit brighter. For, above even all these, we pause to receive the love of Jesus. Oh how great is that love. So thank you for loving us. For never leaving us. For eternally saving us. Alleluia! Amen!

  • January 26, 2021

    Isaiah 40:29 "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless."


    The Good News: At some time we are all weak, weary and worried. But fear not! We are given power from God. God does not leave us alone or without support. God walks with us when we are strong and carries us when we are weak.


    Prayer: How marvelous are you O living Lord! You build us up when we are down, accompany us when we are lonely, guide us when perplexed, forgive us when we are wrong, and save us from destruction. So, as you strengthen us, may you also encourage us. We are so undone by the ongoingness of this pandemic. How long, O Lord??? We thought that the “curve was flattening” and that we might soon be regathering. But the finish line feels like somehow it got moved. We’re still running this marathon. And we’re tired. So help us not to give up. Cheer our weary souls. It’s hard to know what that might look like – but we trust that You do. So surprise us with joy. Bless us we Good News. Restore our emotions and heal our bodies. Thus we pause in gratitude for all those who do bring encouragement, walking companions, phone-calling friends, strangers who perform random acts of kindness, and prayer partners. Bless us so that we might be a blessing to others. In the name of Jesus, amen.

  • January 25, 2021

    Romans 12:9 "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good."


    The Good News: Hold fast! There is good in our world – and we have the task, as people who are saved by grace alone, to love others. How will we follow the ethic of Jesus to care for others, especially the least, the lonely, the lost.


    Prayer: O might morning Star, light of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, we begin this Monday with our adoration and praise. For the beauty of the earth, for the gifts of friends, faith and family, for the advances being made in overcoming this pandemic, we lift up our hearts in gratitude. Yet there is so much work yet to be done. So we pray for those serving as leaders in government. We pray that you would guide them so that what is done is pleasing and acceptable in your sight. We pray for our military and their families for peace, safety, and protection. We pray for those who combat evil through words of faith, deeds of mercy and acts that promote “good.” So disband dissension, do away with disease, deconstruct depression, defy the demonic and defeat death. You are all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, O God. Reign in power and authority now and always. All praise to You -- the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Amen. 

  • January 23, 2021

    Ecclesiastes 7:9 "Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools."


    The Good News: Too many people live with mean-spiritedness, rage and resentment. The Old Testament preacher in our scripture reminds us that anger is not the path to faith, forgiveness, and fortitude. We must choose a different path.


    Prayer: Creating, restoring, mending God – into our fractured world we pray you would send your Spirit in new ways for the healing of the nations. It’s almost like we are captivated but also oh-so-tired of the news. What will happen next? Will the extremists (on both sides) so pull us apart that there will be no healthy, happy center? So re-connect us… to you, O God… to one another… to those with whom we agree… and with those whom we don’t… Thus, as we pray for renewal and reconciliation, we also offer prayers of thanksgiving for the many, many, many people who live faithfully, serve compassionately, and give sacrificially. Humbly we pray that we might be among these folks and that you would add to our number. To you, O Lord of blessing, we bring our praise. Amen.

  • January 22, 2021

    Psalm 31:25 "Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord."


    The Good News: Strength is needed for tumultuous times. The Psalmist reminds us that hope is not some elusive “wish” but rather a promised connection to our salvation-giving God.


    Prayer: Kind Savior, many of us have learned from a young age the truth “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong – we are weak but He is strong.” That strength is not a power that is utilized to brow-beat us into submission but rather a strength to support us when we are down and out. And that’s been us these past months. The isolation has been more than challenging. The threat of violence has been simmering. So strengthen us. Save us from the ways of this world and instead help direct us to walk in the paths of peace and to live by the tenets of your Kingdom. Have mercy on us! Give us reasons to look forward with hope. And so, O Lord, let me close with gratitude for the basis of that hope – Jesus! Thank you the love, companionship and salvation you give to us through him. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

  • January 21, 2021

    Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


    The Good News: God is timeless and frameless – and God’s ways are part of an unseen-to-us Upper Story of provision and salvation. God has plans! They will always be for ultimate good.


    Prayer: Great and gracious God – many things have changed, and much is still yet the same. The losses due to COVID-19 remain real and challenging. We are grateful for the work done to get a vaccine developed and approved relatively quickly. Thank you to all who are masters of science and research! Yet now there are challenges of distribution and who gets appointments and how. So speak to our uncertainty and bring to fruition the hope of healing and health. We pray for the new administration in Washington, DC and ask that you direct the paths of all those elected and appointed to serve that they may do so being attentive to the guidance of your Holy Spirit. We bring our prayers in the name of God – Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen. 

  • January 20, 2021

    John 3:16 "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."


    The Good News: We pray for the world that God so loves. We pray for every nation, but on this day of Presidential inauguration, especially for our nation. God is the Leader of leaders and Sovereign of all.


    Prayer: My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from ev'ry mountainside let freedom ring!


    My native country, thee, land of the noble free, Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills, like that above.


    Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song; Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake; Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.


    Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, with freedom's holy light, protect us by Thy might, Great God our King! 


    Amen. (Words: Rev. Samuel F. Smith, 1832) 

  • January 19, 2021

    1 Peter 1:23 "You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God."


    The Good News: God is active and near to those who call upon Him. God’s word abide. We are not alone!


    Prayer: 

    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

    that where there is hatred, I may bring love,

    that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,

    that where there is discord, I may bring harmony,

    that where there is error, I may bring truth,

    that where there is doubt, I may bring faith,

    that where there is despair, I may bring hope,

    that where there are shadows, I may bring light,

    that where there is sadness, I may bring joy,

    Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted;

    to understand, than to be understood:

    to love, than to be loved;

    for it is by giving that one receives;

    it is by self-forgetting that one finds;

    it is by forgiving that one is forgiven;

    it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen.

    (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)

  • January 18, 2021

    Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”


    The Good News: We have many, many needs. Yet for every one of those needs, God meets each need and supplies support. God’s forgiveness is ours through Jesus. God’s provisions are for you!


    Prayer: Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

    (written by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.) 

  • January 16, 2021

    1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."


    The Good News: God provides us with the capacity to love and be loved. Our hearts are full with the blessings of friends, family, food and faith. Let us not take these for granted. Abide in the knowledge that love lasts; love wins!


    Prayer: O bright morning star – so much seems so hard and harsh. The daylight is short. The temperatures are chilly. The world is shut-down with COVID-19. Our country is on edge with the possibilities of destruction and the reality of deep divisions. Our souls are drained as we cry out to you –do not fail us nor forsake us. Hear our desperate prayers. Help us. Heal us. And even as we can feel so isolated and even helpless, you come to us with your love. Thank you for surrounding us with many blessings. For our material blessings, thank you. For the opportunity to share with those in need, thank you. For the freedoms we enjoy, thank you. For selfless volunteers and essential workers, thank you. For the vaccines, thank you. For companions on the journey of life, thank you. For love, thank you, thank you, thank you. In Christ’s name. Amen.

  • January 15, 2021

    2 Timothy 4:17 "But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength."


    The Good News: We cannot exist by our own merits and we are not victorious through our strength, but rather because of God. Let us remember that our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.


    Prayer: Surprise us with your presence this day, O God. Bring to us the peace that passes understanding. Fill the earth with your glory. Amaze us with your grace. For along with the physical infirmities and illness, there is a deepening emotional toll with the pandemic’s isolation and the country’s divisions. Anxiety is running at high levels for all ages – even our children are picking up on signs that so much is uncertain. So help us, Mighty God. Give us strength. Do not delay. Stop those who rely on violence to solve differences. Turn these dark days into the dawning of your amazing grace. We need you, heavenly Father. Make us instruments of your peace. Amen. 

  • January 14, 2021

    Matthew 13:43 "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father."


    The Good News: God will separate the good seed from the weeds. Everything that causes sin and all who do evil will not have ultimate power. Those who are saved by God’s grace alone will endure.


    Prayer: Abiding God – so much is in tension. It’s the proverbial “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” So as we wait and wonder – erase any future that is comprised of violence, hatred and bigotry. So much has become weaponized – the response to the coronavirus, our elections, even interpretations of what it means to be a faithful Christian. How did it come to this? We want to bask in the sun of your glory as we seek to honor You and love our neighbor as you have commanded. So come to us and abide with us. Help us to know that we – each and all – are your children and that your Kingdom is expansive. So bring peace to us, our country, our world. In Jesus’ name and with the power of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen. 

  • January 13, 2021

    Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


    The Good News: We can be – and often are – frightened. Yet God is with us, ever and always. Lean on God. Look to God. Lift up your needs to God.


    Prayer: O Lord our God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed. When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim, “My God, how great thou art!” (text by Stuart Hine) 

  • January 12, 2021

    Scripture: Psalm 62:6 “God only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”


    The Good News: The world twists and turns but God is sure, strong and steadfast.


    Prayer: Dear God – we cry out with anxious hearts. Help! The world is filled with so many challenges. Whoever thought we’d still be dealing with physical distancing and the many effects – emotional, physical, mental and economic – of COVID-19. 19! That was when this began – and here we are in 2021. Help! And then there is the situation with our government – the vast divide between ideologies. People not just disagreeing but being violent? Help, O God. So please – guide us, support us, sustain us. We pray for the vaccine to be effective. We pray for our leaders. We pray for our future. We pray for the generations yet to come that they will not be overwhelmed with discouragement and debilitated by worry. Bring your light to dispel the darkness and bring truth and hope. Come and heal our world from disease and from unhappy divisions. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

  • January 11, 2021

    Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


    The Good News: Jesus has promised to come alongside us to help shoulder our problems. Just as we are about to collapse from the weight of all the burdens us, God promises rest. We need not carry any of this alone. Picture your problems as a heavy stone – and give it to God. God is so much more able to deal with it than we.


    Prayer: It’s true God. We’re weary. Worn out. Weak. Worried. Help us not to give out or give in. We all have problems – for some it’s about money, others it’s dealing with an addiction, others it’s about broken relationships, other’s mental health, others it’s feeling lonely or without purpose. But whatever it might be named – we need help. We pray for our country and its leaders – give wisdom and courage for the living of these days. And this pandemic has only made what was already a challenge, even worse. Jobs have been lost. AA meetings canceled. Health compromised. Isolation has taken its toll. So speak a word of blessing to us. Bring some Good News today. Lift our spirits and give us reasons to smile. Perhaps that sounds demanding, God. And we don’t mean it to be, but it’s just that we’ve never experienced anything like this – and it’s hard. So forgive us. And bless us so that we may be a blessing to others. We pray for farmers and food-service providers. We pray for delivery personnel and mail carriers. We pray for our military. We pray for firefighters, police officers and first aid personnel. We pray for health care professionals. We pray for those with cancer and dementia and for their caregivers. We pray for those waiting to die and those waiting to be born. We pray for teachers and students. We pray for parents and children. We pray for those celebrating birthdays. We pray for our church. We pray for our world. That’s a whole lotta praying, God! But the needs are great. We are just so grateful that you are even greater. So, thank you. Amen. 

  • January 9, 2021

    John 12:46 "I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark."


    The Good News: The world is chaotic, but God brings peace. There is the reality of evil – but it is both denounced and defeated though the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


    Prayer: Shine, Jesus, shine! And as you shine on us, may we then reflect your grace onto the others who comprise our spheres of influence. So we pray for our families. Our church family. Our communities. The places where we work, shop, eat, serve. Hasten the time of healing. Sustain us. We pray for those who serve as missionaries, whether abroad, or we who share Good News in word and deed. We pray for those serving in our military, those who are police officers, fire fighters, EMTS, health care workers; we pray for their families. Save and help us all. O God, banish the dark and bring forth the light of Christ! Amen.

  • January 8, 2021

    Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”


    The Good News: God is stronger than angry mobs and is a refuge that can never be breached. Yes, there is much commotion and challenge in our world – but God is steadfast and sure. Look to God for steady support.


    Prayer: O Lord of lords – as we read the news we can feel unmoored. So be an anchor for our worried souls and keep us and our country and our world in the grip of your grace. We come with so many emotions, yet how good it is to know, remember and realize that you are a refuge for us in times of trouble. So guide our governmental leaders; restore peace; humble the proud and lift up those who lead according to your purposes. There is so much anger and chaos, so provide for us the peace of Jesus, your Son, the light of the world. Amen.

  • January 7, 2021

    1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.


    The Good News: A living hope! It is not stale, nor past-tense – not in ways that we fully understand, but we will survive!


    Prayer: To you be all glory and honor, preserving God. Over all the earth and all that we hold dear, bring the grace of your presence. May we always acknowledge your place and presence in our lives. Restore health and reestablish opportunities to gather, we humbly pray. Use us to be beacons of hope to those who are languishing. So it is that we come in prayer, with thankful hearts. Sustain us and those we love. Energize us by your Spirit that we might embody your hope and enjoy your creation. Liberate us from disease, difficulties and doubt. Launch us forward in faith, in gratitude, and in praise, even as we say, “amen.” 

  • January 6, 2021

    Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.


    The Good News: The Epiphany Good News – God’s light shines on all nations – and all people, the great and the least, the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, in sickness and in health, in joy and sorrow, in tragedy and triumph.


    Prayer: Lord of all the earth, we lift up gratitude for rich traditions of the peoples of the world. Yet the diversity of languages and the differences in faiths breeds suspicion and even hate. So come, O God, to unify your world. This pandemic has left no corner of the globe untouched. As the virus has infected/affected us all in some way, may your Spirit counter that by infusing us all with grace, mercy, hope, love and peace. May an epidemic of kindness and respect be an epiphany blessing to us all. Bring joy to the world! In the name of the Lord of lords and King of kings -- Hallelujah and Amen. 

  • January 5, 2021

    Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.


    The Good News: The fullness of time! God’s timing is not our ours; God’s ways are not ours. That has become even more obvious in the past ten months. Though we may not understand, God’s ways bring perfection… in God’s time.


    Prayer: We pray, O God, for our country. We say we are “one nation under God” yet there is dissension and a lack of unity. So many are afraid of violence. So many feel they do not having a voice. So many think that the system is such that they do not have the possibility of being valued. So many feel they are not included in the American dream. So many decry the possibility of losing what has been achieved by hard work. So many are saddened and scared by the erosion of traditions. So many resent being labeled. Help us to listen and learn, to care and compromise, to help others succeed, and to remember that you, O God, are the Source and the Sovereign, the Lord of us all. To you be glory and honor. Bring peace to us in the fullness of time, Heavenly Father. Amen.

  • January 4, 2021

    Luke 2:25-32 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”


    The Good News: Simeon waited and waited – in faith – to see the Messiah. For what have you waited that finally came to fruition? Recalling that, yet again, offer praise!


    Prayer: Lord of yesterday, today and forever – just as Anna and Simeon watched faithfully and diligently waited for your arrival, so give us strength to persevere. Give fortitude especially to those who struggle with isolation, with economic instability, with addiction, with a lack of purpose. What is to become of us? So much threatens to undo us. So bring your Spirit of blessing to heal those who are sick and re-form those who are broken. As classes resume after a holiday, may students and teachers be given a special measure of your encouragement. In and through Jesus, amen. 

  • January 2, 2021

    Titus 3:4-7 When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


    The Good News: Kindness is a key note of God. Love is with us – salvation is the gift of Christmas. Receive it and rejoice!


    Prayer: Merciful Lord, come to us and abide with us. We pray for no new strains of viruses. We pray for the efficacy of the vaccines. We pray that curves are flattened, that the census in hospitals would lessen, that those that we love in particular, would be protected and kept safe. We know not what the new year will hold for our world, but we do know who holds the world. So thank you for not forsaking us, O God. Come and reign in power and majesty. Save us. Pour out your Holy Spirit to restore, rejuvenate, renew, and reconcile. We need help… In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • January 1, 2021

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

    What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.


    New Year’s Pondering: This has been a season of “refraining from embracing.” What “season” do you long for in this New Year?


    Carol: Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child, make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled within my heart, that it may be a quiet chamber kept for Thee. My heart for very joy doth leap, my lips no more can silence keep; I, too, must sing with joyful tongue that sweetest ancient cradle song. Glory to God in highest Heaven, who unto man His Son hath given; while angels sing with tender mirth, a glad new year to all the earth. (Martin Luther; 1535)


    Prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, as we praise your name, we offer a one-focused prayer: Heal our world. Heal our world. Heal our world. Amen.

  • December 31, 2020

    Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.


    Christmas Pondering: In the past year, in when did we lean on our own understandings? How can we submit differently in 2021?


    Carol: God’s love made visible! Incomprehensible! He is invincible! His love shall reign. From love so bountiful, blessings uncountable make death surmountable! His love shall reign! Joyfully pray for peace and good will! All of our yearning he will fulfill. Live in a loving way! Praise him for everyday! Open your hearts and pray. His love shall reign! (Iola Brubeck, 1975)


    Prayer: Gracious God, Lord and King, so much of life this year was reduced to small screens – family gatherings, worship, school, business meetings – all online. Yet, though you arrived as just a small baby, your impact grew and brings hope unto all the world. So complete your work in us. Peace for the world. Harmony among our diversity. The elimination of poverty, racism and all that seeks to demean and diminish. These are large prayers, but you, O God, will bring it to fruition. So forgive our sins of 2020, and bless us to be a blessing in new ways in the new year. Provide reasons for celebration, we pray. Healing! Health! Happiness! Hope! – these and more we seek. Thank you Jesus, for your ceaseless love. Amen. 

  • December 30, 2020

    Matthew 1:23 “…and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means, “God with us.”


    Christmas Pondering: When have you felt most alone? What best provides a reminder of the Good News that God never leaves your side?


    Carol: Emmanuel, Emmanuel, his name is called Emmanuel. God with us, revealed in us, his name is called Emmanuel.


    Prayer: So many need a reminder of your presence, Heavenly Father. We pray that, in a real and tangible way, that those who are afraid may given hope; that those who deal with addictions may find strength and sobriety; that those who are estranged from family may find paths of forgiveness and reconciliation; that those who are lonely may encounter others to come along side and be present; that those who are seeking employment or more meaning in their work may find opportunity and purpose; that those who are grieving may abide in the knowledge, truth and promise of resurrection. In Christ’s name. Amen.

  • December 29, 2020

    Luke 2:19-20 Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.


    Christmas Pondering: Silently ponder the Good News of Jesus’ birth, then sing the Doxology: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”


    Carol: Though an infant now we view him he will share his Father’s throne, gather all the nations to him; every knee shall then bow down. Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn King. (fifth stanza of “Angels from the Realms of Glory.”)


    Prayer: We praise you, O great God and Savior. To you be all honor and glory. As the angels have said, “fear not” may we receive that, believe it, and echo it. Use us, O God to reassure the world that, through Jesus, we will have nothing ultimately to fear. Though the dangers and difficulties are real, God is working and, in God’s timing, make things better. So as we wait for crying, mourning, and even death to be no more, bring your comfort to those who are feeling loss, those for whom the Christmas/New Year’s season is more wistful than joyful. Come and restore our spirits, O Holy Spirit. Humbly we pray, amen.

  • December 28, 2020

    Luke 2:15-18 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.


    Christmas Pondering: Tell one person what you know and believe about Jesus. Tell that same thing to a different person tomorrow.


    Carol: Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!


    Prayer: Abiding God – like the shepherds we typically go “with haste” – but to so many things that just cause us to be busy. Yet with the virus, we’ve had to slow down. So many plans have been canceled. Travel has been limited. Gatherings only on line. Ugh. Yet may you enter into our still spaces to bring a sense of refreshment, refocus and rejoicing. Bless us that we may be a blessing to others. Support and sustain all those who are called to work so that we may be safe and healthy. Especially we lift up hospital personnel during this time of increasing number of corona-virus patients. Keep them fortified and protected. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • december 26, 2020

    Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”


    Christmas Pondering: In these days of non-caroling together, how will you proclaim God’s glory? How will you promote peace?


    Carol: Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plains, and the mountains in reply echo back their joyous strains. Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo! (Praise to God on high!)


    Prayer: Lord of life – we continue reflect on the glory of Christmas. May we recognize your gift of love and joy each and every day – and then pass it on. May others see in me the light of faith and salvation. So help us to persevere. Bring peace to our world. Especially we pause to lift up in pray missionaries who are sharing your Good News across the globe. We long for the day when the lion will lay down with the lamb in harmony; when Russia and China and North Korea and Israel and Iran and the United States will all be united by your over-arching power and peace. Guide our leaders with your wisdom to follow in your ways. Thank you, Jesus. Amen. 

  • December 25, 2020

    Luke 2:10-12 The angel said to the shepherds “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”


    Christmas Pondering: What brings you great joy this day? What signs do you use to point you to Jesus? How will you direct others to the Good News of Jesus?


    Carol: Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice; give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today; ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now. Christ is born today! Christ is born today!


    Prayer: Gracious and Loving God – thank you for all that we’ve received from You. What bounty! Though the world brings its share of difficulties and disappointments, you bring peace and beauty and harmony and blessing. Joy to the world! Because of Christmas, we will never be completely alone. We are not forsaken nor forgotten. Thank you for the gift of Christmas presence. This is a year of disruption and with few of the usual traditions, yet despite all we cannot do, we still are cherished everlastingly. Hasten the end to this pandemic, and when that happens, may we never neglect to embrace those we love and to help our neighbors in need. To you be all honor and glory, the babe of Bethlehem who is the Sovereign of all. Alleluia. Amen. 

  • december 24, 2020

    Luke 2: 8-9 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.


    Christmas Pondering: If an angel came to you tonight, what would you say?


    Carol: It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold: “Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, from heaven’s all gracious King” - the world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.


    Prayer: Seal our joy, O God. Lift our hearts. Lighten our loads. On this holy night, may the darkness be dented by the power of your illumination, never again to hold any power. We pray for the renewal of all things, the restoration of relationships, the resurrection of life. Thank you for gracing our world and for dwelling in our hearts and homes. We pray for all churches, we pray for our friends. We pray for our families – keep them safe wherever they may be. Bring peace on earth, good will to all. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

  • December 23, 2020

    Luke 2:6-7 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.


    Advent Pondering: Think of those who have been displaced – physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, economically. How can you be a person of hospitality?

    Carol: Infant holy, infant lowly, for his bed a cattle stall; oxen lowing little knowing Christ the babe is Lord of all. Swift are winging angels singing, noels ringing, tidings bringing: Christ the babe is Lord of all.


    Prayer: Good news of a great joy! For all people! So we pray for the people of this earth. In all our diversity, bring a unanimity of focus – praising you, O God. So we pray for a resurgence good will. May we be bound together, seeking solutions to hunger, homelessness, climate concerns, prejudice, addictions, and disease. Unite us in hope, bless us with healing, and commission us to deeds of compassion. We are tired of all the problems, so help us turn the corner to a better, brighter future. In Christ’s holy name. Amen.

  • December 22, 2020

    Luke 2:1-3 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.


    Advent Pondering: Name three things that are special about the town in which you grew up.


    Carol: O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem! Come and behold him, born the King of angels; O come, let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

    Prayer: O Lord, you teach us to number our days – to not take anything for granted. But even as years ago there was the great enrollment or census, which required Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem, this year our nation has been embroiled in a count and recount. Is life really boiled down to the numbers? So much anger and partisanship has now taken root that holiday cheer has been dampened. So rescue us. Bring back a spirit of shared patriotism for a common good. Sustain our economy. Disbar prejudice. Disallow festering falsehoods. Instead, let us look beyond numbers to behold your truth, power and glory and grant unto You our worship and praise. Amen.

  • December 21, 2020

    Matthew 2:11-12 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.


    Advent Pondering: Plan a gift that you will give to someone who will probably not give you a gift in return.


    Carol: Then entered in those wise men three, full reverently upon their knee, and offered there in his presence their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. Noel, noel, noel, noel, born is the King of Israel. (fifth stanza of “The First Noel”)


    Prayer: O God – as you give to us life and salvation, in this season of shopping and gift-wrapping, give us also a compassionate spirit. That’s a request that’s offered with humility even as it sounds like a demand! It’s just that we have been through so much and so many are in such need. So, by your compassion, come alongside doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, nursing home residents and staff, so that they may have the fortitude to continue to keep them healthy. Thank you for how they, in addition to the medical expertise applied, they have become agents of hospitality, standing in for those who cannot visit. And bring your blessings to those who are spending this Christmas week in the hospital or otherwise isolated. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • December 19, 2020

    Matthew 2: 9-10 When the Magi had heard the king, they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, ‘til it came to reset over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.


    Advent Pondering: Look at the stars tonight. Which direction is east?


    Carol: O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect Light.


    Prayer: Leading Lord – as you guided those of old, we implore that you would guide us now. Lead our leaders. Give wisdom to meet the demands of these challenging times. Bless missionaries, chaplains and clergy that they may boldly lead us into your Light. Strengthen the weak, console the grieving, come alongside the lonely. We pray for those who serve as EMTS, police officers, firefighters, first aid personnel, and those in our military. Protect them and us. In Christ’s name. Amen. 

  • December 18, 2020

    John 1:14, 16 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.


    Advent Pondering: Jesus lived on earth like we do. What do you think made him happy? What things made him sad?


    Carol: Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be, he is Alpha and Omega, he the source, the ending he, of the things that are, that have been, and that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!


    Prayer: That you, O God, would love us to such a depth as to send us your Son – is cause for wonder, gratitude and joy. Thank you for the blessings of this, and every season. Rather than lingering on the longings for “the way things used to be” refocus us towards all that we yet have and are able to enjoy. So, for colors that bring beauty, for carols that elicit happiness, for companions who care, thank you, loving Lord! Help us to live gratefully and generously as we reflect your amazing grace. Amen.

  • December 17, 2020

    John 1:12-13 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.


    Advent Pondering: Think of three children. How can you (will you) help them grow in God’s love?


    Carol: Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, and fit us for heaven, to live with thee there. (third stanza of Away in the Manger)


    Prayer: The innocence of childhood is wide-eyed and wonderful. Thank you for those years, loving Father. And each age and stage of life has its blessings. So we pause in gratitude. And bless all your dear children – the youngest to the oldest. We pray for those babies who have only known this season of physical distancing; we pray for those whose last years are being robbed of a crown of being surrounded by family and friends. Help us all. Stay close by us. Love us. In the blessings of the Babe of Bethlehem. Amen.

  • December 16, 2020

    John 1:9-11 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.

     

    Advent Pondering: In what ways do you welcome Jesus into your home and life?


    Carol: Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light, radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord at thy birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth. (third stanza of Silent Night)


    Prayer: O good and gracious God – we are living with such conflicted emotions… the anticipated joy of your redeeming grace, but also with the reality of a nation divided, a world diseased, and lives so disrupted. So in these days of quiet desperation, come to us by your Spirit to bring relief to the needy, food for the hungry, hope to us all. Amen.

  • December 15, 2020

    John 1:4-5 In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


    Advent Pondering: Turn off as many lights as you can, except one (perhaps a candle.) As you let your eyes adjust, release your fears to God saying, “Thank you Jesus for being the Light of the World.”


    Carol: I wonder as I wander, our under the sky, how Jesus the Savior did come for to die for poor ordinary people like you and like I; I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.


    Prayer: O God – it’s been nine months of lock-down and covid-concerns. Nine months! And we are not out of this yet, so we bring our prayerful pleas: Help! Bring hope! Provide healing! As you use nine-months to gestate a new life, use this time to bring life to us that is abundant and eternal. We pray for our church, our communities, our country, our world… Amen.

  • December 14, 2020

    John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.


    Advent Pondering: What is the first thing in your life you can remember? Why do you think you can remember it?


    Carol: Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die; born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. Hark! the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King!


    Prayer: Ah, holy Jesus – we come with gratitude that you would empty yourself of glory, taking on human form. Thank you for becoming one of us, bridging the way between our sin and your salvation. So it is we pause in thanksgiving for the grace of your presence, for our church, for our community, for our country, for the world. Thank you for Christmas decorations and signs of joy despite the challenges of this pandemic. Thank you for the dedication of personnel who deliver our mail and transport all the items from our on-line shopping. Bless us that we may be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

  • December 12, 2020

    Luke 1:46-49 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”


    Advent Pondering: This Scripture begins the Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise. What is your favorite Christmas carol? Why?


    Carol: What Child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping, whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?


    Prayer: God of all people – there are so many rejoicing, yet so many suffering. This day we particularly lift up those who work long hours, live in challenging economic situations, and those who are hungry, cold and homeless. For the refugees of the world, we pray for your deliverance and our support. May we be channels of your grace and conduits of peace. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • December 11, 2020

    Luke 1:34-35, 37-38 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God… for nothing is impossible with God.”


    Advent Pondering: What would your response be if you were Mary? How would you feel? After answering, read that Mary’s response was: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”


    Carol: O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie… above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by. Yet in the dark streets shineth the everlasting Light. The hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight.


    Prayer: Good and gracious God – how thrilling is the reminder that nothing is impossible with you. For we face limitations and frustrations and difficulties and challenges with regularity. Not to mention sickness and the anxiety of an unknown future. So come to us with your perfect peace. We bring both our hopes and fears to the manger of your presence. In expectation and gratitude we pray. Amen.

  • December 10, 2020

    Luke 1:32-33 “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”


    Advent Pondering: God gives us great promises. Make one promise to help someone else – and do it!


    Anthem: And He shall reign forever and ever. King of kings! and Lord of lords! King of kings! and Lord of lords! And He shall reign forever and ever, forever and ever, forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


    Prayer: O King and Lord – we need your majestic authority to banish evil and restore Good. We pray that you would replace chaos with harmony, exchange hate for love, substitute sickness with healing, do away with our anxiety and in its place bring peace. We pray for our first responders, health care workers and essential workers. Sustain them… and us. In Christ’s name.

  • December 9, 2020

    Luke 1:28-31 And the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”


    Advent Pondering: What was the most recent piece of good news to come to you? If you shared that news, with whom did you do so? If you didn’t share it – consider doing so!


    Carol: Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow. For all is hushed, the world is sleeping, holy star its vigil keeping; still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow.


    Prayer: O Lord, how we long for the angelic assurance, “do not be afraid.” For the world is a dark and dangerous place many times. Life is fragile. So we pray for your favor to be with us – to meet our concerns. We pray for our family and friends. We pray for our health and well-being. We pray for our country and its economy. We pray for our church and its ministry. We pray for those who are in need – that you would meet them in the very midst of whatever their sufferings may be called. Help us. Heal our world. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • December 8, 2020

    Luke 1:26-27 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.


    Advent Pondering: Think about your parents/grandparents. Can you recall the story of how they met?


    Carol: Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you…


    Prayer: O holy Child of Bethlehem – we are grateful for holiday traditions, and for the generations past who helped shape us to be the people we are today. So for those who endured much so that we could have easier lives, we give thanks. And we give thanks for Church School teachers, for choir directors, for scout masters and coaches and youth group leaders, and all those who pointed us to the blessings found through Jesus. So use us we humbly pray that we could be that kind of helper for the upcoming generations in this time of challenge and crisis. Reflect your light through us unto this waiting and watching world. Amen. 

  • December 7, 2020

    Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” …The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


    Advent Pondering: List as many names/titles for Jesus as you can. Which is your favorite? Why?


    Carol: Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.”


    Prayer: O God, seventy-nine years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked precipitating our country’s overt involvement in World War II. What a day of infamy! Yet we have had more of such days than we’d like to count. Peace is elusive and we feel under attack as a nation with the war on terror, but also personally with this war with the virus. And certainly we have personal attacks as well. How we need a Savior! You know our needs, O God. Come and restore our joy. Please. Do not delay. Amen. 

  • December 5, 2020

    Isaiah 9:2-3 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou has increased its joy, they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest.


    Advent Pondering: What is your favorite time of day? At night, what is your favorite source of light?


    Carol: Joy to the world! the Lord is come; let earth receive her King; let ev'ry heart prepare him room, and heav'n and nature sing, and heav'n and nature sing, and heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.


    Prayer: We praise you that you are the God of light and creation, not of darkness and chaos. There are many dangers and difficulties in our lives right now, O Lord. Many are depressed who have never known that debilitation before. So send a sliver of hope. Let the light of your love shine so that healing can happen and doubt may be dispelled. Help us! Through Jesus, our Lord, Amen. 

  • december 4, 2020

    Isaiah 35:3-4 “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”


    Advent Pondering: Think of someone who is in a weaker position than you and how you can help strengthen him or her.


    Carol: Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.


    Prayer: O holy Child of Bethlehem, free us from a narrow-perspective that limits our hopes and prevents the flourishing of your Kingdom. So strengthen us all – and especially those who are on the front-lines of battling this virus. Use us to increase the level of care and compassion to all people. Through Jesus we pray, Amen. 

  • December 3, 2020

    Isaiah 40:9-11 Lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that have young.


    Advent Pondering: Pretend you are a shepherd. What kind of animals are in your flock? What responsibilities do you have? What expectations?


    Carol: Shepherds in the field abiding, watching o'er your flocks by night, God with us is now residing; yonder shines the infant Light: Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the new-born King.


    Prayer: Thank you for your everlasting Love and Light, O God. Using the verbs of our scripture passage, we are grateful that you feed, gather, carry, and lead. As you have done for us, please also now do for others. Feed those who are hungry and experience food scarcity. Gather those who are vulnerable that they would know safety. Carry those who are weak and weary – so many are experiencing worry and need your comfort. Lead the leaders of our world so that the power they have may be used for the blessing of others and the healing of the nations. We need you, O God! Hear us and give us Jesus! Amen.

  • December 2, 2020

    Isaiah 40:6-9 A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings.


    Advent Pondering: What is one thing you wish would never change? Why?


    Carol: O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born; O night, O holy night, O night divine!


    Prayer: O God, you who are our guiding light – we live in a world of sin and error. But we thank you for your Holy Word that tells of the greatest story, that of Good News, of love, of eternity. We give thanks that you give us the gift of love and pray that you will always sustain us despite our great need, and that you would watch over those whom we love that they would abide in hope, be kept safe and healthy, and receive the gift of faith. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

  • December 1, 2020

    Isaiah 40:3-5 A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”


    Advent Pondering: What is your favorite highway? Where does it go? Why is it your favorite? What do you think God’s highway is like?


    Carol: O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


    Prayer: Ever-present God – prepare us to receive you. Come to help us, to grant us hope and to heal the world. How we need you. We pray for those who are far from loved ones. We pray for our military. We pray for those who are lonely. Help us and come to save us, for we pray with need and expectation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • November 30, 2020

    Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”


    Advent pondering: What does it mean to speak tenderly? How will you put that into practice this day?


    Carol: “Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, ‘Do you hear what I hear?’ Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, “Do you hear what I hear?’”

    Prayer: Dear God, bring your comfort to our world. So much is so mixed up. But you are the one to bring peace and pardon. Thank you for this season of preparation. So prepare my heart to receive Jesus. And prepare my ears to hear the Good News. And prepare my life that I might serve others effectively and joyfully. Amen.

     

    Prayer: Dear God, bring your comfort to our world. So much is so mixed up. But you are the one to bring peace and pardon. Thank you for this season of preparation. So prepare my heart to receive Jesus. And prepare my ears to hear the Good News. And prepare my life that I might serve others effectively and joyfully. Amen.

  • November 28, 2020

    1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”


    The Good News: This scene about choosing a King for Israel in the Old Testament reveals that God often uses unlikely people to carry out his plans. We live in a world of glamor, celebrity, wealth – but God is not interested in a person’s popularity, but rather in one’s character. Focus on living with faithfulness and integrity and selflessness.


    Prayer: O Righteous Judge, give us strength and fortitude to be the kind of person you want and that the world needs. It’s so easy to crave the praise of others. Help us not to seek to be admired for the way we look or the things we own or the power we wield, but rather to humble ourselves so that we can be servants of others – helping, caring, encouraging. So we lift up in gratitude those who give of themselves so selflessly. We thank you for volunteers giving of their time and talent to make this a better world. We thank you for those who donate blood and plasma. We thank you for EMTs and firefighters and police officers. We thank you for teachers. We thank you for public defenders. We thank you for those who wash dishes and clean our clothes and haul away our garbage. So many give and serve in order to make this a better world. Bless us O God, that we might be a blessing to others and to work for the up-building of your Kingdom. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • November 27, 2020

    1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."


    The Good News: God gives so much. This verse from First Corinthians doesn’t diminish faith or hope – because they are so important, good and needed. Yet it does elevate love – which bears all things and endures all things. Love never ends. God loves you… and always will.


    Prayer: O God – what a different year this is! In the past many people would have spent this day dealing with crowds of people at malls and stores. The traffic for the holiday weekend would have been immense. With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, plans have been altered. Online shopping has become the focus. Few people went “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house.” Who would have even thought this would be the way of the world even ten months ago? So help us God as we seek to adapt. Help us to manage capably in new ways. And help our businesses! So many are struggling and trying to stay economically in the game. These are people’s livelihoods. So get us through this pandemic quickly – and in the meantime, use us to come alongside small business owners, and gig workers, and those who are self-employed. We pray for restaurant owners, staff and patrons. And barbershops and salons. And gyms. Retail stores and their clerks. We pray for those who manage properties, landscapers, those in construction. And we pray for those who are unemployed that they may find work to provide them a decent and living wage. Help our economy; help our world, O God. Amen. 

  • November 26, 2020

    Psalm 100 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”


    The Good News: God’s faithfulness is past, and present, and future. All generations are in God’s great embrace. Let us remember, and despite physical distancing, give praise that we are never alone. Let us give thanks!


    Prayer: Praise be to you, our great God and Savior! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Yes, this is a day set-aside for gratitude, but we pray that that attitude would infuse each day and permeate our very being. The concerns of the world are many and great, yet so are the blessings. Though there are many things we can’t or shouldn’t do today because of this virus, it is still a beautiful world. The bounty is great. First and foremost – thank you for the grace of your presence, loving Lord! You suffered, died on the cross and rose from the dead to give to us the gift (and it’s a gift – no strings attached!) of life. We are grateful. In addition to the gift of abundant and eternal life, you give us companionship. Thank you for family (both human and animal!). For unconditional love, we lift up our hearts in praise. And where those relationships are strained and involve struggle, we pray for healing, help and reconciliation. Thus we also bring thanks for friends – for those who come alongside not because they have to, but because they want to. Thank you, gracious God, for food to eat, air to breathe, shelter from the storm. As we receive your blessings, may we, in turn, be a blessing to others in your name. 

  • November 25, 2020

    1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on God because God cares for you."


    The Good News: To think that the God who created the far-flung galaxies and the tiniest cell is mindful of each one of us --- astonishing and encouraging! God knows you by name and cares for each person – not just generally, but specifically. So it is that God wants to help carry your burdens. Give them to him!


    Prayer: O God – we are glad that we can shift our attention for a moment from the election and the pandemic. The election results are stabilizing and the vaccine trials appear hopeful; thank you, thank you, thank you. So today we bring to you prayers that have been in the background of the news, but the foreground of our hearts. We bring our anxieties to you, where winter has come early to our souls. We pray for loved ones dealing with addictions and alcoholism -- being isolated can heighten the temptations. We pray for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia – so sad for them who have forgotten so much, and so sad for us as we ache for just a flicker of loving recognition. We pray for loved ones with cancer – what a dread disease and just upends so much. Bring healing! And help us each and all to know, remember and believe that we are more than just a disease or a label which can so often seek to define us. We are your beloved children! So thank you, O Father. Thank you for cradling us, for being there for us, for loving us. Help us in our uncertainties and provide for us reasons for joy and opportunities for hope. For the sake of Jesus – your Son, our Lord. Amen. 

  • November 24, 2020

    Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”


    The Good News: God’s grace is glorious. When we are in need, God meets that need. God will supply what we require. Day by day!


    Prayer: Day by day, and with each passing moment, we need your strength, care and provision. As we worry, and as we wonder, and as we weep, we come to you. You have promised to listen – for this we give abiding thanks. So thank you, O God. Thanks for listening. Thanks for not telling us that you are too busy or that you think our requests don’t merit your attention. That you care for us is truly a blessing. Because we have so many needs. We pray for our health; that’s physical health and healing; that’s emotional health as we’re not gathering with all the friends and family we’d like; that’s economic health as we’re never sure that we’ll have enough; that’s mental health as virtual learning and “an abundance of caution” takes its toll; and that’s spiritual health for these are dreary days and dark nights. We want to praise you, but just the daily-ness of this corona-virus and the doom and gloom of the news weigh us down. So transform this day O Lord. Grant us the gift of resting in your arms, and sensing that even though it seems all wrong, it will be all right. Bless us so that we may be a blessing to others in some tangible way this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

  • November 23, 2020

    Romans 12:9 "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good."


    The Good News: There is more than enough evil in the world. We are not to participate in extending or even allowing for it. We are to opt out of revenge. God will deal with issues of justice. Our job? Love! With our heart, mind, soul and strength. Hold on!


    Prayer: It’s a tough world, Jesus. You know – you lived it too. So much violence and hatred. People are scared and angry. And hurt people hurt people. Yet you call us to break the cycle of mistrust, of bullying, of sin. Help us to reflect your light into the darkness. We want to shine! So strengthen us for service. Give us opportunities for bringing beauty into the world. Let your love flow through what we say and do. In this time when so many are feeling so discouraged, help us be beacons of hope. We come alongside them, and before You, in directed prayer. We pause to lift up those who are feeling like life is hopeless. That is so debilitating – so for those seeking employment, seeking acceptance, seeking health, seeking a relationship, seeking a fresh start, seeking meaning, seeking forgiveness, seeking freedom from addiction, seeking peace… we pause with urgency and intention. Help them! Save us! Break the bonds of evil and usher in a new era of blessing. Ever and always to your glory, O great and gracious God. Amen.

  • November 21, 2020

    Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


    The Good News: God is with us wherever we go. And whenever we “shelter in place.” God is with us morning, noon and night. These are challenging times, but God asks us to be strong and courageous – because we sustained by the victorious Lord of the universe.


    Prayer: We are grieving, O God. Not going to all the sporting events and tailgating, or going to the movies, or doing any number of usual Saturday things we might otherwise have been doing. So we waver, going between all the stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining; depression. Are any really at “acceptance?” That’s a hard one – because we keep praying, and wanting, and expecting that this nightmare will one day end. Sure life may never be “normal” again, but at least some of the cherished activities and opportunities of years past will be restored. So, help us God. Bring that restoration! Yet in the meantime, sustain us in our denial, support us through our anger, be patient with us in our bargaining and lift us from depression. We can’t do this on our own. It’s too much. So, with your might and power bring about a positive change. We need it. We need you. Come to us and to our world that we might be strong and courageous in our living and in our serving. In the name of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

  • November 20, 2020

    Micah 6:8 “God has showed you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”


    The Good News: Are we required to pray in a certain way? Does God reward us according to how many good-deeds we perform? Is there a quota of how many worship services we attend before we can retire? The answer is that our faith isn’t evidenced by those sort of things, but rather by justice, mercy and humility. It’s a life-long journey. But we are always accompanied by our loving Savior.


    Prayer: O God – it used to be that the requirements were obvious: we went to school, we went to work, we went to church. We were busy – so busy – going and doing. But for the last nine months we’ve had to slow down. Redirect. Reimagine. Reprioritize. So help us to focus not on accomplishing and achieving as much as to performing small deeds of kindness. Or to think of others more than ourselves. To not claiming our entitled rights as much as to care for the least, the lonely, the lost. So although we fervently pray for an end to this pandemic, thank you for giving us opportunities to remember and acknowledge all that matters most. Thank you for friends (and for those who don’t have friends – provide opportunities for companionship). Thank you for health (and for those who are sick, bring healing.) Thank you for family (and where there is conflict, would that there be forgiveness and reconciliation). Thank you for faith (and where there is doubt or disbelief, touch hearts with the spark of your Holy Spirit.). In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • November 19, 2020

    Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”


    The Good News: When we get up each day we are faced with a decision: what to wear. In addition to a literal choice, it’s a metaphorical choice too. As God as chosen us, let us choose today to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. What a wardrobe! You are looking good!


    Prayer: Help! Help us, O God. Help our world. The challenges are many as the covid-numbers rise. People continue to debate whether or not to wear masks. People continue to blame China. People argue about the response along political party lines. It’s wearying. Fatigue is real. Tired of the election and the politics. Tired of having plans changed again and again and again. Tired of not knowing what tomorrow brings. Tired of every single moment being focused on what we are or aren’t supposed to do. So – I’m trying to change my attitude, God. Help me raise my compassion quotient. Grant me gentleness. Because fundamentally I am grateful. Thank you for the blessings of living in a free country. Thank you for medical advances. Thank you for the numerous people who work selflessly – in our hospitals, our nursing homes, our prisons, our restaurants, our schools, our churches. Watch over our police officers, EMTS and first aid squads, fire fighters, our military, with your protecting hand. We pray for our farmers and those who labor in the many facets of food production and delivery. We pray for electricians, plumbers, welders, landscapers. We pray for those who deliver our mail and packages – thank you for how we stay connected and shop despite this pandemic. And certainly not least – thank you, O God, for the grace and gift of your Son Jesus – the hope of the world. Amen.

  • November 18, 2020

    John 3:16 "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."


    The Good News: This foundational verse of Scripture encapsulates so much. God is present, not absent. God loves, not ignores. God gives, not withholds. Death does not have the last word, God does – and that word is life! We will not fully nor finally die, but rather will know God’s perfect peace along with all those who also love the Lord.


    Prayer: Savior God – how we look to you! We are overwhelmed by the ongoing challenges of 2020. Most of the year has been consumed by the election or by the coronavirus. So, in your abiding love – in and through Jesus, bring solutions. These are just single phrases, but they contain our fiercest hopes and our greatest needs. So our Father, bring: economic help to our businesses, perseverance for our health care workers, companionship for the lonely, patience with those whose opinions differ from ours, opportunities for occasions of joy, wisdom for those who lead, cooperation among the nations, courage to live faithfully, healing for the sick, resurrection for the dying, hope for the rest of us, peace for the world. Amen.

  • November 17, 2020

    Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


    The Good News: God promises that there is a season for everything. A time to work and be weary – and a time to be refreshed and to rest. When we are feeling worn out or worn down – come to Jesus, he’ll support you and be a balm for your soul.


    Prayer: Bright Morning Star – shine your divine light on us and our world. In these desperate times, what a blessing it is to receive your invitation to not only share our problems, but to hand them over entirely. So, please… light our path and lift our burdens. You know our needs and what makes us toss and turn at night. We pause now to humbly ask you to bring peace to our troubled minds. Revive our tired bodies. Guide our church. Watch over our children. Bless our senior citizens. Protect our first responders. Encourage all essential workers. Feed the hungry. Forgive our sins. Overcome our doubts. Inspire our leaders. Teach your ways. Provide for our needs. Surprise us with Good News. For we give praise and honor and glory to you, O Son of God for already defeating death. Alleluia. Amen. 

  • November 16, 2020

    Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


    The Good News: We are weary. But with God we will be strengthened. We are tired, but with God weshall be renewed. The promise is sure. In this marathon of a pandemic, we can continue to run, with the help of God.


    Prayer: Guide us O Thou Great Jehovah – we feel adrift. We are planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not in ways we would be doing typically. There are questions: Travel? How many can safely gather? Parties? So we sigh as we realize that we can’t go back to normal when there is no normal to go back to. So help us to find new ways of celebration. As we do that, even with the disappointment, we are grateful for the caution that keeps us healthy. So many in the medical field have worked so selflessly and diligently to battle this coronavirus. Thank you for their dedication and sacrifice. May the day hasten, O God, when we can gather without restrictions. Until then, give us the gift of patience. We are waiting – so renew our strength as you have promised to do. And give an extra measure of strength to all those who work to keep us well: doctors, nurses, swab-takers, EMTs, optometrists, dentists, hygienists, veterinarians, therapists, PAs, technicians, dieticians, pharmacists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, chiropractors, radiologists, counselors, researchers, among so many others… In the name of the great Physician, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

  • November 14, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


    The Good News: God is with us! What an amazing thing. Other faith-traditions have a distant god or an impersonal deity – but as followers of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity of a relationship. We are connected to God – and God is connected to us, helping and upholding us. Fear not!


    Prayer: Dear God – it’s been 244 days since we last could gather in your sanctuary for worship without physical distancing. Even then it was with “air-high-fives” and not touching hymnals and ushers with latex gloves. What does the future hold!? We pray for a vaccine. We pray for the ability to keep our psychological fortitude. We pray for wisdom about how and when fully to reopen church. So many prayers! But we bring them to you for you have promised to uphold us. We’re taking you up on that offer. Strengthen us! Help us! Uphold us! We miss being together – singing together, coffee-houring together, church-schooling together, laughing and praying and weeping together. How quickly the things that we often took for-granted just stopped. For a few months we were resolute – but this is getting very, very tiring. O Lord, we miss hugging and handshakes! Yet in the midst of it all, we are grateful that we have the essentials – we have You. We have prayer. We have not all we want, but all that we need. So, in humility, we simply say, “Thank you.” In gratitude for your over-arching, never-failing, salvation-granting, everlasting love – “thank you, Jesus.” Amen.

  • November 13, 2020

    Matthew 6:31-32 Don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.


    The Good News: Being human, we are prone to worry. But worrying is like being in a rocking chair – it expends energy, but gets us nowhere. So help us to rest in your provision and providence.


    Prayer: O Lord – this is the first “Friday the 13th” since March. So much has changed since then. So much!!!! Our blood pressure goes up and our stress-levels increase as we think about all the deep needs of our world. We worry about our health – who to believe? What should stay open? Or ought we think about re-closing things? We worry about the economy. We worry about climate change. We worry about our finances. We pray for our children. Give us a peace of mind, O God. And even as we do so, we thank you that you send people to support and sustain us. We thank you for the vocations of social workers, therapists, coaches. We thank you for wise friends and supportive neighbors and caring colleagues. Send us a reminder – somehow, someway -- of your presence O God, so that we can rest easier this day and sleep well this night. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

  • November 12, 2020

    Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.


    The Good News: Yes, sin is all around --- entangling us, ensnaring us, tripping us up. Yet the power of Jesus is stronger. And God sends us others to remind us of Jesus when we’re feeling vulnerable. So remember that there are those who are cheering for you from heaven as you run your earthly race!


    Prayer: Preserving and Persevering God, thank you for not giving up on us or on our world. With power-struggles here on earth, with wars and rumors of war, with bodily aches and pains, with questions that abound, we do a lot of wondering. What’s going on? Is there some kind of divine message you are trying to send us? When will this pandemic end? How are we supposed to react? Who are we supposed to trust? Well – though there are so many earthly voices clamoring for our ears, we know that ultimately we can trust You. Thank you for that. And thank you for all your people, especially the people who have loved us and now cheer for us from your presence. If we could be so bold – could they/you send a sign of care? A reminder of love? A reassurance in a specific way that all will be okay? Yet we know and confess that you’ve already done that – it’s called a cross. So for the sacrificial love of Jesus, thank you. Thank you for saving us. Thank you for rescuing us from death. Thank you for not leaving us alone. So it is, in gratitude for your love, that we lift up those who need a special measure of that love – the lonely, the left-out, the least. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

  • November 11, 2020

    John 15:13-18 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


    The Good News: Jesus died sacrificially. Jesus lives victoriously! As those then who have been saved by grace alone, those who have been called the friends of Christ, those who are appointed to bear fruit – let us love one another!


    Prayer: O Lord, on this Veteran’s Day we think of The Battle Hymn of the Republic which has a stanza that proclaims, “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free while God is marching on!” So, O God, march on to bring peace to our world. We remember those who have made ultimate sacrifices on the battlefield and those who actively serve our country through the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force. We lift up those in the Reserves and National Guard; we pray for our veterans. We lift up their families asking for your comfort. For the women and men of our military, be their guide, strength and stay; protect them as they protect us. May there be a lessening of conflict and war, and, O God, use this time of world-wide pandemic to unify all peoples in the way of peace. It is a big ask – but you are an even bigger God – so, please: Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour. Heal our world. In the saving name of Jesus, Amen. 

  • November 10, 2020

    Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


    The Good News: Witnesses are those who testify to the truth of something. What a privilege is ours that we get to (in word and deed) speak of the truth of God’s over-arching presence and eternal love. Let us be bold in our witness!


    Prayer: Precious Savior, sometimes we hold back from doing all we could and should to make this a better world. We confess that failing. Yet we want to do better. To be better. So, help us to accept that you cherish us, claim us, call us, and commission us – just as we are – for the upbuilding of your Kingdom. So thank you for making me exactly how you did. Sure – there are things I would change, yet in your wisdom, you’ve given aptitudes and abilities to match what is needed in this world. So now, I’m praying for the opportunity to make a difference. Despite all that is going on in the world, may I, in my small sphere of influence, testify to your amazing grace and unconditional love, O God. May my words be clear in compassion and may my actions glorify your Name. So strengthen me, support me, sustain me. In response to your forgiveness, may I forgive. In response to your loving me, may I seek to love others generously. May thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen. 

  • November 9, 2020

    Genesis 8:22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.


    The Good News: To everything there is a season. In this season of leading into Thanksgiving we abide in the knowledge that God’s promise is that we shall endure. There are storms and pandemics and turmoil, but God will not fail nor forsake us. Thanks be to God!


    Prayer: O God – you whose love for us never changes, we live in a world of change. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. In this time of “refraining from embracing” we humbly ask for you to come closer and enfold us with your comfort. We seek peace, not chaos. We need healing, not and more cases of COVID. We desire harmony, not discord. So help use be promoters of harmony, blending our voices with others in creating beauty and blessing. We are grateful for those who work at creating channels of conversation in a world where dissonance is often prevalent. May we be in a season of listening and not yelling. May we be in a season of respect that says “just because others think differently doesn’t automatically make them wrong.” Come, Holy Spirit to illuminate and guide. May this be a season of faith and faithfulness! Amen. 

  • November 7, 2020

    1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on God because God cares for you.


    The Good News: Did you catch the word “all?” Not only can we bring all our anxieties to God, we must do so. God instructs and invites us to give him everything that keeps us tossing and turning at night and distracted and disturbed during the day. Let God carry your cares and woes, he’s more capable than we are in dealing with them.


    Prayer: From the hymn by John Greenleaf Whittier, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”

    Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

    Forgive our foolish ways!

    Reclothe us in our rightful mind,

    In purer lives Thy service find,

    In deeper reverence, praise.

    Drop Thy still dews of quietness,

    Till all our strivings cease;

    Take from our souls the strain and stress,

    And let our ordered lives confess

    The beauty of Thy peace. Amen. 

  • November 6, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


    The Good News: Have you ever been knocked down – either physically or emotionally? That happens, and most often through no fault of our own. But, thanks be to God, we are given a hand up. Jesus comes to strengthen us and help us. God is not some remote abstract being, but rather personally involved and wanting to assist us – 24/7.


    Prayer: O dear God (can you sense the pleading in those words?...) we need help. We need you. More cases of Covid-19? It seems as if no place is safe. So even though you instruct us not to be dismayed, we are. Is that okay? Are you disappointed by our weakness? We hope not because we are trying to keep on keeping on with a positive attitude. So strengthen our resolve. Give us reasons to celebrate and cheer. So, claiming your promise of being with us, we turn towards practicing “an attitude of gratitude.” So…! Thank you! For today (remember when we lightly said TGIF?). For homes with heat (and for the opportunity to assist those who don’t.) For doctors and nurses and pharmacists. For those who staff our nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. For teachers. For churches. For anniversaries and birthdays. For a night of rest and a day of opportunity. For the grace of your abiding presence Jesus – you who are the Savior of All and the King of kings and Lord of lords. Bring peace to our world and to our souls. Humbly we pray, Amen. 

  • November 5, 2020

    Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


    The Good News: There are such depths of worldly challenge. And it’s easy to fix our eyes on the problems. Or on all that we can’t do (like the Election Day Events or travel during teacher convention break). Retrain your gaze. Jesus suffered much, endured much, but now is victorious. So, in his name, shall we be!


    Prayer: O God – we’re tired of this. Tired of sheltering in place. Tired of the news. Tired of not knowing how long all this will go on. We’ve been trying to make the best of it, but sometimes it feels like we’re close to breaking. And now with sunset at 4:48 pm today it just reinforces how we are feeling like everything is trending towards dreariness. Would you help revive our spirits O God? We know that Jesus suffered even more – but we’re not at strong or faithful. So please restore some joy. Give us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. And as we pray that for ourselves, we pause to pray for others. There are people with covid and cancer – heal them. There are people with addictions and anxiety – cut through their issues to provide a better way. There are those seeking employment and worried about money – give opportunities for work and ways to meet their stress. We pray for our children and grandchildren – may the future provide blessings and health and happiness for them. Guide us in living faithfully and to your glory, O God. Amen.

  • November 4, 2020

    Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


    The Good News: We think about a lot of things – and many of them produce anxiety and fear and deep concern. So much is unsettled. But God will set all things right – so let that permeate and take hold of our thoughts. Focus on the positives and the truth of God and all that is praiseworthy. God reigns.


    Prayer: We come to you in prayer, O God. In a world where what is promoted are things that aren’t noble. Things that are wrong. Things that discourage and debilitate. So help us this day to focus rather on the things of faith. Your ways are higher than our ways. Your purposes greater than our purposes. Your love stronger than anything here on earth. Your peace is not temporal, but eternal. So thank you for the amazing grace given through Jesus. Though there are many trials, toils and snares, God is working for our salvation. So we think about such things… lifting up to you lovely and admirable things – like beautiful autumn leaves, the selflessness of pets, the cup of cold water, the opportunity for a hot shower, the endorphins of exercise, the harmony of music, a well-told story, the laughter of children… We thank you for friends. For family. For faith. Heal our bodies and help our world. In the name of our Savior Jesus, Amen. 

  • November 3, 2020

    1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


    The Good News: This verse hangs in the kitchen on Election Day, reminding us that – on that day – and every day -- in fellowship, in worship, in ministry, in service – when we do the work of the Lord, what we do matters – even in, or especially in, a time of crisis like these present days.


    Prayer: Holy, holy, holy God – this is a day fraught with concern. No matter electoral outcomes – which may or may not be definitive – there is the real possibility of violence, of disputed results, of challenge. What has happened to us and to our country? So please, O Lord, speak to our need. Promote peace. Heal any unhappy divisions.

    As we miss our Election Day Events, keep our congregation strong and faithful. May we yet be those who reflect what it means to give, to care, to serve. Even amid the challenges of pandemic, we think of those who cook delicious meals, serve coffee and tea, make gravy and coleslaw and mashed potatoes, wait on hungry guests, and create quilts and bake cakes and can jelly, and craft items for the delight of others. So we pray for wait-staff at restaurants, and clerks at shops, and those who stock shelves and check-out customers at grocery stores. We pray for farmers. And we pray for ourselves. Help us, O God. How we need you. In the name of, and for the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

  • November 2, 2020

    1 John 4:4-5 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.


    The Good News: The ways of the world are challenging to say the least. There are always concerns and problems that make us toss and turn. But we have One who provides rest because Jesus Christ, fully human, is also the Son of God. His is the victory! Because of him, victory is ours! We shall overcome.


    Prayer: Dearest Friend and Savior, so much of this strange new world is difficult and challenging: the inability to visit in hospitals and nursing homes; twelve-step sobriety programs unable to provide in-person accountability; missing the kind of learning that happens through the give-and-take of the classroom; sharing communion in real time with real people with a common elements of bread and wine. It just seems to lose something when we can’t be seeing the smiling faces of others. Still – we know that it’s not all about us. Though we’d prefer worshiping without restrictions, we acknowledge that wherever we are, and however we join together, you are there – and that’s what matters ultimately. So help us and help us come alongside those in need: the sick and the dying, the lost and the lonely, the anxious and the angry. Give unto us a good night’s rest and a morning’s opportunity to be a blessing to others. Thank you for the timeless, frameless, abiding grace of your presence, O God. In the name of the One who was, who is, and ever more will be, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

  • October 31, 2020

    Ephesians 6:10-15 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."


    The Good News: On this Halloween and Reformation Day, so much is different than we could ever imagine. Yet what has always been proclaimed is still yet true, we are saved by God’s grace alone. Evil has been vanquished on the cross. No more tricks --- only treats!


    Prayer: (Martin Luther’s morning prayer) I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen. 

  • October 30, 2020

    Revelation 22:1-2 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”


    The Good News: The time is promised when there will be no more war, negative-election-ads, border-disputes, anymore. The healing of the nations! Yes! That harmony of you, O God, with all of creation and You with us and us with You. “Love one another” will not be a command, but a statement of reality. All will be made right. Come, Lord Jesus.


    Prayer: Great and gracious God – we long for the time when your promised peace is a full reality. What are you waiting for? I know that you long for more and more people to come to the saving knowledge of your Son – that you want no one to miss out -- but it just seems like the longer we wait the further from peace we get. Yet our ways are not your ways, and frankly I’m glad not to be in charge of the universe, so I will trust in your grace and rest in the knowledge that, in the right time, in the right way, you will heal all diseases, wipe away all tears and usher in your Kingdom. As we await for that, we give thanks for those who give us a glimpse of what is yet to be – healers, artists, philanthropists, teachers, grandparents, kindness-doers, and peace-proclaimers. Enable us, in some specific way, to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus. Love wins! Alleluia. Amen. 

  • October 29, 2020

    Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."


    The Good News: From an anonymous author: “Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord. After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me." The Lord replied, "My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."


    Prayer: Carry me, Heavenly Father. Cradle me, Jesus. Comfort me, Holy Spirit. Carry me, Heavenly Father. Cradle me, Jesus. Comfort me, Holy Spirit. Carry me, Heavenly Father. Cradle me, Jesus. Comfort me, Holy Spirit. Amen. 

  • October 28, 2020

    2 Thessalonians 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one."


    The Good News: Evil is pervasive. But God is stronger yet. Do not be discouraged. We know how the story ends! God is victorious. Stay the course!


    Prayer: Gracious God – We don’t talk a lot about the Evil One. But there is so much wrong in our world – how else to account for the disease and distrust? So please, (please, please, please) counteract all that is destructive and darkness with your healing light. Restore a sense of what you intended from the beginning when you looked at creation and said, “it is good.” You have combated the powers of evil through the victory of the cross. Death has been defeated. So make that truth hold sway in our world today. Come, Lord Jesus to be with us, above us to protect, beside us to defend, beneath us to support. Strengthen our bodies and encourage our spirits. Wipe tears from our eyes and ease the pains that persist. We hope in you because you are faithful! Not “might be faithful” or “were faithful” – but “the Lord is faithful.” Claiming this present truth, we are grateful. We give thanks that so many volunteer to making this a better world. We give thanks that you provide friends to come alongside. We give thanks for the grace of the presence of your Son, Our Lord, Jesus. Dwell with us and protect us, humbly we pray. Amen. 

  • October 27, 2020

    Psalm 5:11 "But let all you take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."


    The Good News: We have safety and security in and through Jesus. When we are worried, we have a place of refuge and protection. Hold fast to that truth and rejoice.

     

    Prayer: O Lord – joy seems elusive. Right now the news cycles are about increased covid-19 cases and the election. Some days I just want to tune it all out. I know it’s not right to bury my head in the sand, but I do need refuge -- a safe place that gives space for hope to flourish. So come Lord – come and put that protection over me and those I love. Keep the virus at bay. Keep spirits from deflating. Remind me of your presence in a way that I can know and feel. Perhaps I’m not supposed to need those reminders – but these days they should are helpful. So send a sign of your love. And as you do that -- use me to be that kind of sign for others. Keep me in mind to be an agent of care, kindness, love, reconciliation, beauty and blessing. Let me reflect the joy of Jesus in what I do and say this day. Amen! 

  • October 26, 2020

    1 John 4:8–9 "Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him."


    The Good News: It’s so simple, but contains the most amazing and complex and salvation-providing truth ever: God is love! Accept that gift and be at peace!


    Prayer: O Lord, our Lord – we’ve had to adapt. And, surprise of surprises, we’ve managed to do some pretty creative things – online worship, zoom happy hours, choir collaborations, drive-by parties, virtual vacations, learning new skills. But now we’re moving from adaptation to innovation. How are we going to live ongoingly like this? That’s a challenge – so we come to you, O Lord. We’re leaning hard into your wisdom to show us how we can sing your song in this foreign land. May this become an opportunity for your Word to take root in ways that weren’t imaginable even last year. So thank you for families worshiping together, reading the Bible together, praying together. Thank you for the slower pace that provides times for big discussions about good and evil, about ethics, about purposefulness, about privilege, about responsibility. Thank you for neighbors getting to know each other. And most especially, thank you for your love. Jesus – you are our rock, and upon you we anchor ourselves, our families, our church, our society, our world. So in our ever-changing world, thank you for your saving love which never changes. Strengthen us, we pray. In Christ, our living Lord and Savior’s name, Amen.

  • October 24, 2020

    Luke 24:1–3 "But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body."


    The Good News: Though the celebration of Easter is a half-year away, every day is resurrection day! The Lord is risen! Death will be no more. Abide in the promise of Good News!


    Prayer: Alleluia! All praise to you O God! With your grace, by your power and to your glory, you raised Jesus from the dead. And now, in Christ, all those who die will be raised to new life. Eternal life! I scarce can take in the joy that awaits! O God – how great thou art! So, despite the pain and problems of this world, we know that they will only have their moment. They do not – cannot – will not – last. What lasts is life in your name. Love wins! How we long for that day when all shall be set right. So we live in gratitude. We are thankful… for this day; for the beauty of all nature; for people who love us; for all that we can yet do. We thank you for technology that enables connections. We thank you for medical advances that promote healing. We thank you for people who selflessly pursue vocations of service. Thank you for your Son, our Lord, Jesus. Abiding in his love, we lift up prayers for others: for those who are feeling lost, lonely, and least. For those who are chosen last. For those seeking employment. For those trying to break the stranglehold of addiction. For those who have relationships that are hard. For those who are ill and dying. Grant us peace. Amen. 

  • October 23, 2020

    Psalm 34:17–18 "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit."


    The Good News: God stands with the broken hearted, the dispirited, the troubled. You are never alone.


    Prayer: These are unsettled times, O God. We seek relief from problems that beset us, guidance for challenges that could undermine us, encouragement despite the troubles that pile up, patience with the situations we cannot change, and salvation from all that would crush our spirits. So needing you – we come in prayer. Hear our words, but also hear our unspoken needs. You know our hearts. Where we are most scared and anxious and worried. Bring the calm of your Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts. Healing, help and hope – we need these, and more! We pray for our country as we seek “liberty and justice for all.” We pray for our church as we seek to live and love like Jesus. We pray for our families as we seek comfort and care. We pray for our world as we seek peace. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • October 22, 2020

    Psalm 62:6: “God only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”


    The Good News: So much of life shifts and changes. The one thing that doesn’t – and can’t – change is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s God-guaranteed through the death and resurrection of Jesus.


    Prayer: What a friend we have in Jesus – all our sins and griefs to bear! There are things we’ve done which we ought not to have done. There are things we’ve neglected to do which we ought to have done. Even though we regularly miss the mark, God loves us. Forgive us. And encourages us to do better next time. And so O God – help me to do better. Help me to extend care to those I might otherwise ignore, to say “I’m sorry” to someone I hurt, to listen attentively, to give more generously, to give the benefit of the doubt. After all – God, you love me in spite of myself, so help me to do the same for others. What freedom is found in forgiveness. Thus, I turn my emotional scrapes and scars over to you Jesus. And in doing so I’m opting today to seek those things that promote kindness, extend mercy, encourage hope, and provide for peace. Thank you for friends, for makers of music, beauty and joy. Thank you God for this life you’ve given. It’s not always easy, but it is always good. Praise, thanksgiving and honor to you – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

  • October 21, 2020

    Psalm 100: 4–5 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."


    The Good News: Trace how the handprint of God has touched your life in the past – and give thanks for how God is – and has been – and will be -- at work for your blessing. Even in hard times, God is faithful. Grateful. Thankful. Blessed!


    Prayer: Gracious and Giving God – how we pray for an end to this pandemic. How we pray for an end to bitter divisions in our nation. These are consuming prayers – as they ought to be. But we also look back and remember and give thanks. Those living in the dark days of World War II, enduring sacrifice and blackouts and rationing and worry – and an uncertain end to the war, looked to you; and as we look back we give thanks that evil was defeated. Yes – a great cost of lives and the genocide of Jews, which we grieve. Yet you walked us through that valley of the shadow of death. We are asking for that once again in our generation. We are fighting a microscopic enemy that has threatened our very way of life. Grant us victory, we humbly pray! And so we pray for those engaged in fights for freedom and health – our military, our doctors and nurses, our emergency responders, our front-line essential workers. Guide their work, protect their health and well-being, bless them in their vocations, give them success. With gratitude for those who sacrifice so that we might have life. Thank you for Jesus, who laid down his life so that we never be defeated. Amen. 

  • oCTOBER 20, 2020

    Romans 5:4–5 "And endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."


    The Good News: Be anchored by hope – and do not lose heart. As we endure, we are strengthened. And all praise to God – we are not alone. We have God’s love – the best gift of all gifts!


    Prayer: O God – O God – O God – we come to you with somewhat desperate pleas. The Covid-19 diagnoses are the highest since July. Really? Can we not be done with this? And yet we also hear that one of the greatest threat now is “covid-fatigue.” Which we understand. We’re just tired of it. Tired of the anxiousness. Tired of the numbers reported on the news. Tired of living with “an abundance of caution.” Tired of canceling plans. Tired of not hugging and being hugged back. We thought that “sheltering at home” would be a necessary but relatively short thing. And while it’s still necessary, it’s been so long. And with no end in sight. That’s some of the problem, O God. If we knew when this would end, we could hang on better. But we don’t. And so help us. Grant us patience. Perseverance. Reliance on your perspective. And bring health and healing to us and to our world. These are the real and deep cries of our heart, O Lord. Help! Amen. 

  • october 19, 2020

    2 Timothy 1:6-7 "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."


    The Good News: God’s Spirit is full of love, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness. And more! So though we experience earth-bound fear, the presence of God will vanquish fear. Let us live with the burning blessings of God!


    Prayer: Good and gracious God – we ask for your blessings to abide generation to generation. So we pray for those of wisdom-earned years – keep them from frailty and fear, and give them strength and hope and purpose. We pray for those who are leading and working and providing. Give opportunities to labor with creativity, fulfillment and blessing. In these uncertain times so many are wondering about the future of their business or the longevity of their employment. Help, O God! We pray for our college and high school-aged generation; thank you that they have enabled so many others to deal effectively with new technologies. Yet we pray for them as they are trying to figure out on-line learning, dating in the time of covid, and how to yet experience internships and recitals and sports seasons. We pray for our younger generation as a growing percentage of their life is spent masked and distanced. Support them – and the teachers and parents that are educating in new ways. Guide us into a future that will be different, and yet, we pray, good. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

  • October 17, 2020

    Romans 5: 1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”


    The Good News: Faith! Peace! Grace! Rejoice! Hope! Glory! What a great bit of God’s Word. Through our relationships with Jesus, we can stand on the everlasting, life-giving promises of God.


    Prayer: God of grace and glory – these are critical times. So many are sick – whether coronavirus or cancer or any number of diseases. And so many are out of work, so many are running thin on patience, so many are anxious about, not only next week, but the holidays. So guide those who are making critical decisions about how and when to keep reopening business and society in general. For business leaders making difficult decisions that affect the lives of their employees: God, give wisdom. We need you O God! Provide a future that is marked by opportunities to serve and praise and work and play and laugh and cry and sing and share – together! Though the challenges are many, we bring our petitions to you, who is mightier than a virus. We humbly ask you to open us possibilities of something great. Reveal that to us. May more and more people recognize that you – Wonderful Counselor -- are needed and necessary – and the way to life that is both abundant and eternal. Thank you for your Amazing Grace that has brought us safe thus far, and that grace that will lead us home. We pray in the name of our Precious Savior, Jesus. Amen.

  • October 16, 2020

    Romans 12: 17-18 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”


    The Good News: Life is filled with challenges – one of those is to rise above the desire for retribution. We can’t do that without the power of God at work within us. Let us seek to live honorably and peacefully.


    Prayer: O God – help us to live honorably. You have set an example of non-violence, of love that dispels fear, of a better way forward. So O Prince of Peace, guide people so that there may be a wave of compassion and generosity of spirit that has been too sadly absent of late. Help people (and help me, O Lord!) to listen caringly, to speak compassionately, and to love unreservedly. But love is not always returned and hatred is embedded deep into the psyche of some. All the more reason to come to you -- for you, O God, are the only hope for this world. No legislation nor ruling nor political posturing will be able to unite us in peace. Only you. So do a miraculous work of softening hearts and upbuilding lives. We pray for a future where wars will cease, all people be valued, tears wiped away, disease vanquished, hate dispelled, addictions broken, and fear diminished completely. So, come in power and might, O God. And until that day of glory, help us so to live as to be examples of beauty and blessing, care and compassion, faith and fortitude. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

  • October 15, 2020

    Joel 2:28, 32 “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions… And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


    The Good News: God’s grace is amazing; God’s salvation is for all. It’s not about what we do (or don’t do) but about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Alleluia! Thanks be to God!


    Prayer: What a day of beauty and blessing! All we have needed, thy hand has provided – so thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for parents, partners, and children! For friends! For the grace of your presence, O Lord and Savior. You have been with us in the past – and so we entrust our future to your providence. Yet these past months have been challenging – to say the least! It’s now been seven months (and counting…) since we worshiped together with singing in the sanctuary. This Sunday with be the 31st Sunday of “virtual church.” How much longer? Though we long for reconnections and reunions, we pause in gratitude for our congregation. We pause in prayer for our community… our country… our world. There is so much for which we can yet be thankful. We are grateful for our first responders, our military, our emergency service personnel, our essential workers. So many work selflessly for the welfare of others. And we lift up praise for the promised Good News that “everyone who calls on your name, O Lord, will be saved.” So, for your wide embrace of love, for your promise of life, for the inclusive welcome your provide: thank you. Claiming the presence of the Holy Spirit, Amen! 

  • October 14, 2020

    Luke 1:78-79 “Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”


    The Good News: Even in difficult times, and even when we encounter the shadow of death, light and eternal life are the gifts of our gracious God. Hold on – and ask God to guide you.


    Prayer: Precious Lord, Author of perfect mercy, praise be to you for the gift of this day. Thank you for the companionship of your Son who came to earth so that we could be and would be saved everlastingly. So for being light in our darkness and a guide for our path, thank you. Believing that your way is the way of health, healing and peace, we come with prayers on behalf of others. These are anxious times – so we pray for those who feel up-ended by uncertainty. We pray for those who are adrift from hope – be their anchor! We pray for those who have opted out of prayer. For them we pray – for those who cannot find the words or will not risk coming to you for fear of one more disappointment. Answer us! I guess we’re not supposed to be so demanding, but O Lord – yet just think of the joy that positively answered prayer would provide. So… please. Please. Please. We are bold in our requests because our needs are so great. Peace for our world. Healing for our bodies. Rest for the weary. Contentment for our souls. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • October 13, 2020

    Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”


    The Good News: When we rise, and when we sleep, God is watching and holding us close.


    Prayer: O Lord – sigh… I know that prayers usually start with praises or words of gratitude – and yes, those are in my heart – but today my prayers almost can’t be formed by words. Just sighs. The weather… the state of our nation… and upticks in coronavirus cases. Just when it seemed like maybe we’ll pull through before too much longer, it’s more caution, more concern, more sighs. And its not that I don’t want to be safe or certainly don’t want to compromise the safety of others; that’s a primary concern. It’s just that these are days when I’d like to take a nap! – of as the scripture puts it: “lie down and sleep.” Yet even with my concerns, I am reminded that you “make me dwell in safety.” So I’ll conclude where sometimes my prayers begin: with a “thank you.” Thank you all-present, all-loving, all-giving God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – for hearing my sighs, for embracing me when I feel lonely and supporting me and everyone when so much is uncertain. What a relief to know that you are in charge and that safety and blessing and healing and hope and eternal life are what are ultimately in store for us. With gratitude, loving God – Amen! 

  • October 12, 2020

    Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”


    The Good News: We are living in challenging times – but we have a refuge! We are protected by the all-encompassing blessing of God. We may not always recognize what’s going on – but remember and know: God’s provision and perspective are steadfast and strong!


    Prayer: We pray for those who are vulnerable and sick, whether that be in mind, body or spirit. Sustain them; help them. Contain the spread of infection. We pray for a vaccine – so guide our scientists and epidemiologists and researchers. We lift up in prayer those who create, provide and administer COVID-19 tests. May more and more people benefit and be kept safe. We pray for those who work in our hospitals and care centers – give strength, courage and physical protection. Also, we pray -- give compassion and wisdom to our local, state and federal governmental representatives as they allocate resources. For God, we trust that you are good and do good. Help us to be faithful. Help us to live and love like Jesus. We glorify his name in what we say and what we do. Equip us to magnify your grace, your love, your commandments, your salvation. Give us peace on earth! In the name above all names, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

  • October 10, 2020

    1 John 4:19-20 “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”


    The Good News: God is love. Simple and true. Love doesn’t originate with us, but with God. So we are compelled to respond in a like manner. Love God by loving God’s people!


    Prayer: Precious Lord, we’re trying! Trying to manage. Trying to be patient. Trying to find a positive spin in the midst of the pandemic and partisanship. But the covid numbers persist and the incivility (which is a bi-partisan activity) is beyond disheartening. What is going on? People are inciting hate, disruption and division. And it seems, O God, that you are impassive. Don’t you care? Please – send a cure for this virus. And send a cure for the anger and animosity that is pervasive. It’s scary – because what will happen if the rage gets even worse? We wonder and shudder. But we also know that you are bigger and greater and more powerful than anything here on earth. So may your Kingdom come! On earth as it is in heaven. Thus we pray for, and wait expectantly and faithfully for, that Kingdom of justice and joy, of healing and hope, of beauty and blessing, of your power, presence and peace. Do not delay! Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

  • October 9, 2020

    1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”


    The Good News: We have bad days, but we also have good days. God accepts us as we are and the attitudes we carry. Yet we are called to remember that God is always near and always at work. So even challenging times are times for which we are called to return thanks.


    Prayer: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Thank you for your church and the many and varied ways you use it to bring light into the world. We thank you for missionaries and chaplains and those who staff our church. But your peoples’ faith is lived our vocationally and relationally in so many callings! So thank you for those who serve you in industry and invention; those who work in the areas of commerce, finance, and law; those who are musicians and actors and poets and playwrights and photographers; those who are farmers and chefs and work at our restaurants and grocery stores; those engaged in medicine, research and the healing arts; those whose calling is in public safety – military and first responders; those who are teachers. We pray for the numerous people who volunteer as an expression of their Christian faith – thank you and may you, O God bless them mightily! So work through all people, O Holy Spirit, and revitalize this, our precious world. We need your blessing! Amen.

  • October 8, 2020

    Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


    The Good News: God is with us – all throughout our life. And even to life beyond this life! God is present and will bring about his Kingdom. Our job? – observing the commandments: Honor God and love God’s people. God will never fail nor forsake us!


    Prayer: Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay, close by me forever, and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care and take us to Heaven to live with Thee there. These verses of “Away in the Manger” are so tender. How I so want to sing them aloud with a full congregation! I long for that time. But until then, the sentiment stays. Bless your children. And yes – that means all of us, but in particular this day, we pray for the youngest members of our church and community. For families who have recently welcomed a baby – bless them with hope and joy. For those in preschool and day care – bless them with occasions of emerging friendship and engagement. (We pray for our church’s nursery school!) For those in elementary, middle and high school – bless them with your safe keeping and blessing. Give them knowledge, social interactions that upbuild, and opportunities for arts, sports and service. We pray for our college students – provide a skill base and a clarity of purpose – and opportunities to put all that they’ve learned and studied to good use. We look to the future – and are grateful for the abilities, interests and aptitudes of our young people. May they forge ways of faith, healing and global peace. With all praise to you, O God who loves us beyond all our imagining, Amen.

  • October 7, 2020

    Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”


    The Good News: We receive light because it reflects onto us from God! Then we reflect it, mirror-like, onto others. God is glorified when we live and love like Jesus.


    Prayer: Dear God – I know it would be easy to grumble – there’s been plenty of that going on, but I’m trying today to be the face of positivity. So help me with that. Those I encounter can’t see my smile behind the mask, so provide other avenues for spreading joy. I’m grateful for how others have done that for me – making music; recommendations of a good TV show; an invitation to lunch; sharing the garden’s bounty; a text that just says, “thinking of you today.” So it is that I also want to reflect back to you, God of abundance and beauty, my gratitude for your creation – the stars, the autumn leaves, the ocean, apples and pumpkins! And my gratitude for your creatures – for pets to love, and the geese flying south in their awesome v-formations, and the people with whom we work, play and love. And thanks for the gift of your Son Jesus. My heart can scarce take in the happiness that eternal life is ours, that you will never forsake us, that even death is not the end, and that a glad reunion awaits as together we claim the Kingdom of peace. Praise, honor, glory and our alleluias be unto you, God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen. 

  • October 6, 2020

    Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”


    The Good News: We are the hands and feet of Jesus, commissioned to carry love into this world. This is so important and necessary. Extend care to the “least of these” – God sees, recognizes and remembers!


    Prayer: There are so many vulnerable people in our world, O God. So many who need love, support, care, prayer. So we seek to be people of compassion and care. Reveal unto us how we can make a difference – and to give us the wherewithal then to do it! We pray for, among others --- those on the autism spectrum and their families… the frail elderly… babies in the neo-natal unit… those with cancer… refugees… those seeking employment… those for whom this pandemic has wreaked havoc emotionally, financially, physically, spiritually. We pray for those who feel they don’t know how to pray or don’t believe that if they did that it would make any difference. So, great God, be a difference maker! Show the world that you are involved, real and present! Activate hope. Dispel animosity. Heal our world. O God – do not delay. With gratitude and anticipation we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • October 5, 2020

    Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”


    The Good News: God is faithful. God has been with us in the past and God is with us in a future which we cannot begin to know. Yet God knows! And God provides. Let us open our hearts!


    Prayer: Zoom meetings! On-line worship! Virtual community! Hybrid learning! Professional sports without spectators! O Lord, we feel like strangers in a strange land. Is this what our children and grandchildren will think of as normative? Yikes! (That’s perhaps a bizarre word to put in a prayer, O God, but so much is bizarre these days.) But as we adapted to a world of microwaves and cell phones and security checks at airports – we’ll figure this new world out too. Just help us. It’s not easy to navigate new protocols and negotiate how to shop/worship/learn/celebrate/mourn in new ways. So in some ways, we’re grieving. We’ve lost so much, especially traditions. So as we re-imagine Halloween, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebration, as we refigure birthdays, weddings and reunions, help us. We’re sad that we can’t do things “the old way” but even still, trying to be thankful that there is much that we can do – just in new ways. So grant a perspective of blessing and an outlook of opportunity. Reset our world so that your beauty, peace and love might flourish. In the name of, and through the grace of Jesus. Amen. 

  • October 3, 2020

    Proverbs 27:9 “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”


    The Good News: It is not good for us to be alone. We were created for community. The church is a place to remedy the brokenness of the world through friendship and support.


    Prayer: God of grace and God of glory, how you have blessed us with friends! In a world that is so fragmented, there are yet so many who touch our lives with kindness, with prayer, with a listening ear and a supportive heart. Even when we can’t always be face-to-face and though we have smiles that are masked, there are those relationships that sustain us. Thank you for friends, new and old – and we pause to call them to mind now... And as we have friends, let us provide that to others. O God, provide opportunities for us to express support, to laugh, to cry, to care, to just “be there.” So, thank you, loving Lord, for being there for us. How we need your calm in the midst of chaos, the balm of your blessing when we come up against bullies. Yet, not being able to see you or touch you Lord – come to us in other ways so we can be encouraged. These are tough times of isolation. We’re weary and worn out. Bring us strength for the journey and patience for these hard times. Yet again, thanks for not leaving us alone. So for friends, for care givers, for even those strangers who pause to wish us a “good day” we are grateful. Seeking to reflect that attitude of gratitude in the name of Jesus, Amen.

  • October 2, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


    The Good News: Let us cling to the promise that God is with us. We are not forgotten nor forsaken. We don’t always sense it, but God will persevere. Hang on!


    Prayer: O God of yesterday, today and forever – how we need you. How our world needs you! Life is so fragile. There are times of unutterable joy. But then also broken dreams. And broken hearts. And broken bodies. Help us in these broken times, knowing, believing and remembering that you will repair it all. There will be a time when all will be made right – and the blind shall see and the lame will walk and the orphan will have a home. Tears will be turned to triumph. Justice and blessing and peace will be the hallmarks of society. But, O Lord – that’s not now, not yet. So help us in the “mean time.” What an apt phrase. Grant unto those in need, a way to move forward. Grant unto those in leadership, wisdom and compassion. Grant support to those who are fragile. Grant encouragement to our children and their families. Grant peace to the dying. Grant faith to us all. Support us, sustain us, save us – Lord Jesus. For we pray in your holy name. Amen.

  • October 1, 2020

    Psalm 118:24 "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."


    The Good News: God created us and all the earth. Look around – it is still a beautiful world. Despite the all-to-real challenges, we can abide in hope and rejoice in love because we have the blessings that are revealed through other people and displayed in Jesus.


    Prayer: Wondrous God of Life, life that is abundant and eternal, thank you! We come with praises for another month of living, and a day of love, and this year of promise. Sure, we admit that calling this a “year of promise” can seem like a stretch, after all, many are just hoping to move past this year of pandemic and hardship. Yet help us to see, even despite the difficulties, that we are blessed. So we bring our prayers of gratitude – for the companionship of dear friends, for those who accept us and choose to love us, for good food and fine drink, for a day with possibilities and a night of rest. Thank you for holy moments, for tears, for laughter, for curiosity, for contentment, for challenge, for promises made and promises kept. So hold us close Lord. Never let us go. Come to us with the gift of your grace, and help us to praise you in it all. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. 

  • September 30, 2020

    2 Corinthians 12:10 “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


    The Good News: Hard times are part of life – and we wish they weren’t. Yet through the rain we can trace a rainbow. We often become stronger by facing challenges. The same is true with faith – we can grow into a more mature faith as we wrestle with doubts and difficulties.


    Prayer: O God – you whom we approach, but don’t really understand, you to whom we pray, but sometimes wonder if you will answer – we come just as we are. We are a bundle of paradoxes . For we believe and we doubt. We seek to bring our best but often settle for less. Part of that is because we are weary. It’s hard to keep hoping when there are still so many challenges. We are told to wear masks, but then many decide that they don’t need to or that they don’t want to. Who to believe? What to do? How to keep going? O precious Savior, please come and enter into our lives in a real and profound way. Be the refuge of the tempted, the companion of the confused, the comfort of the disappointed, and the friend of all. As we close out this month, we lift up to you all that has been – the good times and the hard, the mountaintop joys and the dark nights of the soul. Take them all and re-shape them in such a way as to bring you glory and bring us hope. Sustain us, gracious God. Protect our families. Bless our communities. Heal our world. In the name which is above all names, Jesus Christ, our Lord and only Savior. Amen. 

  • September 29, 2020

    Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”


    The Good News: When praying for strength, remember that there are others who also need it. Pray for them and be selfless with God’s love.


    Prayer: O God, whose mercy is ever faithful and whose peace is promised, please be our guide and guard. Even as the sun rises and sets, even as the tides ebb and flow, even as the leave change from green to a blaze of autumn beauty, we need some constancy in the middle of all the chaos that consumes our world. These are challenging times! Yet when we are weak, you are powerful. When we are struggling, you give strength. So, despite our doubts (and they are real and deep as we look around at the problems raised by the pandemic, by politics, by personal torments) – despite our doubts, please provide a glimpse of your presence. As we seek that, help us to be attentive to the needs of others as we pray. Provide boulevards of blessings and roads of reassurance to those who are lonely, lacking, loveless, last. May we be agents of your care even to “the least of these…” Come, Lord Jesus. Amen. 

  • September 28, 2020

    Isaiah 12:2 “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.”


    The Good News: It sounds easy to just trust, to not be afraid. That’s not the case. Yet as we, day by day, seek the Lord, more and more do we find the strength to endure. Don’t look too far into the future – just seek to trust for today!


    Prayer: Good and Gracious God – help us to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day. As we do that, we pray for ourselves and for our families – please protect and shield them from harm. We pray for ourselves – that we could grow in faith and in doing that, to be a blessing to others. Use me for your glory, God! And we pray for others – for our essential workers. Our emergency responders... Our military and their families... We pray your strength and health for doctors, nurses, social workers, dentists, opticians, veterinarians, pharmacists, and therapists… We pray for our missionaries and those who work in our churches… Bring increased faith to our world, we humbly pray. Help us, heal us, grant us hope in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • September 26, 2020

    Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”


    The Good News: God is our source of strength. Call out to Him in your moments of weakness and let His power carry you through life’s difficult moments.


    Prayer: O Lord – how the world is facing challenges. And we are caught up in the chaos. We need you – and now. We know the scriptures about being strong and trusting in you, but these are time when we seek not just your Word, but your action. Each day the news headlines seem to be about conflict. Politics is about pitting one group against another. Even the weather is groaning. How did things get so bad? And so, come to us Lord. Heal our world. Physically we ask for you to halt this coronavirus (and all diseases as we still yet contend with cancer and heart disease). Emotionally, bring peace to our souls. Socially, heal unhappy divisions. Sorry Lord that this is a downer of a prayer – but life is sometimes pretty desperate. So to try to refocus, we pause to remember that you’ve been with us in the past and so will be with us in the future. We remember that Jesus suffered and died, but rose victorious from the grave. We are resurrection people. So bring life and love to us, and please, don’t delay. Thank you for being the light in the midst of the darkness. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

  • september 25, 2020

    Luke 2:13-14 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace among those whom he favors!”


    The Good News: Although the Halloween decorations are up, and we still need to get through Election Day and celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s never out-of-season to hear the nativity message of the angels – Glory! Peace! Three months… Come, Lord Jesus!


    Prayer: O holy child of Bethlehem, help us to pause and give thanks for this season and this day, even as we are glad to think of (someday!) moving beyond COVID-19. Grant peace to our world. There is so much anger, sadness, violence and deception going on. We cannot solve it on our own. We need you to come, miraculously, to restore harmony to all the earth. Prod all leaders and nations to care for creation, to set aside pride and prejudice, to seek Your guidance in all manner of things. May your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Free us to give, to share, to receive, to rejoice, to labor, to love, to hear the great glad tidings of angels all around. O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel. Amen.

  • September 24, 2020

    Romans 5:4–5 "And endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."


    The Good News: Do not lose heart. Practice endurance. Wait patiently for the Holy Spirit and the strengthening love of God.


    Prayer: Precious Lord, we need you. We need the miracle of your presence and the miracle of stopping this pandemic. Life is murky and we seek clarity. Help! We’ve been praying for months now about this. Please don’t be distant nor silent. Trusting that you are neither, we pray especially for those who are in places where it is hard to stop in for a visit: nursing homes, hospitals, rehab centers, detox facilities and jails. Be with those who work in these places. Come alongside those who are lonely, anxious, and depressed that they would be granted peace for their soul. Please, O God -- for we cherish and cling to the old rugged cross ‘til our trophies at last we lay down, and exchange the cross for a crown! Amen.

  • September 23, 2020

    1 Corinthians 13:13 "Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love."


    The Good News: As the Beatles said all those years ago, love is all you need. With love for one another reflecting the love of God, everything is possible; without it, our lives have no meaning.


    Prayer: O God and Father, despite all the problems that surround us, there are yet reasons for giving thanks. Let us not lose sight of the blessings that you provide – of friends, of family, of this day, of our daily bread, of your amazing grace. May we be a blessing to others as we reach out to our neighbors and extend compassion to others. So many are in need, and so much is unknown. So as we live in this “lower story” of daily concerns and worry, we ask your help to remember that there is an “upper story” that overarches and frames eternity. So for your salvation and all your blessings, we abide in gratitude. This we pray in the name of Jesus – the Savior of healing touches, wondrous stories, broken bread, the cross, and resurrection. Amen.

  • September 22, 2020

    Romans 8:31–32 "What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?"


    The Good News: Nothing will separate us from God and God’s presence – not things past or present, not disease or difficulty!


    Prayer: O Lord, help us. We are alone, but we are not alone. You abide. Help us and heal our world. We ask for your wisdom to guide our leaders, your blessing to be with health care workers and emergency responders, your support to be with those whose income and work are affected, your guidance to be with our students and educators as they deal with a whole new way of learning. We pray for those who work in the food industry – our farmers and laborers, truckers, grocery store personnel, those whose employment involves wells and water; as they work so that we may live, bless them. Help us in our distress and comfort us in our concerns. In the name of our Savior Jesus, Amen. 

  • September 21, 2020

    1 John 4:8–9 "Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him."


    The Good News: Jesus has redeemed the world and is our only comfort in life and in death. Accept this gift of grace and rest with confidence in the arms of our merciful God.


    Prayer: O Lord, as we think back to years gone by (do you remember, the twenty-first night of September?) – we find that, though there were moments of exquisite joy and nights of deepest sorrow, for the most part, we were just going along. Going to school. Going to work. Going to the store. Going to church. Going from one activity to another, all the while taking that “going” for granted. But this past several months has halted everything and caused us to both re-examine what we do and where we go, but also to pause in gratitude for even the possibilities we have of going and doing. So – for restaurants and gyms and hair salons and stores and shops and libraries and museums, thank you, O God. For meetings to attend and gatherings of colleagues, thank you, O God. Help us in our regathering for worship, for music rehearsals, for Bible studies. Mindful of the grace of your presence, bless us Lord Jesus to be a blessing of love to others. Amen. 

  • September 19, 2020

    Matthew 5:3–5 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."


    The Good News: The kingdom of God does not follow the rules of this earth; trust that the Lord will lift the downtrodden, comfort the depressed, and reward a humble heart.


    Prayer: Gracious God, life is confounding and confusing. We’re moving through phases of reopening, and as we do so, keep up, our loved ones, our community, safe. We pray for governmental officials in our towns, our county and our state so that they effectively, and caringly, and helpfully, balance economic, physical and social needs. How great that we can worship both on-line and in person (9:15 and 11 a.m. tomorrow, respectively!) Speak your peace into our lives. Help us to follow ways of health and well-being. We pray for those on the spectrum-edges of life – those waiting to give birth and those who are frail in their aging. We pray for those “in the middle.” For school children and college-students; guide and guard them. For those seeking employment that they may not be economically devastated. We pray for those who are alone -- these are anxious times and to be isolated makes it even harder. Send your Spirit to comfort and bless. In the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Amen.

  • September 18, 2020

    Isaiah 49:13 “Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.”


    The Good News: When you’re feeling lonely, sad, low, scared – you have One who sympathizes. Jesus has compassion on you and will come alongside with his comfort. Alleluia!


    Prayer: God of grace and God of glory, on your people pour your power; crown your ancient church's story, bring its bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour!

    Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn the Christ, assail his ways! From the fears that long have bound us

    free our hearts to faith and praise. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the living of these days

    Cure your children's warring madness; bend our pride to your control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss your kingdom's goal.

    Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the gift of your salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving you whom we adore. Amen.

    (author: Harry Emerson Fosdick (1930)) 

  • September 17, 2020

    Matthew 5:3–5 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”


    The Good News: God’s ways are not our ways. Thank goodness! Those who rely on power and pride will not fully nor finally succeed. Those who care, who empathize, who humble themselves inherit it all!


    Prayer: O God of Morning, Noon and Night – thank you for each hour of the day. For each season of the year. For all the years you give to us. We pause in gratitude… There is, however, part of us that wishes that there was a beatitude that said, “Blessed are the impatient, for they shall receive what they’re waiting for.” These are challenging times. We know that it is for our health and well-being, but we miss singing together. Going to a professional sports event. Traveling without checking a quarantine list. The Election Day Event (we are grateful that we’ll still have an outdoor bazaar… but we’ll miss the cranberry relish and stuffing – and even more than that, the fellowship!). Yet we know we can’t always get what we want. So help us to refocus on what we can yet do. And all that is still happening. The leaves are beginning to turn color. The cider is still pressed and delicious. The ocean waves are yet captivating. The sun sets with marvelous beauty. Friends gather. Worship occurs. Your love endures forever. So hear our prayers, hasten the end of the pandemic and grant us your peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • September 16, 2020

    John 3:16–17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”


    The Good News: Eternal life! What we have here and now is sacred, blessed and good – but it’s only for now. What endures is life that is freed from pain, problems, sadness or worry. Accept God’s offer of love. Invite Jesus to lodge with you. With that, a glad reunion awaits with all those who live eternally with God.


    Prayer: God of our life, through all the circling years, we come to you in prayer and with praise. What an awesome reality – that we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to you. So we will, one day (not so soon, please!) join with all the heavenly hosts and all those who lived before us – and even those who will come after us. I can scarcely imagine the joy of that reunion. So as we still yet are people who grieve here on earth, we ask for your sustenance and provision. We weep with those who weep, and we rejoice with those who rejoice. Thus we pray for those on hospice care (and for their nurses and caregivers). We pray for those whose loved ones died suddenly and life literally changed in a minute. We pray for those with other losses – loss of a dream, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, loss of a pet, loss of a pregnancy, loss of health, loss of faith. We also pray for those with good news – we celebrate those with new opportunities, those welcoming a child, those getting married despite not having a reception as they might have planned, those for whom the relationship with you, O God, has taken on a vibrancy heretofore unexperienced. So, for the mountain-top moments, we thank you. For the dark nights of the soul, we ask for your profound presence. In them both, thank you for not failing, nor forsaking us. In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Amen. 

  • September 15, 2020

    Exodus 15:2 "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him."


    The Good News: We are connected – generation to generation in the family of God. We have strength to carry on because the Lord is with us. We can sing praises because God is our Savior.


    Prayer: Dear God! – it’s been six months since “an abundance of caution” became the most used expression. Six months of the world turned upside down. Six months of wondering. And weeping. And waiting for a “flattened curve.” So we pray – still and again -- for health care providers and essential workers. Protect us all – and especially those who must work or study in circumstance of higher risk. We lift up our children and youth and college students as they attend school under such different and difficult circumstances; protect them. There is no good or easy way forward it seems. Thus we pray for our teachers and school-support staff – thank you for their dedication and care as they adapt to new and numerous challenges. We pray for school administrators and school boards – grant wisdom. We pray for our own nursery school. Keep all healthy and safe. And may learning occur and may fun yet be had and may friendships flourish. Help us all as we seek to grow in your grace and live in your love. And yes, bring an end to this pandemic! In the name of Jesus. Amen.

  • September 14, 2020

    John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”


    The Good News: We sin. It’s true. We miss the mark of God’s intention for us and for our world. We are selfish when we are created to be selfless. Through God’s love for us, and by the amazing grace of Jesus, we are fully, finally and forever forgiven.


    Prayer: O God, it’s not easy confronting those things within us that are disturbing, dark and secret. We do things we ought not – and we don’t do all that we should in loving all others. It’s easier to call out the faults of others. But for today, we seek your healing and help to deal with all that hinders us from living and loving like your Son. By your Holy Spirit, whisk away the dust that clogs our souls. Forgive us and help us to see things from the perspective of others, so that we might be empathetic and extend support that is more than lip-service. Instead of only circling the wagons and protecting what we have, guide us in ways that draw wide the circle of your love and extending hands of blessing and peace. We pray for those who have been displaced from home – the refugees of the world. We pray for those who are oppressed by systems outside of their control. We pray for those who are marginalized because of skin color or sexuality. O Lord, we pray for those with addictions that they would be healed, for those who are lonely that they would find welcome, for those who are unemployed that they would find work, for those who are at the end of their rope, that they would be able to claim hope. In the name of the only Savior of our world, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

  • September 12, 2020

    1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


    The Good News: Each person is given specific attributes, abilities, talents – spiritual gifts. But these are not for self-gain (although they do often, thanks be to God, bring happiness) but rather for the upbuilding of God’s Kingdom. We are in this venture of life together! God’s intention is for us to help and bless and encourage others. In so doing, we find ourselves blessed!


    Prayer: Generous and gracious God – you have provided others with whom we can journey through this life. Thank you for our families. For friends. For classmates and co-workers and companions. Watch over and protect them. We pray for those on our sports teams and scout troops and our choirs and bands. How we miss the collegiality of gathering without concern. So help us get back to those encouraging relationships. And we pray for our church family. As we share in communion tomorrow – unite us. As we “rally” – guide us. As we celebrate with our confirmands – bless us. As we worship – grant us your peace. We pray for church school and Bible studies and musical groups as we work towards doing old activities in new ways. Help us to expand and extend your Kingdom so that more and more would know the saving grace of your Son Jesus. To that end, we pray for those outside our congregation – for those seeking faith, for those unsure of your presence, for those waiting to be invited. Help us to be a church of nurture, welcome and acceptance. Bless us to be a blessing. To you, O God, be all honor, glory and praise! Amen. 

  • September 11, 2020

    Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”


    The Good News: We are reminded that evil attacks -- yet when it does, we ought not tremble or fear because Jesus went to the cross to decisively deal with all that destroys. Let’s roll!


    Prayer: Help us and help our world, O God. We are grateful that since 9/11/2001 there haven’t been terrorist attacks on our country’s soil. For all who work diligently for our safety, we give thanks. For FBI agents and TSA personnel and law enforcement and government officials and our military – and an aware public -- thank you. Keep watch over us, Lord and protect us and those we love. We pray for peace in our world. There are so, so, so many who live in desperate situations where despots rule and violence is a daily way of life. Genocide, identity theft, suicide bombers, insurrection… Please, God, no! We pray fervently for a better world for our children. May the years ahead bring reconciliation, peace, harmony, and a re-greening of the planet. We pray for cooperation not chaos, trust not terrorism, hope and not hate. Come to us O Prince of Peace and reign! Amen.

  • September 10, 2020

    Romans 8:35, 37 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”


    The Good News: Though difficulties come by many names, there is one way they are vanquished. God is love – and love is victorious.


    Prayer: Ever loving Lord, first off, thank you! Thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus. We come with gratitude that we aren’t left to figure out the stress of life all on our own. Despite all the challenges (and they are many!), you are with us, coming alongside to help us – and even sometimes, to carry us. When it gets to be too much, hold us and help us. Please! And when life gets to be too much for others, may we live and love in such a way that they see your radiance, your support, your presence through us. We can’t solve every problem, but we can do a few things to help make it a better world. Help us to do those things that bring your Kingdom into clarity and “on earth as it is in heaven.” So we pray for those who are in leadership that the decisions they make would both address and offer solutions for issues like famine, homelessness and war. Thus we pray for those who are empty – those who have empty stomachs, empty bank accounts, empty lives. By the power of the empty tomb, fill them, and us all, with your resurrection power. Restore us and remind us that you are the God of victory and that we too are then more than conquerors though him who loves us! In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • September 9, 2020

    Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."


    The Good News: It's natural that life on Earth ends, but it's key to make all our days matter. Live to the fullest and follow God's commandments now, and look forward to living eternally with God in heaven in a blessed future.


    Prayer: God of might and valor – help us! We seek to be strong; we want to be courageous despite the current circumstances. Yet it is so challenging. It’s another Wednesday – with how many more days and weeks of “life on hold?” Our children are struggling with the lack of socialization and structure and needing to learn. Parents are struggling with the need to balance school on-line, and work, and all that is part of being a parent and running a household. We all feel the effects of isolation – not singing, not hugging, not seeing smiles because of masks. We pray for our choirs that would have started rehearsals. We pray for our nursery school as it looks to start classes. Help us, God. Help us find that balance that focuses on both caution and opportunity. We are waiting. And waiting. And waiting for relief. Help us to wait for you, Lord and Savior, with a knowledge that you have good things ahead for us and for our world. So surprise us with joy, hope, faith, peace and love that surpasses all we have known or expected. Do great and marvelous things in our world, for we pray in the name of the Mighty Deliverer! Amen.

  • September 8, 2020

    Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”


    The Good News: Sometimes we look at the world around us and we shake our heads. So much conflict and strife. We wonder if there is even the possibility that we can ever be a society of peace and cooperation. While that is elusive here and now, with God the future will be one of eternal harmony. The cross and the empty tomb have established that blessed assurance. Thank you, Jesus!


    Prayer: O God – in our watching and waiting, we bring our prayers of “Wow!” – the beauty of a sunset, the constancy of the ocean waves, the deliciousness of corn on the cob or a cider doughnut, the laughter of a baby. We also bring our prayers of “Thanks!” – the friends we enjoy, the church that blesses, the opportunities for renewal and refreshment of an ordinary Tuesday. We also bring our prayers of “Help!” – help those who are sick and suffering, help those who are receiving radiation or chemotherapy, help those who are both physically distanced and emotionally distanced from family, help those who are marginalized because of their race, help those with addictions, help those who are financially distressed. We lay our requests before you O God, and wait expectantly… Amen.

  • September 7, 2020

    Ecclesiastes 3:22 “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor.”


    The Good News: Labor Day! A day to reflect on the work God calls us to do, and the reasons why we do it! We work for the upbuilding of God’s Kingdom in a variety of vocations. But we are more than what we do. Let us rest in the fact that we are cherished by God just by our very being! Thanks be to God for abiding love and grace.


    Prayer: O God – there is a time to work and a time to refrain from working. There is a time to plant and a time to harvest. There is a time for summer’s refreshment and fall’s refocus. As we give thanks for this Labor Day, we confess that it’s strange. In years past this marked a transition to thinking about school starting and church activities resuming. But…! But we just don’t know. What is the right thing to do? And how? When? So much uncertainty. So give your direction and wisdom and guidance, O God. This is beyond what we can figure out. We need socialization and sharing. We need to get our businesses going. We need to connect with people. We need to worship together – especially for funerals, for baptisms, for weddings, for communion. Help!!! So comfort the grieving, gladden those with babies, bless those in love, strengthen us in faith. We pause in quiet contemplation, praying for those who work so that we may enjoy, eat, worship, and live in peace. May your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven, Lord Jesus. Amen. 

  • September 5, 2020

    Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


    The Good News: We are filled by God with joy and peace. Alleluia! And we are not just filled, but overflow, with hope. Let the hope that we have with God seep into our souls and the spill over into the world that so desperately needs a positive perspective.


    Prayer: God of the cosmos, so often we live with a perspective of how things affect our family, our church, our community, our country. Yet covid-19 has affected the entire world. When before has something been so extensive that every person across the globe has needed to react? Is that part of Your plan? That the entire world is focused together on combatting this so that, in some divine way, the entire world can be focused together on your power and presence? We pause to pray that you would use this moment in time to banish unholy division, to break the stranglehold of sin and selfishness, to end war, and to cease senseless destruction. Send your Holy Spirit to convict leaders of the world that we would cooperate. It is beyond our comprehension that conflicts could cease and that the environment would re-fresh and that enemies become friends. Yet your ways are not our ways. Praise be to you, O God! So bring your ways to bear. Claim your rightful place as Lord of lords and King of kings – forever! Rescue us and bring your victory to reign and rule. Hallelujah! Amen. 

  • September 4, 2020

    Psalm 42:11 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”


    The Good News: There are downcast days and there are praise-filled days. That’s life. Yet when we link life with God, the “praise-filled days” will win. Better days are ahead. Salvation, joy, peace and love will have the last word!


    Prayer: O Lord and Savior, the sun is setting earlier and the evening temperatures are cooler. We started dealing with this pandemic back when the daffodils were just starting to blossom and now we’re soon to talk about autumn leaves. We’ve been praying and praying and praying – and yet the world is still gripped by the unknown. So help us to focus on what is known – the kindness that is exhibited as we band together. True – there are some who aren’t kind; we pray for them in their anger and unrest. But there are so many who have stepped up to help. Thank you for emergency service personnel. Thank you for generous tippers. Thank you for neighbors who have offered to help. Thank you for those in the healing arts and health care vocations. Thank you for people who put the well-being of others before personal comfort or the claiming of “rights.” Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. How we need to look beyond the present moment and know that you will provide for us and for our world. Yet, we’re tired of waiting – so grant us patience too. Come and bring help, hope and healing. Amen. 

  • September 3, 2020

    Proverbs 9:11 "For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life."


    The Good News: Give thanks to the Lord, for we owe him the gift of life. By living a faithful life, we will have a fulfilling journey to heaven.


    Prayer: God of all time and place, thank you! It’s a new day! New possibilities for love, for grace, for friendship, for learning, for faith. Surprise us with joy, O Friend and Savior. Encounter us today in a way that would have seemed surprising even last month. It would be great if it were healing. It would be amazing if it were peace. It would be wonderful if it were an embrace of restored relationships. But whatever you have in store for us, thank you for your provision. Since it comes from your Fatherly hand, we know that whatever happens will ultimately be for our good. Sometimes though, your goodness and grace are cloudy. Murky. Hidden even. So shine your light to bring clarity to our hope. Grant unto us a glimpse of the glory that is yet to come in your fullness. But as we wait – we pause in gratitude for those who love us unconditionally, and support us unfalteringly. May we be that kind of family member or friend for others. Bless our church family. Bless us that we may be a blessing to those in need. Through Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 

  • September 2, 2020

    Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”


    The Good News: This has been a long summer of waiting. We’ve been watching for the Lord for months. But in the timing of God, this is but momentary. We will be heard and God will rescue, restore and rebuild us. Hold on! God is with us.


    Prayer: God of might and valor – help us! We seek to be strong; we want to be courageous despite the current circumstances. Yet it is so challenging. It’s another Wednesday – with how many more days and weeks of “life on hold?” Our children are struggling with the lack of socialization and structure. Yet how will school look? We all feel the effects of isolation – because of masks not seeing smiles; because of necessity, not hugging; because of inability, not traveling as much. So help us, God. Help us establish a new normal that focuses on both caution and opportunity. We are waiting. And waiting. And waiting for relief. Help us to wait for you, Lord and Savior, with a knowledge that you have good things ahead for us and for our world. So surprise us with joy, hope, faith, peace and love that surpasses all we have known or expected. Do great and marvelous things in our world, for we pray in the name of the Mighty Deliverer! Amen. 

  • September 1, 2020

    1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”


    The Good News: Well – first, the not-so-good news: We will suffer. It’s part of life. But then we are restored. And not just restored to how we were, but even stronger and more steadfast that before. We are growing in grace through our trials!


    Prayer: O God, we lift up those who encourage us, those who bring your light into the dark corners of our world. Thank you for those who come along side us, to steady us, to comfort us, to help us when we find ourselves in times of trouble – and especially when we go through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray for those who labor diligently in the healing arts, may they too be sustained. We pray for those friends who offer a quiet word, send a card, make a meal -- just show up when times get tough. Thank you for faithful companions through the journey of life. And in turn, help us to be such a support to others. May we be givers of grace, exporters of encouragement, and channels of calm, Help us to “practice kindness.” Help us to proclaim, in word and deed, your resurrection Good News. As we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep, we are grateful for your presence and power. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

  • August 31, 2020

    Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


    The Good News: Jesus has promised to come alongside us to help shoulder our problems. Just as we are about to collapse from the weight of all the burdens us, God promises rest. We need not carry any of this alone. Picture your problems as a heavy stone – and give it to God. God is so much more able to deal with it than we.


    Prayer: It’s true God. You know it. We’re weary. Worn out. Weak. Worried. Weeping. Help us not to give out or give in. We all have problems – for some it’s about money, others it’s dealing with an addiction, others it’s about broken relationships, others mental health, others it’s feeling lonely or without purpose. But whatever it might be named – we need help. And this pandemic has only made what was already a challenge, even worse. Jobs have been lost. AA meetings canceled. Health compromised. Isolation has taken its toll. So speak a word of blessing to us. Bring some Good News today. Lift our spirits and give us reasons to smile. Perhaps that sounds demanding, God. And we don’t mean it to be, but it’s just that we’ve never experienced anything like this – and it’s hard. So forgive us. And bless us so that we may be a blessing to others. We give thanks for what was good in the month of August – and we pray for even more good in September. As we ask for that, we pray for ourselves and for others. We pray for farmers and food-service providers. We pray for our military. We pray for firefighters, police officers and first aid personnel. We pray for health care professionals. We pray for those with cancer. We pray for those in nursing homes and for their caregivers. We pray for those waiting to die and those waiting to be born. We pray for teachers and students. We pray for parents and children. We pray for our church. We pray for our world. That’s a whole lotta praying, God! But the needs are great. We are just so grateful that you are greater. So, thank you. Amen. 

  • August 29, 2020

    Psalm 105:1-4 “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”


    The Good News: As we bring our needs and concerns to God, God is gracious to receive them. We also bring our praises to God with joy, for there are multitudinous reasons for giving thanks. What are they for your this day? Sing to God and seek his face!


    Prayer: Holy, holy, holy God, you are merciful and mighty. Thus we come in humility and in gratitude. What a privilege to carry everything to you in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, what needless pain we bear by not carrying everything to you in prayer. Yet before we bring our petitions to you, we bring our praise! How great Thou art! When we see the stars and hear the rolling thunder, we pause in awesome wonder. Creator of the rolling spheres, you are our best thought, by day or by night. Waking or sleeping, your presence is our light. So give us your amazing grace, your blessed assurance, to tune our hearts to sing your praise. And then, when the future is murky, O precious Lord, take our hand and lead us on. The ways of this world are so challenging. We are weary of bickering and bullying. We are worried about a resurgence of the virus. We long for being with friends and family. We long to be with our church family – face-to-face. So grant unto us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. And as we pray, we are mindful of the cross, that cross upon which the Prince of Glory died for us and for our sins. Yet that is not the end of the story – so we are ever thankful that Jesus has triumphed o'er the grave and rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save. Thank you for saving us now and forevermore. Alleluia! Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit, Three in One! Amen! 

  • August 28, 2020

    Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”


    The Good News: God is present – not just to help us limp along, but to be victorious! Yes, there are significant problems, both personally and globally, but God sends the Holy Spirit to ensure that we will persevere and prevail!


    Prayer: God of hope – you have asked us to be constant in prayer. So we come now to touch base and share with you our reasons for giving thanks, our requests for help and just to “check in.” Of course we seek not to make our relationship with you seem lightly-considered, but there are times when we just get so caught up in our needs and plans and responsibilities that we forget that You care about all of these and more. So we pause to remember that you are our Heavenly Father and that we can share with you about how angry we get when plans are altered, and how we ache when we can’t join with friends and family in their moments of need or joy. Yet this re-opening of society is challenging. Who to believe? Who to trust? How to balance what is good for health and good for the economy and good for our souls? Provide clarity, O God! We are ready to unreservedly rejoice! In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. 

  • August 27, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


    The Good News: Over and over the Bible instructs us not to fear. We need to hear that often because our default tends to be worry. God is present to calm us, to strengthen us, to relieve our unsettled minds and upset spirits. Repeatedly God tells us not that he might strengthen/help/uphold us –but that he will!


    Prayer: Unchangeable God – though we live in these months of tremendous change, you are strong and steady. Thank you for being with us when our lives swirl out of control. We pray that you would help and heal us – but also that you would use us to combat the cruel challenges that cross our paths. Comfort those who grieve. Guide those who govern. Support those who serve. And, O God -- whether it be to sing lullabies or bake bread or give a bouquet of flowers or work with wood, use us to infuse this world with a bit of beauty. How we want to be back together – sharing, singing, laughing, loving -- so it is we pray for those who are working in fields of health-recovery and research. Give us patience, we pray, and help us, each and all, to do what is necessary to “flatten the curve.” We also pray for employers and employees that there is opportunity to work well and have both purpose and productivity. Uphold us, O great and gracious God. Amen.

  • August 26, 2020

    Nehemiah 9:6 “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before You.”


    The Good News: God has created stars beyond what we can observe and cells that are unfathomable without a microscope. Just because we can’t see them, doesn’t negate their existence. God’s ways are so much larger than what we can even consider. The scope of God’s care is broader than what we can comprehend.


    Prayer: Heavenly Father, sometimes we get stuck believing that what you have in store for us is only what we feel, or know, or believe. Yet, through Jesus, you’ve given us a life beyond this life and speak in the language of infinity and eternity. Our losses are real – but they are not forever. So thank you Lord for what is forever – love lasts. Relationships endure. So comfort us in times of grief, steady us in times of change, inspire us in times of anguish, come close in times of isolation. Rebuild our communities, our economy, our lives. Stir people’s hearts towards kindness and empathy. Extend to us your mercy which is higher than the heavens and heal us in mind, body and spirit. Abide with us, precious Savior. Amen. 

  • August 25, 2020

    Psalm 37:39 "The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble."


    The Good News: God is our Savior in times of trouble -- for the Bible tells me so! Little ones to Him belong; we are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me!


    Prayer: O living Lord – be our rock, our fortress, our strength. What has happened??? All that used to be “normal” – worshiping together, getting on airplanes, traveling to see family, shopping for fun, county fairs, going to baseball games and concerts – all that we miss makes us feel adrift and wistful. How we long for being together again. Yet museums are beginning to re-open. Cautious plans are being made. Still and all, the questions are many and the feelings of vulnerability are deeply-felt, O God. Keep us safe. And help us to not to look to all that we can’t do, but to all that we can. Come alongside and give us peace that passes understanding. May we abide in hope. Give us victory through your Son, our Lord, Jesus! Amen. 

  • August 24, 2020

    James 1:2-4 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."


    The Good News: These are tough times – but God gives us faith and strength to endure and perhaps even grow. How can our resolve grow stronger and our love for others increase?


    Prayer: O Rock and Redeemer – we want to be faithful. We know we are not the first generation to face hardship, but this world-wide pandemic has us on edge. It’s been months as we cough and wonder, “Is it the virus?” or we go to the store and worry, “Was I exposed?” So we pray for ourselves and our loved ones. Keep us healthy. And we pray for all who work in places where exposure is more likely. Keep them protected, O Lord! Especially we lift up those in nursing homes and rehab centers and prisons and hospitals and military barracks/ships and college dorms -- where so many are vulnerable because living quarters are close. And we pray for those who serve in jobs where contact is higher – for wait-staff in restaurants, for bank-tellers and store clerks, for barbers/nail techs/hairdressers. And how we pray for students – for those in college, or those children in our country who have started classes, as well as those who will be soon. We pray for professors, teachers and instructors – may safety abound and health be preserved. In the name of the great Physician, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

  • August 22, 2020

    1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. 

    People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”


    The Good News: This scene about choosing a King for Israel in the Old Testament reveals that God often uses unlikely people to carry out his plans. We live in a world of glamor, celebrity, wealth – but God is not interested in a person’s popularity, but rather in one’s character. Focus on living with faithfulness and integrity and selflessness.


    Prayer: O Righteous Judge, give us strength and fortitude to be the kind of person you want and that the world needs. It’s so easy to crave the praise of others. Help us not to seek to be admired for the way we look or the things we own or the power we wield, but rather to humble ourselves so that we can be servants of others – helping, caring, encouraging. So we lift up in gratitude those who give of themselves so selflessly. We thank you for volunteers giving of their time and talent to make this a better world. We thank you for those who donate blood and plasma. We thank you for EMTs and firefighters and police officers. We thank you for teachers. We thank you for public defenders. We thank you for those who wash dishes and clean our clothes and haul away our garbage. So many give and serve in order to make this a better world. Bless us O God, that we might be a blessing to others and to work for the up-building of your Kingdom. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

  • August 21, 2020

    Revelation 21:4 “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."


    The Good News: The time will come when God will take away all pain and suffering. Eternal life is our promise; resurrection is assured; salvation is God’s great gift.


    Prayer: O God of all comfort and blessing, we pause in the midst of difficult and distressing times to just acknowledge your presence. This pandemic has made us mindful of things like masks and washing hands and online worship and zoom meetings. We wonder about the economy – but may we never wonder about you. So come, and let your Spirit’s reassurance wash over us that we are not alone, that you will not let the challenges of these present days persist. So by your power, bring healing! Eradicate COVID-19! To that end, we give thanks, first and foremost for the gift of your son Jesus, our friend and Savior. We worship you and adore you for your goodness and mercy, which follows us all the days of our lives. But so many are grieving and anxious. Tragic accidents still occur. Friends are hospitalized. Come in real, persistent and tangible ways that we might be reassured that you are present in personal ways. Bless our families, our church family. The hopes and fears of all the years are laid before your throne of amazing grace. Help us! Please, Lord Jesus. Amen. 

  • August 20, 2020

    1 John 3:1: "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him."


    The Good News: We are children of God! We are cherished always and unconditionally. God is a safe place to land.


    Prayer: O holy Father, we know that we aren’t perfect. Far from it. And these days -- and weeks -- and months -- have challenged us. Yet you love us with an everlasting love. And you want good for us. So use your power to turn the hearts of all people – all over the world – to your will and your ways. Work in and through the leaders of government to collaborate on solutions not only to this pandemic, but for the ceasing of violence and war, for the healing of the planet , for the eradication of disease, for the elimination of hunger, for the lessening of the gap between the “haves” and “have nots.”. We pray for our military and their families as they work for peace; save us from war! We pray for our children and their future – may this be a time and turning point towards the beginning of a new kind of hope and help for all the people of the globe. Come, Holy Spirit! Amen. 

  • August 19, 2020

    Psalm 23:6 “Surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”


    The Good News: God knows that during our earthly life there will be mountain-top days along with times in the valley of the shadow of death. But in and through them all, we are infused with goodness and love. When our earthly journey is completed, we have a promise of an eternal home and everlasting life!


    Prayer: O God, how we are grateful that “there’s no place like home.” Our physical homes are wonderful places of refuge from the storms of life. Yet home is where the heart is. We can change addresses, but the safety net of love goes with us because You go with us. So, we thank you for your goodness and mercy, and that we are never alone. In addition to your presence to comfort us, we humbly ask that you would provide relationships to sustain us. Thank you for companions-on-the-way. So, in granting us friendship, may we also be friends unto others. In these days of quiet desperation, so many are needing a word of support, a gesture of belonging, the blessing of being remembered. We pause in gratitude for those who have inspired us in the past, and are mindful of those who pray for us now, those who laugh with us, those who are in book clubs or sports teams with us, those who work with us, those who serve with us. Thank you for them! So we lift up those in need of healing, hope, connection and care… In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

  • August 18, 2020

    Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”


    The Good News: This world is filled with many blessings – but also many challenges. We have to wait for Jesus to return to realize the fullness of God’s Realm. In the meantime, we have all sorts of problems. Yet we aren’t to give in or give up. We can give thanks that God’s ways are not the ways of this world. So we ought to seek alignment with those ways; we ought to seek transformation. God is with us!


    Prayer: O God, these are times of grace and gratitude – but also of change and challenge. We lift up our prayers of thanksgiving for that which is upbuilding and renewing. Thank you for homes in which to live; food for our tables; friendship for our souls. Help us not to take those for granted nor to miss the blessings contained therein. We have refrigerators and indoor plumbing and cars – things that were luxuries only a century ago. And internet access! Wow! Though we have become zoomed-out and weary of only seeing people through a screen, we have the technology which permits us these new ways of connectedness. So thank you, God. But all progress isn’t great – or perhaps it just seems that the world is more fractured and dangerous. Whatever the reason, may we not be conformed to the self-centeredness, the judgmentalism, the fear of this world. Using your Kingdom as a model, guide us in ways of peace, forgiveness, hospitality, and kindness. Help us to listen carefully and to love lavishly.

    Ever and always in the name of Jesus… Amen!

  • August 17, 2020

    Philippians 4:12-13 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation ... I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."


    The Good News: Contentment! What a gift. There will be days of joy as well as the dark nights of the soul. What can help “flatten the curve” of the roller coaster of need/plenty is learning contentment. The first step in that is looking to Jesus and focusing on Him.


    Prayer: God-with-us, we bring our praises and we bring our petitions. We are grateful that you are with us and will sustain us despite the all-too-real challenges of life. Thus, for the times when we enjoy “plenty” we bring our prayers of thanksgiving. For birthdays and bridal showers and vacations we give thanks, even as celebrations are held in new and different ways.

    Then, for the times when we experience “need” may you, our Shepherd, supply what we need. You know what we need – and that is unique to each member of your flock. So for some it’s an extra-measure of patience, for others peace, still others relief from pain. Today our prayers focus on those who are our frail elderly and those who care for them – the effects of aging can be challenging, physically, mentally and emotionally. So in these times of physical distancing, we need help. Many are lonely -- patients in hospitals and rehab centers miss connections with loved ones at that time of increased need; residents at continuing care communities are more isolated than what is wanted. And the same happens on the other end of life’s spectrum! We pray for children who just want to run and play and make sand castles together. O God, craft for us a sense of contentment that allows for connections while also maintaining health and safety. We need you – and we need one another. We look to you, Jesus. Bless us, we humbly pray, that we might extend your peace and expand your Kingdom, for yours is the power and the glory. Amen. 

  • August 15, 2020

    Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”


    The Good News: Each season has beauty. Summer has its time of warm (hot!) weather and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors; Fall has crisp, cooler air and a beautiful palette of colors; Winter, in its dormancy, is when so much looks barren yet is really just storing up all that is needed for…; Spring is a time of growth and re-greening. So the cycle goes. A time for tides to go out and tides to come in. A time for birth and a time for death. Which leads to a time for resurrection. Abide in the never-ending care of God.


    Prayer: Ever-present God – here we are mid-month, which means it’s been five months of physical distancing and mask wearing and non-gathering. I miss hugs and handshakes! Will we ever get back to being able to get together with others without having first to think about the effects of doing so? Oh dear Lord, this is gone on so long, and we’re not able to see the end in sight. So we hand such “big picture problems” to you, O God. Bring us safely through this. Provide opportunities for connection and love. Emotionally and spiritually these are trying times, so, when we are weary, grant strength to endure. When people are ill, bring healing. And in the midst of economic difficulties, make this a season of “upswing” and not “downturn.” So many are reeling from the effects of COVID-19… that a virus could completely unravel society! So give wisdom to our leaders. Grant blessings upon blessings upon our health-care professionals, first responders, and essential workers. So many continue to do so much for so many. Help us, Jesus! Help! Help! How long, O Lord will this season of challenge continue? Hear us and help us. We’re tired and need hope. Heal our world. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • August 14, 2020

    Isaiah 12:2 "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation."


    The Good News: These words from the Hebrew Scriptures are centuries old, yet with a conviction that is ever new and with the need for help when we are afraid. God is (not was, not will be – but is) our salvation, our strength, our song!


    Prayer: As Charles Wesley leads us in song: Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav'n to earth come down: fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown: Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art; visit us with thy salvation, enter ev'ry trembling heart. Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be: let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee; changed from glory into glory, 'til in heav'n we take our place, 'til we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise. Amen! 

  • August 13, 2020

    Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.”


    The Good News: Discernment is a process. And it involves prayer and it involves community. Please note that the “you” in this passage is plural. We seek to know God’s ways, we seek to gain a depth of insight, we seek to be filled with the blessings of right living… together! Faith is not a solo adventure. Encourage one another. Pray for one another. Love one another.


    Prayer: Gracious and giving God – we are grateful for the gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus. Help us to know him better. As the song goes: “to see thee more clearly, to love thee more dearly, to follow thee more nearly , day by day.” So we seek to be faithful. We seek to grow in our devotion. We used to be able to do this more effectively because we could meet together for prayer and encouragement and worship. The pandemic makes that harder to do. So help us, rather than just be sad that things are not the way they used to be – help us to be creative in discovering new ways to connect, new opportunities to serve, new possibilities to live and love like Jesus. So lead us Lord! And hear us as we pray for church leaders and missionaries. We pray for the consistory of the Colts Neck Reformed Church as they meet (via zoom!) tonight. By your Spirit, help them to discern best ways of moving forward in faith. So keep us safe. Keep us strong. Keep us effective. Keep us together. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

  • August 12, 2020

    Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”


    The Good News: When something is “holy” it means that it is set apart or consecrated. It is special, not ordinary. So set yourself apart from the ways of the world. As God’s people, make every effort to be about special and “set apart” tasks, living not for personal gain alone, but for the upbuilding of the very Kingdom of God.


    Prayer: Giving and gracious God – we set apart these moments to focus not on “what shall we wear” or “where is our coffee” but to just say “thank You.” Thank you for the gift of Jesus. For sending your Son to be our strength and stay. For the gift of the Holy Spirit as we need comfort and encouragement. So for this holy minute – we just rest in your presence. What an awesome thing that is (and we’re not just overusing that word – it is awe-some) that you call us by name, that you love us unconditionally, and that you prepare a place for us to one-day abide with you in heaven. So, taking time to be holy, we ask that you would bring blessings to our world. There is so much stress and dis-stress in our world. Bickering and backstabbing. Violence and entitlement and side-taking and rights-claiming. Enough! So as far as it depends on me this day, help me O God to give more than I take, to pray as much as I play, to help rather than hinder. In terms of specific prayers – today let us lift up our college students. Some have headed back to campus, some won’t be. Questions abound about virtual learning, dorm-living, cafeteria-dining. So keep our students safe and physically healthy and emotionally secure no matter where they are. Protect their professors too! These are challenging circumstances. Give wisdom and a special measure of your blessing, O Lord. Amen.

  • August 11, 2020

    John 12:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”


    The Good News: As part of Jesus’ final earthly words, he instructs his disciples then, and us today, to love one another. If we were to know that we could only have a few more words to share, what would they be? Last words matter. They are important. So it’s of urgency and of utmost importance that we listen to Jesus and love one another.


    Prayer: Dearest Lord, it sounds so simple: “love one another.” Yet it takes a life-time to learn. To be self-less, kind, patient, non-envious is our calling and commission, yet in this world of sin it seems that, for too many people, the motivation is the exact opposite. Help us to be people who live and love like your Son, our Lord. So come to us by your Holy Spirit that a new way of being, a fresh start, a revolution of blessedness would occur. Use this time of pandemic to soften hard hearts, to renew a focus on what is ultimately important, and to refocus the world on you. Save us from discouragement and give us renewed energy to love one another. Thus we pray for those in our orbit, those you call us to love. We pray for our townships and their leaders. We pray for the businesses we patronize and their staff. We pray for those who mow our lawns and grow our food and cut our hair. We pray for our dentists and physicians and eye doctors. We pray for those who worked to restore electrical power to our communities. We pray for our church family – love, love, love! We pray for our friends. For parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles and cousins, siblings and all those who treat us as family. Help us to extend love to more and more people throughout this week. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • August 10, 2020

    2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.”


    The Good News: It is so great that God gives us our senses so we can better navigate, and appreciate, the world around us. And it is even better that God gives that which is beyond what we can see, touch, smell, taste and hear. Faith isn’t tangible, but it is real. Ask God for the gift of faith and trust. God’s ways aren’t our ways – but they are right and good and lead to salvation.


    Prayer: Providing God – for the sight of a seashore, for the touch of the sun’s warm rays, for the smell of the post-rain air, for the sound of laughter, for the taste of fruits and vegetables freshly picked, we thank you. You offer an abundance of delights for which we pause in praise. What a wonderful world! But for that which is beyond sense, deeper than what we can grasp on our own, we seek your provision. Help us to live by faith; following where you lead. For we need that supernatural support now. These are trying times. We need the help that only you can provide, O Lord. So come alongside us. There are many struggling for economic security – people are worried over bills that accumulate and can’t be paid; we pray for them. There are many under the weight of mental illness; we pray for them. There are many enslaved by addiction; we pray for them. Set us free! Come, Holy Spirit to rescue us and our society. Bless us so we might be a blessing to others. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • August 8, 2020

    Ecclesiastes 7:10 “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”


    The Good News: It is tempting to live in the past, recollecting the “good old days.” Yet the past is what has happened and cannot be changed. It is better to seek to make the days now and in the future the best we can, with God’s help.


    Prayer: O God it is often good to think of times gone by and give thanks – for childhood innocence, memories of pleasant places, relationships of good connections. Thank you for sacred moments and loving people from our past. We do not arrive at this present moment without a history. Yet you ask us not to live wistfully, only looking backward. For you have plans for us! Thank you! So, we give thanks for a good history, we ask for healing for those emotional traumas from yesteryear, but now look to this day. May this be the day that we find multiple reasons for joy. Grant us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow! So as we yet recover from the storms this week, we tap into your power. May you, heavenly Father, help us externally and also internally. Slow the spread of this virus and so move into people’s psyche that all may do their part to promote public safety. May these upcoming months be marked by care, concern and mutual blessings so that these will one day be the “good old days” for our children. That’s hard to fathom how that will be, yet we bring that big prayer to you in the name of Jesus, who is all-powerful and all-loving. Amen. 

  • August 7, 2020

    Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


    The Good News: We are invited to approach Jesus. He’s our friend and offers support, a listening ear, a comforting touch, help for the journey, rest when we’re weary and blessings when we are weak. Yes, Jesus love us – the Bible tells us so!


    Prayer: Blessed Savior, the whole world is wearied by COVID-19. How much longer? May you use these days of challenge to bring about a renewed interest in faith, a revived focus on care and cooperation and compassion, and a restored sense of inter-personal harmony. So we bring our burdens to you. Take them from us - and give us rest. For we are wearied not just because of the pandemic, but also because of so many things. Even though this is a beautiful world (and it is) it is filled with challenges – debt, depression, divorce, danger, difficulty, disease, deceit, division, disadvantages, discouragement and disagreements – and death. We need to be rescued from all these. Thus we come to you. Embrace us as a loving mother would hold her child – to comfort and console. Make it all right, O God! Please! Give us a day of encouragement and a night of rest. Help us, heal our world, grant us hope. Amen.

  • August 6, 2020

    John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.’”


    The Good News: God provides! Even when the circumstances of life leave us empty and parched, God’s Spirit will give us blessings that sustain and empower. Relying on ourselves is hard work – and is an ongoing process that requires daily attention. To endure we need God’s supernatural fuel!


    Prayer: O Holy Spirit – even as this world is rightly concerned about air flow and containing our breathing from dispersing potentially harmful particles, you are the opposite! Thank you for coming among us as the Breath of life, not a breath of death. You fill us when the world depletes us. You can yet surprise us with joy. The news is often bleak but your news is Good News! You reveal yourself to us in your Word and we come to know of hope, mercy, love, peace, blessing, reconciliation, healing, and resurrection! Wow! Thank you! And so, as Bruce Springsteen has sung: “May your strength give us strength; May your faith give us faith; May your hope give us hope; May your love give us love.” Help us to be conduits of your grace and vessels of help. So many are in need; use us Lord to be agents of encouragement to this weary world. Fill us so that we may fill others with tangible help. In the name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

  • August 5, 2020

    Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."


    The Good News: God finishes what God starts! The God of creation is the same God of salvation. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. World without end! Amen and amen. All will be made right… in God’s time.


    Prayer: All-present, all-loving God – I am a work in progress! I know it and, at times, that’s revealed in what I do, and in what I don’t do! For the times I “get it right” I give you praise. (Help me not to take all the credit!) For the times when I miss the mark, forgive me and guide me to doing better next time. (Help me not to blame you for my mistakes!) So, not meaning it in a boastful way, but thank you for all that in me is good. Thanks for the talents you’ve given, the spiritual gifts and attributes I have – may I cultivate them and use them to your glory! You have dispersed aptitudes for meeting the variety of needs through a variety of people. Sometimes I can get a bit jealous over those who are smarter or more artistic or more athletic or more hospitable or more faithful than I. Spare me from comparison and seek to be the “best me I can be.” You have begun this work in me – and have called it a “good work” – so I rejoice in the opportunity to serve You and love others in the way I am uniquely called to do. Of course I pray for others this day, but I also (humbly) pray for myself. Be near me Lord Jesus… Amen.

  • August 4, 2020

    Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.


    The Good News: Storms come. We don’t know when or how, but it’s a fact of life that storms come, pandemics come, tough times come. It’s also a fact that we don’t face the storms alone. God is always with us. When all seems to rage around us, God bids us to come for refuge and strength. God is ever-present. And that means today!


    Prayer: O God of power and might, O God of presence and peace – we come to you this day asking for your protection and blessing. Sometimes it seems like such a “first world problem” to ask that you would protect our possessions, yet we do seek just that help – to make our homes places of safety and to keep our cars and boats from damage. We are reminded once again that, though we like to have control, we aren’t in control. Wind, rain, virus – these come unbidden and unwelcomed. So, in the midst of these, we call on your name. You are in control. You are all-powerful. You are our only refuge and our true strength. Abide with us and grant us your peace. As we pray for ourselves, we also lift up prayers for public spaces and places – and ask your presence guide and guard our schools and hospitals and libraries and stores and parks and beaches. May our roads and bridges be paths of connection and avenues that provide for blessing. So O Lord, in the midst of what rages, we pray for peace of mind, peace of body, peace of spirit – peace for our souls and peace for our world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • August 3, 2020

    Micah 6:8 God has showed you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


    The Good News: We have been saved by God’s grace alone. How are we called to live? Here are directions for a good and grateful life. May we seek, more and more, for our actions to be just, our relationships be merciful, and our journey be that of humility.


    Prayer: O dearest Jesus, would that more people approach life with humility! Wouldn’t that go a long way in the hope department? Instead so often the powerful and proud grab headlines. But for today, may we not give them any mind – instead we say “thank you” for those who are merciful, and lift up prayers of gratitude for those who act justly. There are many who quietly go about the good and right task of faithful living. So… thank you, Lord for (among others): those who caringly watch young children while parents are at work; those who launder and dry clean our clothes; missionaries who forgo personal comfort in order to share the Gospel; those who deliver our packages and our mail; those who clean and sanitize our hospitals, our stores, our offices, our homes; the many volunteers in non-profit organizations. Thank you for those who cook our meals. And thank you Jesus, for hosting the meal that nourishes us unto salvation. Through that feast of remembrance, communion and hope, may we be sustained in order to quietly and courageously serve all your people. Bless us Holy Spirit that we may be a blessing. Amen. 

  • August 1, 2020

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.


    The Good News: We have good reasons to be afraid. There are reasons why our hearts are troubled. But there is a bigger and better reason to set those aside. Jesus comes to give peace. That’s a gift tailor-made for you – God’s peace for your mind, soul, and body. Alleluia!


    Prayer: O God of victory and eternal life, how we need the peace that passes understanding. So often the world focuses on Bad News. Counter it – and even surpass it with your Good News, we humbly pray. Politics and speculation and conspiracy theories and on-line rants seem to fuel an anger and dis-ease that promulgates anything but peace. So rather than bash those that ratchet up the dissension, we come now to pray for them. Come O God, to soften the hearts of those who seem bent on destruction, those who are embittered, angry, and disaffected. We pray for those who are filled with hate that you, in a miraculous work, would replace that with love. We need your peace, we seek your peace, we pray for your peace. Come Lord Jesus. Thus, we pray for the leaders of our government and the governments of the world. May the hunger for power be replaced by the hunger for your righteousness. Bring help, hope and healing as we seek to live and love like your Son, our Lord. Amen. 

  • July 31, 2020

    Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.


    The Good News: We are not alone! We are surrounded – think of that – not just a few who are cheering us on – but we are immersed in the presence of those who have preceded us and are supporting us still. In this marathon of life, keep going. Persevere!


    Prayer: Great and gracious God – it seems like the race has turned into a marathon. Here we are still going – at the close of another week and the end of another month, yet with no end to this pandemic in sight. Somehow if we knew when this would end, we might be able to endure better. But not knowing, we need to just trust in you. So help us to do just that. Up our trust quotient. Come alongside us in a real and tangible way so that we can continue the challenge of physical distancing and mask wearing and hand washing without giving up or giving in. As we pray, we are indeed grateful for that “cloud of witnesses” – for the saints in glory and those who have loved us and gone before us. We pause, calling to mind, in gratitude, those who have helped forge our faith – and who continue to do so from heaven: Parents and grandparents, church school teachers and ministers, choir directors and coaches, scout leaders and youth fellowship advisors. Bless us this day O God that we might provide some of that encouragement to others here on earth. Forgive our sin and grant us peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

  • July 30, 2020

    Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


    The Good News: You are chosen -- Selected to be on God’s team. You are holy -- Set apart for a purpose. You are dearly loved – Cherished unconditionally. In response put on the traits of living and loving like Jesus: Cultivate compassion. Practice kindness. Seek a path of humility. Pray for patience.


    Prayer: You O God – you are all-perfect love. Thank you! How we need love. To express love and to be loved. And so, for this day which you have given to us, we thank you for those who work to bring balance, health and beauty to our earthly living. We thank you for poets and musicians, for yoga leaders and health coaches, for flower arrangers and farmers. In addition to our prayers of gratitude, we ask prayers for the children of our community. This pandemic has made it so hard for them to play unfettered, to socialize freely, to explore unrestricted. This is a hard summer for many families. We don’t know how it can be, but O Lord, somehow make this to be a season of joy. May there be a decrease in cases of coronavirus and the opportunity (soon!) to gather safely. As we wait for that time, may we choose avenues of compassion to those who are in need, paths of kindness despite a world that seems to be more and more selfish, and ways of patience though so many seem to be in a rush. Calm us and help to focus on love. Grant us the grace of your presence this day in a specific and profound way. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

  • July 29, 2020

    John 11:25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though he dies…”


    The Good News: To everything there is a season – so there comes a time when this earthly journey is completed. Death is part of our reality. But it is not the end of our existence. Because of Jesus Christ we have life even beyond this life. Abide in the knowledge of resurrection and rest in the fact that there will be a glad heavenly reunion with all those whom you love.


    Prayer: Lord of life, thank you for giving us your Son so that all who believe in him will not perish, but have eternal life. So give us faith to acknowledge you and to live in such a way as to glorify you, and then when our voyage here is done, to live with you forever. Grant us peace both now and always. We remember those who have preceded us – generations past who passed down traditions and rituals to us. We commend to you those who we have loved and who have died, from whatever the cause. Hold them close until we meet again. We pray for those who serve at both of the margin ends of life. For labor and delivery nurses, for adoption agencies, for those who work in the hospital NICU. We also pray for hospice nurses, for nursing homes, for those who work in funeral homes. We also ask that you would bless those who are called upon in emergency situations: EMTs, first aid squad members, firefighters, police officers. Give them strength for their tasks and wisdom to meet every challenge. So, O Lord, we grieve our losses, but we abide in gratitude that death is not the end. Comfort us, O Holy Spirit. Amen. 

  • July 28, 2020

    Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


    The Good News: Jesus’ resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples happened in Jerusalem. But it goes forth! Where? To the ends of the earth. There is no place where God is not in charge. There is no place where God is not King. There is no place where God’s power is not prevailing! Be a witness and share the Good News wherever you go.


    Prayer: Prevailing God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it is the marvel of technology that these prayers are read/shared/offered all over the country, perhaps even all over the world. A friend shares it with a friend, who shares it, who shares it. We cannot even comprehend the impact that our prayers might make. So we pause to pray for your church O God – in all the different places, different denominations, different styles of praise. Use the various communities of faith, especially during this COVID-19 crisis, to be beacons of hope and anchors of faith. Even increase our effectiveness! Humbly, we pray that you would bless the Colts Neck Reformed Church. Help us to be your people, extending blessings, sharing Good News, encouraging one another. May we not be held back from growing in grace because of these current circumstances. Keep our faith alive. Though we cannot sing your praise together, may our hearts yet rejoice that you are our mighty fortress. So protect us. Defend us. Help us. Heal us. Save your people here, there, and everywhere – unto all the earth. In the name of our Savior, Jesus. Amen.

  • July 27, 2020

    John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


    The Good News: Some translations say “take courage” or “be of good cheer” instead of “take heart.” But no matter the translation, the consistent reassurance is that Jesus overcomes! The world gives us trouble, but Jesus gives us peace. Let that promise settle into your soul and rejoice!


    Prayer: O Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior – how we pray for the time when there will be that overarching sense that all is as it was intended from the beginning. We await the time when there will be harmony with creation, harmony with one another, harmony within ourselves, and harmony with you. No more tears, terrorism, or tumors. No more covid, cancer or cystic fibrosis. No more abuse, alcoholism, or anger. No more depression, debt or death. And we give deep and abiding thanks that that’s what will happen. In your power and might, you have defeated the power of evil and will set all things right. O happy day! Thank you for overcoming all that seeks to destroy us and instead, providing a future that will be filled with blessings, restored relationships, and full forgiveness. As we wait for that time, grant us patience, hope, fortitude, and faith. Praise be to you, Savior of the World! Amen. 

  • July 25, 2020

    Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.


    The Good News: When you're weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, God will dry them all. God is on our side! And when times get rough, God will help bear your burden. God is your rest-provider.


    Prayer: Precious Lord, there are many in need. We know the names of some of them – and we pause to ask for the grace of your presence to abide with them. For family members. For co-workers. For friends. For those in our church family. And there are so many that are in need, and whose names are not known by us. But you know their names and you know their needs. So – for those with addictions – and also their family members, we pray. For small business owners and their employees, we pray. For school superintendents and principals and school board who are facing decisions as to how to offer classes this fall, we pray. For store clerks and line cooks and gas station attendants and lifeguards and all those who serve us, wearing masks for hours at a stretch, we pray. Help us. Heal our world. How long, O Lord? Grant us rest for our souls. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

  • July 24, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


    The Good News: It’s easy to be dismayed – to be distressed. Stress is our constant companion. Yet God says, “That’s not what I want for you! I will strengthen you and help you.” Thanks be to God who comes to prevent us from falling forever, failing too frequently, or fading away into being forgotten.


    Prayer: O dear Lord – we’ve experienced many of the stages of grief with this pandemic. At first we were in denial, thinking that this was something that might last a couple of weeks. But then it continued. Anger! And sometimes, O God, I’m still in this stage. It’s just not right that we can’t hug our loved ones or travel or worship together in ways we want. So we bargain a bit. Hoping we can make it better somehow. But this is a worldwide problem. And it has become politicized. Yet the fact is that people are dying and the virus is active. So, depression. That’s real too. So help us not to give up or give in to this. But also help us not to move to acceptance if that means we stop trying to help others and heal others and encourage others. Despite the reality of our current situation help us Lord to remember that this is yet a beautiful world. Let us abide in the fact that we are loved and that you give us people to love in turn. So help us to turn from fear and so to be strengthened for service. May we be a blessing in our going out and in our staying in, as you lead. Amen. 

  • July 23, 2020

    Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.


    The Good News: The Easter miracle of Jesus’ resurrection is hard, if not impossible, to prove. But we aren’t asked to prove anything. Or even understand everything. Eternal life is a gift that God offers – what we are to do is simply receive it. Accept the gift (no strings attached!) of salvation. Believe and live!


    Prayer: O King of kings and Lord of lords – I give thanks that your Son, our Redeemer lives. Thank you for the unmerited gift of salvation. Help us to dance to the rhythm of resurrection. Help us to feel the sure and steady beat of eternal life that cannot be stopped. The grave was empty so our lives can be full. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Yet despite the certainty of your sovereign love, O God, and though the future is guaranteed to turn out perfect and good, we are living our lives in a time of deep concern. People seem to disagree about everything. And so many feel the need to angrily assert their opinions and claim their rights. Sigh. Help humility to take hold. Send your Spirit so that we would regain a sense of civility and respect, even when there are differences. Yet rather than just focus on abstract issues this day, we pause to pray for those we know and who seek our support. We pray for those in the hospital, rehab centers, nursing homes. We pray for the lonely and those who feel the brunt of pandemic isolation most severely. We pray for those in our church family, recalling those who sat near us in worship. As we aren’t together physically, unite us spiritually in a profound way, O God. Please! Amen.

  • July 22, 2020

    1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on God because God cares for you.


    The Good News: We live in anxious times. We can make resolutions not to worry and we can read books that tell us not to sweat the small stuff. But we can’t help it. There is anxiety. That’s real. That’s okay. But scripture tells us what do with it – we can give it to God. Hand over your troubles to One who loves you, for God is stronger, wiser, and is on your side!


    Prayer: Abiding Father – if we were to list all the things that cause concern, we’d be writing for a long time. There are shared worries – about our government and the governments of other nations, about the virus, about war, about hunger and poverty, about issues of race. And each of us has our own private heartaches and particular worries – the nagging bodily pain, the fractured relationship, the aftermath of a poor decision, the secretive habit, the lack of self-esteem. Yet as big as our list is, your care is bigger, your love is stronger, your blessing is greater. So we bring our needs to you and cast them all to you. Thank you that we don’t have to deal with them alone, but that you are there – with us and for us. We need you, O God. Help our breaking hearts, our weary bodies and our waiting world. Hear us, O faithful heavenly Father. Amen. 

  • July 21, 2020

    Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


    The Good News: God doesn’t just tell us that we are cherished. God demonstrates his love. God doesn’t leave us in our brokenness, God sent us his Son. Jesus, by his death and resurrection, bridges the chasm that we created through our sin and selfishness. Alleluia!


    Prayer: Merciful and Abiding Lord, first off – thank you for sending you Son for us. And I don’t mean that as a “get it out of the way” but as a primary prayer. First and foremost – thank you for Jesus. There are times as I bring my list of needs and wants, of people and problems, that I forget to lift up my gratitude for Jesus. But not today! I’m grateful that you do not leave us alone to deal with the concerns of this day, but that you give us a Savior to befriend us, to come along side us, to go to the cross to rectify the mess of this world. Your parental love is so real – and not just for Jesus, but also for us, your adopted children. Thanks for unswervingly, unconditionally, unabashedly coming to our aid. So, mend our hearts, heal our bodies, rescue our world, and save us – body and soul by your grace. Through Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen

  • July 20, 2020

    1 Peter 3:15 In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…


    The Good News: Christians are hope-filled people. We have a destiny of blessing. Can you articulate why? Put into a sentence or two what gives you hope. Make sure it’s respectful of those who may differ or do not know Jesus. Memorize your answer. Be ready to share it as you never know who God will put in your life who needs hope, needs a blessing, needs Jesus!


    Prayer: O great and gracious God – we aren’t people who grasp for a better future through wishful thinking. Because of Jesus, your Son, our Lord – we are people who are assured of a better future though hope. What a relief to be grounded in hope. So, in hope, we pray for our church, our communities, our country, our world. So much is unknown. We just want to have an end to how this COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of life. We’re tired of the social distancing even as we know that it’s necessary. Help us. And help us to share with those who are despairing that the current situation is not the end of life and love. Yes, things are different and it’s hard. But we have hope! So thank you God for not leaving us alone. Thank you for the assurance that nothing will separate us from your presence and love. Help us to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • July 18, 2020

    Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


    The Good News: What are we to think about? Not the wrong – which admittedly is real and strong, but that which is praiseworthy. No, we aren’t to stick our heads in the ground and pretend that evil doesn’t exist nor are we to ignore our responsibility to be agents of change. But we first ought to be grounded in what is good and lovely and right and admirable. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.


    Prayer: O God, it is important to keep up with the news – yet so often it seems like the news is focused only on what’s wrong. Death. Destruction. Division. Disease. Debt. On this summer Saturday, we acknowledge the reality of all that – and we turn it over to you. Deal with it, please, O God. And as you do, we pause to think about Good News. So we think about how your ministry was about healing, teaching, and caring. We think about those who serve so diligently – public servants, health care workers, first responders, missionaries, social workers, therapists. Watch over and protect them. And thank you, O God, for bringing joy through pets, through, friends, through those we love and those who love us. Thank you for the sustenance of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • July 17, 2020

    Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


    The Good News: The allure of money, sex and power is strong. So often the glitz and glitter of this world can distract us. Instead, let us fix our gaze on Jesus. Jesus stayed true to his mission. We must likewise persevere in our obedience to love God and love our neighbor.


    Prayer: We’re trying to stay the course, O God, but we confess that it’s not easy. We were just starting to think that we’d pull through this in the next month or two. But with places that started to reopen getting more and more coronavirus cases, we’re again unsettled. What about our plans? What about our economy? What about travel? What about our schools? What about our church? Oh, help us God! So in that short prayer “help us God” we’re trying to remember that the important word is not “us” but “God.” We’ll fix our eyes on Jesus. We’re grateful that you are in charge, and that though we don’t know what the future holds, you do. Thank you that you’ve promised that, despite trials and tribulations, you will guide us and lead us. So we honor and praise your holy name. And we seek to be agents of compassion to those we encounter. Help us to love our neighbor and to bless them in your name. Seeking to follow faithfully, we pray this day. Amen. 

  • July 16, 2020

    Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.


    The Good News: Though this world is filled with endless challenges and complications, we will not be defeated or deflated. Why? Because though we can’t solve all the problems of the world – or even a majority of them – God is able. And God is willing. We can’t perceive the victory just yet, but we will! God is all-powerful!


    Prayer: O God, how different this summer is than what we expected – or wanted. We expected to have just enjoyed baseball’s all-star game while gearing up for the summer Olympics. We’ve postponed plans and cancelled vacations. Ugh! O Lord, We know that there is the need to remind us that you are in charge and not us – but this one is major-league. So you’ve got the attention of the whole world. No one has escaped this pandemic. So even as we pray for healing and a vaccine, we pray that all of this will be used by you to re-route us towards peace and cooperation. May the governments of our world collaborate towards stability and sharing and saving our earth. We’ve had too much of war and terrorism. So, standing on the promise that all things are possible with You – we pray a big prayer. Humble us and bring us to the place of global harmony. Mend all divisions. End all violence. Restore our environment. Bring hope. Bless all people through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior! Amen. 

  • July 15, 2020

    Proverbs 3:5-6 With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.


    The Good News: We hear how we are to trust the Lord. That is the way to peace. And --- thanks be to God – we don’t have to figure all that out by ourselves. God leads! God’s in charge. God’s got this – and God’s got you!


    Prayer: O holy Pathfinder, Way provider, Trail blazer – lead us! Day by day and year by year – go before us to make the future filled with blessings and beauty. Too often when we are young, we can’t wait until we are “old enough to…” and too often when we are old we say, “youth is wasted on the young.” Help us in the stage of life in which we find ourselves. Yes, there are the yearnings of youth and the aches of old age – but in them all, help us to pause and be grateful for this day and this stage of living. Free us from worrying about all the “what’s next?” and to focus instead on how we can abide in this moment and to serve our neighbor this day. Give us the grace of contentment and to change the things we can and to accept the things we can’t. Lead on O King Eternal! Amen. 

  • July 14, 2020

    Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


    The Good News: We get weary. That’s what happens when we come face-to-face with the trials and trauma of life. Yet we also have the blessing of coming face-to-face with God, and God is our hope and our source of renewal. We keep on keeping on… with God’s help!


    Prayer: Precious Lord, take our hands and renew us. We’re tired of wondering “how long” and not being able to gather as we used to. We’re weary of wondering if every ache and cough is a sign of ill health. We just about done in with changing plans and reworking expectations. And on top of all the coronavirus stuff (four months of this!?!) – we yet are a world of unrest. Too many are marginalized. The issue of racism is real and without a human-oriented solution. Those who are gay still face a lack of acceptance. People with disabling conditions or special needs endure daily obstacles. People face discrimination for a number of reasons. So help us to be solution-creators and compassion-providers and conduits of your grace, O God. We want to be relieved from fatigue, so as we wait and weep and wonder – renew our strength. Help us Jesus. Amen. 

  • July 13, 2020

    Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.


    The Good News: What a joy! – to have the gift of salvation. We’re not needing to accomplish this (as if we could anyway.) Our job? – to rest in God’s strength and to sing a song of gratitude. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!


    Prayer: O God, what a blessed assurance we have of salvation through your son, our Lord, Jesus! Thank you for echoes of mercy and whispers of love. Let our lives be that kind of “joyful noise” that adds to the music of the spheres. Thus, thank you for this day – may we rejoice and be glad in it. We pause in prayer to lift up a private song of thanksgiving for food to enjoy, homes of security, relationships of blessing. Thank you for hobbies – for quilting and golf and painting and horseback riding and making music and reading and surfing and gardening and many more ways in which we enjoy your diverse world. We thank you for health care workers, emergency first responders, farmers, and those in the military. And most of all, we thank you for the grace of our Lord Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen. 

  • july 11, 2020

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


    The Good News: Paul writes to his protégé Timothy with a reminder that’s needed whether young or old – that perfect love casts out fear, and that God is love! Fear not!


    Prayer: O Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer – we are grateful for this mid-July Saturday! Late light! Stars and a last-quarter moon. A bright dawn. Green grass. Flowers and trees. Sand, sun, surf! The beauty of your world is stunning. Thank you for giving it to us to behold and enjoy. Help us to be good – and better – stewards of your good earth. There is much fear about the future, with climate and hurricanes and tornados and such. Help us to love our world and love our future generations in ways that are pleasing and acceptable to you, O Lord God. Give us mindfulness and grant unto us a spirit of self-control. Bless us to be a blessing! In Jesus’ holy name. Amen. 

  • July 10, 2020

    Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.


    The Good News: Tough times occur in every age and each generation has events that threaten to overwhelm. Though the difficulties churn, the Good News is “I will be with you!” God is never far away. We will not be consumed. God provides victory despite the very real circumstances we face.


    Prayer: Thank you Sovereign God for the reminder that though there remains the reality of flood and flame, they do not determine ultimate issues. What lasts is your presence, the promise of support, and the blessing of love. And when the voyage of this earthly life is done, there awaits a glad heavenly reunion with all those who have gone before. There are time when our souls ache waiting for good news, for a sign of hope, for relief from the sadness. So we boldly ask for it. You promise to be with us – so help us, O God. Help us in our need. Bring about a covid-vaccine. Provide opportunities for economic stability and relief from unemployment. Sustain those who work for health and healing, relief and recovery. Hear us and come to our aid. Trusting that you do and that you will, thank you! In Christ’s name. Amen. 

  • July 9, 2020

    Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.


    The Good News: God abides. God leads. God provides green pastures. God comforts with a rod and staff. God is with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Goodness and mercy follow us. Thanks be to God!


    Prayer: Thank you, O Good Shepherd! For your Word that brings comfort in times of sorrow and grief and for your still waters and green pastures that provide opportunities for refreshment and renewal. Our world seems like a see-saw – so we bring our prayers, prayers of gratitude when we are “up” and prayers of petition when we are “down.” Thank you for summer’s reminders that there is yet growth, goodness and grace. Thank you for friends who support us and sustain us. Thank you for relationships that nurture and nourish us. Yet in times of desperation – for they happen too – come to us and provide what we need. We need hope. We need healing. We need more smiles and fewer scolds. More tail-wagging and less barking. More peace and a reduction in chaos. We need You. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

  • July 8, 2020

    Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.


    The Good News: God is never far from us. God comes to us when we are feeling half-empty to fill us. We receive not just a bit of hope – but we may abound in hope. The future belongs to God and we belong to God. Yes!


    Prayer: Holy God, as we begin another month, we cry out, “how long!?” We want to plan trips. We want to play sports. We want to figure out when and how we can have weddings and worship services and Rally Day and the Election Day Events. We are filled with so many questions. We hope that You don’t think that we’re frivolous for being consumed with such things – because though they aren't the biggest issues in the world, they are big issues in our small corner of the world. So as we are filled with questions, we pray that you would also empty us of things that would clutter and distract us from You. Help us to rest easy and acknowledge that you do not willingly grieve nor afflict us, but that nothing can separate us from the hope, peace and love you give through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!

  • July 7, 2020

    Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.


    The Good News: We are sometimes weak and weary and often times wondering and asking “why?” Yet we have an advocate in the Holy Spirit who strengthens us and helps us day by day.


    Prayer: We can be weary, O Father-God. We can be weary physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. The trauma of our world can make us heavy-hearted and parched. We need strength to watch the news and not be overwhelmed. Social media seems to be filled with people spewing rage and resentment; people feel free to disparage so many others by saying things that they'd never say to a person if they were talking face-to-face. It is hard to find civil discourse anymore. So rescue us as a society. Turn us towards earned respect and abiding kindness and a deep faith in you, O God. May there be a tornado of your Holy Spirit that destroys pride and self-righteousness. You are our only hope. You are our only strength. Amen. 

  • July 6, 2020

    Matthew 6:31-32 Don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.


    The Good News: Being human, we are prone to worry. But worrying is like being in a rocking chair – it expends energy, but gets us nowhere. So help us to rest in your provision and providence.


    Prayer: O Lord – our blood pressure goes up and our stress-levels increase as we think about all the deep needs of our world. We worry about our health if we “open society” too quickly. We worry about the economy if we don’t open quickly enough. We worry about climate change. We worry about our finances. We pray for our children. Give us a peace of mind, O God. And even as we do so, we thank you that you send people to support and sustain us. We thank you for the vocations of social workers, therapists, coaches. We thank you for wise friends and supportive neighbors and caring colleagues. Send us a reminder – somehow, someway -- of your presence O God, so that we can rest easier this day and sleep well this night. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

  • July 4, 2020

    Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.


    The Good News: On this American Independence Day, we are called to pray for our nation. We have many blessings – and with the hard-won gift of freedom, we are able to extend blessings to others. Let us remember who is ultimately in charge!


    Prayer: O Lord, our prayer today contains the sentiments penned by Julia Ward Howe in 1861:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on.

    I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps they have builded Him an altar In the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps; His day is marching on.

    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgement seat; O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet; Our God is marching on.

    In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; as He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free; while God is marching on.

    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on. Amen! 

  • July 3, 2020

    Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


    The Good News: In this season of gardening, we enjoy the produce of the earth. We also cultivate the fruit of God’s Spirit. Let us focus on growing in these ways – ever and always to the glory of God!


    Prayer: God of the past, present and future – thank you for blessings that come with the summer season. We pray for health and happiness. We pray for more of the fruit of the Spirit. May sin-filled selfishness diminish and a generosity of the soul increase. As crowds gather for a holiday weekend, may your wisdom prevail and may there not be another wave of infections nor more incidents of social unrest and rioting. Please, no, O God! Rather may opportunities for picnics and boating and swimming and fire-working bring occasions of joy. Heal our society and heal our bodies. Our world finds final rest and full freedom in you alone, O Lord. We pray in the name of our Savior, Amen.

  • July 2, 2020

    Psalm 139:17-18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. And when I wake up, you are still with me!


    The Good News: While we have been asleep, God is awake and at work. We are invited into God’s ongoing presence, love and care. We participate; we pray; we contribute; we care – but it’s not up to us to be Savior. That job is taken! Thanks be to God that we are never alone.


    Prayer: Hear us O God, as we pray for those who serve in positions of leadership and trust. We pray for parents and grandparents. We pray for parish ministers, chaplains, and missionaries. We pray for those who are bosses and employers. We pray for governmental authorities. Grant wisdom. Grant compassion. Grant that these leaders would use their power and influence for the common good and not for personal gain. We are yet again reminded that you are the King of kings and the Lord of lords – and that as we go through this day, you are with us, the ultimate servant-leader. Thank you for humbling yourself to identify with us mortals and for going to the cross for our salvation. To you, and you alone, be our worship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Amen.

  • July 1, 2020

    Psalm 46:5 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.


    The Good News: We do things we ought not do. We leave undone things which we ought to do. We sin. But God, in Jesus Christ, provides forgiveness, restoration and renewal. We are not defined by our past mistakes, but rather by God’s grace. Repent and live!


    Prayer: Dear God, we admit that asking for forgiveness isn’t always easy. (Forgive us for not asking for forgiveness!?!?) I know that you’ve already forgiven me through Jesus, but it’s just that, as I receive forgiveness, it requires me to likewise forgive others. That’s what’s hard! It’s hard to let go of grudges. Some people have hurt me, and I’d prefer them to get their comeuppance. Yet, I know that’s not what You want. So do a renewal project in me. Grant me fortitude to forgive without tons of conditions. I’d like to live without resentment or anger. So free me from all that. In its place, enable me to enact love, and to make compassion visible. That’s a big ask, but I do so wanting your Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Help me Jesus. Amen.

  • June 30, 2020

    Genesis 8:22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.


    The Good News: To everything there is a season. In this season of summer we bask in the knowledge that God’s promise is that we shall endure. There are storms and pandemics and turmoil, but God will not fail nor forsake us. Thanks be to God!


    Prayer: O God – you whose love for us never changes, we live in a world of change. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. In this time of “refraining from embracing” we humbly ask for you to come closer and enfold us with your comfort. We seek peace, not chaos. We need healing, not and more cases of COVID. We desire harmony, not discord. So help use be promoters of harmony, blending our voices with others in creating beauty and blessing. We are grateful for those who work at creating channels of conversation in a world where dissonance is often prevalent. May we be in a season of listening and not yelling. May we be in a season of respect that says “just because others think differently doesn’t automatically make them wrong.” Come, Holy Spirit to illuminate and guide. May this be a season of faith and faithfulness! Amen. 

  • June 29, 2020

    1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.


    The Good News: How wonderful to have a God whose identity is revealed not in power or wrath but in love. And love endures! Love lasts! Love casts out fear! God’s love wins!


    Prayer: Blessed Savior, thank you for loving us, saving us, helping us, healing us. Your love is perfect. Yet there are times when earthly love is challenging to maintain. So we come in prayer – grateful for those you have given to us to love, but also asking you to assist us in being patient, kind, not envious, not irritable, not resentful. Help us to forgive as we ourselves have been forgiven. Give us, we humbly pray, opportunities for sharing laughter, creating positive memories, assisting others who need our love. Enrich with your grace all husbands and wives, parents and children, that loving and supporting one another, we may serve those in need and be a sign of your Kingdom. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

  • June 27, 2020

    Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.


    The Good News: Waiting is hard! Yet God, who asks us to be in relationship and who awaits our prayers, hears us and will answer. Sometimes the answer is “yes” and we are grateful. Sometimes the answer is “no” and we don’t understand. Sometimes the answer is “not yet” and we continue to wait. God is at work.


    Prayer: God of grace and God of glory, we bring our prayers of “Wow!” – the beauty of a sunset, the constancy of the ocean waves, the deliciousness of fresh fruit, the laughter of a baby. We also bring our prayers of “Thanks!” – the friends we enjoy, the church that blesses, the opportunities for renewal and refreshment of a summer Saturday. We also bring our prayers of “Help!” – help those who are sick and suffering, help those who are grieving, help those who are both physically distanced and emotionally distanced from family, help those who are marginalized because of their sexuality, help those with addictions, help those who are financially distressed. We lay our requests before you O God, and wait expectantly… Amen. 

  • June 26, 2020

    Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


    The Good News: Despite all the tragedies and trauma of life, we have the gift of this day. We do not know what today will bring, but we do know who creates, sustains and redeems! God is with us. That is cause for celebration.


    Prayer: God of beginnings, of creation, of new opportunities, of fresh starts, we give deep and on-going thanks that you have given us this day. May you grant unto us many reasons for rejoicing! Thank you for anniversaries and birthdays and reunions. Thank you for ice cream and for fellowship opportunities! Thank you for our health care workers, our emergency service providers, our military personnel. Thank you that people have joined together to be mindful of safety protocols to “flatten the curve” (and may many more follow that example.) Thank you for the “old rugged cross” upon which your Son, our Lord died so that we would have forgiveness. Thank you God for not judging us by past failures but rather for embracing us with your grace and favor. Thank you for this day – and may we continue to be filled with gratitude as we live and love like Jesus. Amen. 

  • June 25, 2020

    1 John 3:1-3 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”


    The Good News: We belong to God. We are cherished! Simple and true!


    Prayer: Thank you God for adopting us as your children. For choosing us. For always-loving us. For providing for us. For saving us. For accepting us. Yet we recognize that, in this world, not everyone is accepted by others. You, O God, yes you accept us. (Thanks, again!) But too many others are labeled because of race or sexuality or relationship-status or economic-indicators. Those labels are used like weapons to hurt or tear-down. May that not continue! Rouse our consciences and restore the status of belonging to all your children. So guide us to be people of compassion and care, and dispatch those who love division and bully others. Heal our world from COVID-19 and heal our world from hatred. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

  • June 24, 2020

    James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”


    The Good News: The time of completion will come – and then, despite current trials, we will lack nothing. Nothing! Our call then, for now, is to be steadfast. Hold on. God is with us.


    Prayer: O God, we lift up those who encourage us, those who bring your light into the dark corners of our world. Thank you for those who come along side us, to steady us, to comfort us, to help us when we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death. We pray for those who labor diligently in the healing arts, may they too be sustained. We pray for those friends who offer a quiet word, send a card, make a meal -- just show up when times get tough. Thank you for faithful companions through the journey of life. And in turn, help us to be such a support to others. May we be conduits of grace, exporters of beauty, channels of calm, and wholesalers of kindness. As we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep, we are grateful for your presence and power. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

  • June 23, 2020

    Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”


    The Good News: The sin clings and the tough times are real. Life is a race – and no one runs a race without getting tired. We can hit that wall and feel defeated. How can we pace ourselves? It helps to remember that we are surrounded – not just in front or behind – but surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering for us, cheering for you!


    Prayer: (from the hymn “Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord” by B. Mansell Ramsey in 1919)

    Teach me Thy way, O Lord, teach me Thy way; Thy gracious aid afford, teach me Thy way. Help me to walk aright; more by faith, less by sight; lead me with heav’nly light, teach me Thy way.

    When doubts and fears arise, teach me Thy way; when storms o’erspread the skies, Teach me Thy way. Shine through the cloud and rain, through sorrow, toil, and pain; make Thou my pathway plain, teach me Thy way.

    Long as my life shall last, teach me Thy way; where’er my lot be cast, teach me Thy way. Until the race is run, until the journey’s done, until the crown is won, teach me Thy way. Amen.

  • June 22, 2020

    Ephesians 3:17-19-21 “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.”


    The Good News: More expansive that the further reaches of north and south, east and west, higher than the highest mountain, deeper than the deepest ocean trench, the love of Christ is abundant and eternal. It will prevail, so hang on!


    Prayer: O Lord, our Lord – how excellent is your name in all the earth. More signs of recovery. More reopening. Thank you, Lord! This pandemic has hit us hard – but with our diligence and your provision, we are coming through it. It’s been a patience-trying time. So help us to learn from this not to take any of life for granted. Help us to cherish those we love. Help us to support our emergency service providers and health care workers. Help us to lift up those who are frail elderly and those who care for them. Help us to encourage our small-business owners and on this day of reopening, especially our barbers, beauticians, cosmetologists and nail technicians. Open our hearts so that we might be conduits of praise and blessing, ever and always, to your glory! Amen. 

  • June 20, 2020

    John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


    The Good News: How true, the ways of the world – selfishness, pride, righteousness, anger, slander, sin – bring tribulation. It’s a tough world and a tough time. It looks like the evil-doers are winning – but take courage! Jesus overcomes all evil!


    Prayer: O God, you have created us with bodies, minds and souls. Grant us humility and obedience so that our spiritual life would echo your commands. Grant us health and healing so that our bodies would allow us to faithfully share your Good News and to be of service to others. Grant us your supernatural peace so that our minds would not be overwhelmed by the challenges that bombard us. In these days of pandemic, of partisanship, of un-Christlike behavior from far too many, our mental health is challenged. It’s hard to hold onto hope. It’s hard to find purpose. It’s hard to believe that love is possible. It’s hard to think about the myriad of unknowns yet ahead. We’re off kilter. And we’re scared. Depression is hard to diagnose, hard to admit, hard to understand, hard to treat. So God come deep into our lives and hear our cries. Some of us are crying desperately, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Are you able to help? We believe you are, yet are discouraged when the help comes slowly. So hear us and help us and heal us. Overcome all the hurt of this world and grant us peace! In the name of the one who is our Rock and our Redeemer – Amen. 

  • June 19, 2020

    Psalm 119:114-115 “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.”


    The Good News: When the going gets tough and we just need to escape the evil and hide from the horror – God provide a safety net. We focus on honoring God and loving our neighbor – and the evildoers will not prevail!


    Prayer: What a different end to the school year, O God! We come therefore with our prayers. For administrators and school boards as they yet need to consider how to re-open classrooms and when – give wisdom! For teachers and school staff as they miss having the opportunity to cheerlead “their” children in completing a year of learning and growing in knowledge, we offer our thanks for their following their vocational call and for their creative care. For parents, as they’ve stepped in to assist in online learning along with the myriad of the other responsibilities of life – we pray your blessing. And we pause to pray for our children. The next generations will have much with which to contend. So help them to grapple with big issues of society, technological innovation, and, O God, provide them with opportunities to grow in grace, foster friendships and pursue peace for themselves and for our world. With so much seeming to fray, be with our children and teens in powerful and profound ways. And be with us adults, prodding us in faith and faithfulness, so that the legacy we leave to those younger will be a cleaner environment, a more united country, an end to racism, a respect for all people and an abiding allegiance to you, O God. Amen. 

  • June 18, 2020

    Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”


    The Good News: It’s a wearying time. But that’s not how our story will end. We will yet soar. It may not be tomorrow or perhaps even this year – but by God’s power and presence, strength will be renewed and hope secured.


    Prayer: Our world has been through turmoil. Often times we know of a place that has experience trauma – wildfires or a hurricane, a mass shooting or terrorism – but this pandemic is global. Everyone has experienced loss, all people are potential victims – all nations, all colors, all economic classes. O God, since we all are joined in being affected, would you use this time and this pandemic to unify people and help us to be about the work of cooperation and the common good. Help us to look beyond labels to remember that we are all your children and to lift up each individual as a source of blessing. May we be unified in prayer, may we be one in your Spirit, may we be solitary in purpose – loving you with our hearts, minds, soul and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. So help us God! In particular we bring to mind those who are lonely or left out, help us to be mindful of their need – and to respond! Thank you Jesus for lifting up the least and for loving us unconditionally. So forgive our sins, and help us to live and love like Jesus. Amen.

  • June 17, 2020

    Psalm 16:8 “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”


    The Good News: So many things compete for our attention, but God instructs us to not be so distracted that we lose sight of the Provider, Protector, and Promise-Keeper: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


    Prayer: Dearest Friend and Savior, so much of this strange new world is difficult and challenging: the inability to visit in hospitals and nursing homes; twelve-step sobriety programs unable to provide in-person accountability; missing the kind of learning that happens through the give-and-take of the classroom; sharing communion in real time with real people with a common elements of bread and wine. It just seems to lose something when we can’t be seeing the smiling faces of others. Still – we know that it’s not all about us. Though we’d prefer worshiping without restrictions, we acknowledge that wherever we are, and however we join together, you are there – and that’s what matters ultimately. So help us and help us come alongside those in need: the sick and the dying, the lost and the lonely, the anxious and the angry. Give unto us a good night’s rest and a morning’s opportunity to be a blessing to others. Thank you for the timeless, frameless, abiding grace of your presence, O God. In the name of the One who was, who is, and ever more will be, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

  • June 16, 2020

    Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."


    The Good News: God is with us. God rejoices with/for us in a wide-array of ways. Quiet love and loud singing. Morning, noon and night. Yesterday, today, forever. Laughter and tears. Labor and leisure. COVID-19 will not prevail – it is the very present God who saves!


    Prayer: O Lord, our Lord – we’ve had to adapt. And, surprise of surprises, we’ve managed to do some pretty creative things – online worship, zoom happy hours, choir collaborations, drive-by parties, virtual vacations, learning new skills. But now we’re moving from adaptation to innovation. How are we going to live ongoingly like this? That’s a challenge – so we come to you, O Lord. We’re leaning hard into your wisdom to show us how we can sing your song in this foreign land. May this become an opportunity for your Word to take root in ways that weren’t imaginable even last year. So thank you for families worshiping together, reading the Bible together, praying together. Thank you for the slower pace that provides times for big discussions about good and evil, about ethics, about purposefulness, about privilege, about responsibility. Thank you for neighbors getting to know each other. And most especially, thank you for the grace of your presence. Jesus – you are our rock, and upon you we anchor ourselves, our families, our church, our society, our world. So in our ever-changing world, thank you for your saving love which never changes. Strengthen us, we pray. In Christ, our living Lord and Savior’s name, Amen. 

  • June 15, 2020

    Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


    The Good News: We can be filled! Not a half-cup, nor even a full cup – but we have hope that overflows. Our cup runneth over! So don’t just abide in hope – but abound in it! How we need it – and how we receive it – joy and peace and hope… and joy and peace and hope… and joy and peace and hope!


    Prayer: What’s going on, O God? How long? It’s been three months! I know that for you, and considering eternity, its but a blink of an eye – but for us, life is so different. At the beginning of 2020, we would be taken back at how life has changed. We lift up our students, teachers and parents, school boards and administrators. On March 15 everyone left school thinking that they would be off until the beginning of April. Or maybe Easter. But the end of the school year? This would have, should have been a time of field days and celebrations, a wrapping up of a year filled with learning. Yet teachers are told to hand in grades – but grading what? Parents are frazzled; children miss their friends; seniors have drive-by proms and a strange kind of graduation. So yes, I guess sometimes prayer sounds whiny. We admit it. A summer without sports? Ugh. So we just lay our deep and honest emotions before you, O God. We want positivity and roses without thorns, but there are times when we don’t feel very overflowing. So – thanks for not abandoning us, even when we feel a bit ungrateful. Thanks for listening. Thanks for understanding. So in our limited perspective, help us, hold us, and give us hope. Create a future that is better than what we imagine. Restore our souls, reconstruct our society, re- invigorate our economy, rebind frayed relationships, and resurrect our bodies! Remember us, O Lord. We offer our prayers humbly and ever and always in the name of Jesus, who suffered on the cross for our sake and for our salvation. Amen. 

  • June 13, 2020

    Isaiah 9:7 “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever more. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”


    The Good News: God’s promised presence and peace is not a sometimes thing. No end! Forever more! Although we now know how we are blessed by the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace, we wait upon how the judgement and justice will fully take place. But it will! Evil will end and Love wins!


    Prayer: O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray! Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell, O come to us -- abide with us -- our Lord Emmanuel. Our prayer for your presence in our world is not just something for December 25, but for each and every day. What a difference, an eternal and life-providing difference, it made that you O God so loves us that you gave to us the gift of your Son. Despite earthly death, we have promised life! Despite cancer and coronavirus, we have ultimate healing! Despite dangers, toils and snares, you have promised, by your amazing grace, to lead us home! Thank you, O King of kings and Lord of lords! Your light banishes the darkness! So we return thanks for Jesus, our friend and Savior. And we return thanks for those who have told us the story of faith and encourage us through their models of caring and compassion. So – for parents and grandparents, for church school teachers and choir directors, for youth group leaders and camp counselors, for mission trip partners, for ministers and missionaries, we say, “thank you!” And now the legacy is ours – so may we too reflect the light of Christ through our vocations, by way of our service, in our families and friendships. This world needs more light and love. So counter violence with peace, apathy with interest, homelessness and hunger and unemployment with opportunity, bullying with the solidarity of compassion, loneliness with companionship, narrow- mindedness with educated acceptance. Lead us Lord in your paths of blessing, hope and salvation. Come Lord Jesus! Amen. 

  • June 12, 2020

    Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”


    The Good News: A short, but power-packed verse. Be alert to all that is occurring – look for ways God is working, then pause regularly to lift up a “thank you” to God. As we seek to observe the Lord at work, God’s handiwork is regularly revealed! Yes! Wow! Thank you!


    Prayer: Dear God – we come to you in prayer. It’s not always easy to remember to pray – but we’re trying! We want to be more devoted to prayer – not only because you’ve instructed us to do so – but because we want to be devoted to you. Thanks for being with us through all of these tumultuous days. There has been – and still is – uncertainty, pain and problems, yet the “curve is being flattened” (thank you, God!), and we’re seeing signs of hope in the midst of a new normal. Our country is coming to a deeper conversation about racism and prejudice, so while sad for the initiating circumstances, we are seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of the love you, O God, have for all people. Use us to model how to love our neighbors in ways that glorify and honor you. And while we are aware of national issues and global concerns, we also bring to you the challenges we face. How to reopen the church buildings and regather in ways that bring joy to our hearts and safety to our bodies? When can we reconnect for funerals and weddings, for reunions and parties? What about summer vacations? What about school in the fall? What about Rally Day? What about the Election Day Events? So many questions linger without clarity. So help us. In the meantime, we return thanks for the glimpses of normalcy – golf games and growing gardens. Walks on the beach. Music on the radio. Burgers on the grill. Reveal to us O gracious Holy Spirit, how your blessings will come wrapped in new ways. Help us to be attentive not just to our losses, but to new opportunities. Please God! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen. 

  • June 11, 2020

    Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”


    The Good News: Strength is coming. Not yet fully achieved, the Lord is blessing us sometimes slowly – but certainly steadily. Peace is promised! Hang on. Hold on, the Lord God is with us.


    Prayer: Alpha and Omega – you O God, who began it all and will bring it to a culmination of peace, harmony and blessing, we lift up our praise to you. Holy, holy, holy!!! We stop for a moment to just adore you – and to be in awe of your majesty. Who are we that you would choose to be mindful of us? And yet you do. In humility and gratitude, we say, “thank you.” And with that – we know we have no reason to receive it – yet we do receive. You bless us. You strengthen us. You are with us. So fill our world with your powerful presence. Use this day to be a day of opportunity to tilt the world more towards you and your ways. Change the hearts of those who claim power and privilege for themselves. Heal the bodies and minds of those who are ailing and weakened by disease. Bring opportunity for work to those who are needing both purpose and a paycheck. Break the bonds of addiction for those who are held captive. Guide governmental leaders that the primary purposes of honoring you and loving neighbors would hold sway. Protect our military and their families. Bless our health care workers and all those who continue to serve selflessly in responding to the myriad needs. Sustain our churches. In these days of adaption and innovation, lift up new ways of communicating your Good News that we might be effective in leading more and more people to knowing you, loving you, following you. In particular, we pray for our church and for its consistory as it meets (by zoom) tonight and, together with our staff, seeks to serve faithfully, guide responsibly, encourage joyfully, lead effectively. Thank you for our congregation – for the saints past, and for us today. We look forward to the time when we can be together in person again. To you, O God, be honor and glory and praise! In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

  • June 10, 2020

    Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."


    The Good News: Peace seems elusive – and it is… to us. It transcends our understanding. Although we can’t understand, we receive it. The peace of God is guiding and guarding you right now!


    Prayer: God – you who are more transcendent than the furthest far-flung galaxies, and yet are more imminent and close than our very breath, how wonderfully amazing it is that you care so deeply for us. Thank you for your ever-abiding love. Thank you for the beauty of this Wednesday. Thank you for sunshine’s warmth and for nourishing rain. Thank you for evening’s rest and morning’s opportunity. Thank you for friendships that sustain us year after year, for family that supports through thick and thin, for faith that connects us to your Son, our Lord, Jesus. That means so much because our minds race with worry and our hearts are filled with concern. You instruct us not to be anxious, but given the state of our world, that seems next-to-impossible. We’ve been social distanced – and that’s disheartening. We’ve been dealing with climate change – and yet that is debated and is discouraging. We’ve seen people maligned because of the color of their skin – and that’s demoralizing. We’re still dealing with this coronavirus and that’s been debilitating. So much is depressing. So hear us, Lord. And help us to turn our anxiousness over to you. And then return us to how we started this prayer – with a return to gratitude. Remind us that you are in charge and that we can present our prayers to you, with thanksgiving!!! So… thank you for the gift of prayer. Thank you for your amazing grace. Thank you for new mercies revealed morning by morning. Thank you for whispers of love. Thank you that you give us Jesus, who carries us in the tough times and walks beside us in all that you call us to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

  • June 9, 2020

    Ephesians 4:4–6 "There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."


    The Good News: Our hope is founded on the rock of our faith in the one God, who undergirds all we see and hear and touch – and even what we cannot comprehend. God’s got us! God’s got all the needs of the world – and brings healing and hope, cradling us in the arms of salvation.


    Prayer: One God – revealed in the works of creation, redemption and salvation – we come to you, needing you, wanting you, for we confess that, at times, we are disillusioned. You promise unity and love and peace – but those are so elusive, even absent. The speed bumps on the road to blessings are many. We’re still waiting for so many things – for the elimination of this coronavirus, for a return to normalcy, to worshiping together in the sanctuary, to racial reconciliation, for an end to partisan pandering and prideful boasting. So much is so tiring. So come and give us a fresh wind of your Holy Spirit. Even to say “breathe on us breath of God” makes us go “no! no breathing! It’s dangerous.” So redirect us from fear and inspire us with your Good News. So much is bad news. We need a change! So, O Lord, use these weary months of waiting to turn the world towards You. Grip us by your grace. Heal our unhappy divisions. Return a portion of happiness to us all. So we pray for those who grieve – we weep with them. We pray for those who have reasons for celebration – we rejoice with them. May we be the gift of your love O God, unto others this day. Use us to bring comfort to the weary, friendship to the forgotten, support to the needy, beauty to the broken, kindness to those we encounter, sweetness to the soured, and peace to this world which is so loved by you that you gave your only begotten Son to be our Savior and Friend. Amen. 

  • June 8, 2020

    Hebrews 4:16 Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.


    The Good News: Just when we need it! And how we do! Our providing God is sending us mercy and grace right this moment. What a blessed assurance! So be confident! Approach God in humility and prayer – God’s waiting to hear from us!


    Prayer: Great and gracious God – how we live in complex times. Our society, our economy, our lives seem so fragile. We live in times of excessive individualism and rampant materialism. So many are out for themselves alone, claiming rights and staking personal claims. What happened to the “common good?” Yet even as we pray that, we are reminded of the kindness of strangers, the benevolence work of so many, and how the goodness of people is not (sadly) what garners news headlines. So help us not to despair, but to remember, realize and recognize the blessings, which are many. And which will prevail! Goodness, not evil. Light, not dark. Life, not death! These are the gifts of our Savior, Jesus! So we pause in gratitude for grace. For mercy. For peace. For hope. For joy. These are what will last. For we see in a mirror dimly, but there will come a time when all will be revealed. And you have promised that love wins! So renovate our souls and remake our society that more and more people will turn to you, O God. Use us that your light and love would shine through us and what we do and say. Make us conduits of blessing, and save this world! We pray for our families, our church, our communities, our country, our world. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

  • June 6, 2020

    2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


    The Good News: God is our safe place to land. Our rescuer! And did you notice – it’s not a rescue from some evil deeds – but every evil deed. Let us claim that promise and hold fast to knowledge of the coming Kingdom of God.


    Prayer: O God, it’s been 76 years since D-Day. We acknowledge and pause silently to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the advancement of freedom and the defeat of evil. As that was a significant turning point leading to the eventual victory in World War II, may this day be a turning point in the eventual victory over COVID-19. Thank you for all those who have been on the front lines – the medical personnel, the funeral directors, the researchers, all those who listened to the calls for sacrificial living. Thank you, God, for those who pitched in to help – sharing what they had, shopping and serving, giving and praying, sanitizing and staying physically distant. Continue to guide the officials that make policies and promote health. As we, together, start to live a “new normal” may you yet work powerfully to bring healing to us – spiritually, mentally, economically, emotionally, physically. We pray that thy Kingdom would come on earth, as it is in heaven. Mend division. Yes, O God – mend division. Banish evil. Rescue us -- and help us to remember your blessings, to rediscover your command to love our neighbors, and to redistribute the joy of friendship, faith and peace. In the victorious name of Christ Jesus, Amen. 

  • June 5, 2020

    Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you.


    The Good News: Each stage of life brings its joys and challenges. Yet there is never a decade, a year, a month, a day, an hour, a minute, a second that God is not carrying us. God will deliver us even though we can’t fully feel nor comprehend it.


    Prayer: Ever-present, always-loving, full-knowing God – thank you for the glimpses of joy and beauty that are yet available. It’s a broken world – yet we seek, in small ways, in personal ways, to live and love like Jesus. We want to repair and plant and build and bless. So come alongside us Lord. Guide our words and direct our steps. We are saddened that plans have been re-routed, but are trying to be glad that different ways of celebration can happen – drive-by birthday greetings, virtual wedding showers, zoom prom-dress fashion shows, on-line communion. What a strange world we are experiencing! Yet, as we then emerge from social isolation, may we even more cherish, and not take for granted, the opportunities of sweet in-person celebrations. Help kindness to flourish, respect to increase, tolerance to grow. We pray for peace. So support and surround us in our laughter and in our tears. We pray for newborns and toddlers that, as they enter into a masked world, they inherit opportunity and not opposition. We pray for children who miss their friends. We pray for students and teachers. We pray for those seeking work. We pray for those who are retiring without good-bye “thank you” gatherings. We pray for those of greying years (as the scripture puts it) that you O God would not fail nor forsake us. The needs are great – but you, O God, are greater. Help us. And thank you. Amen.

  • June 4, 2020

    Psalm 17:8-10 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.


    The Good News: There are so many who claim to be right and assert power. The scriptures speak often against arrogance and callousness. We are assured that those who are sinful, self-centered and self-righteous will not win. Though the powers of the wicked seem oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.


    Prayer: God of now-and-forever, you have created a world of tender beauty but it has become a fragile world. The sin that besets us is being evident in ever-increasing ways. So please Lord, lead us from destruction to reformation, from violence to peace, from retaliation to forgiveness, from sickness to health. Our June days are getting warm and sunny, yet the times feel heavy-laden with concern. Disagreements over how to re-open society weigh heavily. Racial issues seem irreconcilable. Save your children from warring madness and use us to be agents of reconciliation. We sometimes are at a loss of what to do – but if there aren’t concrete actions that are possible, we can pray. And our prayers, while sometimes it may seem like they are words cast into a void, are actually power-packed! We are reminded that you are present and that you hear us. So we come to lift our hearts to you – with our joys. With our concerns. With our hopes and dreams. With our need! We are banging on the doors of heaven. Answer us! Help us! Heal us! We cannot let malice nor disease take hold any more. So calm troubled souls, hear our anguished cries for peace. Bring opportunity to those who are worried about their bills and come to provide new opportunities to work, serve, and help. We pray on behalf of those who are sick, tired, hungry, homeless. We pray for our church and churches everywhere that together we can transform this world that you love, but which is broken. Come Lord and save us. As we know you will, we also say, “thank you, God.” Amen. 

  • June 3, 2020

    Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


    The Good News: Jesus has promised to come alongside us to help shoulder our problems. Just as we are about to collapse from the weight of all the burdens us, God promises rest. We need not carry any of this alone. Picture your problems as a heavy stone – and give it to God. God is so much more able to deal with it than we.


    Prayer: It’s true God. We’re weary. Worn out. Weak. Worried. Help us not to give out or give in. We all have problems – for some it’s about money, others it’s dealing with an addiction, others it’s about broken relationships, other’s mental health, others it’s feeling lonely or without purpose. But whatever it might be named – we need help. And this pandemic has only made what was already a challenge, even worse. Jobs have been lost. AA meetings canceled. Health compromised. Isolation has taken its toll. So speak a word of blessing to us. Bring some Good News today. Lift our spirits and give us reasons to smile. Perhaps that sounds demanding, God. And we don’t mean it to be, but it’s just that we’ve never experienced anything like this – and it’s hard. So forgive us. And bless us so that we may be a blessing to others. We pray for life guards and park rangers. We pray for farmers and food-service providers. We pray for delivery personnel and mail carriers. We pray for our military. We pray for firefighters, police officers and first aid personnel. We pray for health care professionals. We pray for those with cancer and dementia and for their caregivers. We pray for those waiting to die and those waiting to be born. We pray for teachers and students. We pray for parents and children. We pray for our church. We pray for our world. That’s a whole lotta praying, God! But the needs are great. We are just so grateful that you are even greater. So, thank you. Amen. 

  • june 2, 2020

    John 7:37-38 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”


    The Good News: We live in troubled times. People are thirsty for hope, parched for solutions for the racial strife, unsettled and angry. Solutions are so hard to come by – and in our world broken by sin, that is elusive. We need to be refueled by the Perfect Healer, the only one who can restore peace and harmony. God has promised that, though not in our timing, we have access to Living Water. Come, Lord Jesus. The world finds rest in you alone.


    Prayer: O great God – how we need you. We are feeling dehydrated. With COVID-19 American deaths of over 100,000; with unemployment at high numbers; with uncertainty abounding; with personal losses; with the killing of George Floyd and the rioting that embroils our cities, we are broken. So we come in prayer – sometimes with sighs that are too deep for words. But our hearts cry against injustice. All people are your children – so we pray for inclusion. But that is not the present reality. So we pray for those who are treated differently because of the color of their skin. For those who are seen as “less than.” We also pray for police officers – of whom the vast majority are good and upright. We ask for forgiveness for our own complicity in prejudice. Provide opportunities for help, for hope, for healing. For how many times must this scene be repeated? We ache. We need direction. We need You. Do not delay, O God. Help us now. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

  • June 1, 2020

    Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.


    The Good News: We don’t know what the future holds, be we do know who holds the future. God is for us – so who can be against us? Nothing will separate us from the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus.


    Prayer: Blessed Savior – as we begin what would have been a month of end-of-the-school year activities – concerts, dances, trips, field days, athletic awards, valedictory speeches, and summer jobs and mission trips and camp, we are just sad and tired. We want to wake up from this bad dream and have it be a time of full beaches and family barbecues. We’re tired of the restrictions even as we acknowledge how they have helped so many more from getting ill. So yes O God – please know that underneath all our weariness, we are grateful that our hospitals are not over capacity and that our health-care providers are able to get back to a relatively normal schedule. But we are traumatized. The whole world is doing a “re-set.” So as that happens, may our new normal be defined by cooperation, caring, faith and peace. That is a major-miracle ask – but we hope for it. We pray for it. Use this horrific pandemic to heal the disunity of our world. Make something positive come from all we’ve endured. Please, O God!!! Amen.

  • May 30, 2020

    Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.


    The Good News: God is present – not just to help us limp along, but to be victorious! Yes, there are significant problems, both personally and globally, but God sends the Holy Spirit to ensure that we will persevere and prevail!


    Prayer: God of hope – you have asked us to be constant in prayer. So we come now to touch base and share with you our reasons for giving thanks, our requests for help, and just to “check in.” Of course we seek not to make our relationship with you seem lightly-considered, but there are times when we just get so caught up in our needs and plans and responsibilities that we forget that you care about all of these aspects of our lives… and even more. So we pause to remember that you are our Heavenly Father and that we can share with you about how angry we get when plans are altered, We can tell you how we ache when we can’t join with friends and family in their moments of need or joy. Yet this re-opening of society is challenging. Who to believe? Who to trust? How to balance what is good for health and good for the economy and good for our souls? Provide clarity, O God! And Lord, already too many summer plans have been rerouted – so haste the day when children can play freely with one another and all can congregate without concern of contagion! We are ready to once again rejoice together! In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. 

  • May 29, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’


    The Good News: Over and over the Bible instructs us not to fear. We need to hear that often because our default tends to be worry. God is present to calm us, to strengthen us, to relieve our unsettled minds and upset spirits. Three times God tells us not what he might do (strengthen/help/uphold us) but that he will do so!


    Prayer: Unchangeable God – though we live in these months of tremendous change, you are strong and steady. Thank you for being with us when our lives swirl out of control. We pray that you would help and heal us – but also that you would use us to combat the cruel challenges that cross our paths. Comfort those who grieve. Guide those who govern. Support those who serve. And, O God -- whether it be to sing lullabies or bake bread or plant flowers or turn a lathe, use us to infuse this world with a bit of beauty. How we want to be back together – sharing, singing, laughing, loving! So it is we pray for those who are working in fields of health-recovery and research. Give us patience, we pray, and help us, each and all, to do what is necessary to “flatten the curve” and eliminate new infections. We also pray for employers and employees that there is the opportunity to work well, and have both purpose and productivity. Uphold us, O great and gracious God. Amen. 

  • May 28, 2020

    Nehemiah 9:6 “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before You.”


    The Good News: God has created stars beyond what we can observe with telescopes and cells that are unfathomable without a microscope. Just because we can’t see them, doesn’t negate their existence. God’s ways are so much larger than what we can even consider. The scope of God’s care is broader than what we can comprehend.


    Prayer: Heavenly Father, sometimes we get stuck believing that what you have in store for us is only what we feel, or know, or believe. Yet, through Jesus, you’ve given us a life beyond this life and speak in the language of infinity and eternity. Our losses are real – but they are not forever. So thank you Lord for what is forever – love lasts. Relationships endure. So comfort us in times of grief, steady us in times of change, inspire us in times of anguish, come close in times of isolation. Rebuild our communities, our economy, our lives. Extend to us your mercy which is higher than the heavens and heal us in mind, body and spirit. Abide with us, precious Savior. Amen. 

  • May 27, 2020

    Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


    The Good News: God is with us! What an amazing thing. Other faith-traditions have a distant god or an impersonal deity – but as followers of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity of a relationship. We are connected to God – and God is connected to us, helping and upholding us. Fear not!


    Prayer: Dear God – it’s been 72 days since we last could gather in your sanctuary for worship. Even then it was with “air-high-fives” and not touching hymnals and ushers with latex gloves. What does the future hold!? We pray for a vaccine. We pray for the ability to keep our psychological fortitude. We pray for wisdom about how and when to reopen church. So many prayers! But we bring them to you for you have promised to uphold us. We’re taking you up on that offer. Strengthen us! Help us! Uphold us! We miss being together – singing together, ringing together, coffee-houring together, Bible-studying in person, laughing and praying and weeping together. How quickly the things that we often took for-granted just stopped. For a few weeks we were resolute – but this is getting very, very tiring. O Lord, we miss haircuts and handshakes, we miss school and sports, we miss Broadway and Great Adventure, we miss picnics and proms and parties. We even miss hard pews and long sermons! Yet in the midst of it all, we are grateful that we have the essentials – we have You. We have prayer. We have not all we want, but all that we need. So, in humility, we simply say, “Thank you.” In gratitude for your over-arching, never-failing, salvation-granting, everlasting love – “thank you, Jesus.” Amen. 

  • May 26, 2020

    Proverbs 3:3-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


    The Good News: These are days of detours and hard-to-navigate pathways – yet God is at work to straighten and strengthen. Let us trust in the Lord!


    Prayer: O Healing God – so many have been burdened with health concerns. We need a way through this valley of the shadow of death. And the COVID-19 is not just debilitating our health, but also our economy. We need stabilization and a way forward that provides the opportunity for purposeful employment, food on tables, housing that is affordable and blessings that abound. Our young people and college graduates already have it tough – but with fewer summer jobs and limited job prospects, the concerns are real and deeply felt. So, for all who are seeking employment, provide opportunity. And for those who work – especially for those who labor for an hourly wage -- lift dignity and provide a hand up. You have asked us to trust – so we seek to do so. And you, in turn, have promised to straighten our paths. So come, help, guide, encourage, straighten and bless! Thank you for not abandoning us in our time of need. Thank you Jesus! Amen. 

  • May 25, 2020

    John 15:13-18 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


    The Good News: Jesus died sacrificially. Jesus lives victoriously! As those then who have been saved by grace alone, those who have been called the friends of Christ, those who are appointed to bear fruit – let us love one another!


    Prayer: The Battle Hymn of the Republic has a stanza that proclaims, “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free while God is marching on!” So, O God, march on to bring peace to our world. We remember those who have made ultimate sacrifices on the battlefield and in service to our country. We lift up their families asking for your comfort. For the women and men of our military, be their guide, strength and stay; protect them as they protect us. May there be a lessening of conflict and war, and, O God, use this time of world-wide pandemic to unify all peoples in the way of peace. It is a big ask – but you are an even bigger God – so, please: Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour. Heal our world. In the saving name of Jesus, Amen.

  • May 23, 2020

    1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


    The Good News: This verse hangs in the kitchen on Election Day, reminding us that – on that day – and every day -- in fellowship, in worship, in ministry, in service – when we do the work of the Lord, what we do matters – even in, or especially in, a time of crisis like these present days.


    Prayer: As we enter what is sometimes referred to as the unofficial first weekend of summer, we pray that this may be a season of fun, good-health, well-being, and joy, O God. It is certainly a different season than we’ve ever experienced before, yet may that not be a bad thing. Grant unto us new ways of celebrating, of new traditions, of new blessings. It’s so easy to merely wish things were the way we’ve known them to be before. But since they aren’t – give to us a fresh perspective of opportunity, of blessing, of “glass-half-full.” You are a providing God – so thank you! We pray that you will also show us how you are a protecting God, by helping us to do your good work safely, strongly, and sacredly. We pray especially this day for missionaries, chaplains, and ministers of the Gospel that their work would be effective and to your glory, O Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen. 

  • May 22, 2020

    Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


    The Good News: We are weary. But with God we will be strengthened. We are tired, but with God we shall be renewed. The promise is sure. In this marathon of a pandemic, we can continue to run, with the help of God.


    Prayer: Guide us O Thou Great Jehovah – we feel adrift. We normally would have been planning picnics and parades. The beaches and boardwalks would have been crowded with merriment and few cares beyond needing sunscreen. We are grateful for the slow opening of public spaces even as we are grateful for the caution that keeps us healthy. So many in the medical field have worked so selflessly and diligently to battle this coronavirus. Thank you for their dedication and sacrifice. May people not disregard or disrespect all that they are doing by irresponsibility. May the day hasten, O God, when we can gather without restriction. Until then, give us the gift of patience. We are waiting – so renew our strength as you have promised to do. And give an extra measure of strength to all those who work to keep us well: doctors, nurses, optometrists, dentists, hygienists, veterinarians, therapists, PAs, technicians, dieticians, pharmacists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, chiropractors, radiologists, counselors, researchers, among so many others… In the name of the great Physician, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  • May 21, 2020

    Luke 24:50-51 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.


    The Good News: On this Ascension Day, forty days after Easter, we mark the time when the resurrected Jesus ascended to his heavenly Father. Yet we are not left alone or disconsolate – Jesus yet abides! He prepares a place for us! He sends the Holy Spirit! We are blessed!


    Prayer: O God of earth and sky – on this day that doesn’t get the attention of Christmas and Easter, this is a day of significance for Jesus, and thus for us. Having been raised from death, Jesus’ presence in heaven gives us a pathway for our own eternal life. Alleluia! In this day of mystery and miracle, support and sustain us. Give us a good hope in Jesus. For how we need that – grant us hope that we can get through all this trauma by caring and supporting one another. So help us to do just that. We pray for the suffering and sorrowing people of the world – give comfort. We pray for those who are anxious and alone – give companionship. We pray for those who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and affected by automobile accidents – give help. We pray for those dealing with addictions and seeking to maintain sobriety – give strength. We pray for business owners and those who are unemployed – give opportunity. We pray for governmental officials – give wisdom. We pray for ourselves, our friends, our family, our church – give perseverance and your blessing. Amen. 

  • may 20, 2020

    Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!


    The Good News: This is an imperative. Rather than merely a good suggestion, this is a directive from Scripture. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to accomplish – but with God’s help, we can take courage.


    Prayer: God of might and valor – help us! We seek to be strong; we want to be courageous despite the current circumstances. Yet it is so challenging. It’s another Wednesday – with how many more days and weeks of “life on hold?” Our children are struggling with the lack of socialization and structure. We all feel the effects of isolation – because of masks not seeing smiles; because of necessity, not hugging; because of inability, not traveling. So help us, God. Help us establish a new normal that focuses on both caution and opportunity. We are waiting. And waiting. And waiting for relief. Help us to wait for you, Lord and Savior, with a knowledge that you have good things ahead for us and for our world. So surprise us with joy, hope, faith, peace and love that surpasses all we have known or expected. Do great and marvelous things in our world, for we pray in the name of the Mighty Deliverer! Amen. 

  • May 19, 2020

    Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


    The Good News: Even when it seems like our cups are half-full, the truth, in a larger, God-sized sense is that our cups overflow. There is abundance of hope, if and as we lean on Jesus. So let us let our hope in God spill over onto those who need it and seek it.


    Prayer: O fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature, beautiful Savior and Lord of the nations – we thank you as all glory, honor, praise, and adoration is now and forevermore given unto you! Help us trust more, to lay aside the anxieties of this day and to know that you are in charge. So set us free to live and love more like Jesus every day. Help me to rejoice as one of your beloved children. May we dance by your Spirit’s rhythms and give and share and forgive and worship and laugh and cry and praise -- together! For also we are still yet separated, we are together in your name and by your decree. We pray for those who feel left out of your beloved community – those who feel that by their actions, or because of who they are, that they are undeserving of your grace. Help us to be agents of your radical inclusion, abundant blessing, overflowing hope, and unswerving love. So we lift up agencies and organizations that come alongside those who look after our frail elderly, those who are hungry and homeless, those seeking sobriety, those who are marginalized. Be present by your Spirit to fill those with empty stomachs, empty hands, empty lives… Help us boldly to proclaim your empty tomb and the Good News that life, love and resurrection have the last word! Thank you, Jesus! Amen. 

  • May 18, 2020

    Psalm 27:12 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?


    The Good News: Though times are tough, though the virus is persistent, though life has changed dramatically, God is our fear-dispeller. We can lean on God! Be not afraid!


    Prayer: Precious Lord, though others can’t physically connect with us, we ask you to take our hand, to support us and sustain us. This whole mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing, physical distancing thing is wearying. And so many are out of work! The questions about the future abound. We pray for the unemployed and furloughed. We pray for businesses that may not make it through this pandemic. We pray for people who work paycheck-to-paycheck and wonder how they’ll pay the bills. This is real stuff, O God. Help us! We turn to you because we can’t seem to figure out how to. So thank you for being the one to whom we can cast our burdens. So bear for us all that weighs us down. Take heavy loads off our shoulders and ease the anxieties of our minds. We also pray for others – for cashiers and gas station attendants, for landscapers and builders, for barbers and hairdressers and cosmetologists. We pray for those who repair our cars, those who repair our psyches, those who repair our faith. Come, and repair our world, O God. Amen.

  • May 16, 2020

    Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.


    The Good News: We can lean on the everlasting arms of God. Though plans have been disrupted, God’s ultimate plan is strong and sure and for our good. God is always with us!


    Prayer: O God, we’ve been doing this social distancing and “abundance of caution” thing for over two months. And it’s tiring. We’re tired. So lift our weary spirits. Provide glimpses of hope. Deliver moments of delight. We want to laugh and sing and play together. Bring comfort to those who are lonely and worried. Bring healing to those who are afflicted and affected by this COVID-19. Bring positives out of the negatives – for the negatives seem so great: Canceled proms and graduations and ball games and weddings and reunions and barbecues. Yet we are grateful for worship that continues, just in new ways. So, thank you for technology that keeps us connected. Thank you for our teenagers who will lead us in praise tomorrow with Youth Sunday. Remind us of the bigger picture and that your plans are bigger and better than our plans. You have promised good for us – we want it, need it, and claim it! Thank you for sending us your Son Jesus who is the Healer, Helper and Hope-giver. Amen.

  • May 15, 2020

    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.


    The Good News: We deal with a limited perspective. God’s perspective is “big picture.” We live for now; God’s plan for us is eternal. We cry now; a heavenly reunion is forever. Joy with God is our destiny!


    Prayer: Lord God, as the weather grows warmer we are eager to be out and about. We miss our sports. We want to make plans of boardwalks and beaches. These are challenging times. We’re weary of waiting. We’re tired of so much caution. Yes, we understand the need to take health precautions, but that doesn’t stop our emotions. Home schooling is taking its toll – and we have another month to go. Help! So as we pray for ourselves, we pray for others. We pray for those who carry secret burdens, known only to themselves and to you, O God. We pray for those trying to figure out summer plans – give guidance and direction. We pray for those in nursing homes and their staff. Provide new ways of service, of praise, of connection, of blessing. We’re trying, O God – but sometimes it just seems beyond our capacity. So help us. Come along side us in tangible, profound, and real ways. Thank you, O God! Amen. 

  • May 14, 2020

    Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.


    The Good News: We have strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings are ours, with ten thousand beside. All we have needed God’s hand has provided. Great is God’s faithfulness!


    Prayer: O Holy Friend and Savior, we are so grateful for your mercy. We aren’t perfect, yet you are. We wonder and we wander and we wait upon your timing. So help us. In our imperfect knowing, help us to trust you. We are used to being in charge and yet this pandemic has reminded us all too powerfully that there is much that is beyond our control. With that, many have been reminded that you are the one who is all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful. Work in the hearts of people to bring out deeper faith, greater service, grander hopes, and better care for one another and for our planet. We pray for those sick in body…, the bereaved…, the lonely…, the unemployed… Sustain those working in health care. Protect our military. Guide our government. Bless our police officers, firefighters, EMTs and emergency responders. We pray for our church – and for its consistory as they meet tonight. Lead us, Lord! In the name of our faithful Savior, Jesus, Amen.

  • May 13, 2020

    Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


    The Good News: We are within God’s embrace always. Wherever we go God is with us. Whatever happened or happens or will happen – it won’t stop God’s amazing grace or everlasting love. Just receive it. God’s love is a gift, unconditionally given to you.


    Prayer: Loving God, how we need you. We look to you to even more in the complexities of our current situation. As there is talk of “next stages” -- on one hand we are eager to reconnect with friends/colleagues and to re-establish routines of commerce and yet we want to promote health and well-being. So we balance mental and emotional health with physical health with economic health. It’s so hard to know. But you know. And you are with us. So be our guide and our salvation. We bring our praise to you, O heavenly Father, for your provision and providence. We offer our “Wednesday worship” to you with deep gratitude. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • May 12, 2020

    Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”


    The Good News: We are living in challenging times – but we have a refuge! We are protected by the all-encompassing blessing of God. We may not always recognize where we are or what’s going on – but remember and know: God’s provision and perspective are greater.


    Prayer: We pray for those who are vulnerable and sick, whether that be in mind, body or spirit. Sustain them; help them. Contain the spread of infection. We pray for a vaccine – so guide our scientists and epidemiologists and researchers. We lift up in prayer those who create, provide and administer COVID-19 tests. May more and more people benefit and be kept safe. Give compassion and wisdom to our local, state and federal governments as they allocate resources. For God, we trust that you are good and do good. Help us to be faithful. Help us to live and love like Jesus. We glorify his name in what we say and what we do. Equip us to magnify your grace, your love, your commandments, your salvation. Give us peace on earth! In the name above all names, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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  • May 11, 2020

    2 Timothy 1:6-7 "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."


    The Good News: God’s Spirit is full of love, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness. And more! So though we experience earth-bound fear, the presence of God will vanquish fear. Let us live with the burning blessings of God!

     

    Prayer: Good and gracious God – we ask for your blessings to abide generation to generation. So we pray for those of wisdom-earned years – keep them from frailty and fear, and give them strength and hope and purpose. We pray for those who are of a generation of vocation-focused women and men. Give opportunities to labor with creativity, fulfillment and blessing. In these uncertain times so many are wondering about the future of their business or the longevity of their employment. Help, O God! We pray for our college and high school-aged generation – thank you that they have enabled so many others to deal effectively with new technologies. Yet we pray for them as they are missing land-mark experiences – internships and recitals and sports seasons and proms and first dates and going for drivers tests and graduations. We pray for our younger generation as they may not know of a world without “an abundance of caution.” Support them – and the teachers and parents that are educating in new ways. Guide us into a future that will be different, and yet, we pray, good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • May 9, 2020

    2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.


    The Good News: The apostle Paul writes to his protégé Timothy and tells of a lineage of faith. On this Mother’s Day weekend we can give thanks for those who nurtured us – and for whomever modeled for us a faithful relationship with God.


    Prayer: O God, we give you thanks for those who have nurtured us. Though we may call you “Our Father,” let us not forget how often mothers embody your steadfast and relentless love. We praise you, O God, for your gift of motherly love, both gentle and fierce, both strong and humble, both kind and true. Loving God, often our mothers have been mirrors of your love. They tie our shoes, drive us where we need to be, put a Band-Aid on our knee, braid our hair, bake us cookies, help us pick up our room, write us a letter, say a prayer for us, wait up for us, laugh at our jokes, and explain big words like “pandemic.” For the ordinary ways and countless days of care our mothers gave us, we give thanks. For the worry we caused them, we ask forgiveness. For our place in this family of faith, we rejoice. Thank you! Amen.

  • May 8, 2020

    Psalm 69:3, 16 “I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God… Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.”


    The Good News: Though we are weary, God is abundant with mercy. As hard as it may be to accept, God’s timing is not ours – and God knows best. 


    Prayer: These are critical times, O God. So many are sick, so many are out of work, so many are running thin on patience, so many are anxious about, not only next week, but this summer and this fall. So guide those who are making critical decisions about how and when to reopen business and society in general. For business leaders making difficult decisions that affect the lives of their employees: God, give wisdom. We need you O God! Provide a future that is marked by opportunities to serve and praise and work and play and laugh and cry and sing and share – together! Though the challenges are many, we bring our petitions to you, who is mightier than a virus. So as the virus shut down the world, we humbly ask you to open us possibilities of something great. Reveal that to us. May more and more people recognize that you – Wonderful Counselor -- are needed and necessary – and the way to life that is both abundant and eternal. Thank you for your Amazing Grace that has brought us safe thus far, and that grace that will lead us home. We pray in the name of our Precious Savior, Jesus. Amen.

  • May 7, 2020

    Psalm 37:39 "The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble."


    The Good News: “Stronghold” means a place of security or survival. And how we need both! Let us spend time sheltering in the place of God. 


    Prayer: O God, send your steadying, supporting, strong hand to us this day. It’s easy to get discouraged because we’re dealing with quarantine fatigue. We were resolved to deal with this for days and weeks – but months? How long, O Lord? So help us persevere. Help us to do the hard work of promoting health and healing when all we want to do is give a hug and have a meal with friends. So in the midst of our longing, we pause to pray. This is proclaimed a “national day of prayer” – and so we join our prayers with many – for strength for the journey ahead, for our family, for our friends, for our church, our nation, our world. We pray for those who are ill, whether from COVID-19 or some other disease, and for their families as they are unable to be physically present to one another. We pray for those who work in our hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, food pantries, as they, in addition to their attention to physical healing, offer emotional comfort. Bring your help in profound ways to us and our world, O Holy Spirit! Amen.

  • May 6, 2020

    Romans 8:31 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"


    The Good News: If God is on our side, no one can harm us. We just have to believe in Him and his son, Jesus Christ. 


    Prayer: Almighty God, Awesome Jesus, Abiding Spirit – many of the rhythms of life have been challenged and changed. Yet spring follows winter, Wednesday still follows Tuesday. The waves still crash on shore, the stars still shine. Help us to cling to the unalterable love that you give. Help us to know and remember that you are “for us.” Send reminders of your goodness and grace, O God. And as we are reminded, may we then, in turn, be reminders to others of the blessings that yet are abundant. So we pray for those who ache for a sign of hope – those who are hungry and homeless, those who are chronically ill, those who are tired and overworked, those who are on the front-lines of dealing with trauma. Help us be beacons of your light into a dark time. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

  • May 5, 2020

    1 Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."


    The Good News: We have anxieties. Yet we don’t have to cling to them. Instead of tossing and turning or losing sleep – take all anxiousness and give them over to God. God invites you to do! Remember that God cares for you – completely and unconditionally. 


    Prayer: O God – you have got our attention! So much of what we had thought of as “normal” and expected to continue on without thought or pause is now up for grabs. So may we take this, humbly, as an opportunity to renovate our souls and restructure our ways so that our ways may, more and more, align with your ways. Help us to be full of grace and agents of love. Help us to practice kindness, and thus to be more human-kind. We pray for the citizens of all the world; may all come to acknowledge your Presence. Thus we pray for our missionaries: Amy, Linn, John, Jennifer. And we pray for missionaries closer to home, namely all those who are making masks, delivering meals, shopping for others, supporting small businesses, giving financially to care-agencies, writing letters and making phone calls, praying for the vulnerable. And we lift up those who are working in places to care for the frail elderly, the sick and dying that they may be protected from infection even as we are grateful that they can come alongside loved ones when we are not permitted to do so. The needs are great, O God. And you are greater! Thank you. Amen.

  • May 4, 2020

    Mark 10:27 "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With humans it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'"


    The Good News: We are to walk by faith, with humility, and trust. God is at work. The force of God is strong! So we seek not what we can see and know from our limited viewpoint, but we seek to see God more clearly, love God more dearly, and follow God more nearly. 


    Prayer: In this time of dislocation, distancing, discombobulation we come to you knowing that fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, Thus, Lord of all hopefulness, we just pause now to pray. We just breathe in and out, slowly, deeply, longingly focusing on remembering that you are our God from whom all blessings flow. You are our God in whom all our needs are met. So, thank you. And even as we stand on your promises, we pray for others: 

    ▪️For funeral directors whose work has lately been so taxing.

    ▪️For truckers and those who deliver our mail and packages.

    ▪️For those working so that we have food.

    ▪️For our church’s consistory and staff.

    ▪️For governmental leaders.

    ▪️For our neighbors.

    ▪️For the children of our world.

    ▪️For those who are ill and suffering – from whatever their suffering is called.

    Come, Lord Jesus and bring help. Amen.

  • may 2, 2020

    Isaiah 40:31 "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."


    The Good News: It’s so hard to wait. Yet that is our call and commission especially in these days of pandemic. The long view provides a perspective and promise – we will renew our strength!

     

    Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. So, thank you God. Thank you for your company and your presence. In these times of isolation we need your amazing grace, your abiding mercy and leading love more than ever. So come to this world to shine your light into the darkness with healing and hope. Bless us. Bless us so that we may be a blessing to others. We pray for our firefighters, first aid and EMTs, police officers – keep them safe. We pray for our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, researchers and all health professionals. In the name of the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. 

  • May 1, 2020

    Psalm 62:6 "He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken."


    The Good News: These are trying times. Unprecedented. And the way forward is unknown. Yet God knows all and God is the one who saves!

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father and Abiding Friend – here we are at the beginning of another month. Another month of physical distancing, of working remotely, of children learning not alongside their friends. Another month of not knowing. So we pray, from the deepest parts of our souls: help! Especially we lift up small business owners and hourly wage earners – provide sustainability. Provide wisdom for people making decisions about how to best “open up society.” We pray for those making plans for an uncertain summer – people for whom it is an important season – shore businesses, summer camps, farmers, tourist destinations. Even as we pray for these real and heartfelt needs, we also say “thank you” for giving us a world that is robed in the blooming garb of spring. Renew our world. In the name of our Rock and Savior, Jesus, Amen.

  • April 30, 2020

    Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."


    The Good News: Though life is challenging, we are not solely in charge. God has given us minds to think carefully and creatively and compassionately, but God is the ultimate guide. Lean on him when you need a hand; we all need somebody to lean on!


    Prayer: Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art -- thou my best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.


    Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord; thou and thou only, first in my heart, High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.


    High King of heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all. Amen.

  • April 29, 2020

    Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."


    The Good News: In our homes, at the grocery store, in our hospitals and care centers, God is always with us – day and night. As tough as it gets -- we are not alone.


    Prayer: You are Lord, Sovereign, King – in other words: in charge. And so we both worship you and look to you to solve all this -- all of it – the emotional worries, the physical disease, the mental exhaustion, the financial uncertainty, the relational distancing, the spiritual questions. Heal us as our cries of “How much longer?” are consuming us. We pray for so many others – but we also pray for ourselves that we can endure. Help us O God as we need to stay home, stay safe, and stay strong. Give us a Spirit-fueled resolve! In the name above all names, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

  • April 28, 2020

    Revelation 21:4 “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."


    The Good News: The time will come when God will take away all pain and suffering. Eternal life is our promise; resurrection is assured; salvation is God’s great gift.


    Prayer: O God of all comfort and blessing, we pause in the midst to just acknowledge your presence. All of this pandemic has refocused us on things like masks and washing hands and finances and zoom meetings. We wonder about much – but may we never wonder about you. So come, and let your Spirit’s reassurance wash over us that we are not alone, that you will not let the challenges of these present days persist. So by your power, bring healing! Eradicate COVID-19! We give thanks, first and foremost for the gift of your son Jesus, our friend and Savior. We worship you and adore you for your goodness and mercy, which follows us all the days of our lives. But so many are grieving and anxious. Come in real, persistent and tangible ways that we might be reassured that you are present in personal ways. Bless our families, our church family. The hopes and fears both are laid before your throne of amazing grace. Help us! Please, Lord Jesus. Amen.

  • April 27, 2020

    1 John 3:1 "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him."


    The Good News: We are children of God! We are cherished always and unconditionally. God is a safe place to land.


    Prayer: O holy Father, we know that we aren’t perfect. Far from it. And these days have challenged us. Yet you love us with an everlasting love. And you want good for us. So use your power to turn the hearts of all people – all over the world – to your will and your ways. Work in and through the leaders of government to collaborate on solutions not only to this pandemic, but for the ceasing of violence and war, for the healing of the planet , for the eradication of disease, for the elimination of hunger, for the lessening of the gap between the “haves” and “have nots.”. We pray for our military and their families as they work for peace; save us from war! We pray for our children and their future – may this year be the beginning of a new kind of hope and help for all the people of the globe. Come, Holy Spirit! Amen. 

  • April 25, 2020

    Psalm 37:39 "The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble."


    The Good News: God is our Savior in times of trouble -- for the Bible tells me so! Little ones to Him belong; we are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me!


    Prayer: O living Lord – be our rock, our fortress, our strength. All seems to be crumbling down. All that used to be “normal” – worshiping together, family time, shopping for fun, walks in the park, baseball games, handbell concerts, weddings and proms and baby showers and birthday parties – all that we miss makes us feel adrift and wistful. How we long for being together again. Yet when will that be? And how will we feel when we are allowed to gather? Are we ever going to be able to hug and handshake without hesitancy? The questions are many and the feelings are deeply-felt, O God. So come alongside and give us that peace that passes understanding. Amen.

  • April 24, 2020

    James 1:2-4 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."


    The Good News: These are tough times – but God gives us faith and strength to endure and perhaps even grow. How can our resolve grow stronger and our love for others increase?


    Prayer: O Rock and Redeemer – we want to be faithful. We know we are not the first generation to face hardship, but this world-wide pandemic has us on edge. We cough and wonder, “Is it the virus?” We go to the store and worry, “Was I exposed?” So we pray for ourselves and our loved ones. And we pray for all who work in places where exposure is possible. Keep them protected, O Lord! Especially we lift up those in nursing homes and rehab centers and prisons and hospitals -- where so many are vulnerable and living quarters are close. In the name of the great Physician, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

  • April 23, 2020

    1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."


    The Good News: When we spread God's love and share His word, it is not for nothing. It may be difficult, but we reflect the very goodness and grace of God as we do so. Keep it up!


    Prayer: Loving Father, we pray for perseverance. Help us to keep a positive attitude and to not get discouraged. This time of isolating is hard. We know it is necessary but we wonder about the ability to keep functioning like this. So we pray for those who are alone and anxious. We pray for those who are staffing essential business and are overworked and tired. We pray for children who can’t understand why they can’t have playdates and birthday parties. We pray for those who have autism and their families who can’t have the routines that help bring needed structure to their lives. So many needs -- help us Jesus! Amen.

  • April 22, 2020

    Psalm 104: 24-28 “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. …These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.”


    The Good News: Though the world is rightly focused on COVID-19, we remember on this Earth Day (and every day) that God has given us a beautiful world. We are to care for creation and care for one another as a form of worshiping our Creator.


    Prayer: O Eternal God, you provide so much for us to enjoy, to use, to thrive. Yet in these days we are reminded how vulnerable we are. Much of what we expected to always go on and on and on is now questioned. Still the grass is re-greening and the flowers blooming. Beauty is yet possible. So attune us to caring for your creation. Help us to be mindful of ways to be better at being good stewards of your earth. Help us to become instruments of a new creation, founded on the covenant of your love. We pray for farmers and gardeners, for a fruitful season. We pray for veterinarians and the creatures of earth, air and sea. We pray for the future generations… In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

  • April 21, 2020

    Psalms 46:3-4 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea, though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging.”


    The Good News: Though the school buildings are closed and the hospitals crowded, though the virus has raged, we do not fear because God is present and God is strong!


    Prayer: Our questions are many, O God of our salvation. Our weariness and wariness is significant. So lead our leaders that their work would be sufficient to our needs and glorifying to your name. So many plans have had to be put on hold. Will we ever be able to gather without hesitation or offer a handshake without reluctance? So much is unknown to us – yet you are a God of knowing and blessing. So bring clarity out of confusion and peace from the turmoil. Specifically we pray for those who deal with addictions that the stranglehold would be broken; we pray for those in 12-step programs that sobriety would be maintained despite the inability to meet face-to-face. Support us each and all, in however our needs might be named, for we need help, hope and healing. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

  • April 20, 2020

    Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


    The Good News: We live day-by-day, for that is our privilege and responsibility. God takes an expansive, long-term view – and God’s plans are amazing!


    Prayer: O God of victory, thank you for Jesus. Come to us by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit. We are grateful that you receive our prayers, even when we have meager words and a faltering faith. As another week of uncertainty is upon us we pray for our teachers and our students that they may not be hindered by the challenges of teaching/learning in new ways. We pray for those who are lonely and depressed that this time of isolation might not defeat them. We pray for those serving in our military and their families that they may be protected even as they protect us. Bring healing to those who are ill, for we pray in the name of the living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. 

  • April 18, 2020

    Romans 12:9 “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.”

    The Good News: Paul gives instructions of how to live as people who have been saved by grace alone. Let us hold on – and practice kindness as diligently as we practice physical distancing,



    Prayer: God of help and hope – so many have been affected economically by this pandemic. Unemployment is up. Small businesses and restaurants wonder if they will be able to hang on. Farmers are thinking about this year’s crops. Many have been living paycheck-to-paycheck. And there are still ongoing concerns of hunger and homelessness. Work a miraculous work to bring help and dignity and solutions! Use us to be conduits of your compassion and care, O Lord. Amen.


  • April 17, 2020

    Jude 20-21 “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”


    The Good News: We often need to wait what we want and need – but as we do so, we are given an opportunity to build ourselves up in faith. The prize is eternal life! Alleluia!


    Prayer: These are challenging times, O God. We’re trying to keep ourselves focused on your love. So come to us in new ways of blessing. Help us to be attuned to how you are working. May this pandemic, despite its devastation, bring people into new levels of kindness, cooperation and faith. Yet we do pray that this time of isolation is able to end soon. But when things slowly return, keep the virus away. Banish it, Lord! Thus we pray for our health care workers, immunologists and first responders. We pray for those in hospitals, nursing homes, continuing care communities, and rehab centers – both staff, patients and residents. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.


  • April 16, 2020

    Psalm 56:8-9 “You (O God) have kept track of all my sorrows; you collect my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? Then my enemies will retreat in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.”


    The Good News: God knows our heartache and collects our tears. We are not left alone. God is for us!


    Prayer: God of resurrection, we abide in hope. We are ever-grateful for eternal life and the knowledge that when our time comes to conclude our earthly journey that there will be a glad heavenly reunion! Yet we do pray for those who grieve. For people who have died of COVID-19; for those who have lost loved ones no matter the cause; for those who are scared of dying alone. Bring your comfort. Help us, Jesus! Amen.

  • April 15, 2020

    Zechariah 14:9 “And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”


    The Good News: Who is the “King of kings?” the “Lord of lords?” Though all our earthly nations have different leadership, there will come a day when we will be all united, not by pandemic, but by the leadership of God.


    Prayer: Almighty God. Our prayers of “save us,” “deliver us,” “help us,” continue. Yet so do our prayers of gratitude. Thank you that you are not distant, but abide with us. Thank you for the empty tomb and the joy of resurrection despite the powers of disease and death. Thank you that hospital admissions are decreasing and that there are signs of “flattening the curve.” Thank you for technology that enables us to stay in touch and to worship online. Thank you for all those who are working so diligently that we might be safe and fed and nurtured. In the name of Jesus, living Lord. Amen. 

  • April 14, 2020

    1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (The Message) Let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

    Death swallowed by triumphant Life!

    Who got the last word, oh, Death?

    Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

    It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!


    The Good News: All the dangers, toils and snares of this world are real. But they do not have the last word! We do not know when or how, but God will make all things right!


    Prayer: O Father of Easter-power, we sing/pray/believe that “you sent your Son, they called him Jesus; he came to love, heal and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon; an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. Because he lives I can face tomorrow; because he lives all fear is gone; because I know he hold the future and life is worth the living just because he lives! To you, O God, be all glory! Alleluia. Amen.


  • April 13, 2020

    John 20:19-22 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week (Easter Sunday), 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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”


    The Good News: We have the Holy Spirit as a continuing guide, blessing and comfort. Peace is assured! Resurrection is ours!


    Prayer: God of victory and life – Alleluia! Even in these troubled times, we lift up our praise. For though we live with so much uncertainty, what we claim as certain is your power and presence. Thank you for not abandoning us. But, my Lord, what a morning… my Lord, what a morning… for the death toll rises, the stock market wavers, our weariness increases. Bolster us so that we can yet be a blessing. Strengthen our resolve and steady our faith. We lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred name. May this not be just another Monday – but rather the Monday of a new era, when more and more people accept the gift of life and love that you offer – and in return, commit to your holy purposes. Thank you Jesus for your love. Blanket our world with your healing. In Christ’s prevailing presence, Amen!

  • April 11, 2020

    Jonah 2:6-7 The waters swirled about me, threatening my life; the abyss enveloped me; seaweed clung about my head. Down I went to the roots of the mountains; the bars of the nether world were closing behind me forever, but you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord, my God.


    The Good News: As Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days, and Jesus in the tomb for three days, God does not leave us forsaken, but will raise us up!


    Prayer: O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, receive our prayer, and grant us thy peace. We yearn for peace – for peace for the world, for peace for our bodies. Peace for our souls. As we remember Jesus in the tomb, we pause acknowledging the pain and problems, the sin and suffering, the disease and death that were vanquished by God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  • April 10, 2020

    John 3:16 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 so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


    The Good News: The powers of death are defeated through the cross. God’s power, presence, and perfect love are everlasting and unfailing.


    Prayer: We pray for all nations and peoples of the world that you so love -- and for those in authority among them. We pray for our country -- our president, members of Congress and the Supreme Court; we pray for those who are members of our armed services. We pray for their safety and protection, but we pray that all may be given your wisdom and counsel, O Mighty God, that by your help all people may seek justice and truth and so to live in peace and good will.


    And Compassionate Physician, we pause to pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind. We lift before you those who are hungry, the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed. We pray for the sick, the wounded, the disabled; we pray for those who are lonely, fearful or distressed. We pray for those who face temptation, doubt and despair. We pray for the sorrowful and the bereaved that you, O God, in your mercy will hear our cry and by your holy spirit, bring consolation, comfort and relief.


    And Seeking Shepherd, we pray for all who have not received or accepted the good news of salvation. We pray for those who have lost their faith; for those hardened by sin or indifference; for the contemptuous and the scornful; for those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples and for those, who in the name of Christ, have persecuted others. O God, open all hearts to your truth and lead all people to faith and obedience.


    We pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of your son Jesus Christ, and with all those whose faith is known to you alone, one day may we be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of heaven and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection. We humbly pray this in the name of your blessed son, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • April 9, 2020

    John 13:34-35: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


    The Good News: On this Maundy Thursday (the word “Maundy” coming from the Latin word for “commandment”) we are commissioned by Jesus at his Last Supper to the highest of callings: to love one another. Let us be persistent and creative in extending that wide embrace to all people.


    Prayer: As we pause in prayer O Lord, and as we prepare to share in your holy Supper, remembering that we are connected in a real way to you, and then through you, to one another -- even to those past and yet to come. It is truly the “communion of the saints.” So we pray for one another. We think of those who brought us to faith, our church school teachers, our parents and grandparents, youth group leaders. We think of those with whom we’ve worshiped, those who have served with us on church committees and choirs, joined us on mission trips, united with us at the Election Day Events! Ease our anxiety and heal our communities, O God. Help! Amen.

  • April 8, 2020

    Isaiah 53:3-5 He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hid their faces, he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.


    The Good News: Jesus carries all our problems, all our pain, all our difficulties, all our diseases. Not only does he carry them, but he heals them. While it is true that healing doesn’t happen in ways of our choosing or our timetable, but God’s provision is guaranteed!


    Prayer: O Lord – all we like sheep have gone astray. We have all turned to our own way. So turn us around. Turn us to you. All of us! You are the only source of salvation and the path of peace. We await the time when we can again sing full-throated doxologies of praise together – but until then, we pray for our friends, our families, our church family, ourselves. We pause to ask you to, in particular, support those who are in 12-step programs or dealing with addiction. Without meetings to provide a safe place to keep sobriety, we pray with them: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen. 

  • April 7, 2020

    2 Corinthians 4:8-10 “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.”


    The Good News: Yes, the Palm Sunday parade is over; it is true that Jesus is in the last week of his earthly life. And yet -- then, as well as now, though we live afflicted and perplexed – we have not been, nor will we be abandoned or destroyed. God has the final word – and that is “victory!”


    Prayer: O promise-fulfilling God, we come with questions – like, “will we ever see ‘normal’ again?” Each day brings more diagnoses and death than the day before. Now it becomes not, “I wonder if someone I know will test positive?” but rather, “who do I know who will test positive?” Mind-numbing and worrisome. How many questions must your Son have also had as the day of his crucifixion drew nearer. Thus, we are grateful that we do not go through this alone, but that you accompany us and know all our emotions. We pray for those who staff our hospitals and pharmacies, researchers and first responders. Protect them, Lord! Amen. 

  • April 6. 2020

    John 12:27-28 Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”


    The Good News: In this passage following the Palm Sunday parade, Jesus commits himself to his mission, to save us and save the world. Salvation is assured!


    Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus. In this Holy Week, as we remember the journey to the cross, remember us in our journey through this valley of the shadow of death. Yet we give thanks that you do not, and will not leave us in that valley, but that you walk with us through it. So, come alongside us in a very real way. Bring healing, help, hope. We pray for those in hospitals and care centers. We pray for those in continuing care communities. We pray for ourselves. All glory, laud and honor be to thee, our Redeemer, King. Amen.

  • April 4, 2020

    1 Peter 1:22-25 “Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For 'All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever.'"


    The Good News: God’s promises never fail, falter, fall or fade. Our response? To love one another deeply from the heart. God loves you, let us respond in kind to our families, our friends, our neighbors, our world.


    Prayer: Just last year, Palm Sunday was a time of gathering, singing, rejoicing, laughing. Though our worship tomorrow will feel different, may it be no less fervent nor faith-filled. We offer our “hosannas” in different ways, but still and all, we lift it up to you. So help us to overcome geographic distance and come together with our church family and with all those who call upon your holy name. May we this day be compassionate of heart, gracious in our relationships, courageous in our living, and generous in love. Amen.

  • April 3, 2020

    1 Peter 1:8-9 “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”


    The Good News: We can’t see one another as we’re used to. But we know that we’re still around. Though we can’t see Jesus, he’s still around! In times like this, lean into your faith and know you are never alone.


    Prayer: We used to say, “thank God it’s Friday” – grateful for the conclusion of another work week. But now, O Lord, we’d welcome of the routine of what we used to have. We’re full of questions. As the virus spreads and everyone knows someone who has been infected, we are trying not to get overwhelmed. But it’s hard. So, even as we bring our questions and heavy hearts, remind us that there is yet the possibility, nay – even the reality, of glorious joy. Surprise us with joy this day, O God we pray… Amen. 

  • April 2, 2020

    1 Peter 1:5-7 “… you are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”


    The Good News: Salvation’s glory is not revealed… yet. But it will be. So we rejoice despite the various trials which we face. Our faith is genuine and God’s promises to us are assured – we are protected, cherished and saved!


    Prayer: Heavenly Father, we come with very earthbound concerns. So may thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We seek to rest in your assurance, that blessed assurance, that brings from above echoes of mercy and whispers of love. As we do so, we pause in prayer for others. For the governmental leaders of the world; for those serving in the military – in particular those serving far from home; for doctors and nurses and all those working to combat this virus; for police, first aid members and firefighters. Bless us Lord Jesus. Amen. 

  • April 1, 2020

    1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God…”


    The Good News: We stand at a cross-road, the road to the cross. May this journey be marked with the signs of a living hope guiding us in all the complexities and difficulties and changes of life unto the knowledge that we are one with Christ and with each other in a faith that may not lead us around our troubles but will carry us through them. We are one with Christ and with each other in a faith that may not give us easy answers but will give us the ability to hold on.


    Prayer: Great and Gracious God – what powerful words: imperishable, undefiled, unfading! Your love knows no bounds, your mercy is expansive. So help us. We need you. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. So for those are combatting illness, whether that be this virus or another disease, and for those who grieve the death of a loved one, hear our cries and receive our tears. And for those who are celebrating – a birthday, an anniversary, a new birth, hear our songs and receive our smiles. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • March 31, 2020

    1 Peter 1:1-2 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance.”


    The Good News: Peter couldn’t see his friends and fellow believers face-to-face. Yet God’s grace and peace are with them all… in abundance! The same is true for us. Grace! Peace!


    Prayer: O dearest Jesus, these are wearying times. The adrenaline has worn off and now we begin to wonder deeply about the upcoming weeks. Things we took for granted like food choices or paychecks or travel plans are now feeling uncertain. Come along side those who have had to postpone wedding celebrations or baby showers and all those events that are made sweeter by being together. Help us! Send your Spirit’s comforting presence to abide with us. We’d love an extra measure of grace and a heaping helping of peace. Please, O Lord… Amen.


  • March 30, 2020

    John 1:14, 17 "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth…. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."


    The Good News: The unforgettable words of John remind us of the pivotal role our Lord and Savior has played since the beginning of time, and of his saving grace available to all who turn to Him.


    Prayer: Draw us to You, O Lord Jesus. In these turbulent times, bring healing to those who have been affected by this virus – which is all of us. Some have been physically exposed or sickened; some have been emotionally contaminated; some have been mentally exhausted; some have been spiritually scarred and are scared. Hear us and help us! Especially be with those health care workers who are on the front lines of healing. So many are in such need. Keep us safe. Keep us sane. Keep us strong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • March 28, 2020

    2 Timothy 1:3-4 "I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as did my forefathers, as I constantly remember you night and day in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy."


    The Good News: Paul and Timothy were physically separated, but they (and we) are united in ways that are still strong and profound. We are never alone!

     

    Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, be with me in my longing, and abide with those I cherish despite social distancing. The calendar says that it’s Saturday, but without the structure of daily appointments and responsibilities, one day flows into the next. Help me remember that your grace also flows – from you, through us, out into this world. The world so desperately needs your power and presence, so use us, despite our isolation to be a blessing – somehow, in some way. In so doing, we lift up prayers for those in “essential businesses” – our grocery clerks, our sanitation workers, our bank tellers, our mail carriers, our gas station attendants, our first responders, our health care workers. We pray for perseverance!!! In the name of the provider of daily blessings, our Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen. 

  • March 27, 2020

    Psalm 23:6 "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long."


    The Good News: Know this and feel it in the depth of your being: The faithful are always in the loving care of God.


    Prayer: Attending God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we come to you in prayer. We bring our prayers of thanksgiving. Though there are pain and problems, you also provide love and beauty and wonder. We always pause in gratitude for friends, family, and our church family. We also bring our prayers of petition – especially for those who are delighting in the birth of a baby, but who have to celebrate in isolation. And we pray for those who are mourning the death of a loved one, but who have to grieve without the gathering of others. Restore our souls. In the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Amen.

  • March 26, 2020

    Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."


    The Good News: God is here, now! At this very moment, He awaits your prayer, ready to comfort and help.


    Prayer: O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, we lift up our prayers to you. Prayers for strength and help. How good it is that we can find refuge in you! During these uncertain times, refuge speaks of safety and blessing. So wrap your heavenly arms around us. Heal our world. We pray for our teachers and students as they are learning in innovative ways. We lift up those whose final semester of college has been altered and that a time of opportunity now has been challenged. Bless us that we may be a blessing to others – even if that is in new and different ways. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

  • march 25, 2020

    Luke 2:10–11 "But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”


    The Good News: Christ is born in Bethlehem and He lives today! Give thanks and take comfort in God’s inestimable gift of his only begotten son.


    Prayer: O Holy Child of Bethlehem, it’s nine months until Christmas. What will the world be like then? We’re living day-by-day, so it’s challenging to think about the future. But to help guide us, our prayer is the third verse of “Away in a Manger”: Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, and fit us for heaven, to live with thee there. Amen.

  • March 24, 2020

    1 Corinthians 1:8–10 "He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."


    The Good News: Take heart. God’s love, made manifest to us through his son, Jesus Christ, will never falter.


    Prayer: Powerful God – we are trying to have courage and feel strengthened, but there are just so many unknowns. But we do know, remember, and claim the promise that you are present, powerful and perfect. So we pray --- we pray for peace for our bodies, our minds, our souls. We pray for the healing of the nations. Especially be with those who are alone and those who are now unemployed. Help! In the name of the one who is the Keeper of Promises and the Composer of Grace, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  • march 23, 2020

    Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words."


    The Good News: God knows us better than we know ourselves. Turn to the Lord in prayer and trust that the Holy Spirit will search our hearts and know what we need.


    Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are in need. We need your presence, your help, your healing. Give us holy permission to do what is best in each moment, even if that’s “hunker down.” In these days of questioning minds and heavy hearts, we lift to you our prayers, whether through words or just our sighs. Hear us and calm us by your assurance that you will bring us through this. So we pray – for our daily bread, for our friends and family, for our church family. We pray for all those who are wearied and worried. Gather us to be with you even in our separate places, as you are always with us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • March 21, 2020

    Psalm 34:17–18 "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit."


    The Good News: God stands with the broken hearted, the dispirited, the troubled. You are never alone.


    Prayer: Great and Gracious God, be with us, abide with us, in this time of anxiety. Comfort those who are infected and soothe all of us who are affected. So many are affected emotionally, physically, economically, spiritually. Hear us as we cry for help. Answer us, please! Renew our world — With less anxiety and more joy, less fear, and more love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • March 20,2020

    Romans 5:4–5 "And endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."


    The Good News: Do not lose heart. Practice endurance. Wait patiently for the Holy Spirit and the strengthening love of God.


    Prayer: Precious Lord, we need you. We need the miracle of your presence and the miracle of stopping this pandemic. Life is murky and we seek clarity. Help! Especially be with those who are in nursing homes, hospitals, rehab centers and places where visitors are not able to stopover for a face-to-face word of encouragement. Be with those who work in these places of care and support. Come alongside those who are lonely, anxious, and depressed that they would be granted peace for their soul. Please, O God! Amen

  • March 19, 2020

    1 Corinthians 13:13 "Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love."


    The Good News: As the Beatles said all those years ago, love is all you need. With love for one another reflecting the love of God, everything is possible; without it, our lives have no meaning.


    Prayer: O God and Father, despite all the problems that surround us, there are yet reasons for giving thanks. Let us not lose sight of the blessings that you provide – of friends, of family, of this day, of our daily bread, of your amazing grace. May we be a blessing to others as we reach out to our neighbors and extend compassion to others. This we pray in the name of Jesus – the Savior of healing touches, of wondrous stories, of broken bread, of the cross, and of resurrection. Amen.

  • March 18, 2020

    Romans 8:31–32 "What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?"


    The Good News: Nothing will separate us from God and God’s presence – not things past or present, not disease or difficulty!


    Prayer: O Lord, help us. We are alone, but we are not alone. You abide. Help us and heal our world. We ask for your wisdom to guide our leaders, your blessing to be with health care workers and emergency responders, your support to be with those whose income and work are affected, with our students and educators as they deal with a whole new way of learning. Help us in our distress and comfort us in our concerns. In the name of our Savior Jesus, Amen.

  • March 17, 2020

    John 4:8–9 "Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him."


    The Good News: Jesus has redeemed the world and is our only comfort in life and in death. Accept this gift of grace and rest with confidence in the arms of our merciful God.


    Prayer (written by St. Patrick about 433 A.D.):

    I arise today through God's strength to pilot me, God's might to uphold me,

    God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to see before me, 

    God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, 

    God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, 

    God's shield to protect me, God's host to secure me – 

    against snares of devils, 

    against temptations and vices, 

    against inclinations of nature, 

    against everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd... 

    Christ, be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, 

    Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, 

    Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit,

    Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

    Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

    Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

    Salvation is of the Lord.

    Salvation is of the Lord.

    Salvation is of the Christ.

    May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us. Amen.