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At the monastery, we pray all 150 psalms in a two-week cycle because they were Jesus’ hymnbook. Today’s psalm is terribly repetitious: Various phrases keep saying the same thing—be obedient, walk in God’s ways, keep God’s commandments. Yet, on another level, such repetition is like a rosary that keeps repeating,...

On this day in 1591, Ralph Milner, an elderly illiterate English farmer, was executed. Earlier, after receiving Holy Communion for the first time, he felt called to shepherd priests illegally from place to place to provide the Eucharist for others. Lord, is Communion really that meaningful for me? Must you ask? Amen.


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Lectionary Week
July 6–12, 2020
Scripture Overview

Even great people in the faith have moments of imperfection. Not all biblical stories are biblical examples. Jacob should have fed his brother out of concern, but he takes advantage of the situation and robs Esau of his birthright. The psalmist asks the Lord to show him how to live. God’s word is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Paul in Romans contrasts the life of the flesh and the life in the Spirit. Without the power of God, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes in the flesh; but the Spirit sets us free. Jesus reminds us in Matthew that the effectiveness of the gospel is not based on our efforts. We sow the seed, but we cannot control whether it takes root.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Genesis 25:19-34. How do you experience God’s “nevertheless”—God’s grace—as you work through the baggage of your birthright?
Read Isaiah 55:10-13. How might experiencing moments as if for the last time bring the joy of a first-time experience?
Read Romans 8:1-11. In learning what spiritual practices strengthen you, what practices did you try that did not work? Now that you know what works, how might working on practices you once found unhelpful grow your faith?
Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. In what unexpected place might you sow seeds of God’s love?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”

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