Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Busy frogs

Busy frogs (Photo credit: Raphael Quinet)

A Australian Green Tree Frog

A Australian Green Tree Frog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Synchronicity and the Presence of God 100512

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Psalm 8 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%208&version=MSG

Genesis 21:22-34 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2021:22-34&version=MSG

Romans 8:1-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%208:1-11&version=MSG

Synchronicity and the Presence of God 100512

Romans 8:1-11 talks about letting God be present in our lives. (Note: There’s a lot in that phrase, but that’s one idea I felt).

Sometimes, not by my own purpose, I feel the presence of God, when strange and amazing ‘coincidences’ happen. For example, I heard the story of a man who found a frog in an unusual place, and started thinking and worrying about frogs. When he got work, there was a magazine there that had been mailed weeks before. On its cover were frogs. He heard a news story about frogs. He overheard two colleagues talking about frogs, etc.  All day, the subject of frogs followed him.

I’ve had some recent occurrences of synchronicity. Perhaps it is that, as some say, my brain is misfiring because of stress or something, but if it is misfiring, how does my brain make the world synchronous? If this synchronicity is in here, how does it happen out there?

Yesterday, while thinking about this blog, and the scripture, I prayed for help from God over the Romans 8 scripture. As always, what to write? For some reason I thought of a very, very old friend. He’s not old, but the friendship is, and I wondered where he was and what had happened to him. I sort of remembered he lived in a small town and maybe in the small town where I recently began some work. I looked him up. He was living a couple of blocks from where I was working. It has been 40 years since we talked! And I called him (I also wonder about Moses and 40 years in the desert, but that’s another blog). We’ll try to get together next week or so for coffee, and it felt so good to find him.

Friends, we all hope that God is present in our lives. We cannot control God’s presence, I assume. But this is bigger than me and you. Maybe this is a message about synchronicity and coincidence; maybe it’s about friendship; maybe it is about God and his presence in our lives. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that found an old friend or that you found this blog. Maybe it is the presence of God. What do you think?

Pray for peace,

Bill (and if you like bring this post up 40 years from now!—smile)

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

 

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We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

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Psalm 8

Genesis 21:22-34

Romans 8:1-11

Psalm 8

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

8 God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.

3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?

5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.

God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.

Genesis 21:22-34

The Message (MSG)

22-23 At about that same time, Abimelech and the captain of his troops, Phicol, spoke to Abraham: “No matter what you do, God is on your side. So swear to me that you won’t do anything underhanded to me or any of my family. For as long as you live here, swear that you’ll treat me and my land as well as I’ve treated you.”

24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”

25-26 At the same time, Abraham confronted Abimelech over the matter of a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had taken. Abimelech said, “I have no idea who did this; you never told me about it; this is the first I’ve heard of it.”

27-28 So the two of them made a covenant. Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. Abraham set aside seven sheep from his flock.

29 Abimelech said, “What does this mean? These seven sheep you’ve set aside.”

30 Abraham said, “It means that when you accept these seven sheep, you take it as proof that I dug this well, that it’s my well.”

31-32 That’s how the place got named Beersheba (the Oath-Well), because the two of them swore a covenant oath there. After they had made the covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech and his commander, Phicol, left and went back to Philistine territory.

33-34 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and worshiped God there, praying to the Eternal God. Abraham lived in Philistine country for a long time.

Romans 8:1-11

The Message (MSG)

The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms

1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

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