Every Sunday many ministers utter the psalmist’s prayer just before offering sermons to their congregations. They have spent the week reading, studying, praying, and writing a spiritual reflection on a passage of scripture. Then, just before they share their thoughts, they pray that their words will please God. The psalmist uses verse 14 for a similar purpose. After creating verses that describe God’s glory as evidenced in nature, as well as God’s faithfulness to God’s people, he asks that his reflections will be pleasing and acceptable to his Redeemer.
Some of us struggle with the idea that God could ever be pleased with us. We’ve heard descriptions of a fearful or vengeful God and think a misstep will lead to God’s wrath. Negative experiences with those in positions of authority can leave us hesitant to believe our thoughts, words, and deeds could ever be useful or pleasing. Even after we devote considerable energy to reflecting on God’s grace, mercy, goodness, and kindness, we offer our spiritual gifts with trepidation.
But we can take courage in God’s faithfulness. God loves us immeasurably and created us to be in communion with God and one another. When we heed the calling toward love, grace, perseverance, peace, humility, and joy, we can be certain God is happy with our words and actions. The psalmist assures us that God’s law is perfect, God’s decrees are sure, God’s precepts are right, and God’s commandments are clear. When we study and follow God’s guidance, we can know our words and meditations please God. As we live out the calling of the Holy Spirit, we can trust the voices that tell us we are cherished children of God, who is our strength and our Redeemer.

O God, we know that you love us and have created us for communion with you. Help us to trust in your goodness and to approach you without fear of punishment. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 8:27-38

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Lectionary Week
September 10–16, 2018
Scripture Overview

Through the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God shows the paths of righteousness and warns against the ways of destruction. The writer of Proverbs describes this as the voice of Wisdom crying out, yet some refuse to listen—to their peril. The psalmist rejoices in the law of the Lord, for God’s decrees teach us how to live well. Living a godly life includes paying attention to our speech. How can we, James asks, praise God with our lips and then curse others with those same lips? Peter is tripped up by his words in Mark. He declares Jesus to be the Messiah, yet in the next scene he recklessly rebukes Jesus for speaking of his death. Our words matter, and God desires purity and consistency.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Proverbs 1:20-33. How clearly can you hear Wisdom’s call? What keeps you from answering?
• Read Psalm 19. How do your words and your heart’s meditations reflect your faith? Do you think God finds them acceptable?
• Read James 3:1-12. Consider your words. Do they honor the image of God in those to whom you speak?
• Read Mark 8:27-38. When has God called you to be silent? Were you better able to hear an unexpected call from God?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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