Pastoral Series

Prayer: Let it be to me

Prayer: Let it be to me (archaeologist’s depiction of Nazareth in the time of Jesus) My group of pilgrims is in Israel right now.  Today we visit Nazareth – where two things happened that tell us a lot about how to pray, and then live as prayerful people.  It was in Nazareth, of course, where…

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Prayer: What you are saved for

Prayer: What you are saved for Oswald Chambers, in his installment for today in the devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest, says “Remember what you are saved for – that the Son of God might be manifested in your mortal flesh.”  I love that: the kind of thing we forget, as we think I’m…

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Prayer: Mary

Prayer: Mary Even with all the stories the gospel writers have shared with us, we realize that most of Jesus’ days, words and actions are unrecorded.  If all the Bible’s characters were on a panel, and I got a turn during the Q&A, I’d ask this: Tell us about when Mary saw her son after…

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Prayer: Surprise visits

Prayer: Surprise visits On the road to Emmaus, the disciples – those who knew Jesus best! – were not exactly looking for Jesus to be present to them.  This is a cardinal principle of the prayerful life: we encounter God, not when we are trying, when we are praying – but, thankfully, when we aren’t…

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Prayer: With

Prayer: With The resurrected Jesus, when he was sending his disciples out into the world, underlined the most important thing:  “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Sam Wells says that “with” is the most important word in theology.  This is God’s nature and heart: to be with us.  Jesus’ theological nickname, given at his…

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Prayer: Did not our hearts burn?

Prayer: Did not our hearts burn? The other day we looked at that marvelous drama of Jesus meeting up with the disciples on the road to Emmaus – and how they came, a little slower than expected, to recognize him.  Another piece of their realization of Jesus’ very real presence was that they read and…

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Prayer: At table

Prayer: At table Maybe the most charming, and suggestive stories of Jesus’ post-Easter appearances happened on a country road between Jerusalem and Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).  Jesus comes up behind two unnamed disciples; they do not recognize him (do they even look closely at him? or did they just assume he was dead? or was Jesus’…

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Prayer: Easter

Prayer: Easter Jesus is Risen!  What glorious news!  Continuing with our theme of prayer, I wonder:  when Jesus was raised, did he pray?  Surely – and so, what did he pray?  His mind always gravitated toward the Psalms.  So I wonder if he thought of Psalm 118, which he and the disciples had sung just…

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Prayer: Good Friday

Prayer: Good Friday    Good Friday is a day to check your watch, to track the Gospel stories of Jesus’ final hours, from his mock trial at 6am, to his crucifixion at 9am, the sky growing dark at noon, and his final breaths around 3pm.  Surely Jesus prayed all through the day, the kinds of…

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Prayer: Maundy Thursday

Prayer: Maundy Thursday Continuing our theme of considering Jesus’ prayers during Holy Week, we come to the holiest night, Maundy Thursday.  The Bible tells us that they did what was the Jewish custom at Passover:  they sang Psalms.  We can read and pray Psalms; but they knew the music!  They would have sung some or…

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