Undependable – a prayer of confession

In the Book of Common Prayer‘s daily lectionary, today’s psalter readings are taken from Psalm 78. The psalter readings repeat themselves about every 7 weeks, so the next time Psalm 78 will be read in morning and evening prayer will be on a Tuesday in early November.

This prayer of confession is inspired by Psalm 78: Part II, as found in the BCP psalter:

O Holy One of Israel, as you saved your children from Pharaoh, so also you saved me from slavery to sin and death. Forgive me, for I am as undependable as a warped bow. You aim me true, and yet I miss the mark, again and again. I am inconstant, turning from false idols to your constant love, and back again. I yearn for a heart that is faithful and true; reshape me, untwist me, that I may become your reliable servant. In the Name of your Son, Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit is worshiped and glorified, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

The Good Samaritan: Dramatis Personae

Just in time for this Sunday’s lectionary gospel reading, the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC has published my newest set of sermon series helps: On the Road.  The series spends four weeks with the Good Samaritan story, examining it from the point of view of the injured man, the thieves, the priest and Levite, and the innkeeper.  So – if you want to check it out, you can find not one, but four different approaches to preparing your sermon for this Sunday!

On the Road: From Jerusalem to Jericho

May you find that you are blessed in your preparation of God’s message for this Sunday – blessed to be a blessing!

The 75%

Today, I am imagining the books of the Hebrew Scriptures standing across the street from our churches, holding signs that read, “We are the 75%!”* Have you been neglecting the 75% in your preaching? My recent article in the Circuit Rider may give you some ideas about how to approach preaching from the Old Testament.

*”As a child, when learning how to find the books of the Bible, I was taught a handy trick: open to the very middle of your Bible, and you will find the Psalms; divide the last half in half, and you will find Matthew’s gospel – the first book of the New Testament. Over time it occurred to me that this is not just a good way of finding biblical passages quickly – it also illustrates that the Old Testament takes up roughly three-quarters of the Bible.”