Thursday, January 31 – Romans 12:3-8
Gifts of Grace
Paul gives us two messages today, one of humility and one of pride. Now that we have sacrificed our bodies to Christ, what are we to think of our lives in this world? We are members of something, a society, the body of Christian faithful; and we are all equal before the throne of God. If our earthly position is elevated, and the gifts we have been given to use on earth are many so that we are rich, or smart, or powerful, able to persuade others or in positions of leadership, we should not elevate ourselves above others in our minds. We might get used to feeling somewhat superior to employees, or those we give charity, or those we lead; it becomes a habit that spills over from our function as a boss, into our existence as a member of Christ. But as Paul taught us in the preceding verses, we should not be “conformed to this world,” but rather, we should be “transformed” in our minds, by the miracle of grace. To let our high position give us an attitude of superiority is a prime example of being conformed to the world. And if we are humble in our circumstances, we should feel no shame, no inferiority. Who was Jesus? A poor carpenter. Who was Mary? A homemaker, married to a carpenter. Who were Peter and Paul? Peter, a village fisherman, and Paul, a tentmaker who had become a henchman for the Pharisees. All of are members of Christ’s body and our gifts are those that God wants us to have. We must seek to use the gifts we have been given, no matter how great or small; because if a role in life was given to us by God, it is God-given. How can we question the merit of what we do, or the talents we have, if God gave it to us? If we use whatever talents we have, with cheerfulness and zeal, we may be satisfied with what we have done. God has told us we are completely adequate: Who are we, then, to be embarrassed or ashamed of our circumstances?
Friday, February 1 – Acts 2:40-47
The Enthusiasm of the Believers
Peter’s sermon has been a huge success. He has converted a large number of the Jews with his words and started the first church, the church of Jerusalem. The timeline and numbers are uncertain. The passage implies that 3,000 were converted on the day of his sermon and that more were converted every day, but it doesn’t otherwise record numbers of people or amounts of time. The first church is fervent and even fanatical. The members devote themselves to it, meeting every day to worship and forming a sort of commune, where property is shared freely. And every day their numbers swell. Not only do they meet to worship, but they take their meals together. Most remarkably, they meet in the temple courts, that is, the public areas in front of the temple. Remember, only a few days earlier the apostles and a few followers had hidden themselves away, out of fear of the Jewish authorities. They were, rightfully, afraid for their lives. Now, they are making a public spectacle of themselves. They are completely filled with the Holy Spirit, so much that they concern themselves with almost nothing other than worship of God through Christ, even in the face of very real danger.
Saturday, February 2 – Romans 12:9-16
Marks of the True Christian
In Romans 12:9, Paul gives us the Number One Rule for living our day-to-day lives. When we get confused or just too tired to think straight, we can help ourselves by returning to this basic principle: Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. In the following verses, Paul sets out a number of more specific examples, but we should not get lost in the long list of virtuous behavior he provides for us. When we have a decision to make, especially one that involves a moral question, we can get lost quite easily. So what confuses us? Well, the nature of life is what confuses us. The universe is chaos; God is the force that brought order to the chaos. Remember John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word.” The Word took a cloud of hot gas and created order; the Word made suns and planets and trees and people. Surely, the Word can help us when our minds are confused. And Paul’s words in Romans 12:9 are one way the Word has helped us. We know the difference between right and wrong. So when we have to make a decision, when we are struggling about whether to do or not to do something, we can always go to this rule: “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Concentrating on those words may solve our dilemma. And if it does not, it is guaranteed to be the correct starting point to bring order to even the most confused thoughts.
Sunday worship at Capitol Drive Lutheran Church begins at 10:30 AM starting January 13, 2019. At the same time, we are blessed to welcome Rev. Bill Mains as our Bridge Pastor.
Everyone is welcome to join us for Scripture, song, and prayer every Sunday at 10:30 AM.
Christmas Eve, Monday, 12/24 at 6:00 PM
Christmas Day, Tuesday, 12/25 at 9:30 AM
O God: We pray that your loving presence may be felt in the California community that has experienced a tragedy that claimed so many lives. It is hard for us to imagine the magnitude of so many lives lost so suddenly and the grief and sorrow that it has brought. Yet you tell us in Isaiah 53:3 that Jesus Christ was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and suffering.” We pray that all pain suffered there today and in the days to come may be joined with the suffering of Christ upon the cross to work your redemptive power in the world. May your love pour forth through the prayers, presence and service of your caring people from all nations to begin the healing process. Heal those who have suffered bodily and mental injury. Comfort those who are grieving the loss of dear ones. Bind together the community in grace and faith. Send your helping angels and your life giving Holy Spirit. In the name of Christ, your suffering servant we pray. Amen.
The People of God at Capitol Drive Lutheran Church stand with, support, and pray for our Jewish sisters and brothers during this time of tragedy and forever. El Maleh Rachamim is a Hebrew prayer for the rest of the departed: God, filled with mercy, dwelling in the heavens' heights, bring proper rest beneath the wings of your Shechinah, amid the ranks of the holy and the pure, illuminating like the brilliance of the skies the souls of our beloved and our blameless who went to their eternal place of rest. May You who are the source of mercy shelter them beneath Your wings eternally, and bind their souls among the living, that they may rest in peace. And let us say: Amen.
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” (C. S. Lewis)
Great creator God who formed us in your image, we pray that you would help us to keep those you have entrusted to us safe. We know you are the great protector, a very present help and refuge for those in harm’s way. We ask you to be especially close to those who are suffering at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect, nurture, and love them. Grant them your peace even as you work to cure the hearts of those who perpetuate violence and abuse. You who alone are worthy have given worth to each of us. Help us to trust and believe in the worth we have in each of us as people created in your image. AMEN.
Heavenly Father, I am your humble servant. I come before you today in need of hope. There are times when I feel helpless. There are times when I feel weak. I pray for hope. I need hope for a better future. I need hope for a better life. I need hope for love and kindness. Some say that the sky is at its darkest just before the light. I pray that this is true, for all seems dark. I need your light, Lord, in every way. I pray to be filled with your light from head to toe. I want to bask in your glory, to know that all is right in the world as you have planned, and as you want it to be. Help me to walk in your light and live my life in faith and glory. Amen.
Hear our prayer today for all women and men, boys and girls who are homeless this day.
For those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations.
For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime.
For families broken because they could not afford to pay the rent.
For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in.
For those who have no place to keep possessions that remind them who they are.
For those who are afraid and hopeless.
For those who have been betrayed by our social safety net.
For all these people, we pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope.
We pray for those of us with warm houses and comfortable beds
that we not be lulled into complacency and forgetfulness.
Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every homeless person we meet
so that we may be empowered through word and deed,
and through the political means we have,
to bring justice and peace to those who are homeless. Amen.