Meals Together, Forgiveness to Go

Scripture: James 3.17-18
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Reflection: Meals Together, Forgiveness to Go
By John Tillman

It almost takes a special occasion for many of us to pause our fast-paced lives and eat together. We eat on the go, in the car, at our desks. We even skip eating—not for a spiritual purpose, but using faddish intermittent fasting to kick our bodies into burning fat. (In American culture skinniness is next to godliness.)

Even Christ’s disciples ate on the go at times, But food is more than physical nourishment, and the regular meals Christ participated in and instituted for the church were acts of community and communion.

In his essay, Beyond Easter, Milton Brasher-Cunningham sees an expansion of the table of communion to the community around us.

“As often as you do this” might mean more than simply observing the Lord’s Supper. What if Jesus had in mind that we would remember every time we broke bread or sat down at the table together? What if Jesus was calling us to widen our sense of every table to include those who harvested the crops and raised the animals, and to make sure they are paid fairly and treated justly?

Christ’s breakfast on the shore is a model for us of gathering those who have failed, reinstating each other through Christ’s redemption, and being sent out to feed others.

What if all our meals were markers—altars of forgiveness and belonging? Come to the table. Lay down your burdens. Offer forgiveness. Ask for it, too. And bring anyone else you can find. Christ is risen!—pass the potatoes.

The power of Christ’s resurrection is realized most, not in our building of monuments or institutions, not in our grand schemes and fantastic programming, but in the breaking of the bread, the quotidian collecting of those whom we love around a table that nourishes us all, and praying God would give us new eyes to see those who belong alongside us.

How do we expand the Communion table to include every table? How do we make sure everyone has a table and food to put on it? How does every meal become part of the story of our redemption, our sustenance? How do we hear the call to feed the sheep?

May we pray these questions from Cunningham’s conclusion and expand our hearts and tables to those we have previously excluded.

May we take our meals together and our forgiveness to go.

Prayer: The Greeting
Hosanna, Lord, hosanna!…Blessed is he who comes in the nam of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord. — Psalm 118.26-26

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Full prayer available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 9.8-10.4 (Listen – 8:50)
James 3 (Listen – 2:38)

This Weekend’s Readings
Isaiah 10:5-34 (Listen – 5:14) James 4 (Listen – 2:25)
Isaiah 11-12 (Listen – 3:39) James 5 (Listen – 3:01)

Meaning of the Ascension :: Throwback Thursday

Scripture: Luke 24.51
While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

Reflection: Meaning of the Ascension :: Throwback Thursday
By Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Jesus will come again. Our Lord is doing the best thing for his kingdom in going away. It is clear that he has not quit the fight, nor deserted the field of battle. It was in the highest degree expedient that he should go, and that we should each one receive the Spirit. He has not taken his heart from us, nor his care from us, nor his interest from us: he is bound up heart and soul with his people.

The scriptures tell us—and this is a reason why we should get to our work—that he is coming in the same manner as he departed: “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” [What does this mean?]

Do not let anybody spiritualize away all this from you. Jesus is coming as a matter of fact, therefore go down to your sphere of service. Give of your wealth and don’t talk about it. Consecrate your daily life to the glory of God. Live wholly for your Redeemer.

Jesus is not coming in a sort of mythical, misty, hazy way, he is literally and actually coming, and he will literally and actually call upon you to give an account of your stewardship. Therefore, now, today, literally not symbolically, personally and not by proxy, go out through that portion of the world which you can reach, and preach the gospel to every creature according as you have opportunity.

Be ready to meet your coming Lord. What is the way to be ready to meet Jesus? If it is the same Jesus that went away from us who is coming, then let us be doing what he was doing before he went away.

Don’t stand gazing up into heaven, but wait upon the Lord in prayer, and you will receive the Spirit of God, and you will proclaim, “Believe and live.” Then when he comes he will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” So may his grace enable us to do. Amen.

*Abridged and language updated from Spurgeon’s sermon The Ascension and the Second Advent Practically Considered.

Today, across the world, millions of believers celebrate Ascension Day, on the Thursday, 40 days after Easter. Easter season continues, until Pentecost. 

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
And they will say, “Surely, there is a reward for the righteous; surely, there is a God who rules in the earth.” — Psalm 58.11

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Full prayer available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 8.1-9.7 (Listen – 7:02)
James 2 (Listen – 3:32)

Prayer of Confession and Praise from the USA :: Worldwide Prayer

Scripture: James 1.27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Reflection: Prayer of Confession and Praise from the USA :: Worldwide Prayer

Gracious God, we have gathered for worship,
Seeing worship not as a function of place and hour,
But an attribute and attitude of life.
May our worship at every moment reflect
the focus and the commitment of this hour.

Sometimes that is difficult to do.
We are consumed with the sins and successes of yesterday.
Guilt and pride conceal our true identity.
Consumed by remorse or celebration we find it
difficult to praise and glorify you, O God.
We are often caught between the conflicting beliefs
That we either are so sinful you would have
Nothing to do with us, or we are so good
We have not need of you.
For our lack of faith, forgive us.

Some days we are caught in tomorrow.
We overlook today in order to see what lies ahead.
We look to the future, believing what is most important is yet to come.
We live in expectation of events and experiences,
Trusting that what will be
Is somehow more important that what has been
Or what is;. We wonder where the time has gone,
Only to discover that it slipped through our hands
While we waited. Forgive us, O God,
When we have failed to live in your present and presence.

We have come to worship.
We give glory to you, O God, for your majestic love
that awes us, and for your magnificent grace
that covers our multitude of sins.
With all of our heart, soul, and mind we offer ourselves to you.
Help us receive again your transforming gifts
of grace and love that encourage us to sense
your presence and share your love in every moment.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. — Psalm 84.9

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Full prayer available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 7 (Listen – 3:51)
James 1 (Listen – 3:26)

Prayer of Devotion from the USA :: Worldwide Prayer

Scripture: 1 Chronicles 17.16
“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” — King David.

This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God. — John

Reflection: Prayer of Devotion from the USA :: Worldwide Prayer

My cup overflows! My cup overflows! Lord God you have blessed me so abundantly! You have lifted me up, and loved me, and forgiven me, and blessed me so richly.

O loving Lord God, continue to bless me, that I might continue to bless others.

O compassionate Lord God, as my cup overflows with love and kindness and all kinds of riches, help me to see how I might share these blessings and your love with the rest of your children.

O Gracious Lord God, help me to see how extravagantly my cup overflows, and to see how I can direct that overflow to do your work.

Oh Mighty Lord God, give me the courage and strength to follow Christ’s example, and to share the abundance of my blessings, now and forever.

My cup overflows! Praise God! Praise the Son whose life shows us the true meaning of grace, servanthood and loving stewardship.

Psalm 23.6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

The Request for Presence
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling;
That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness; and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God. — Psalm 43.3-4

– From 
The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Full prayer available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 17 (Listen – 4:14)
James 4 (Listen – 2:25)

A Thanksgiving

Scripture: James 3.17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God. — John

Reflection: A Thanksgiving
By John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Lord, in this dust Thy sovereign voice
First quicken’d love divine;
I am all Thine—Thy care and choice,
My very praise is Thine.

I praise Thee, while Thy providence
In childhood frail I trace,
For blessings given, ere dawning sense
Could seek of scan Thy grace;

Yet, Lord, in memory’s fondest place
I shrine those seasons sad
When, looking up, I saw Thy face
In kind austereness clad

And such Thy tender force be still,
When self would swerve or stray,
Shaping to truth the froward will
Along Thy narrow way.

Deny me wealth, fear, far remove
The love of power or name;
Hope thrives in straits, in weakness love,
And faith in the world’s shame.

The Call to Prayer
Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for me. — Psalm 66.14

– From 
The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Full prayer available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 16 (Listen – 5:21)
James 3 (Listen – 2:38)

Spur a spiritual rhythm of refreshment right in your inbox
By joining this email list you are giving us permission to send you devotional emails each weekday and to communicate occasionally regarding other aspects of the ministry.
100% Privacy. We don't spam.