pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Love and Justice and Mercy

Reading: Genesis 37: 1-4 and 12-28

Verse Four: They hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph is clearly the father’s favorite.  Israel loves Joseph more than any of his other sons.  In today’s passage, Israel makes Joseph a “richly ornamented robe”.  For a second, recall Joseph and his dreams of his brothers and even his father and mother bowing down to him.  For a second, recall Joseph’s penchant for tattling on his brothers.  Now Joseph waltzes in, showing off his new coat.  Joseph certainly plays up his favored son status.  His brother’s reaction?  “They hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”.

Later in our passage, Israel decides to send Joseph out to check on the others sons and the flocks.  He tells Joseph to “bring word back to me”.  As the brothers see Joseph coming, they plot to kill him.  In our society today, does this still happen?  Do some who live without look at those who have much with hatred and envy?  Thanks without may desire to do away with the ones with privilege and power, especially the ones who flaunt it.  So, when we go to the city to serve in the rescue mission, do those in line look at us this way?  If we act as if we are stooping down to do something ‘good’ or if we act aloof, certainly we are seen this way.  If we are unwilling to sit and hear another’s story, to communicate that they are worthy of our time and attention, then we remain distant and privileged.

Reuben speaks up for Joseph and plans to come back later to rescue him.  When violence and injustice and hatred arise today, do we act as Reuben acted?  Do we try and lessen it and plan on coming back later to partially address the situation?  Or do we stand up for what is righteous and choose to stand in the gap, saying ‘no more’?  At times we will see prejudice or hatred, injustice or abuse.  Then and there, do we addresd it fully?  Do we stand for those in need of our voice and courage?  Do we love and care for all as God loves and cares for all?  Or do we leave them in the cistern and hope to come back later?

O God of love and justice and mercy, make me an instrument of Your love and justice and mercy.

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Worship

Reading: Psalm 150

The Psalm calls upon us to “Praise the Lord” in many ways.  First, we are to praise Him with our voice – to shout or lift up our praises to God.  The psalmist also calls upon us to make music to God using all kinds of instruments: trumpets, lyres, harps, tambourines, flutes, strings, cymbals.  And lastly, the psalmist encourages us to dance before the Lord.  I have the feeling that if the Psalm were written today, the list of instruments would be much longer and the visual arts would also include painting, drawing, images, and so on.  In essence the psalmist is telling us to Praise God every way we can.

In our worship yesterday, many of these elements were present.  But I do not think God only desires or is impressed by how many instruments or presentations we offer.  One lone voice lifted to God can be as pleasing and worshipful to Him as a whole orchestra or huge choir or multi-instrument praise band.  In our worship, the “how” God desires is not how many but simply how.  “How did you worship me today?” is the question God asks.  Did we come before God yesterday with our whole beings, intent on nothing other than offering all we are and all we have to Him?

My off key, changing tempo song can be more pleasing to God than the most polished voice performing a perfect solo.  It is all about our heart.  When we praise our God, He wants our whole heart to be fully engaged.  This day may we find opportunity to praise our God with our whole being.