From Creation to Covenant

Saturdays: The Sabbath Torah Portions
Genesis 8:15—10:32

Click or touch “Firestarter”
Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

Noah emerges from the ark with the rest of the land animals—”birds, beasts and beetles.” Just as in the first account of creation, when the dry land appeared with water taking its assigned place, here again, dry land emerges from the chaos of the Flood.

For the first time in the Bible, the word “Covenant” is used to describe a new dimension in the relation of the Creator to the creature. The term is repeated several times in chapter 9, as though to introduce the new intimacy that the Lord wants to have with the human family. It thus anticipates the great covenants to come with Abraham, Moses—and of course, with Jesus.

Is there any chaos from which you are emerging in your life? From it there arises a new relation of intimacy and joy with your Creator and Lord.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Cycles of the four seasons 8:22
All creatures placed in our hands 9:2
The bond between God and us 9:11
Rainbow promise in the sky 9:16

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the third part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Photo Courtesy – http://frechi.npage.de

Absolute Evil – Absolute Good

Fridays: The Gospels
Matthew 26:1-35

Click or touch “Firestarter”
Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


There are strong contrasts of good and evil in this half chapter. It is the beginning of Jesus’ Passion. Until now, Jesus has been in action against the domains of evil in disease, hypocrisy, and unbelief. Now he allows himself to be acted upon, to be in passion.

There are contrasts in the plot to kill Jesus and the extravagant gesture of the woman who pours costly oil upon Jesus expressing her great love.

In the face of coming death, Jesus gives us the promise of his body’s resurrection in the gift of Communion—even as he faces the evil of Judas’ betrayal and the imminence of Peter’s denial.

The shifts between absolute good and absolute evil will move you. Be shaken, humbled and awed by all the grace this is quietly triumphing.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Perfume poured upon Your head v. 7
Pouring out my soul in love v. 7
This my body; this my blood v. 26-27
Faithful to You to the end v. 35

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We continue reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Photo Courtesy – http://www.found-sheep-of-the-house-of-ishrael.com

A Way Out

Thursdays: The New Testament
1 Corinthians 9—10

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

The passion of Paul to preach the gospel is especially present in chapter 9. He finds the example of running a race as an image to describe this intense focus of his life.

From 9:19, there is a sacred principle at work: do everything that would have the conscience of another aided in coming to the gospel; do nothing that would hinder this approach. You will find verses as you read that I suggest you write down in your best handwriting and place near you to engrave in your mind for continual recall in your heart.

10:13 will bring comfort to you in times of trial. There is nothing too great for you to endure. The Lord God will give you a way out by the light and power of grace.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
This is My body for you v. 24
Cup of the new covenant v. 25
Bread and cup of the presence v. 26
Bread and cup until You come v. 26

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Photo Courtesy – https://nimfa1219.wordpress.com

Thirsting for God

Wednesdays: The Psalms
Psalm 42

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Take time for your inner person to become quiet. Be as the deer thirsting for water brooks until you sense the deep longing for God that lies at the base of your being. Every person thirsts for God with great intensity. However, if the pangs of thirst are anesthetized, then life goes on searching for the dry riverbeds of the world—wealth, fame, pride, human respect. It is easy to thirst for these, missing the deeper brook that flows within—the Living Waters of the Spirit in Christ Jesus.

Read the opening verse of this psalm slowly, repeatedly, until your soul awakens to its thirst for God. Then let the rest of the psalm carry you along the “stream” of images that will lead you more and more to the source of your life in God who alone can quench your thirst.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
As a deer, I long for You. v. 1
Pouring out my soul to You v. 4
By day, Your love; by night, Your song v. 8
Hope in God; I’ll praise again.v. 11

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms,
one each week over the three-year cycle.

Image Courtesy of http://paintgodintoyourday.blogspot.com

Repentance

Tuesdays: The Hebrew “Writings”

2 Samuel 11—12

Click or touch “Firestarter”

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

Instead of being a leader with his men in battle, David is idle at home being a voyeur—gaping at Bathsheba bathing. David’s sin of lust and murder ushers in a future laden with the same and similar sins in his descendants.

David repents and becomes purer and greater. Greater too than your sin is Jesus risen. Repent of your sinfulness. The sins of your family’s past need no longer cripple the future. Jesus ended this on the cross. The power of the Lord’s resurrection is to have you break with areas of sin in your life that bring grave consequences such as death.

David … you … Jesus … reflect upon your life in the light of this episode. Go deeper into repentance, total forgiveness, and joy.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Lifting up the ones bowed down v. 7
Living with You within me v. 12
Feeding on the Bread of Life v. 11
Your loving kindness in me

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Tuesdays are dedicated the Hebrew “Writings.”

 

Highway of Holiness

Mondays: The Prophets
Isaiah 35

Click or touch “Firestarter”
Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

This chapter concludes the first part of Isaiah, making a joyous ending to the judgments against those nations who refuse to follow the Lord’s way. Many verses will draw you into the feeling of Advent. The ending of God’s year of grace has strong similarity with its beginning; the theme “What Is Coming?” pervades them both.

Read these verses with faith knowing that God will protect you and give you prosperity, as long as he finds you responding to grace by being on the Highway of Holiness.

If you were to imagine the movement of your life as a journey down a road, how would you describe the road? What do you sense spiritually about what is coming? Are you cruising along the road or have you broken down on its shoulder, needing help?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Being strong and not in fear v. 4
The lame leaping like a deer v. 6
Springs gushing in the desert v. 6
The Highway of Holiness v. 8

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets; in this season, we continue reading Isaiah.

Image courtesy of http://www.hosanna-tod.com

Sin and the Seed of Promise

Saturdays: The Sabbath Torah Portions – Genesis 2:4—4:26

Click or touch “Firestarter”
Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

A second story of creation is told, this time from the tradition that clusters around the covenantal name of God: Yahweh. The focus of creation is that of man and woman. With tender love, God gathers the moist clay of the earth, forming a nose as a sculptor, and breathing God’s life into it. Inspirited earth: that is what you and I are. We live because the breath of God lives in us. Woman is made from the side of man, suggesting the intimate and equal relation that she has with him.

Read the familiar story of the Fall by placing yourself there at that moment of grave temptation and tragic yielding. Sin is original—yet it bears the seed of redeeming promise as the lines of Jesus’ coming are traced here in the very beginning of the Bible.

Linger in prayer with your thoughts and feelings as you conclude the reading.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
You breathing the breath of life 2:7
Discerning good from evil 3:1ff
We are dust; to dust return 3:19
I am by brother’s keeper. 4:9

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the third part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Michelangelo – Sistine Chapel