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open hand

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name for ever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and praise your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness. They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds. The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfils the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless his holy name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145, NRSV)

The Lord opens His hand satisfying the desires of all living things.

The Lord is faithful to all He has said He will do.

The Lord watches over all that He has made.

So lean on Him and know that He will always support you and His hand will be open to give you what you need!

 

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Creation praises!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed. Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and women alike, old and young together! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 148, NRSV)

We all need to praise the Lord because we can see all the reasons why we should.

and yet the mountains, and the hills, and the waters all praise Him and have no way to comprehend why.

So praise God and make yourself be heard over creation!

 

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Trinity Sunday….

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.   And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”  So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.  These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. (Genesis 1:1-2:4a, NRSV)

Here is a wonderful skit for this day found at stjamesgettysburg.wordpress.com:

God:  In the beginning, I…

Jesus:  You, what?

God:  I created… you know, the heavens and the earth.

Holy Spirit:  Don’t you mean “we”?

God:  That’s what I hate about Trinity Sunday – it’s so confusing!  One God, three persons.  Of course, you were there too – both of you.  But when we talk about God the Creator, we’re talking about me – that part of me – that part of us –  which created once a long time ago and which still creates.

Jesus:  I have a question for you…why in the world did you create mosquitoes?

God:  (laughs)  I have my reasons!

Holy Spirit:  How about the platypus?  Or the great sea creature the Leviathan?

God:  Don’t you remember the psalm?  I created the Leviathan for the sport of it!  It makes me laugh!  Everything I created, I created good.  Very good.

Jesus:  Even mosquitoes I guess…  But there are people in the world who don’t seem very good.  How do we make sense of the fact that you created them good?

God:  I made them good.  But I also gave them free will – and people with free will turn away from the good sometimes – actually all of the time!

Holy Spirit:  Isn’t that the truth!  I am that part of the Trinity which guides and gives humanity its conscience.  Yet, all of the time, people listen to others rather than me.  Or they listen to themselves and their own thoughts and desires rather than trying to work for the good of others and our world.

God:  (laughs)  Yep!  That’s how I made them!  I made people good and then let them make choices!  And they always choose themselves.  Every time! Gotta love them! (laughs some more)

Jesus:  It doesn’t seem to bother you very much!

God:  It’s all part of being human.  I love them all just the way they are – bad choices and everything.

Jesus:  And yet that’s why I came down to earth – to show people that we love them just as they are, but that’s not how we want them to stay!

Holy Spirit:  We want them to be changed, to be transformed.  To live life really like they’re loved!

Jesus:  Freedom!  That’s what it’s all about!

Holy Spirit:  Freedom to stop worrying about whether or not they’re accepted!

God:  Freedom to trust that I will always be there for them!

Jesus:  Freedom to offer healing and forgiveness like I give them!

Holy Spirit:  Freedom to know that even when bad things happen, I will never give up on them.

God:  Freedom to be generous – even extravagant – in sharing with others.

Jesus:  Isn’t it funny that we love humanity so much, but people still live like they’re all bound up – like they need to work harder to make us love them more, or that they need to get all they can for themselves now, or they won’t have enough later on?

God:  (laugh)  People haven’t really changed much at all over the years!  Remember Adam and Eve – I gave them everything – everything – they could ever want, but it wasn’t enough – they needed the fruit of that tree!

Holy Spirit:  And when I guided Moses and the people out of slavery through the wilderness – they didn’t trust that I would give them manna to eat.  They grumbled all the way!

Jesus:  My generosity got the Jewish and Roman leaders angry with me – angry enough to have me put to death!  They couldn’t understand a king who reigned on a platform of love and service rather than law and order.  (turns to the Holy Spirit: ) Did you ever see that show, “Law and Order”? It’s not bad!

God:  (laugh) People, people, people!  Gotta love them!

Holy Spirit: It’s a big mystery of life to me why people don’t live out their freedom!  I call people to faith.  I call people live out their faith every day.

Jesus:  I tried to show them how to live out their life of faith every day.

God:  I let them know that I expect them to live out their life of faith every day.  I created them to live out their life of faith.

Jesus:  I redeemed them with my own life so that they could live out their life of faith.

Holy Spirit:  I made them my holy ones so that they could live out their life of faith – live out what they were made to be.

God, Jesus, Holy Spirit:  One God; three persons.

Jesus:  It’s still hard for people to understand isn’t it?

Holy Spirit:  What is?

Jesus:  How we could be one God and yet three persons.

Holy Spirit:  Yes – but let’s not try to help them understand it.  Let’s just help them live it.

God (to congregation):  God has created you together with all that exists.

Jesus and Holy Spirit:  We respond with thankful hearts.

Jesus (to congregation):  Jesus Christ, true God and also true human is your Lord.  He has redeemed you.

God and Holy Spirit:  We respond by loving and forgiving others as we are loved and forgiven.

Holy Spirit (to congregation):  The Holy Spirit has called you, enlightened you, made you holy, and kept you in the true faith.

God and Jesus:  We respond with humble obedience.

God:  How has this happened – one God, three persons?

Jesus and Holy Spirit:  It is the mystery of faith.

God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit:  This is most certainly true.  Amen.

 

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The Voice of the Lord!

170114Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters.  The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.  The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.  May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29, NRSV)

Do you know someone who has a commanding voice? When you hear them speak you stop everything and listen?

I have an uncle who coached me and my cousins in t-ball, and my uncle had a commanding voice. We could hear him from the other field and knew when we needed to listen, and move, and what to do. It was a voice that demanded you listen just by its presence.

That is the voice of the Lord. The voice that commands you listen by its presence. Even in a whisper, the voice of the Lord is a powerful voice.

It brought about all of creation and it whispers, “I love you!”

Listen! The voice of the Lord!

 

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King of glory

161126The earth is the LORD’S and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of their salvation. Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. (Psalm 24, NRSV)

Who is this King of Glory?

The Lord the strong and mighty!

Mighty in battle. Mighty to deliver us.

Christ the savior of the world, holds all of creation in His hands.

He is the King of Glory!

Give Him his praise, and follow!

 

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Have you seen?

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.  For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11, NRSV)

Here Paul reports to the Corinthians how Jesus has appeared to the disciples.

First to Cephas and then the 12, but the 12 would have included Cephas and Judas, so not sure where Paul gets his numbers from.

But then, after this, Jesus appears to 500 brothers and sisters, then to James, then the apostles.

And lastly to one untimely born, Paul.

But has Jesus appeared to you?

Have you seen Jesus?

Look around you, all of creation was made by Jesus, and we are all created in the image of God, so Jesus is with, and in all of us. So in your brothers and sisters is Jesus.

So have you seen Jesus?

 

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New creation

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD—and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:17-25, NRSV)

Do a search of Isaiah 65:17-25 and look at images. When I did one on a search engine that isn’t Google one of the first images I saw was of a lion lying with a lamb, but the text does not say that. It actually doesn’t say that the lamb will lie down with any of its predators. Isaiah 65 says the lamb shall feed with the wolf. But even a Google search shows a lion with a lamb early on in the search. And this is an image we know. But I searched the NRSV for the phrase “The lion lie down with the lamb” and the one verse it found was Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” Nowhere in the NRSV Bible does the lion lie with the lamb.

But this is the image we have and people tell sus when there is peace, in the new creation, the lion will lie with the lamb. We need not be worried about the details of how God will create peace and the new creation, having a lion with a lamb or a wolf with a lamb, but we need to trust in the promise of the new creation and all of it existing in harmony.

So talk about His promise, not our understanding of it.

 
 

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