Evening Prayer – June 19, 2021

Entrance Antiphon

The just will flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a Lebanon cedar,
planted in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God. Cf. Ps 92 (91):13-14
OR
The mouth of the just man utters wisdom,
and his tongue tells forth what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart. Ps 37 (36):30-31

Collect

O God, who through Saint Romuald renewed
the manner of life of hermits in your Church,
grant that, denying ourselves and following Christ,
we may merit to reach the heavenly realms on high.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Brothers and sisters: I must boast; not that it is profitable, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this man (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter. About this man I will boast, but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 34

R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the Lord is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him. R.
Fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the Lord want for no good thing. R.
Come, children, hear me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
and takes delight in prosperous days? R.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich. 2 Cor 8:9
Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Prayer over the Offerings

Grant those who approach your altar, O Lord,
that spirit of devotion
with which the Abbot blessed Saint Romuald was on fire,
so that, pure of heart and fervent in charity,
we may offer you a worthy sacrifice.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

DAILY MEDITATION: MATTHEW 6:24-34

Do not worry about your life. (Matthew 6:25)

It can be fun to think about the future. What kind of job will I get when I graduate from college? How many kids will I have someday? I can’t wait for my vacation!

There is nothing wrong with thinking about or planning for the future—in fact, it can be a very positive, smart thing to do. But Jesus wants us to live a balanced life, something he emphasizes in today’s Gospel reading. He doesn’t want us to spend so much time planning for the future that we forget to live in the present.

There’s another problem with spending too much time on the future. That’s where our worries and fears are rooted. Almost every one of them is about something that hasn’t happened yet—but could happen.

Take a moment to think about all the worries you have had throughout your life. How many of them actually came to pass? Probably only a fraction of them. And if your worst fears were realized, you still experienced some measure of comfort from the Lord. Maybe you even learned something from them and came out wiser and stronger because of them. Whatever they were, you got through them. Maybe they strengthened your faith and trust and taught you to lean on Jesus more.

Jesus promises, “Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil” (Matthew 6:34). In other words, focus on what’s going on right now. Pay attention to the challenges right in front of you, the problems that need to be solved and the people that need your help right now. Jesus will be with you to help you face them. And he will be there tomorrow to help you do it all over again.

Today, try to catch yourself when you’re worrying about something that may or may not happen. Imagine yourself like the bird that Jesus describes in today’s Gospel, flying free from all the earthly fears trying to pull you to the ground. Think about how birds just go about their business without worrying about the future. God takes care of them, and he’ll take care of you.

“Lord, help me to let go of my worries and place them in your loving hands.”

2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Psalm 34:8-13

Daily Office – June 18, 2021

O Lord, hear my voice, for I have called to you; be my help.
Do not abandon or forsake me, O God, my Savior! Cf. Ps 27 (26):7, 9

Collect

O God, strength of those who hope in you,
graciously hear our pleas,
and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing,
grant us always the help of your grace,
that in following your commands
we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30

Brothers and sisters: Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. To my shame I say that we were too weak!

But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness) I also dare. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they children of Israel? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I am talking like an insane person). I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Psalm 34

R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord;
the lowly will hear me and be glad. R.
Glorify the Lord with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. R.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him. R.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Mt 5:3
Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

Prayer over the Offerings

O God, who in the offerings presented here
provide for the twofold needs of human nature,
nourishing us with food
and renewing us with your Sacrament,
grant, we pray,
that the sustenance they provide
may not fail us in body or in spirit.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

DAILY MEDITATION: PSALM 34:2-7

When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. (Psalm 34:7)

After a busy day in which you “had a million things to do,” you might have come to dinner exclaiming, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” Those million tasks and that horse, of course, are exaggerations.

But it is no exaggeration when the psalmist declares that God saves us from all our distress. Granted, as today’s first reading shows, God didn’t save Paul from whippings, beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, and other dangers. Still, Paul knew that God heard him every time he called out—even in the midst of his sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:30).

God is our ever-present help. He walks with us through distress. He has not promised a trouble-free life, but he assures us of his help. By his Spirit, he empowers us to deal with the problems, the dangers, and the worries that come into our lives. He doesn’t cause the troubles that come into our lives, but he will save us from crumbling under the weight of them. He promises to give us hope to keep taking the right steps in any distress we face.

Most of us won’t face torture or shipwreck, but we all have troubles. Making the rent each month, facing frightening medical diagnoses, watching a loved one suffer and die—yes, you have trouble in the world. You also have God’s assurance that you don’t have to surrender to fear because he will be with you. He is a loving, faithful, and powerful Father.

God does not cause your distress any more than he caused St. Paul’s. And he will sustain you just as surely as he sustained St. Paul. That is who he is: Father, Savior, Healer, Provider. Be insistent and tireless in seeking his presence and his help in the midst of your distress. Take him at his word. He promises to hear you when you cry out to him. He will always answer, though perhaps not as you expect, and he will sustain you, just as he sustained St. Paul.

“Father, I believe you hear my prayers and know my needs. Help me today so that I don’t sink under the weight of my troubles.”

June 16, 2020 – Devotional

Do you ever have a hard time making yourself pray? Most of us do. Though we know we should pray and that prayer could solve most of our problems, for some reason we often fail to pray. What is it about prayer that makes it so difficult? Perhaps part of the problem is that we are trying to talk to someone we can’t see. Perhaps part of the problem is that most of us would rather be doing something than just be talking about it. But there is another reason why prayer can be difficult. Every time we pause to pray, we are engaging in spiritual warfare. Consider these verses of Scripture.

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

These verses have stunned many who have read them. The angel told Daniel that God had sent him an answer the first day he began to pray. But God’s answer took three weeks to get to him. What caused the delay?

The angel told Daniel that for three weeks he had been in a battle with “the prince of the kingdom of Persia for twenty-one days.”Who was the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Many believe that it was an evil angel serving under the command of Satan. From this passage, many have gathered that there are specific demons assigned to specific nations for the purpose of causing its leaders to do the will of Satan. Paul teaches us very clearly in the book of Ephesians that we are in spiritual warfare with a well-organized hierarchy of demons.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.

This spiritual battle in the book of Daniel was so intense that it required the commissioning of an archangel named Michael to come and help deliver the message.

Daniel 10:13 … and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

The Bible reveals the names of three angels: Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer. Scripture seems to indicate that these three angels were created to serve as ‘arch-angels.’ The prefix ‘arch’ means chief or leader. Because these three are archangels, many believe that the rest of the angels have been assigned to serve under them. Gabriel is thought to be a messenger angel. Most of the time, whenever a message is being sent from heaven, Gabriel is the one who delivers it. Perhaps Gabriel and his angels are the ones directly involved in the answering of our prayers. Michael seems to be a military angel. Revelation 12:7 refers to “Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon and his angels.” Michael is a warrior angel. But what about Lucifer? Who is he and what was his assignment? Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 seem to indicate that perhaps Lucifer was created to serve God with worship. These passages also teach us that at some point, Lucifer rebelled against God and rather than worshipping God, he desired to be worshipped as God. Perhaps you will remember that the one thing he wanted the most from Jesus was for the Savior to bow down and worship him. (see Matthew 4) According to Revelation 12:4, when Lucifer fell he took a third of the angels with him. These fallen angels are now known as demons and Lucifer is now referred to as Satan (adversary or one who withstands) or the Devil (slanderer or false accuser).

We should note that while the invisible battle was going on in the sky, Daniel was on his knees praying. Could it be that the persistence of Daniel’s prayers is what helped Michael win the battle?

Daily Office – June 13, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

Confession: Almighty God, you love us, but we do not love you fully. You call, but we do not always listen. We often walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns. We often condone evil, hatred, warfare, and greed. God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that as you move toward us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:23-27

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Who doesn’t become afraid whenever the waves are spilling over into their boat? Who doesn’t feel some anxiety whenever the doctor gives them bad news? Who isn’t tempted to worry when they are struggling financially? Who doesn’t feel some bit of fear when trouble comes their way? It is the one who puts their faith and trust in God.

The Bible says there arose a ‘great tempest’ in the sea. The words used here indicate that it was a storm so severe that it actually shook the boat. Not even an experienced sailor like Simon Peter knew what to do and therefore, as far as the disciples were concerned, they were going to drown. Yet through it all, Jesus continued to sleep.

Mark’s gospel adds another layer to the story. “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV) First of all, the disciples could not understand HOW’ Jesus could sleep through a storm like this. To put it in modern terms, a storm like this should have awakened the dead. Secondly, I’m sure that they also could not understand WHY’ Jesus would sleep through a storm like this. Why didn’t He get up and do something to help them?

QUESTION #1 – ‘HOW COULD JESUS SLEEP THROUGH A STORM LIKE THIS?’

The wind was howling, the waves were crashing, and perhaps there was even thunder and lightning. How could anyone sleep through a storm like this? Jesus could sleep through the storm because He had complete confidence in His Father’s care. He knew that His Father loved Him and therefore, nothing would happen to Him unless His Father permitted it. 

QUESTION #2 – ‘WHY WOULD JESUS SLEEP THROUGH A STORM LIKE THIS?’

The disciples could not understand how Jesus could sleep through a storm like this and why He wasn’t doing something to help them. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV) Their question wasn’t so much, “Do You have the power to calm the storm?” as it was, “Because You have the power, why aren’t You using it? Where are all the miracles now?”

I admit it, storms have a way of frightening me and, to be really honest, sometimes it doesn’t take a storm as severe as the disciples were experiencing to cause me to ask similar questions. Just a few drops of unexpected rain can arouse a bit of fear in me. The ‘what if’s’ start to creep into my mind and tempt me to worry. What if the storm gets worse? What if the waves come crashing into the boat? What if the boat takes on too much water? What if Jesus isn’t paying attention? What if I drown?

Consider how Jesus responded to the disciples’ question: “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” In other words, “Why are you not resting in My care even as I am resting in My Father’s care?”

Who doesn’t become fearful during a storm? It is those who have faith in the love and care of Jesus. It is those who believe that He is fully aware of their situation and that He will do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. It is those who remind themselves that He is in the boat with them and therefore, everything is under His control.

Prayers:

Today, help me to live, O God, with hospitality, service and patient, joyful endurance.

As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:

Faithful God Hear our Prayer.

For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.

For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.

For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.

For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.

Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

Evening Prayer – June 12, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

First Reading: Psalm 112

Praise, servants of the Lord,  praise the name of the Lord. Let the Lord’s name be blessed,  now and for ever. From the sun’s rising to its setting,  the Lord’s name is to be praised. The Lord is high over all peoples,  his glory is above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who lives on high,  who bends down to watch over heaven and earth? He raises the weak from the ground,  the poor from the dunghill, raises them among the princes,  the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a household,  makes her the happy mother of children. Glory be to the Father and to the Son  and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,  is now, and ever shall be,  world without end. Amen.

Second Reading: Hebrews 11:4-7

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Reflection:

If you ever doubt the value of faith, Hebrews 11 is a good chapter
to read. Today we look at just a small section of this grand
celebration of faith, yet it shows how, through the ages, faith
inspired God’s people to give their lives for the sake of God’s
purposes. If we want to please God – which means living lives that
embrace God’s values and ways – we need faith, the capacity to
trust and orient our lives around the mission of God. This faith doesn’t
need to be huge. All we need is to open ourselves to faith as God’s
gift. Then, as faith grows within us, it sustains us, and leads us in the
ways of goodness.

As we move closer to Sunday, and its celebration of the power of
small things, it’s important that we open ourselves to a growing
faith. It is this faith that will enable us to offer our abilities, our
resources and our time to God – however small our contribution
may be. It is this faith that empowers us to reach out to others in
Christ’s name, and it is this faith that will help us to find our place in
the Reign of God so that our small contributions have real impact
and meaning.

How can you open your heart to the gift of faith today? And how
can you allow faith to lead you to offer yourself for the sake of
God’s Reign?

DO: One of the best ways to grow, and to use, faith is to give of
ourselves – our time, talents and treasures. You may feel that what
you have to give is small, but there is a power in small things when
used for God’s Reign. Why not make today a giving day?

PRAY: Thank you, O God, for the faith that leads me to share my small
resources and abilities for the sake of your Reign on earth.

Prayers & Intercessions:

Christ our Lord is mindful of all who need him, and does great things for love of them. Let us not be afraid to ask him for all our needs.– Show us your loving kindness.Lord, we know that the good things we have received today have come as a gift from you:  may we receive them with thankfulness and learn how to give.– Show us your loving kindness.Saviour and light of all people, keep missionaries in your special care:  may the light of your Spirit burn strongly in them.– Show us your loving kindness.Grant that the world may be filled with the knowledge of your truth;  help us to carry out all you have called us to do.– Show us your loving kindness.You healed the sickness and pain of your brothers:  Bring healing and comfort to the spirit of man.– Show us your loving kindness.Give rest to the faithful departed;  and bring them to praise you in eternity.– Show us your loving kindness.


Our Father, who art in heaven,  hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,  and forgive us our trespasses,  as we forgive those who trespass against us,and lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from evil.


Lord God, strength of those who hope in you,  support us in our prayer:because we are weak and can do nothing without you,  give us always the help of your grace  so that, in fulfilling your commandments,  we may please you in all we desire and do.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,(one) God, for ever and ever.Amen.


The Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

Oficina del día de reposo: 11 de Junio de 2021

Silencio y centrado: pausa durante 5 minutos de silencio

“Estad quietos y reconoced que yo soy Dios; – Salmo 46:10

Confesión:

Señor Jesús, te damos gracias por vaciar Tu vida por nuestros pecados, tal como lo planeó nuestro Padre. Sin tu muerte y resurrección, no tendríamos ningún rescate de la maldad de este mundo. Pero te confesamos, Señor, nuestra tendencia humana a volver a los viejos patrones de pensar y hacer mientras tratamos de recuperar el control de nuestras vidas. Ten piedad de nuestra necedad y perdónanos completamente por resistir la gracia de tu evangelio. Vuelve a alinear nuestro pensamiento con la verdad de Tu Palabra, para que podamos caminar una vez más en verdadera libertad. Te lo pedimos humildemente en el nombre de Cristo. Amén.

PRIMERA LECTURA: Salmo 92: 1-4

¡Cuán bueno, SEÑOR, es darte gracias

    y entonar, oh Altísimo, salmos a tu nombre;

2 proclamar tu gran amor por la mañana,

    y tu fidelidad por la noche,

3 al son del decacordio y de la lira;

    al son del arpa y del salterio!

4 Tú, SEÑOR, me llenas de alegría con tus maravillas;

    por eso alabaré jubiloso las obras de tus manos.

SEGUNDA LECTURA: Marcos 4: 1-20

De nuevo comenzó Jesús a enseñar a la orilla del lago. La multitud que se reunió para verlo era tan grande que él subió y se sentó en una barca que estaba en el lago, mientras toda la gente se quedaba en la playa. 2 Entonces se puso a enseñarles muchas cosas por medio de parábolas y, como parte de su instrucción, les dijo: 3 «¡Pongan atención! Un sembrador salió a sembrar. 4 Sucedió que al esparcir él la semilla, una parte cayó junto al camino, y llegaron los pájaros y se la comieron. 5 Otra parte cayó en terreno pedregoso, sin mucha tierra. Esa semilla brotó pronto porque la tierra no era profunda; 6 pero, cuando salió el sol, las plantas se marchitaron y, por no tener raíz, se secaron. 7 Otra parte de la semilla cayó entre espinos que, al crecer, la ahogaron, de modo que no dio fruto. 8 Pero las otras semillas cayeron en buen terreno. Brotaron, crecieron y produjeron una cosecha que rindió el treinta, el sesenta y hasta el ciento por uno.

9 »El que tenga oídos para oír, que oiga», añadió Jesús.

10 Cuando se quedó solo, los doce y los que estaban alrededor de él le hicieron preguntas sobre las parábolas. 11 «A ustedes se les ha revelado el secreto del reino de Dios —les contestó—; pero a los de afuera todo les llega por medio de parábolas, 12 para que

»“por mucho que vean, no perciban;

    y por mucho que oigan, no entiendan;

no sea que se conviertan y sean perdonados”.[a]

13 »¿No entienden esta parábola? —continuó Jesús—. ¿Cómo podrán, entonces, entender las demás? 14 El sembrador siembra la palabra. 15 Algunos son como lo sembrado junto al camino, donde se siembra la palabra. Tan pronto como la oyen, viene Satanás y les quita la palabra sembrada en ellos. 16 Otros son como lo sembrado en terreno pedregoso: cuando oyen la palabra, en seguida la reciben con alegría, 17 pero, como no tienen raíz, duran poco tiempo. Cuando surgen problemas o persecución a causa de la palabra, en seguida se apartan de ella. 18 Otros son como lo sembrado entre espinos: oyen la palabra, 19 pero las preocupaciones de esta vida, el engaño de las riquezas y muchos otros malos deseos entran hasta ahogar la palabra, de modo que esta no llega a dar fruto. 20 Pero otros son como lo sembrado en buen terreno: oyen la palabra, la aceptan y producen una cosecha que rinde el treinta, el sesenta y hasta el ciento por uno».

REFLEXIÓN:

ORACIONES:

En paz, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

En acción de gracias al Altísimo, que plantó su santa palabra entre nosotros; y para el crecimiento saludable de la Iglesia, para que podamos capear los vientos tempestuosos de este mundo firmes en Cristo, llevando siempre los frutos del amor y cantando alabanzas a Su nombre, roguemos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por la predicación y enseñanza de la Santa Palabra de Dios, para que por su Espíritu brote y crezca cuando y donde quiera a Dios, roguemos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por esta y por todas las congregaciones, para que el reino de Dios se extienda y tengamos corazones agradecidos para maravillarnos de su obra, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Y para que Dios envíe obreros fieles a sus campos para esparcir su semilla aquí y en el exterior, para que a su debido tiempo se pueda segar una cosecha para su gloria, roguemos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por nuestros hogares y familias, para que el Señor haga fructíferos los esfuerzos de los padres en la enseñanza de sus hijos y los preserve en la fe salvadora de Jesús de acuerdo con las promesas que Él ha dicho y que seguramente cumplirá, roguemos al Señor: Señor ten piedad.

Para aquellos en posiciones de autoridad entre nosotros, [especialmente _____________,] que Dios los guíe por Su Espíritu a ser elevados en propósito, sabios en consejos, firmes en buena resolución e inquebrantables en el deber; y por nuestra nación y su gente, para que seamos gobernados tranquila y pacíficamente, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por los que tienen toda necesidad, [especialmente ________________,] oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por todos los siervos de Dios que gimen bajo las cargas de esta tienda terrenal y anhelan ser revestidos de Su vida eterna, la cual absorberá todo dolor mortal [especialmente aquellos que lloran _______________]; que les daría valor para caminar por la fe y no por la vista, para llorar a los muertos con la esperanza de la resurrección, y para que su objetivo sea complacerlo mientras están aquí en el cuerpo, hasta que por fin estemos todos en casa con Cristo, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Santo Padre, de Israel has tomado una ramita tierna, tu Mesías elegido, Jesús, y lo has plantado en el monte para nuestra salvación. Con Su muerte en un árbol, has revertido la maldición del pecado y has vuelto a dar vida a las almas secas y polvorientas. No dejes que despreciemos a Tu Cristo, Su humildad o Su sufrimiento, sino llévanos con todos Tus cristianos a la sombra de Su descanso eterno; por el mismo Jesucristo, tu Hijo, nuestro Señor, que vive y reina contigo y el Espíritu Santo, un solo Dios, ahora y por los siglos. Amén.

Sabbath – Daily Office – June 11, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 5 minutes of Silence    

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10

Confession: 

Lord Jesus, we thank You for emptying out Your life for our sins, just as our Father planned. Without Your death and resurrection, we would have no rescue from the evil of this world. But we confess to You, Lord, our human tendency to turn back to old patterns of thinking and doing as we try to take back control of our lives. Have mercy on our foolishness, and forgive us completely for resisting the grace of Your gospel. Align our thinking again with the truth of Your Word, so that we might walk once again in true freedom. We ask this humbly in Christ’s name.  Amen.

FIRST READING: Psalm 92:1-4

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
    and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
    to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
    at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

SECOND READING: Mark 4:1-20

Again, he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching, he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret[a] of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that

‘They may indeed look, but not perceive,
    and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[b] 18 And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20 And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

REFLECTION:

PRAYERS:

In peace, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

In thanksgiving to the Most High, who has planted His Holy Word among us; and for the Church’s healthy growth, that we may weather the storm-winds of this world steadfast in Christ, ever bearing the fruits of love and singing praises to His name, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the preaching and teaching of God’s Holy Word, that by His Spirit it may sprout and grow when and where it pleases God, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For this and every congregation, that God’s kingdom may be extended and we may have thankful hearts to marvel at His work, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

And that God would send faithful laborers into His fields to scatter His seed here and abroad, so in due time a harvest may be reaped for His glory, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our homes and families, that the Lord would make the efforts of parents fruitful in the teaching of their children and preserve them in the saving faith of Jesus according to the promises He has spoken and will surely fulfill, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those in positions of authority among us, [especially _____________,] that God would guide them by His Spirit to be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution and unwavering in duty; and for our nation and its people, that we may be governed quietly and peaceably, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those in every need, [especially ________________,] let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all God’s servants who groan under the burdens of this earthly tent and long to be clothed with His eternal life, which will swallow up all mortal sorrow [especially those who mourn _______________]; that He would give them good courage to walk by faith and not sight, to mourn the dead in the hope of the resurrection, and to make it their aim to please Him while here in the body, until at last we are all at home with Christ, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Holy Father, from Israel You have taken a tender sprig, your chosen Messiah, Jesus, and planted Him on the mountain for our salvation. By His death on a tree, you have reversed the curse of sin and brought life again to dry, dusty souls. Do not let us despise Your Christ, His humility or His suffering, but bring us with all Your Christians into the shade of His eternal rest; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Evening Prayer – June 10, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

Confession: 

Dear Heavenly Father, we lower our heads before you and we confess that we have too often forgotten that we are yours. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if there was no God and we fall short of being a credible witness to You. For these things we ask your forgiveness and we also ask for your strength. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may witness to You in our world. Remind us to be who You would have us to be regardless of what we are doing or who we are with. Hold us to You and build our relationship with You and with those You have given us on earth.

FIRST READING: 1 Samuel 9:15-27

The day before Saul came, the Lord had told Samuel, 16 “I’ve seen how my people are suffering, and I’ve heard their call for help. About this time tomorrow I’ll send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who will rescue my people from the Philistines. I want you to pour olive oil[a] on his head to show that he will be their leader.”

17 Samuel looked at Saul, and the Lord told Samuel, “This is the man I told you about. He’s the one who will rule Israel.”

18 Saul went over to Samuel in the gateway and said, “A man who can see visions lives here in town. Could you tell me the way to his house?”

19 “I am the one who sees visions!” Samuel answered. “Go on up to the place of worship. You will eat with me today, and in the morning I’ll answer your questions. 20 Don’t worry about your donkeys that ran off three days ago. They’ve already been found. Everything of value in Israel now belongs to you and your family.”[b]

21 “Why are you telling me this?” Saul asked. “I’m from Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my clan is the least important in the tribe.”

22 Samuel took Saul and his servant into the dining room at the place of worship. About thirty people were there for the dinner, but Samuel gave Saul and his servant the places of honor. 23-24 Then Samuel told the cook, “I gave you the best piece of meat and told you to set it aside. Bring it here now.”

The cook brought the meat over and set it down in front of Saul. “This is for you,” Samuel told him. “Go ahead and eat it. I had this piece saved especially for you, and I invited these guests to eat with you.”

After Saul and Samuel had finished eating, 25 they went down from the place of worship and back into town. A bed was set up for Saul on the flat roof[c] of Samuel’s house, 26 and Saul slept there.

About sunrise the next morning,[d] Samuel called up to Saul on the roof, “Time to get up! I’ll help you get started on your way.”

Saul got up. He and Samuel left together 27 and had almost reached the edge of town when Samuel stopped and said, “Have your servant go on. Stay here with me for a few minutes, and I’ll tell you what God has told me.”

SECOND READING: Hebrews 2:5-9

 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    a son of man that you care for him?
You made them a little[a] lower than the angels;
    you crowned them with glory and honor
    and put everything under their feet.”[b][c]

In putting everything under them,[d] God left nothing that is not subject to them.[e] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.[f] But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

REFLECTION:

On Sunday you may hear readings that celebrate the power of small things in God’s Reign: seeds that grow into large trees; youngest sons from insignificant tribes who become kings and commanders.

Today, the writer to the Hebrews makes a remarkable assertion that connects with the principle of valuing the small – human beings, though “mere mortals”, are cared for and watched over by God, and are given glory and honor. This is a quote from the wonderful Psalm 8, and it includes the idea that human beings have been given authority over all things – which in God’s Reign always means service and sacrifice. The important message here is that each one of us, as small and insignificant as we may be, is important to God and has a part to play in God’s work of saving the cosmos.

Alongside this image of human mortality and glory, the writer paints a picture of Jesus. Here we see how Jesus humbled himself and became “lower than the angels”, even embracing death for our sakes. Yet, as the Scriptures remind us here, and in so many places, God has glorified the crucified One.

This is something we still struggle to get our minds around – that even God, in seeking to liberate creation from evil and death, did not use violence or conquest, but used smallness, weakness, peace-making and love. Thank God for this, because it means that anyone can play a part in God’s work of grace and love – even the smallest and weakest of us. What small part can you play today in bringing God’s love and grace into the world?

DO: A good response to the message of today’s reading is thanksgiving. Give thanks for God’s love and grace and for the way God uses even your small contributions of service and love to make a big impact on the world.

PRAY: Thank you, O God, for your love for me, and for the way you shine your love through me to others.

PRAY: 

As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:

Faithful God Hear our Prayer.

For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.

For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.

For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.

For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.

Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Look with favor, O God.

On all our needs

And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.

Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,

That we might give you glory

For the mercy and compassion

That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, for ever and ever Amen!

God, I thank you for all that you helped me accomplish during this day. Thank you for giving me the strength and energy, as well as the focus and ability to do all the things that got done today. Thank you for blessing me with people in my life today who were funny or encouraging or helpful. Thank you for your favor and care for me throughout the day. And now, I thank you for sweet rest throughout the night. Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

Evening Prayer – June 9, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

Confession: 

There are many ways to be unfaithful to what we have become through baptism,
to our commitment and our obedience to God.
We offer God now our prayers of repentance.
We confess to you, living God,
our failure to live as brothers and sisters, and as your children.

We confess to you, loving God,
that we have not loved you as you have loved us.
We confess to you, gracious God,
that we have doubted your word and failed to obey its teaching.

We confess to you, merciful God,
our desire to own you and contain you within our doctrines and theologies.
We confess to you, almighty God,
that we do not acknowledge you as Lord of all the earth.

Forgive us and redeem us for we have not allowed your presence to shine among us.
There are many ways in which we have failed
in our commitment and obedience to our fellow men and women.

We turn towards our neighbors and our friends
and offer them our prayers of repentance.

FIRST READING: PSALM 74

God, why have you rejected us for so long?
    Why are you angry with us, the sheep of your pasture?
Remember the people you bought long ago.
    You saved us, and we are your very own.
    After all, you live on Mount Zion.
Make your way through these old ruins;
    the enemy wrecked everything in the Temple.

Those who were against you shouted in your meeting place
    and raised their flags there.
They came with axes raised
    as if to cut down a forest of trees.
They smashed the carved panels
    with their axes and hatchets.
They burned your Temple to the ground;
    they have made the place where you live unclean.
They thought, “We will completely crush them!”
    They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
We do not see any signs.
    There are no more prophets,
    and no one knows how long this will last.
10 God, how much longer will the enemy make fun of you?
    Will they insult you forever?
11 Why do you hold back your power?
    Bring your power out in the open and destroy them!

12 God, you have been our king for a long time.
    You bring salvation to the earth.
13 You split open the sea by your power
    and broke the heads of the sea monster.
14 You smashed the heads of the monster Leviathan
    and gave it to the desert creatures as food.
15 You opened up the springs and streams
    and made the flowing rivers run dry.
16 Both the day and the night are yours;
    you made the sun and the moon.
17 You set all the limits on the earth;
    you created summer and winter.

18 Lord, remember how the enemy insulted you.
    Remember how those foolish people made fun of you.
19 Do not give us, your doves, to those wild animals.
    Never forget your poor people.
20 Remember the agreement you made with us,
    because violence fills every dark corner of this land.
21 Do not let your suffering people be disgraced.
    Let the poor and helpless praise you.

22 God, arise and defend yourself.
    Remember the insults that come from those foolish people all day long.
23 Don’t forget what your enemies said;
    don’t forget their roar as they rise against you always.

SECOND READING: Luke 11:14-28

One time Jesus was sending out a demon who could not talk. When the demon came out, the man who had been unable to speak, then spoke. The people were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “Jesus uses the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, to force demons out of people.”

16 Other people, wanting to test Jesus, asked him to give them a sign from heaven. 17 But knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom that is divided against itself will be destroyed. And a family that is divided against itself will not continue. 18 So if Satan is divided against himself, his kingdom will not continue. You say that I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons. 19 But if I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons, what power do your people use to force demons out? So they will be your judges. 20 But if I use the power of God to force out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

21 “When a strong person with many weapons guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger comes and defeats him, the stronger one will take away the weapons the first man trusted and will give away the possessions.

23 “Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not work with me is working against me.

The Empty Person

24 “When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest. But when it finds no place, it says, ‘I will go back to the house I left.’ 25 And when it comes back, it finds that house swept clean and made neat. 26 Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits more evil than it is, and they go in and live there. So the person has even more trouble than before.”

People Who Are Truly Blessed

27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out to Jesus, “Blessed is the mother who gave birth to you and nursed you.”

28 But Jesus said, “No, blessed are those who hear the teaching of God and obey it.”

REFLECTION:

God’s people would never have believed that their nation would be conquered, their temple destroyed and their people carried into exile – until it actually happened. They had been warned by the prophets, who had seen this disaster coming, so many times, but they had ignored God’s messengers and trusted in their own wisdom and strength, and that of their allies. But now, this psalm reflects their grief at their shattered country and their shattered lives.

The song of lament in today’s reading shows that at least some of God’s people had not lost their devotion to God, although, clearly, the dark times they were living in made it hard to stay trusting and faithful. Yet, in their quest to keep their allegiance to God strong, the people turned to an ancient practice – lament – to pour out their grief to God and remind themselves that their lives were still in God’s hands.

The act of lament always includes four elements: A complaint against God, a remembrance of God’s past acts of salvation, a plea for God to act now, and a commitment to faith and praise in the midst of the struggle. You will see all of these elements in this psalm. It’s this combination of grief and faith, of pleading and praising, that makes lament such a powerful, healing act. In our world of injustice, racial and religious hatred, poverty, dread diseases and natural disasters, we need this ancient practice just as much as the psalmist. When we have learned to lament well, it helps us to keep our faith strong even in the darkest moments of our lives. What are you grieving today? How can you embrace lament as a healing practice?

DO: Take some time today to think about the realities in your life and in the world that most upset or anger or grieve you. Then turn to God in lament, expressing your honest feelings, pleading for God to act, but also making a commitment to praise. Then, reflect on how you feel after these moments of lament.

PRAY: Hear my cry, O God, and make your presence known to me even in the midst of suffering and injustice.

PRAY: Today, help me to live, O God, with hospitality, service and patient, joyful endurance.

As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:

Faithful God Hear our Prayer.

For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.

For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.

For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.

For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.

Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Look with favor, O God.

On all our needs

And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.

Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,

That we might give you glory

For the mercy and compassion

That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, for ever and ever Amen!

God, I thank you for all that you helped me accomplish during this day. Thank you for giving me the strength and energy, as well as the focus and ability to do all the things that got done today. Thank you for blessing me with people in my life today who were funny or encouraging or helpful. Thank you for your favor and care for me throughout the day. And now, I thank you for sweet rest throughout the night. Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

Evening Prayer – June 8, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

Confession: 

Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

FIRST READING: Psalm 108


God, my heart is steady.
    I will sing and praise you with all my being.
Wake up, harp and lyre!
    I will wake up the dawn.
Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing songs of praise about you to all the nations.
Your great love reaches to the skies,
    your truth to the heavens.
God, you are supreme above the skies.
    Let your glory be over all the earth.

Answer us and save us by your power
    so the people you love will be rescued.
God has said from his Temple,
    “When I win, I will divide Shechem
    and measure off the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead and Manasseh are mine.
    Ephraim is like my helmet.
    Judah holds my royal scepter.
Moab is like my washbowl.
    I throw my sandals at Edom.
    I shout at Philistia.”

10 Who will bring me to the strong, walled city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
11 God, surely you have rejected us;
    you do not go out with our armies.
12 Help us fight the enemy.
    Human help is useless,
13 but we can win with God’s help.
    He will defeat our enemies.

SECOND READING: 1 Samuel 16:14-23

14 But the Lord’s Spirit had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

15 Saul’s servants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Give us the command to look for someone who can play the harp. When the evil spirit from God troubles you, he will play, and you will feel better.”

17 So Saul said to his servants, “Find someone who can play well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants said, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem play the harp. He is brave and courageous. He is a good speaker and handsome, and the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse loaded a donkey with bread, a leather bag full of wine, and a young goat, and he sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 When David came to Saul, he began to serve him. Saul liked David and made him the officer who carried his armor. 22 Saul sent a message to Jesse, saying, “Let David stay and serve me because I like him.”

23 When the evil spirit from God troubled Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then the evil spirit would leave him, and Saul would feel better.

REFLECTION:

In the reading today we begin to see the effects of Israel’s determination to have a human king. Saul, who was the first king chosen to rule Israel, has become increasingly tormented. When you read the details of his story you see him becoming more and more power hungry, paranoid and arrogant. It’s like the fact that the people chose him over God has gone to his head and, as power often does, corrupted him. It may be disturbing to read that the “tormenting spirit” was “from God”, but this simply reflects the beliefs of the writer who lived at a time when everything, both good and evil, was believed to originate in God.

It’s important to keep this cultural framework in mind and resist the temptation to read this passage literally as God sending evil on someone. What is fascinating about this story, though, is how the praise of David casts the darkness out of Saul’s soul. David, the psalm-singing shepherd, was a musician and songwriter who wrote and played worship music. Many of his songs can still be found in the book of Psalms. It was almost certainly this music that David played, and the worship it expressed restored Saul’s clarity of mind and brought him back into connection with God. It makes sense that Saul, who had begun to feel and act god-like, would find peace of mind when he was reminded that there was a God who was much greater than he.

Perhaps in those moments, away from the responsibility of being king, he could submit himself to God again, and give his allegiance to God’s Reign. Perhaps it was this humility and submission that brought him peace and healing. Is there any area of your life where you are becoming stressed because you take too much control or responsibility, or where you are struggling to keep faith? Could it perhaps bring you peace to take a little more time to worship and re-affirm your allegiance to God’s Reign today?

DO: The practice of praise is the best way to remember that there is a God, but we are not that God. When we immerse ourselves in the presence of God and in a vision of God’s greatness and love, we usually find relief from any confusion or darkness in us. Try it today.

PRAY: I praise you, O God, for your truth and light and for the clarity and freedom they give me.

PRAY: Today, help me to live, O God, with hospitality, service and patient, joyful endurance.

As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:

Faithful God Hear our Prayer.

For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.

For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.

For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.

For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.

Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Look with favor, O God.

On all our needs

And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.

Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,

That we might give you glory

For the mercy and compassion

That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, for ever and ever Amen!

God, I thank you for all that you helped me accomplish during this day. Thank you for giving me the strength and energy, as well as the focus and ability to do all the things that got done today. Thank you for blessing me with people in my life today who were funny or encouraging or helpful. Thank you for your favor and care for me throughout the day. And now, I thank you for sweet rest throughout the night. Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.