Tag Archives: Missing the mark


May 11, 2016

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104:24-35b

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
   may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
   who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
   for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
   and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord! –Psalm 104:24-35

It struck me as I read our scripture for today that if we apply Paul’s view of sin, this Psalm is praying for eradicating all peoples on the earth: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23) where sin is defined as missing the mark or making a mistake perhaps impacting others. * The Hebrew word translated in this Psalm as sinner refers to one who offends. ** I assume that may mean primarily God, but it could imply that when we offend others we offend God also. I am probably out of my league here not being either a scholar in Hebrew or Greek.

In any case, this is not a prayer one should pray lightly. I must admit though that I do like the visceral nature of the prayers in the Psalms. They were written by real people who had real struggles in life with one another and with God. We must all deal with the outcomes of every one of our missing the mark, making a mistake.

The Hebrew people understood the need for forgiveness. They routinely presenting offerings to be sacrificed at the tabernacle in the wilderness and later at the temples. We who call ourselves Christian value highly the role of forgiveness in the life of Jesus and the subsequent journey he set forth for us. It is in fact because we all miss the mark and make mistakes that we are called to love one another and be redeemed together as we fulfill God’s call.

Prayer: Lord forgive us when we individually and collectively miss the mark and strengthen our ability to be your body in this world today through such redemptive love. Amen.


*Strong’s Concordance http://biblehub.com/greek/264.htm
**Strong’s Concordance http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2400.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Communing with God and Others

YouMeGodLiving in the Spirit
September 6, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:15-20

 ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector.

What does it mean to “sin” against another human being. Sin can be defined as missing the mark. I also think that sin is the state of being separated from God. So does that mean that when sin is used in conjunction with another human being it denotes times when we have missed the mark or times when we are separated from the other persons? What is the mark we are trying to attain between and among people and what does it mean to be separated from others?


In its simplest form missing the mark with another persons could indicate that some action or lack of action we have done involving another person was not life affirming and was perhaps even life negating. Ever have a three your old run up to you with a picture they have colored and say, “Look at my picture!” We smile a big smile and say, “What a beautiful bird!” Only to see the most dejected look cross his or her face as the child says, “It’s a horse.” We have missed the mark. Of course life among adults is more complex than that. Some need more encouragement than others, some wish we would just leave them alone. And how do we determine what might be a sin to me, but is not to my fellow Christian? I hear people declare things in the name of Christ that are totally alien to my faith. Is not being pressed from the same cookie cutter a sin?


I get what it means to be separated from God. But what might it mean to be separated from a fellow Christian. For me separation with God is not being in synch with God’s will. It seems to me that being separated from another person within the Body of Christ must also, of necessity, include some sense of separation from God.


Communion in the broadest sense of its term is what I believe Jesus is getting at in our scripture today. We need to talk with each other and we need to talk together with God. Probably a lot of the problem with being separated from another is that the other and we, ourselves, are projecting our will back to God and our human wills are markedly different, even at cross purposes, from each other’s wills and perhaps from God’s will.

Our goal is not to actually walk away from either God or the other. Indeed, our goal is to get in synch with God and then with each other. Remember Jesus socialized with both gentiles and tax collectors.


Prayer: Commune with me, O Lord, commune among us, O Lord, help us together commune with you. Make us whole, make us one. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.