Christian, Death, devotion, Easter, Funeral, Luke, Gospel of, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for July 11, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Common Daily Lectionary: Luke 23: 56b-24:12

Text:  “Why do you look for the living among dead? He is not here, but has risen.” (v. 5b)

I have officiated at nearly 1000 funerals and graveside services during my ministry. That is a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears, and a lot of empty places at dinner tables. Without exception, every family has been very kind and gracious to me. At the service I remind the worshipers of the women’s story when they went to the tomb on that first Easter. Today text are the words spoken by  the “two men in dazzling clothes” who stood beside them. Their next words to the women were, “Remember how”.

Remember how …

The greatest legacy that we leave behind as we pass from this Reality into the Next Reality is the memories, the stories that we leave in our wake, the ones that begin with, “Remember how”, or when, or where.

I believe that we create memories every day, either consciously or unconsciously. I believe that more often than not the memories that “stick” come about serendipitously, totally unplanned. I believe that when we wake up each morning we have some power to decide whether we are going to serve God by serving others or serving ourselves, whether we will live large or small lives.

I don’t know a lot because I am rather simple, but I do know that I have officiated at too many funerals to take any day or any one for granted. I know that each day and each moment and each person is a gift and a wonder. Therefore, I am thankful more often than not. How about you?

Lord, teach me to number my days so that I can gain a heart of wisdom, true wisdom. Amen.  (based on Psalm 90, verse 12)

Christian, devotion, Easter, Luke, Gospel of, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace Daily Devotion for June 16, 2017

Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: 19: 41-48

Text: As (Jesus) came near and saw the city, He wept over it. (vs. 41)

Sometimes the only thing that you can do is cry. There’s nothing else to do. You’ve done your best. You’ve invested all of yourself that you can or are willing to give and things just don’t turn around. People don’t change. Situations don’t change. It seems as if you’ve made no difference.

Whenever I feel like this I take comfort in knowing that Jesus cried. He cried at the death of His friend Lazarus. He cried when looked over the city of Jerusalem. He wept because they would not see the reality before their eyes. They never could. After all, they stoned the prophets and sank deeper and deeper into corruption. I imagine that He doubted they would ever change. And it saddened Him. I suspect that God still cries over Jerusalem.

“Tears may tarry for the night”, we read in Psalms, “but Joy comes in the morning.” (30:5) The joy of Easter is the joy of a new beginning, the joy that our story is not yet finished, that the “fat lady” hasn’t sung!

I believe that God weeps when He sees what we do to each other and to the world over which we have been made stewards or trustees. Yet, God is faithful, even when we are not. God’s Purposes cannot be thwarted. God’s will, will be done on earth as well as in heaven.

Lord God, give me a heart like Yours. And when my heart aches lead me into action. Let my tears give me strength, a rededication and personal healing. Amen.


Christian, devotion, Easter, faith, Lenten Devotion, Presbyterian Church (USA), Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for Easter, 2017

Devotional Reading: Luke 24: 13-35. Morning Psalm 93; Evening Psalm 136.

Text: Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, and He vanished from their sight. (v. 31)

The walk to Emmaus. It is often an Easter evening text and one that I don’t get to preach on since the churches that I have served do not have an Easter evening service. But the story calls to my heart. It is remembered every time Presbyterian followers of Jesus celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

Jesus “vanished from their sight” but not from their lives. He is always with us. He also goes before us. Some theologians call this prevenient grace or the grace the precedes. It is this grace that leads us as we live a life of faith. Christ always precedes us, always arrives before us and is always waiting for us. There is a comfort in that knowledge.

Gone from our sight but not from our lives. He showed us Life and Death and Life again.

Lord, thank you for Your grace that opens our eyes; your grace that precedes us in life. Thank you for walking before us and with us. May my life glorify you, Amen.