Subject: Daily Prayers and Scriptures: Tuesday, March 24

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During this time in which the whole world is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are posting Daily Bible Readings from the International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching, Spring 2020, plus a meditation to help guide your prayers, for your inspiration and encouragement.
Leviticus 19:1-17, NRSV
Ancient Prescripts for Holiness
(Those following the Home Daily Bible Readings will also read Leviticus 22:17-25 )

19:1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 3 You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. 4 Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the Lord your God.

5 When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable in your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7 If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8 All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the Lord; and any such person shall be cut off from the people.

9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.

13 You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer[a] among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood[b] of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
That Same Promise

By Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst, Ecumenical Staff Officer, Leadership Development, The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

My favorite Scripture passage when I was growing up was Joshua 1:9 (…”be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”) I was very shy, and my Sunday School teacher gave me that passage, typed onto a small strip of paper, to keep with me. Even today that beat-up, little piece of paper remains in my wallet. The simple reminder of God’s persistent presence no matter where I go or what happens has given me hope and security time and time again throughout my life. And now, as we walk through these current disconcerting times, it is that same promise that can help to keep all of us united in God’s peace. As the Statement of Faith from the United Church of Canada says: “God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God (United Methodist Book Hymnal, 1989, #883).”

So, we pray:

Holy God: Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we join our hearts in unified love for you. We worship you; we give you thanks; we trust completely in you. And, even though we are necessarily separated by space and location, we renew our resolve to be united as your church in this time. So, we humbly ask you to remind us again of your power and presence in our lives. Make this Council of Churches both smart and fearless. Find surprising ways to teach us daily how to walk in this world as your children, even when that separation seems so great. And, Holy God, show us how to rest in your son’s arms. It is to him we lift our hearts and prayers of concern, wonder and need. We do trust, and we know we are not alone. It is in the name of Christ we pray.

You can follow our daily readings, prayers, and meditations on our website at safe, healthy, and blessed during this time.
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