Devotion for February 10th

The Morning Greeting

How lovely is this, your dwelling place,
Mystery of mysteries.
How l long for awareness of your company.
How I rejoice when I feel your companionship
The sparrow finds his home in you,
The swallow builds her nest in your branches
Where she may lay her young in your arms.
Blessed are those who are aware
That they dwell in you,
For they fill their days with peace.
A minute awake to your presence
Is better than a thousand days alone.

A Reading from Scripture

For I am sure that neither death, nor life,
Nor angels, nor principalities,
Nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
Nor anything else in all creation,
Can separate us from the love of God.
ROMANS 8:38-39

Thoughts from Pastor Pam

The Scripture chosen for this Sunday is the Golden Rule. Here are 4 versions of this scripture reading: Spend a few minutes comparing the different versions:

Matthew 7:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

12 “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12 Common English Bible (CEB)

12 Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12 The Message (MSG)

12 Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

Here is a litany I was planning to use in my sermon. I offer it to you as a meditation and time of prayer.

L: The Golden Rule.

P: Every faith tradition has a version of it.

L: Judaism:

P: “What is hurtful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”

L: Islam:

P: “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”

L: Hinduism:

P: “do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.”

L: Buddhism:

P: “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”

L: And Christianity, the words of Jesus in Matthew:

P: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.”

L: Words to live by, wise and compassionate words.

P: When you truly treat others that way,

L: It opens up a world of justice and peace.

P: The problem is, while we all know the Golden Rule,

L: We can be pretty good at ignoring it.

P: Treating others badly, or not even thinking of them at all.

L: Blaming, dehumanizing, rejecting, ignoring those in need.

P: God knows we all struggle with following the Golden Rule.

L: But God holds it before us anyway.

P: Putting ourselves in others’ shoes.

L: Considering how we would feel if we were treated badly.

P: That is the ideal for all our relationships.

L: With loved ones, with friends, even with strangers.

P: Even those we perceive of as our enemies.

L: We recognize the humanity that unites us.

P: And we honor that by being good to others.

L: So, let us focus on the Golden Rule as we live our lives.

P: And may that goodness spread, to everyone. Everywhere. That is God’s wish for God’s world.

Prayers of the People
based on the Scout Law

Leader: Let us pray for Scouts, for Scouters, and for all people. Lord, in your mercy,

(All): Hear our prayer.

Leader: Because we have failed in the trust others placed in us, we pray for forgiveness and for renewal to be trustworthy. Lord, in your mercy,

(All): Hear our prayer.

Leader: For an appreciation that all that we have is the gift of our gracious God, for a mind and a heart that will be thrifty in managing the resources God has entrusted to our care. Lord, in your mercy,

(All): Hear our prayer.

Leader: For the courage not to be afraid of doing what is right and to be brave in working for justice. Lord, in your mercy,

(All): Hear our prayer.

Leader: For the will to work to keep clean our minds, our hearts, and our land. Lord, in your mercy,

(All): Hear our prayer.

Leader: For the gift of reverence for God who values all that he has created; for reverence for people, for animal life, for the earth and all its resources—all precious in God's sight. Lord, in your mercy,

(All): Hear our prayer.

Leader: Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all the people and all the needs we bring before you in our prayers, trusting in your mercy.

As your sons and daughters hear us as we pray:

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen .

The Concluding Prayer

Gracious God
We thank you for this priceless day, which will never come again.
Through it, you offer us
The opportunity to fill it with compassion and joy.
Help us to trust in your unfolding grace
And transcend self-concern,
So that at this very moment, and throughout this day,
We may live fearlessly and generate loving-kindness,
And thereby experience the only true wealth, That of life in you.