The first Sunday in February each year, I participate in the annual Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics Delaware. Each year I plunge my whole body into the forty-degree Atlantic Ocean while others only dip their toes and run back up the beach. Full submersion is not required, but I feel that those who do not jump in miss out on the full experience.
Today’s psalm helps us understand the benefits of fully immersing ourselves in God. The psalm focuses on God’s great works, which reveal God’s goodness and authority. The works and workings of God reveal a God who is “gracious and merciful,” “holy and awesome.” We find out who God is by looking carefully at what God has done in our midst.
The psalmist expresses his enthusiastic gratitude: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” How often do we gather with our faith community and just dip our toes into our worship of God? I don’t mean this in a physical way—those who lift their arms or dance to praise God are not necessarily more immersed in thanksgiving than those who sit quietly. I do wonder how often we simply go through the motions of worship rather than entering fully into thanksgiving with our whole hearts. Our worship is most honest when we acknowledge God’s goodness and mercy with our full selves, worshiping God with all we are and doing so together with our siblings in Christ.
Ask, What keeps me from worshiping God with my whole heart? What keeps me from fully worshiping God in the company of my siblings in Christ? Give thanks for God’s authority in your life and for congregations that offer a place of Christian community to worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Lord, grant me the strength to release what hinders me from a full relationship with you and my congregation. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Mark 1:21-28

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Leccionario Semanal
January 22–28, 2018
Resumen de la Escritura

This week’s readings center on God’s authority. In Deuteronomy God promises to raise up a prophet to guide the people, and God warns the people not to listen to voices that do not speak for God. The psalmist overflows with praise for God’s great works. God is powerful and awesome, yet gracious and merciful also. Paul instructs the Corinthians to place the rights of others before their own rights. A person’s conscience may allow him or her to exercise freedom in Christ; however, with this freedom comes responsibility. We must surrender our own rights, if necessary, for the good of others. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus shows his power over the forces of darkness: even the unclean spirits recognize and obey him.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Deuteronomy 18:15-20. To whom or to what setting do you turn when you yearn to hear God’s voice?
• Read Psalm 111. How willing are to you to immerse yourself in life? in your worship setting? What causes you to simply dip your toe in? What would help you make a fuller commitment?
• Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. When have you been conscious of another’s limitation in some area and intentionally chosen to avoid a certain behavior?
• Read Mark 1:21-28. Jesus calls James and John from their fishing nets. He takes them as they are exactly where they are. Where have you sensed a call from God? How did that call change your vocation or avocation?

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