Pondering With the Pastor

July 2020

Pondering With the Pastor

Consider and ponder whom you most closely resemble as you read of the men and women of God in the history of Christianity (human just like us!)…

 

Thomas, Apostle

Friday, July 3, 2020

Thomas is perhaps best remembered as “Doubting Thomas.” But alongside this doubt, the Gospel of John shows Thomas as fiercely loyal: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). In addition, John’s gospel shows Thomas moving from doubt to deep faith. Thomas makes one of the strongest confessions of faith in the New Testament, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). From this confession of faith, ancient stories tell of Thomas’s missionary work to India, where Christian communities were flourishing a thousand years before the arrival of sixteenth-century missionaries. Long commemorated on December 21, Thomas's celebration is moved to July 3 in agreement with ecumenical calendars.

Prayer:  “Ever-living God, you strengthened your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in the resurrection of your Son. Grant that we too may confess our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God! Amen.” (John 14:1-7)

 

Jan Hus, Martyr, died 1415

Monday, July 6, 2020

Jan Hus was a Bohemian priest who spoke against abuses in the church of his day in many of the same ways Luther would a century later. He spoke against the withholding of the cup at the eucharist and because of this stance was excommunicated, not for heresy but for insubordination toward his archbishop. He preached against the selling of indulgences and was particularly mortified by the indulgence trace of two rival claimants to the papacy who were raising money for war against each other. He was found guilty of heresy by the Council of Constance and burned at the stake. The followers of Jan Hus became known as the Czech Brethren and eventually continued as the Moravian Church.

Prayer: “Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Jan Hus, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross. Give us courage to bear full witness with our lives. In Christ’s love. Amen.” (Mark 8:34-38)

 

Mary Magdalene, Apostle

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The gospels report Mary Magdalene was one of the women of Galilee who followed Jesus. She was present at Jesus’ crucifixion and his burial. When she went to the tomb on the first day of the week to anoint Jesus, body, she was the first person to whom the risen Lord appeared. She returned to the disciples with the news and has been called “the apostle to the apostles” for her proclamation of the resurrection. Because John’s gospel describes Mary as weeping at the tomb, she is often portrayed in art with red eyes. Icons depict her standing by the tomb and holding a bright red egg, a symbol of the resurrection.

Prayer: “Almighty God, your Son first entrusted the apostle Mary Magdalene with the joyful news of his resurrection. Following the example of her witness, may we proclaim Christ as our living Lord. Amen.” (John 20:1-2, 11-18)

 

Birgitta of Sweden, Renewer of the Church, died 1373

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Birgitta (beer-GEET-uh) was married at age thirteen and had four daughters with her husband. She was a woman of some standing who, in her early thirties, served as the chief lady-in-waiting to the queen of Sweden. She was widowed at the age of thirty-eight, shortly after she and her husband had made a religious pilgrimage. Following the death of her husband, the religious dreams and visions that had begun in her youth occurred more regularly. Her devotional commitments led her to give to the poor and needy all that she owned, and she began to live a more ascetic life. She founded an order of monks and nuns, the Order of the Holy Savior (Brigittines), whose superior was a woman. Today the Society of St. Birgitta is a laypersons’ society that continues her work of prayer and charity.

Prayer: “Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Birgitta, through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life. Raise up in our day teachers inspired by your Spirit, whose voices will give strength to your church. Blessed Holy Trinity. Amen.”(Mark 10: 35-45)

 

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mary and Martha are remembered for the hospitality and refreshment they offered Jesus in their home. Following the characterization drawn by Luke, Martha represents the active life, Mary the contemplative. Mary is identified in the fourth gospel as the one who anointed Jesus before his passion and who was criticized for her act of devotion. Lazarus, Mary’s and Martha’s brother, was raised from the dead by Jesus as a sign of the eternal life offered to all believers. It was over Lazarus’s tomb that Jesus wept for love of his friend.

Prayer: “O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world. Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help. Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary. Father, Son + and Holy Spirit. Amen.”(Luke 6:20-36)

 

Hymn #715 Christ, Be Our Light

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.

Longing for hope, many despair.

Your word alone has pow’r to save us,

Make us your living voice.

(Refrain)

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.

Shine through the darkness.

Christ, be our light! Shine in your church gathered today.

 

~Thoughts from “Sundays and Seasons” ~Prayers, Scriptures, and Hymn from “Evangelical Lutheran Worship”

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