Monday Morning Meditation 4-26-21

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

One morning last week it hit me hard.  The morning started as it always does, I got up, checked messages, made breakfast and ate with the family.  There was a nagging feeling in my soul – I needed far more than my morning prayer routine (and don’t you just hate the word “routine” when it comes to prayer?).  I told my wife I needed more time in prayer that day.

 It was one of my days to drive our daughter to school, so I dropped her off and headed to the church office. 

As soon as I arrived at the office, I had tons of work to do including finishing up the sermon and liturgy for Sunday, review the mail, finish some administrative work and make follow up calls to a few sick members.  The nagging feeling grew and as I was about to head up to the sanctuary, I received another prayer request, one of deep concern for a member.

At this point, I knew everything else could wait, in fact nothing else could be done without the prayer time so I went into the sanctuary, put on some reflective music and began to pray.

On this particular morning, I slowly read the daily scriptures, sat in silence giving God the space to speak to me, allowed the Lord to refresh my soul, and then began to lift up the prayer requests.

“…apart from me you can do nothing.”  Those words of Jesus are so true.  Most of us have lots to do every day and it is so easy to get caught up in those “to do” lists.  Yet prayer time should never be on a list.  It should not be one chore of many that needs to be accomplished then checked off.  It needs to be viewed the same as breathing – something we must do to live. 

Have you thought much about breathing?  We usually do not, and we usually breathe in a less than effective way – quickly taking short breaths.  But the most beneficial breathing is to breathe deeply and slowly, allowing each breath to be calming.  Prayer is the same.  We can always do short, quick prayers – and there is a place for them – but truthfully, extended time in prayer is far more important than many of those tasks we do. 

As you go about your new week, spend a little more time with God.  Breathe deeply and slowly as you read scripture.  Say the Lord’s Prayer s-l-o-w-l-y and deliberately.  Offer real time to God and see what happens.


Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 4-19-21

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep…”  John 21:15-17

This passage from John is one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.  Not sure of what to do next, Peter and the apostles decide to go fishing when Jesus appears. They are overjoyed to see him but I can imagine Peter having a little trepidation, after all he did deny knowing Jesus three times between the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.

Yet Jesus does not berate Peter, Jesus does not cast Peter aside, rather He asks him a simple, yet at the same time hard question “do you love me?”  Peter felt hurt at the third time, but perhaps Peter did not immediately realize the significance.  In Matthew 18:21 it is Peter who asks Jesus “how many times should I forgive?” and Jesus gives the theological answer “Seven times seventy”.  In Judaism, the number seven signifies perfection and ten signifies completeness, so Jesus calls us to forgive perfection x (perfection x completeness). 

In plain words, Jesus has forgiven Peter completely and perfectly, reinstates him as an Apostle and gives him the charge to “feed my sheep”, to feed the word of God to the people.

Jesus does not give up on anyone, rather He offers forgiveness and purpose.

Today, as you go about your work, take some time to reflect on this and give thanks.

Peace, Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 4-12-21

Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence. Luke 24:36b-43

It is over one week since Easter Sunday.  For many the decorations came down over the weekend and little thought is placed on the ancient call “He is Risen, He is Risen, Indeed!”  It’s time to get back to “normal life”. 

On one hand this is regretful, especially if we are not living as people of the resurrection.  If “He is Risen” is only for Easter Sunday, then we need to reexamine our hearts and perhaps ask God for guidance on how to live the resurrection daily.

On the other hand, there is a natural flow between things.  We have grand celebrations such as Christmas and Easter, and we have the daily grind.  Or as Ecclesiastes said it: “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” 

Jesus exemplifies this with his resurrection appearance.  He asks for something to eat – a normal daily occurrence.  Not a grand meal, not a celebration, just something to eat.

Yet even this is different for this is the Risen Christ asking to eat with his followers, something special to celebrate in the ordinary-ness of the day.

As you eat today, picture Jesus eating with you – how would that change your meal?  As you go through the “everyday-ness” of this week, picture Jesus with you, at your job, at the school, even as you vacuum the house.  Reflect on your daily life with Jesus present.

And live the resurrection.


Pastor Bill