The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Scriptures for August 6, 2006, and baptism

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I have the privilege of baptizing two followers of Jesus this Sunday: Sarah Liggett and Melissa Murray. Both have demonstrated the presence of Christ in their lives. Both are people more whole than they were. God is still at work, isn’t he? Isn’t that cause for celebration?

I think, given that, I’ll focus on two of this Sunday’s Scriptures and delay two. The Psalm and the gospel readings fit a baptism beautifully – I’ll include them here.

Next Sunday, I want to tie together this week’s and next week’s Ephesians readings. Few parts of the Bible form a more explicit – or more moving – call to maturity. I’m hoping we can “sink in” a little deeper with them read as one.

Now enjoy this week’s with me, and think of their relevance to Sunday’s baptisms. They’re full of vivid phrases – when you see one that grips you, how about leaving it as a comment?

Psalm 51:1-12

Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.

Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.

I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.

You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.

You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.

I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.

What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.

Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing.

Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health.

God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.

Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me.

Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!

Give me a job teaching rebels your ways, so the lost can find their way home.

Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God, and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.

Unbutton my lips, dear God; I’ll let loose with your praise.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

John 6:24-35

The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.

When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.

The Bread of Life

“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”

To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”

Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”

They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”

Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”

They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.

 

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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Written by Monte

August 4, 2006 at 10:43 am

One Response

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  1. “God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.” I love the imagery and the poetry of this verse! What hope!!!

    Georgann

    August 5, 2006 at 10:04 pm


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