Monthly Archives: October 2013

It’s a matter of the heart {Readings}

slant heartWeekly Rhythm

Sunday 20 October 2013 

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings – Comment and Questions

 Pentecost 22 (Ordinary Time) Year C

Jeremiah 31:27-34.  Could this new covenant of the heart have its origins in the very synagogues that Exile may have given birth to?  The temple in Jerusalem was seldom visited by most Jews.  Now in exile they had an accessible place of worship.  They gathered regularly and involvement by the laity was far more extensive, prayers were offered instead of sacrifice.  Christ calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart…



Psalm 119:97-104 or Psalm 19 “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” (NIV)


2 Timothy 3:14—4:5.   Paul’s strong encouragement to a young preacher (Timothy) in difficult circumstances.


Luke 18:1-8.  In no way must we liken the unjust judge to God.  The point here is the contrast.  God is just and willing; God is for us and not against us.  Therefore pray for justice, trust that God is working for us.  If we stay with the heart, we can pray trustingly when we realise the nature of God’s heart.  This realisation transforms our own hearts and makes us for others (for justice, forgiveness, service)  just as God is for us, and so we pray in partnership with a loving God.


Questions for reflection and discussion (Luke 18:1-8)

(Download the PDF here)

1)            What unjust judges do we encounter in our life’s journey?  What are the characteristics of unjust judges?

2)            What situations make us shape our picture of God in the image of the unjust judge?

3)            The persistent widow had to twist the judge’s arm.  Do we have to twist God’s arm?

4)            What is the passage telling us God is like?

5)            What implications does the nature of God have with regard to our praying?

6)            The word justice features prominently in this passage.  What is justice?  What are we praying for when we pray for justice?

7)            Why do you think the passage ends with a call to faith?

It’s a matter of the heart {Shaping Sunday Worship}

Praying the Lectionary Readings

Preparing for the shape of Sunday Worship – Pentecost 22 (Ordinary Time) Year C


slant heartCall to Worship

Leader:  The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

All: Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

Leader: They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

All: Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.

(Psalm 19 1-4 NIV)


Praise, Confession, Thanksgiving

Today we lift up hearts of praise.

You, Lord God, are all around us. Your glory is shouting out, waiting for us to respond with hearts of thanksgiving. You, Lord God, are declared glorious by the heavens, by the rhythms of day and night, seasons of autumn, winter, spring, summer. You, Lord God, have shown yourself in birth,  growth, mission, service, suffering, death, resurrection,  ascension and reign. You, Lord God, have opened a good way of life and living for us.  A way that sees, hears, receives, renews, responds.  A way of forgiveness, justice inclusiveness, loving all, even enemies, a way of caring, connecting, following.

Lord God only you can set us free: free from a blindness that refuses to see glory; free from a stubbornness that refuses to acknowledge God creating, holding, sustaining, re-creating, renewing;  free from a hardness of heart that looks at the way of Christ and chooses a different route.  Our self-centred drivenness  has left us with tough and sinewy hearts.                                                                 The psalmist’s prayer is our prayer too:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

(Psalm 19: 14 NIV)

Today we pray for the fulfillment of the new heart:

(Jeremiah 31)

 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel

    after that time,” declares the Lord.

“I will put my law in their minds

    and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

    and they will be my people.

34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,

    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

    from the least of them to the greatest,”

declares the Lord.

“For I will forgive their wickedness

    and will remember their sins no more.”

 Lord God forgive and give us hearts that know God, that see glory, that enter the rhythms of worship, that acknowledge and follow the way of Christ.  Soft responsive hearts that dare to love as Christ loves.

For this new and blessed way of living we thank you, God of the new heart.

In Jesus name



For our intercession we first read the Gospel Passage (or place the intercessions after the sermon):

The Gospel reading:

Luke 18:1-8

(New International Version (NIV))

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”


So how does this passage speak into today’s intercessory prayer?

•          We don’t pray as if God is an unjust God who needs his arm twisted.

•          Our God is for us, and willing (even to death) to act on our behalf.

•          He calls us into a faith partnership, expressed in prayer seeking justice.


We pray:


Dear Lord God, Loving Lord God, Caring Lord God, God among and for us.  Today we join with you as we pray for justice.

Lord we know that life is often not fair.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

Those who “have” often just invest in their own pleasures.

Those who “have” can buy their justice, the poor struggle to defend their case.

The poor struggle to educate their children, to have access to good medical care.

The poor get caught up in surviving and this battle imposes its limits.  Food, housing, security are the concerns that consume them.


Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.



Lord we know that life is often not fair.

The strong and loud dominate.  Our world hands over authority to those who are often not for a kingdom of justice.  To those who are self-seeking, corrupt, and steered by popular vote.  And our communities end up reflecting our leaders’ values.


Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.



Lord we pray for the common values that form the foundations for our shared human lives.

We practice retribution: an eye for an eye.

If we can get away with it, we think it doesn’t matter.

If others are doing it, why shouldn’t we?

We abuse others under the guise of a free market.

We are self seeking rather than Kingdom of God seeking.


Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.



We acknowledge that we stand before you, the just judge.

The one who has lived and died for this justice.

The one who willingly and eagerly seeks justice for all.

Our Lord we offer ourselves to join with you in obedience to this call for justice.

May we be among those who care for widows and all who live under the burden of injustice.


Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.

In Jesus Name



Sending Out


Go now, held in God’s heart.

God’s heart forgives,

God’s heart serves,

God’s heart loves,

God’s just heart makes all things new!


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

The love of God

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore.


Psalm 19: 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

    be pleasing in your sight,  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

It’s a matter of the heart

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 20th October 2013

 This is the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time) Year C

 slant heart“The church sets aside a holy season called Ordinary Time as sacred. The Ordinary is part of the religious tradition of being ordered in our daily lives so that we can always be in the presence of the holy.” (Becca Stevens)

Thus, Ordinary Time is in fact the ordered life of the Church—the period in which we live our lives neither in feasting (as in the Christmas and Easter seasons) or in more severe penance (as in Advent and Lent), but in watchfulness and expectation of the Second Coming of Christ. (Scott P Richert)

The readings, with comments and questions for deeper reflection, may be found HERE.

A free, downloadable Prayer Diary is HERE.

Resources for those planning Sunday worship may be used or adapted to your situation.

(Shaping Sunday Worship)