Pentecost

Wednesday:Reflection Pentecost

Numbers 24:1-14

[Balaam is a prophet hired by King Balak to curse Israel. This is his third oracle.]

Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,

 the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,

the oracle of one who hears the words of God,

 who sees the vision of the Almighty,

 who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:

How fair are your tents, O Jacob,

 your encampments, O Israel!

Like palm groves that stretch far away,

 like gardens beside a river,

like aloes that the Lord has planted,

 like cedar trees beside the waters.

Water shall flow from his buckets,

 and his seed shall have abundant water,

his king shall be higher than Agag,

 and his kingdom shall be exalted.

God who brings him out of Egypt,

 is like the horns of a wild ox for him;

he shall devour the nations that are his foes

 and break their bones.

 He shall strike with his arrows.

He crouched, he lay down like a lion,

 and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?

Blessed is everyone who blesses you,

 and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

Then Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. Now be off with you! Go home! I said, ‘I will reward you richly,’ but the Lord has denied you any reward.” And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say’? So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.”

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised

 in the city of our God.

His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,

 is the joy of all the earth,

Mount Zion, in the far north,

 the city of the great King.

Within its citadels God

 has shown himself a sure defense.¹

Then the kings assembled,

 they came on together.

As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;

 they were in panic, they took to flight;

trembling took hold of them there,

 pains as of a woman in labor,

as when an east wind shatters

 the ships of Tarshish.

As we have heard, so have we seen

 in the city of the Lord of hosts,

in the city of our God,

 which God establishes forever.

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,

 in the midst of your temple.

Your name, O God, like your praise,

 reaches to the ends of the earth.

Your right hand is filled with victory.

 Let Mount Zion be glad,

let the towns of Judah rejoice

 because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go all around it,

 count its towers,

consider well its ramparts;

 go through its citadels,

that you may tell the next generation

 that this is God,

our God forever and ever.

 He will be our guide forever.

¹Jesus explains in Matthew 5:33-37 that we are not to swear by anything, not by heaven, or the earth, or Jerusalem.

Luke 1:26-38

Gabriel-Mary-WS.jpg

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Year C Pentecost Wednesday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner (Philadelphia Museum of Art), a public domain image

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Wednesday:Reflection Pentecost

Numbers 24:1-14

[Balaam is a prophet hired by King Balak to curse Israel. This is his third oracle.]

Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
 the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,
the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
 who sees the vision of the Almighty,
 who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:
How fair are your tents, O Jacob,
 your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves that stretch far away,
 like gardens beside a river,
like aloes that the Lord has planted,
 like cedar trees beside the waters.
Water shall flow from his buckets,
 and his seed shall have abundant water,
his king shall be higher than Agag,
 and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God who brings him out of Egypt,
 is like the horns of a wild ox for him;
he shall devour the nations that are his foes
 and break their bones.
 He shall strike with his arrows.
He crouched, he lay down like a lion,
 and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
 and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

Then Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. Now be off with you! Go home! I said, ‘I will reward you richly,’ but the Lord has denied you any reward.” And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say’? So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.”

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
 in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
 is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
 the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
 has shown himself a sure defense.¹

Then the kings assembled,
 they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
 they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
 pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters
 the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
 in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
 which God establishes forever.

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
 in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
 reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
 because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go all around it,
 count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
 go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
 He will be our guide forever.

¹Jesus explains in Matthew 5:33-37 that we are not to swear by anything, not by heaven, or the earth, or Jerusalem.

Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Year C Pentecost Wednesday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner (Philadelphia Museum of Art), a public domain image

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Tuesday:Reflection on Pentecost

Ezekiel 11:14-25

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, your kinsfolk, your own kin, your fellow exiles, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, “They have gone far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.” Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone. Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. When they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, says the Lord God.

Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. And the glory of the Lord ascended from the middle of the city, and stopped on the mountain east of the city. The spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen left me. And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.

Psalm 48

Jerusalem Tower of David

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
 in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
 is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
 the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
 has shown himself a sure defense.¹

Then the kings assembled,
 they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
 they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
 pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters
 the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
 in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
 which God establishes forever.

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
 in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
 reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
 because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go all around it,
 count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
 go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
 He will be our guide forever.

¹Jesus explains in Matthew 5:33-37 that we are not to swear by anything, not by heaven, or the earth, or Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord
 so as to instruct him?”¹

But we have the mind of Christ.

¹Isaiah 40:14

Year C Pentecost Tuesday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Image by Wayne McLean (jgritz), via Wikimedia, licensed under CC 2.0

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Monday:Reflection on Pentecost

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Joel 2:18-29

Then the Lord became jealous for his land,
 and had pity on his people.
In response to his people the Lord said:
 I am sending you grain, wine, and oil
 and you will be satisfied;
and I will no more make you
 a mockery among the nations.

I will remove the northern army far from you,
 and drive it into a parched and desolate land,
its front into the eastern sea,
 and its rear into the western sea;
its stench and foul smell will rise up.
 Surely he has done great things!

Do not fear, O soil;
 be glad and rejoice,
 for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you animals of the field,
 for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
 the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

O children of Zion, be glad
 and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
 he has poured down for you abundant rain,
 the early and the later rain, as before.¹

The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
  he vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

I will repay you for the years
 that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
 my great army, which I sent against you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
 and praise the name of the Lord your God,
 who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
 and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

The Dove of the Holy Spirit

Then afterward
 I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
 your old men shall dream dreams,
 and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
 in those days, I will pour out my spirit.²

¹This verse is reflected in James 5:7-12, where we are urged to be patient in suffering.
²These verses are quoted in
Acts 2:17-21, where the appearance of the Holy Spirit is announced.

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
 in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
 is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
 the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
 has shown himself a sure defense.¹

Then the kings assembled,
 they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
 they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
 pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters
 the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
 in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
 which God establishes forever.

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
 in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
 reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
 because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go all around it,
 count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
 go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
 He will be our guide forever.

¹Jesus explains in Matthew 5:33-37 that we are not to swear by anything, not by heaven, or the earth, or Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 2:1-11

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
 nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—¹

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God.

¹Isaiah 64:4

Year C Pentecost Monday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: The Dove of the Holy Spirit by Sebastiano Bombelli, photographic image by Waiting for the Word, via Flickr, licensed under CC 2.0

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

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Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21

(The alternate reading, Genesis 11:1-9, is below)

Pentecost.jpg

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
 your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions.
 your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
 in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
  and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
 and signs on the earth below,
  blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
 and the moon to blood,
  before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”¹

¹Joel 2:28-32

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Genesis 11:1-9

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another's speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
 creeping things innumerable are there,
 living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
 and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
 to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
 when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
 when you take away their breath, they die
 and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
 may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
 who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Lesson: Romans 8:14-17

(The alternate reading, Acts 2:1-21, is above)

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

John 14:8-17, 25-27

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

Year C Pentecost Sunday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credits: The Tower of Babel (Les Mosaiques de la Chapelle Palatine de Palerme. Belli, Annibale and Pietro Toesca. Milano, Edizioni d'arte Sidera, 1955) via the Vanderbilt Divinity Library,licensed under CC3.0

Pentecost by the Jesus Mafa community via the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, licensed under CC3.0

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Saturday:Preparation for Pentecost

2 Kings 2:1-15a

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

Elijah and Elisha By unknown artist from Carl Poellath's atelier

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
 creeping things innumerable are there,
 living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
 and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
 to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
 when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
 when you take away their breath, they die
 and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
 may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
 who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

Luke 1:5-17

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Year C Pentecost Saturday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Elias by unknown artist from Carl Poellath's atelier in Schrobenhausen. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Friday:Preparation for Pentecost

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Former Prophets: Isaiah 44:1-4

I will pour out my spirit

But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
 Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
 who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
 Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
 and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
 and my blessing on your offspring.
They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
 like willows by flowing streams.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
 creeping things innumerable are there,
 living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
 and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
 to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
 when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
 when you take away their breath, they die
 and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
 may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
 who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Year C Pentecost Friday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: I Will Pour Water on the Thirsty Land background image by PetrFromMoravia downloaded from Pixabay, used under Creative Commons 0 license, text added by Michael Gilbertson using Photoshop 6 May 2016.

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Thursday:Preparation for Pentecost

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Former Prophets: Isaiah 32:11-17

Tremble, you women who are at ease,
 shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
 and put sackcloth on your loins.
Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
 for the fruitful vine,
for the soil of my people
 growing up in thorns and briers;
yes, for all the joyous houses
 in the jubilant city.
For the palace will be forsaken,
 the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
 will become dens forever,
the joy of wild asses,
 a pasture for flocks;
until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
 and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
 and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
 and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace,
 and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
 creeping things innumerable are there,
 living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
 and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
 to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
 when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
 when you take away their breath, they die
 and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
 may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
 who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Galatians 5:16-25

Fruit-Spirit.jpg

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

Year C Pentecost Thursday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Fruits of the Spirit created by Michael Gilbertson on Recite.com 6 May 2016

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