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Seventh Sunday after Easter

 
Strong and Good

SUNDAY, May 29
Psalm 97

Strong and Good

In 2020, I hiked up the last couple of miles to summit Pikes Peak. It’s impossible to imagine standing atop the mountain and watching it slowly begin to melt like wax below my feet at the direction of its Maker. But the God who is mighty enough to cause the rugged peaks to rise is mighty enough to flatten them again in an instant. 

This powerful God is good, too. His throne’s foundation is righteousness and justice. He does not angrily wield this power over our heads but does with it what is right and just. We can trust that our active, involved God will always remain both strong and good.

Creator God, we give thanks for the beauty of the earth that you created. Help us to trust in both your might and your goodness. Remind us that you, the Creator of the highest peaks and the lowest valleys, know us and care for us too. Amen.

 

 

Missed Invitation

MONDAY, May 30
John 5:1-9

My first job was at an ice cream shop. Occasionally when I asked people if they wanted their dish of chocolate in a small, medium, or large, they would respond, “With raspberries, please.” Without even realizing it, they neglected to answer my question because they were focused elsewhere.

In today’s passage, we see the paralyzed man do the same with Jesus. So focused on his own hopelessness, he lists the reasons he remains unwell instead of answering the question: “Do you want to be made well?” Still, Jesus heals him. 

Have we been so focused on our brokenness that we’ve missed Jesus’s invitation? He graciously offers himself to us in his perfect timing and his perfect way. We can trust Jesus to follow through on what he offers.

Savior Jesus, we give thanks for your healing. Help us to accept your invitation and to live in the hope that you offer. May we trust that your ways and timing are perfect. Amen.

 

 

Knowing God

TUESDAY, May 31
John 5:19-24

At the beginning of each week of camp, we take time to explain the basics of who God is. Our campers come from a variety of backgrounds, so it’s important for us to lay this groundwork before we dive deeper. 

We recognize that it’s impossible to explain who God is in a ten-minute message, but we know that as we keep exploring who Christ is throughout the week, the characteristics of God will grow ever clearer.  When we understand more about Jesus, we understand more about God. Because of Christ, and as we rely on the Holy Spirit, we can be reconciled to the God we have come to know more deeply.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we cannot comprehend all the mysteries of who you are, but we are humbled that you choose to let us know you. As you draw us further into knowledge of you, grant that we may put down deep roots of love for you and flourish in wonder at who you are. Amen.

 
 
Far More

WEDNESDAY, June 1
Acts 3:1-10

“Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).

In today’s passage, the beggar asked for something small, just a little money, from two seemingly ordinary people. By the power of the Holy Spirit, they gave far more to the man than he ever could have dreamed—transformation! How might we allow God to work through us to be agents of transformation for others?

God of abundance, we give thanks for your mercy. Help us to trust in your provision even when it seems impossible. May we be willing to give to others from the bounty that you have bestowed upon us, and may we be willing to receive your goodness through the kindness of those around us. Amen. 

 

 

The In-Between

THURSDAY, June 2
Acts 16:16-24

 

Each Easter, I find myself reflecting on the perspective of Jesus’s followers after his crucifixion. Today, we know how the rest of the Easter story unfolds, but the people who were present at the time had no idea what was to come.

Similarly, when I read this familiar story, I know what will follow a few verses later. Perhaps you do too. Yet I invite us into a practice of sitting in the in-between and considering the perspective of Paul and Silas and their onlookers, not knowing what would transpire overnight. Though Paul didn’t know what was to come, he had done what he knew God wanted, by the power of the Holy Spirit. By faith, he healed the girl who was a slave. By faith, he waited on the Lord.

God of the future and the past, you know all that was and is and is to come. Give us faith to trust that you can see all that we cannot. By your mercy, carry us through the night. Amen.

 
 
Pause and Notice

FRIDAY, June 3
Acts 16:25-34

When wonderful things happen for us, it may seem easy to remain focused on ourselves and how we might bask in the victory. In this passage, Paul and Silas received a miraculous gift of freedom. How natural it might have felt for them to immediately run off in celebration!

Instead, they paused and exhibited faithful care for their jailer. Their miracle could have been his downfall, but because they chose to recognize his situation, he was saved from physical death and found life with Christ. How might we pause in our joys and notice our impact on those around us so that they might grow toward Christ too?

God of abundance, we give you thanks for the gifts, big and small, celebrated and left unnoticed, that you have graciously given. Help us to see the ways in which our lives may impact others, that we may walk alongside them with care and faithfulness. Amen.

 

 

Jubilant Praise

SATURDAY, June 4
Psalm 150

My favorite campfire story at Covenant Harbor is told by staff members acting as a fictional family from across the lake. They explain that they’re drawn to travel toward camp by a faint, distant song: “Jesus is the light, he’s the light of the world, and he’s ever shining in my soul.” By the end of the story, all the campers are standing and shouting the song at full volume.

The campers, no matter where they’re coming from, where they’ve been, or where they’re headed, praise God so jubilantly together during this story. Like the people in Psalm 150, they join in the chorus that proclaims, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” (v. 6). It is a beautiful, kingdom-foreshadowing sight and sound, and that’s why it’s my favorite.

God who is worthy of praise, we give you thanks for the faith of children. By your grace, stir our hearts to praise you wholeheartedly with the gifts that you have given us. May our worship be pleasing to you. Amen.

About the Author

  • I am grateful to serve as children’s ministry coordinator at Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. My husband, Larry, and I met while on summer staff at Covenant Harbor, and we consider it a gift to continue investing in the ministry of camp year-round. We are members of Anchor Covenant Church in Lake Geneva, where Larry works with the high school youth group and I participate in the worship band. I love to take photos on hikes, discover local small businesses and bakeries, spend time with my two- and four-year-old nephews, go out to breakfast, play the piano, read fiction, and play with my Great Pyrenees/golden retriever mix, Miller.

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