A Reflection Guide for the Sunday Class Scriptures

For several years I prepared a short reflection guide for our Sunday School class that we could use during the week before class to focus our attention each day on the lesson for the next Sunday. I found the discipline helpful for me and trust others in the class found some benefit also.

So, the handouts are going to return in a slightly different format. I have started a mail list at Yahoo groups. I will use the weekly Scriptures of the International Sunday School Lesson (sometimes called the “uniform series”) as our starting point and will email three to five days a week a few questions and an occasional thought that will focus our attention on various aspects of the Scripture for that week. This is not meant to replace any curriculum that is being used and in no way do I want to take anyone away from a class that is nourishing them.

The theme for the September lessons is “Firsts” and will look at Scriptures in Psalms and Genesis then in November move on to several passages in Exodus.

Would you like to join me in this small project?

Step One – Send an email to this address –

isslreflections-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

You do not need to include a subject or message in the email.

Step Two – Reply to the email to confirm you want to join the mailing list. The subject of the email will be “Please confirm your request to join isslreflections.”

Step Three – You will receive an email, “Yahoo! Groups: Welcome to isslreflections” and you’re done.

You do not need an Yahoo address to join the mailing list.

If you have any questions, or any problems joining the list, please let me know.

You can see the Scripture and themes for the September, October, November by going to –

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/isslreflections/message/2

The first lesson is for September 1 and the first email for that lesson will go out Monday, August 26.

Sorry for the short notice but September has “sneaked up” on me. I really thought it was going to wait longer to get here, but here it is.

I am looking forward to seeing where this can take us.

Charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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Easter – Evening Prayer

Psalm 113

1 Hallelujah!
Give praise, you servants of the LORD;*
praise the Name of the LORD.

2 Let the Name of the LORD be blessed,*
from this time forth for evermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to its going down*
let the Name of the LORD be praised.

4 The LORD is high above all nations,*
and his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God, who sits enthroned on high,*
but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?

6 He takes up the weak out of the dust*
and lifts up the poor from the ashes.

7 He sets them with the princes,*
with the princes of his people.

8 He makes the woman of a childless house*
to be a joyful mother of children.

 

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Easter – Morning Prayer

Psalm 148

1 Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;*
praise him in the heights.

2 Praise him, all you angels of his;*
praise him, all his host.

3 Praise him, sun and moon;*
praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, heaven of heavens,*
and you waters above the heavens.

5 Let them praise the Name of the LORD;*
for he commanded, and they were created.

6 He made them stand fast for ever and ever; *
he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,*
you sea-monsters and all deeps;

8 Fire and hail, snow and fog,*
tempestuous wind, doing his will;

9 Mountains and all hills,*
fruit trees and all cedars;

10 Wild beasts and all cattle,*
creeping things and winge!d birds;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,*
princes and all rulers of the world;

12 Young men and maidens,*
old and young together.

13 Let them praise the Name of the LORD,*
for his Name only is exalted,
his splendor is over earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up strength for his people
and praise for all his loyal servants,*
the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
Hallelujah!

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Holy Saturday – Evening Prayer

Psalm 27

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear? *
the LORD is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, *
it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who stumbled and fell.

3 Though an army should encamp against me, *
yet my heart shall not be afraid;

4 And though war should rise up against me, *
yet will I put my trust in him.

5 One thing have I asked of the LORD;
one thing I seek; *
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life;

6 To behold the fair beauty of the LORD *
and to seek him in his temple.

7 For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; *
he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling
and set me high upon a rock.

8 Even now he lifts up my head *
above my enemies round about me.

9 Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation
with sounds of great gladness; *
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

10 Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; *
have mercy on me and answer me.

11 You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.”*
Your face, LORD, will I seek.

12 Hide not your face from me, *
nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

13 You have been my helper;
cast me not away; *
do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.

14 Though my father and my mother forsake me, *
the LORD will sustain me.

15 Show me your way, O LORD; *
lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.

16 Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, *
for false witnesses have risen up against me,
and also those who speak malice.

17 What if I had not believed
that I should see the goodness of the LORD *
in the land of the living!

18 O tarry and await the LORD’S pleasure;
be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; *
wait patiently for the LORD.

 

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Holy Saturday – Morning Prayer

Psalm 88

1 O LORD, my God, my Savior,*
by day and night I cry to you.

2 Let my prayer enter into your presence;*
incline your ear to my lamentation.

3 For I am full of trouble;*
my life is at the brink of the grave.

4 I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;*
I have become like one who has no strength;

5 Lost among the dead,*
like the slain who lie in the grave,

6 Whom you remember no more,*
for they are cut off from your hand.

7 You have laid me in the depths of the Pit,*
in dark places, and in the abyss.

8 Your anger weighs upon me heavily,*
and all your great waves overwhelm me.

9 You have put my friends far from me;
you have made me to be abhorred by them;*
I am in prison and cannot get free.

10 My sight has failed me because of trouble;*
LORD, I have called upon you daily;
I have stretched out my hands to you.

11 Do you work wonders for the dead?*
will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?

12 Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave?*
your faithfulness in the land of destruction?

13 Will your wonders be known in the dark?*
or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?

14 But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help;*
in the morning my prayer comes before you.

15 LORD, why have you rejected me?*
why have you hidden your face from me?

16 Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the point of death;*
I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.

17 Your blazing anger has swept over me;*
your terrors have destroyed me;

18 They surround me all day long like a flood;*
they encompass me on every side.

19 My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me,*
and darkness is my only companion.

 

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Good Friday – Evening Prayer

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently upon the LORD; *
he stooped to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; *
he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God; *
many shall see, and stand in awe,
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Happy are they who trust in the LORD! *
they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.

5 Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!
how great your wonders and your plans for us! *
there is none who can be compared with you.

6 Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! *
but they are more than I can count.

7 In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure*
(you have given me ears to hear you);

8 Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required, *
and so I said, “Behold, I come.

9 In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: *
‘I love to do your will, O my God;
your law is deep in my heart.'”

10 I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation;*
behold, I did not restrain my lips;
and that, O LORD, you know.

11 Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; *
I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.

12 You are the LORD;
do not withhold your compassion from me; *
let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever,

13 For innumerable troubles have crowded upon me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see; *
they are more in number than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.

14 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; *
O LORD, make haste to help me.

15 Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed
who seek after my life to destroy it; *
let them draw back and be disgraced who take pleasure in my misfortune.

16 Let those who say “Aha!” and gloat over me be confounded, *
because they are ashamed.

17 Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad; *
let those who love your salvation continually say,
“Great is the LORD!”

18 Though I am poor and afflicted, *
the Lord will have regard for me.

19 You are my helper and my deliverer; *
do not tarry, O my God.

 

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Good Friday – Morning Prayer

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?*
and are so far from my cry
and from the words of my distress?

2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *
by night as well, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are the Holy One, *
enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; *
they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 They cried out to you and were delivered;*
they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

6 But as for me, I am a worm and no man, *
scorned by all and despised by the people.

7 All who see me laugh me to scorn; *
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

8 “He trusted in the LORD; let him deliver him; *
let him rescue him, if he delights in him.”

9 Yet you are he who took me out of the womb,*
and kept me safe upon my mother’s breast.

10 I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *
you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near,*
and there is none to help.

12 Many young bulls encircle me; *
strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

13 They open wide their jaws at me, *
like a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water;
all my bones are out of joint; *
my heart within my breast is melting wax.

15 My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd;
my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; *
and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.

16 Packs of dogs close me in,
and gangs of evildoers circle around me; *
they pierce my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.

17 They stare and gloat over me; *
they divide my garments among them;
they cast lots for my clothing.

18 Be not far away, O LORD; *
you are my strength; hasten to help me.

19 Save me from the sword, *
my life from the power of the dog.

20 Save me from the lion’s mouth, *
my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.

21 I will declare your Name to my brethren;*
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

22 Praise the LORD, you that fear him; *
stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;
all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.

23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them; *
but when they cry to him he hears them.

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly;*
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the LORD shall praise him: *
“May your heart live for ever!”

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, *
and all the families of the nations bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the LORD; *
he rules over the nations.

28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *
all who go down to the dust fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him;
my descendants shall serve him; *
they shall be known as the LORD’S for ever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
the saving deeds that he has done.

 

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Maundy Thursday – Evening Prayer

Psalm 142

1 I cry to the LORD with my voice;*
to the LORD I make loud supplication.

2 I pour out my complaint before him*
and tell him all my trouble.

3 When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path; *
in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.

4 I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me; *
I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for me.

5 I cry out to you, O LORD;*
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”

6 Listen to my cry for help, for I have been brought very low;*
save me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.

7 Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your Name;*
when you have dealt bountifully with me,
the righteous will gather around me.

Good Friday – Morning Prayer
Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?*
and are so far from my cry
and from the words of my distress?

2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *
by night as well, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are the Holy One, *
enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; *
they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 They cried out to you and were delivered;*
they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

6 But as for me, I am a worm and no man, *
scorned by all and despised by the people.

7 All who see me laugh me to scorn; *
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

8 “He trusted in the LORD; let him deliver him; *
let him rescue him, if he delights in him.”

9 Yet you are he who took me out of the womb,*
and kept me safe upon my mother’s breast.

10 I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *
you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near,*
and there is none to help.

12 Many young bulls encircle me; *
strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

13 They open wide their jaws at me, *
like a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water;
all my bones are out of joint; *
my heart within my breast is melting wax.

15 My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd;
my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; *
and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.

16 Packs of dogs close me in,
and gangs of evildoers circle around me; *
they pierce my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.

17 They stare and gloat over me; *
they divide my garments among them;
they cast lots for my clothing.

18 Be not far away, O LORD; *
you are my strength; hasten to help me.

19 Save me from the sword, *
my life from the power of the dog.

20 Save me from the lion’s mouth, *
my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.

21 I will declare your Name to my brethren;*
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

22 Praise the LORD, you that fear him; *
stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;
all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.

23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them; *
but when they cry to him he hears them.

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly;*
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the LORD shall praise him: *
“May your heart live for ever!”

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, *
and all the families of the nations bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the LORD; *
he rules over the nations.

28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *
all who go down to the dust fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him;
my descendants shall serve him; *
they shall be known as the LORD’S for ever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
the saving deeds that he has done.

 

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Maundy Thursday – Morning Prayer

Psalm 102

1 LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you;*
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.

2 Incline your ear to me;*
when I call, make haste to answer me,

3 For my days drift away like smoke,*
and my bones are hot as burning coals.

4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered,*
so that I forget to eat my bread.

5 Because of the voice of my groaning*
I am but skin and bones.

6 I have become like a vulture in the wilderness,*
like an owl among the ruins.

7 I lie awake and groan;*
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.

8 My enemies revile me all day long,*
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.

9 For I have eaten ashes for bread*
and mingled my drink with weeping.

10 Because of your indignation and wrath*
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.

11 My days pass away like a shadow,*
and I wither like the grass.

12 But you, O LORD, endure for ever,*
and your Name from age to age.

13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her;*
indeed, the appointed time has come.

14 For your servants love her very rubble,*
and are moved to pity even for her dust.

15 The nations shall fear your Name, O LORD,*
and all the kings of the earth your glory.

16 For the LORD will build up Zion,*
and his glory will appear.

17 He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless;*
he will not despise their plea.

18 Let this be written for a future generation,*
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD.

19 For the LORD looked down from his holy place on high;*
from the heavens he beheld the earth;

20 That he might hear the groan of the captive*
and set free those condemned to die;

21 That they may declare in Zion the Name of the LORD,*
and his praise in Jerusalem;

22 When the peoples are gathered together,*
and the kingdoms also, to serve the LORD.

23 He has brought down my strength before my time;*
he has shortened the number of my days;

24 And I said, “O my God,
do not take me away in the midst of my days;*
your years endure throughout all generations.

25 In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth,*
and the heavens are the work of your hands;

26 They shall perish, but you will endure;
they all shall wear out like a garment;*
as clothing you will change them,
and they shall be changed;

27 But you are always the same,*
and your years will never end.

28 The children of your servants shall continue,*
and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.”

 

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Wednesday of Holy Week – Evening Prayer

Psalm 74

1 O God, why have you utterly cast us off?*
why is your wrath so hot against the sheep of your pasture?

2 Remember your congregation that you purchased long ago,*
the tribe you redeemed to be your inheritance,
and Mount Zion where you dwell.

3 Turn your steps toward the endless ruins;*
the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary.

4 Your adversaries roared in your holy place;*
they set up their banners as tokens of victory.

5 They were like men coming up with axes to a grove of trees;*
they broke down all your carved work with hatchets and hammers.

6 They set fire to your holy place;*
they defiled the dwelling-place of your Name
and razed it to the ground.

7 They said to themselves, “Let us destroy them altogether.”*
They burned down all the meeting-places of God in the land.

8 There are no signs for us to see;
there is no prophet left;*
there is not one among us who knows how long.

9 How long, O God, will the adversary scoff?*
will the enemy blaspheme your Name for ever?

10 Why do you draw back your hand?*
why is your right hand hidden in your bosom?

11 Yet God is my King from ancient times,*
victorious in the midst of the earth.

12 You divided the sea by your might*
and shattered the heads of the dragons upon the waters;

13 You crushed the heads of Leviathan*
and gave him to the people of the desert for food.

14 You split open spring and torrent;*
you dried up ever-flowing rivers.

15 Yours is the day, yours also the night;*
you established the moon and the sun.

16 You fixed all the boundaries of the earth;*
you made both summer and winter.

17 Remember, O LORD, how the enemy scoffed,*
how a foolish people despised your Name.

18 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;*
never forget the lives of your poor.

19 Look upon your covenant;*
the dark places of the earth are haunts of violence.

20 Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed;*
let the poor and needy praise your Name.

21 Arise, O God, maintain your cause;*
remember how fools revile you all day long.

22 Forget not the clamor of your adversaries,*
the unending tumult of those who rise up against you.

 

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