Monday, January 24, 2011

Mennonite Daily Readings/Devotionals For Monday, 24 January


Daily Readings/Devotionals:

A Sip of Scripture

Daily Scripture:


While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Reference: Acts 10: 44-48

Acts 10:44-48 (New King James Version)

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Related Blog

A Simple Desire

The weblog "a simple desire" provides brief commentaries on "A Sip of Scripture" from a Mennonite perspective, The commentaries are written by Carole Boshart, of Oregon; Will Fitzgerald, of Michigan; and others on occasion

a simple desireShort commentary on “A Sip of Scripture” from Third Way Cafe

The Holy Spirit is not a Respecter of Persons

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“While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. “ ( Acts 10: 44-48 )

Back in 2009 when this blog was focused on the book Reading the Anabaptist Bible there was a section entitled “God is not a Respecter of Persons.” After several days of commenting on the scripture passages in that section, I addressed directly the theme of God not respecting persons – both as God not discriminating one group against another and the strict interpretation of God not being concerned with individuals but considering creation as a whole. It was the latter interpretation that I cried “foul” at.

And it was, ironically missional reader, the same larger passage that we are looking at now. Peter says to the “circumcised” believers (whom one has to assume were of Hebrew descent) that one can not deny that the Holy Spirit has blessed the Gentile new believers present just as the Spirit blessed the disciples at Pentecost.

Back in missionary history (and when I use that term I do not mean any particular denomination or mission, but more of general anecdotes and narratives) new converts were welcomed to the fold, but seen as more auxiliary or secondary Christians. The distinction between “cradle” Mennonites – meaning those who can trace grandparents and great-grandparents and beyond in the Mennonite church – and newer believers has it roots in this kind of thinking.

It is poor thinking and Mennonites as a denomination are trying to move away from such thinking. But this type of thinking can be find in many denominations and faith systems. It is exists does not make it right, but neither does the desire to discard such thinking does not make it disappear. And such scripture passages seem to strongly indicate it has deep roots. Later on Peter makes the case in Jerusalem to accept Gentile believers as readily as Jewish ones. We would do well to follow that example.

May you missional reader accept all believers whoever and wherever they are. And may the Spirit be poured out on you as it has been gifted to so many believers before you. Selah!

Written by Carole

January 24, 2011 at 12:32 am

Related Website

Soul Space

You are invited to take some time each day for "Soul Space," written by Wendy Miller and posted on the Eastern Mennonite University website. Each day's guidance centers around a theme for reflection and prayer drawn from the lectionary readings for the week.

Morning-Week Three

Opening the day with prayer.

Wake me up, dear God,

Help me.

Open the eyes of my soul;

Help me to see.

Open the ears of my heart;

Help me to hear.

I am slow in leaving the world of sleep.

Wake me up, dear God.

Be assured that God hears us, helps us.

These morning prayers are a signal of our desire,

our intent for the day to come.

They need not be long. We need not linger.

There will be another, more spacious time in which

to sink more deeply into prayer, reading and

reflection; to listening and responding.

Sheltering God, Abba Amma, you have brought us in safety

to this new day.

Keep us under the wings of your protection, that we may not lose sight

of your ways, nor what you are about this day.

Keep us steady in trust, hope, and love in the face of adversity.

And in all we do, direct us in the ways of your gracious and life-giving


In the name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Amen.


Loving God,

Bringing light—epiphany–

Awaken my soul.

Open my eyes to see,

Help me to hear

Jesus among and within us.



Be still.

Open your awareness to God’s presence

Within and all around.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Being With- Epiphany Week Four

This turning to follow Jesus takes us – from time to time – into retreat; into a place apart to be with Jesus, to listen. We listen to many voices in our world, voices which sound in the world around us, and voices which sound within us. Now we are invited to listen to Jesus.

Jesus withdraws away from the crowd, and walks up “the mountain” – a familiar place of retreat and solitude for him and those he invites to join him (see Matthew 5:1 and Mark 3:13) and the disciples come to sit with him. As Jesus sits, he indicates that he has something to teach them. As we enter the gospel narrative, we are also invited to sit alongside the disciples and to listen as Jesus addresses them – and us.

He begins teaching us about happiness, the happiness of this “kingdom come near”, the gracious Way of God. What he says is in direct contrast with what the world tells us about finding happiness. To begin with we may find what Jesus says rather impossible: wise, maybe, but not reachable in some way. But Jesus is not looking for instant results. He knows that as this kind of teaching, this light that he brings into our darkness and deep longings, works and brings transformation over time—even for these early disciples this was so. And so it is for us.

This is the New Order of Happiness – the great joy we discover and experience here in the midst of this present world order – this side of Eden. For in this present world we do know what is like

to be poor in spirit – to be vulnerable, disabled.

to mourn – to grieve many losses

to experience the power of meekness and gentleness in surprising ways

to long for everything to be put right, to thirst for peace and justice for all

to experience mercy, forgiveness in the most surprising places

to be blessed by those who work for true peace: within and without

to hear the stories of those who have suffered persecution, hate,

retaliation, because of their love for Jesus, for the Way of God.

Sometimes those stories are our own.

What we are surprised by is how Jesus opens up the door of heaven and ushers hilarity and great happiness into these empty, dark places of weakness and disability, loss and grief, meekness and gentleness, deep and painful longing for peace and justice, the grueling work for peace within and among us, and even into the places of suffering, rejection, hate, retaliation because of love for Jesus.

We may wonder where the link is. How could this happen? Even our question is a prayer which Jesus hears. We learn to follow Jesus, to speak our questions, to live with the questions and the unknown – until Jesus guides us, helps us live into the answers. For this light he sheds upon the deep shadows of the world system, also brings light to the inner rooms and corners of our soul and understanding.

This is the work of the Spirit of God within and among us.

The invitation is to keep listening – as we sit with Jesus, and as the Spirit of God indwells and sits with us.

Prayer before reading:

Lord Jesus Christ,

You come to us.

Help me to see as you see,

To recognize your presence,

And your call

To follow you.

Guide me, us as I learn to walk in your way.

Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.

Scripture Guide:

Season of Epiphany: Week Four

» 1/24 Monday: Matthew 5:1-12

Matthew 5:1-12 (King James Version)

Matthew 5

1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


The third movement within Soul Space is Responding. Here we shift our focus towards outward engagement


Pray for the coming day, and for God’s servants who are bringing good news, healing and hope in the world, especially for ___________________________ (persons you desire to pray for).

Loving God,

You are Lord of the harvest, and Owner of the farm.

Thank you for calling _____________________ to co-labor with You in the field of this world.

Help ___________________ this day to know your voice and guidance, to be led and empowered by your Spirit, and protected from all that is against you and your work in the world. May your kingdom come, and your will be done in their life and in the lives of those they companion into your gracious love and salvation.

In the name of Jesus, Savior, Emmanuel.



Lord Jesus, Emmanuel,

God with us,

May your kingdom come

And your gracious will be done,

In the earth of our lives in this world

As it is in heaven.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


Evening- Week Three

It is a good thing . . .

To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning

And of your faithfulness in the night season.

Kind Spirit of God,

As I come to the end of this day,

Help me to see this day as you see,

To hear voice of Jesus in what I see and hear.

Read the psalm for this week’s lectionary readings.



As I reflect back on this day . . .

For what am I thankful?

In what way have I cooperated with God in bringing justice to the oppressed

freedom to persons who are captive

sight to those who cannot see

relief and support to those who are bowed down

support and comfort to the orphan and widow . . .?

Where have I been aware of your help and faithful companioning?

What do I bring for your holding and tending?

Closing Prayer

Caring and loving God, I bring all of this day—all the pieces that fit, and all the parts that are unfinished and in need of tending, in my own life and in the lives of those I have touched this day. As we sleep this night, continue to work your way of justice for those who are oppressed, and freedom for those who are captive. Bring sight to those who cannot see, and relief and comfort to the poor and needy.

In the name of Jesus, who was born in nakedness and poverty among us, and who brings us the good news of your gracious reign, now and coming.


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