One of last week’s lectionary texts was Romans 14:1-12.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Rom. 14:10, NRSV)
God of Grace,
In belittling others,
I am made small.
By doubting their faith,
I cheapen my own.
In my haste to judge,
I am the one condemned.
God of Hope,
I claim to be person of faith,
yet live as a person of fear.
I build walls,
because I fear the stranger;
Hold on to the present,
because I fear the future.
And make my own plans,
because I do not trust yours.
What a fool to think
that what I do out of fear
could ever be better than
what you do out of love.
Thanks be to God,
As this year’s chairperson of the Faculty Council, I am privileged to open our first employee meeting with a reading from Scripture and a prayer. This year, our academic year begins one week after the horrific display of racism and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. That event prompted my reflection on the following text.
Colossians 3:1-15 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Yesterday’s worship at NorthHaven Church was planned and led by Autumn Lockett, Josh Lockett, and Chris Canary. I was particularly struck by the words of one of the songs: “You make beautiful things out of the dust… You make beautiful things out of us.”
Those words were exemplified later when the members of the congregation gathered to each put fingerprint leaves on Josh Lockett’s sketch of a tree, fingerprints from the young and the old, from those who have been in the community for years, and from those who have been there for only months.
A prayer for tomorrow’s sermon at Spring Creek Baptist Church:
God of life,
Sometimes our prayers are as parched as the desert
and our hearts as dry as the dunes of sand.
We take offense at things that don’t matter,
but ignore the ones that do.
When others are hungry,
we are full.
When others are hurting,
we are numb.
When others are cold,
we rest comfortably
beneath warm blankets of apathy.
It is finals week here at Oklahoma Baptist University. Here is a prayer for students:
May God calm your anxieties,
refresh your minds,
and honor the faithfulness
you have shown this semester.
Remember that God has gifted you
more than you can imagine,
and you are capable of more
than you’ve ever dreamed.
May the great wisdom of the Father,
the incomparable love of the Son,
and the mighty power of the Spirit
Some thoughts on President Trump’s Executive Order on “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” that was recently issued:
First of all, the President’s executive order doesn’t change anything about religious leaders engaging in political action from the pulpit. This is from section 2, the relevant part of the order:
The Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective, where speech of similar character has, consistent with law, not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office by the Department of the Treasury.