Monthly Archives: November 2013

Be Ready: Christ is coming! (Advent 1, Year A)

Yearly Rhythm

christmas lightsSunday 1st December 2013

 Advent 1, Year A

This Sunday marks the beginning of a ‘new’ year in the 3 year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary – Year A. It is also the first Sunday of Advent.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in His First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in His Second Advent…whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God (the culmination of all things in Christ). Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.  Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. [Source]

 

Weekly Rhythm

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comment and Questions and PDF download

 Readings, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Isaiah 2:1-5  Out of the house of the Lord shall come wisdom and instruction, and all nations will convert their weapons of war into implements for sustaining life.

Psalm 122  A psalm rejoicing in Jerusalem, a foretaste of what Isaiah prophesies.

Romans 13:11-14  Salvation draws ever nearer, so live in the fullness of Christ, freed from the power of sinful desires.

Matthew 24:36-44 The coming of the Son of Man will be a surprise, so stay on the lookout!

 Comments:

Christ comes as surprise.  He comes to bring Shalom (peace).  So this is the end that we need to buy into now.  This is the end that inspires us, guides us and shapes us.  This is the perspective from which we engage in the now.  By doing this we are ready.  What are some of the things we need to “buy” into?  The following outline taken from Discovering Your Neighbourhood Needs by Dick Taylor offers some suggestions:

“His will is shalom (peace) for all.

 1) God wants everyone to have the basics:

* Enough food to eat and clothes to wear

* A decent place to live

* Education to develop gifts and talents

* Good affordable medical care

* Work that is enjoyable and provides adequate income

* Time and places for rest and recreation

* A chance to enjoy beauty in one’s surroundings

* Opportunity to participate in the political and economic decisions affecting one’s life

* Representation by fair, just governmental office-holders

 2) God wants people with special needs to have special help:

* Adequate income support for those who can’t work because of a disability

* Understanding counsel for those who are emotionally distressed

* Loving visitors for those who are sick or lonely

* Help and adequate legal counsel for those in prison or in trouble with the law

* Dignity, respect, friendship, and security for the elderly

* Adequate educational, social, and recreational outlets for the young

* Special care for those with special needs, such as the  retarded, orphans, people with drug or alcohol problems.

 3) God wants people to feel secure from threats to their life, health and dignity:

* Freedom from exploitation or oppression (for example, by loan sharks, unscrupulous real estate       speculators, political bosses, police brutality, consumer fraud)

* Personal safety, free from fear or crime or other harassment

* An opportunity to live in a safe, ecologically sound environment

4) God wants people to be free from discrimination or humility:

* Respect as a person created in God’s image

* Protection of equal rights before the law

* Freedom from discrimination because of age, sex, race or religion

5) God wants us to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens:

* Good feeling and cooperation among neighbours-blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, young and old, men and women-to help build a neighbourhood in which no one is denied his or her rightful shalom.”

I would add a sixth point:

6) God wants us to know His love and live as His children for ever.

 

Questions for reflection:

How do you understand the call to be ready?

How does this call influence the way you live?

How might this call change the way you live?

Weekly Rhythm

                Praying the Lectionary Readings

(These resources may be used when preparing to lead or attend Sunday Worship)

Call to worship

(based on Psalm 122 NIV)

 Let us go to the house of the Lord.

Our feet are standing in his gates.

That is where we go

to praise the name of the Lord

In God we find our security.

In God we find our peace.

 

Opening Prayer

 In this season of expectation

we prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

into the bustle of our lives

and the hard to find moments of solitude.

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

Into our homes and situations

along with friends and families

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

Into our hearts, and those often hidden parts of our lives.

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

For beneath the surface of Your story

is an inescapable fact:

You entered this world

as vulnerable as any one of us

in order to nail that vulnerability to the cross.

Our fears, our insecurities and our sins –

all that can separate us from God,

exchanged, by your Grace, for Love.

We cannot comprehend the reasoning,

only marvel that Salvation comes to us

through a baby born in a stable,

and reaches out to a world in need.

In this season of anticipation

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah.

To You, O Lord, we bring our lives:
Troubled, broken or at ease,
A sacrificial offering
For You to use.
Take away our selfishness
And teach us to love as You loved.
Take away our sense of pride
And show us the meaning of humility.
Take away our blindness
And show us the world through Your eyes.
Take away our greed
And teach us how to give as You gave.
Show us Your ways,
Teach us Your paths,
That we might walk with you more closely –
Our hand in Your hand,
Our feet in Your footsteps.
From the baby in a stable
To eternity, Amen                 [Source]

 

 Intercessions: 

(Based on the outline of Shalom (peace) as presented above.)

Lord today we pray for Shalom (peace) for all.  As we pray we seek to align ourselves with Your will for this world:  Lord You want everyone to have the basics.  And so we pray that all may have:

* Enough food to eat and clothes to wear

* A decent place to live

* Education to develop gifts and talents

* Good affordable medical care

* Work that is enjoyable and provides adequate income

* Time and places for rest and recreation

* A chance to enjoy beauty in one’s surroundings

* Opportunity to participate in the political and economic decisions affecting one’s life

* Representation by fair, just governmental office-holders

 Lord You want people with special needs to have special help.  And so we pray that there may be:

* Adequate income support for those who can’t work because of a disability

* Understanding counsel for those who are emotionally distressed

* Loving visitors for those who are sick or lonely

* Help and adequate legal counsel for those in prison or in trouble with the law

* Dignity, respect, friendship, and security for the elderly

* Adequate educational, social, and recreational outlets for the young

* Special care for those with special needs, such as the  retarded, orphans, people with drug or alcohol problems.

Lord, You want people to feel secure from threats to their life, health and dignity: and so we pray that there may be:

* Freedom from exploitation or oppression (for example, by loan sharks, unscrupulous real estate speculators, political bosses, police brutality, consumer fraud)

* Personal safety, free from fear or crime or other harassment

* An opportunity to live in a safe, ecologically sound environment

Lord, You want people to be free from discrimination or humility. And so we pray for:

* Respect for persons as created in God’s image

* Protection of equal rights before the law

* Freedom from discrimination because of age, sex, race or religion

Lord, You want us to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens. And so we pray for:

* Good feeling and cooperation among neighbours-blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, young and old, men and women-to help build a neighbourhood in which no one is denied his or her rightful shalom.”

Lord, You want us to know Your love and live as Your children for ever.  And so we pray:

* That all may love, worship and serve You as the coming King of shalom.

* That all may be ready for You coming as we seek this Kingdom.

In Jesus Name,  Amen

 Sending out:

Christ is coming!

Be ready!

Christ is coming!

Seek His peace!

  

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 25 November – 1 December

PDF Download

 Readings for the week (1 December, Advent 1, Year A)

(With thanks to www.gbod.org)

Isaiah 2:1-5  – Out of the house of the Lord shall come wisdom and instruction, and all nations will convert their weapons of war into implements for sustaining life.

Psalm 122 A psalm rejoicing in Jerusalem, a foretaste of what Isaiah prophesies.

Romans 13:11-14  – Salvation draws ever nearer, so live in the fullness of Christ, freed from the power of sinful desires.

Matthew 24:36-44The coming of the Son of Man will be a surprise, so stay on the lookout!

 Monday:

Adoration Focus: My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. (Psalm 71:15)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: O Holy Spirit, knowing the deep things of God: move in the depths of my being.

The Word: See readings above and comments, questions in the Weekly Rhythm of the post.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the “hungry” in our world.  Our intercessions are based on a prayer by Christine Odell.  Today we pray for those who hunger for the necessities of life: food, homes, warm clothing…

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds (Psalm 68:4)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Fire of the Spirit burn all that is not holy…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for healing.  We pray for the depressed, the injured, the dying, the diseased…

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: -You rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. (Psalm 67:4)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Fire of the Spirit, generate within us fire…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for peace.  We pray for countries, for homes where there is stress and aggression, for those who cannot sleep at night.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name. (Psalm 66:4)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Fire of the Spirit Inflame us with love…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.] Today we pray for those who hunger for love, for rejected children, for the elderly who have lost companions, for those who consider themselves unlovable.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Saviour. (Psalm 65:5)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Wind of the Spirit, breathe in us thy gentleness…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for a fair chance in life.  For the child deprived of opportunity, for those caught in a situation from which they see no escape.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Because you are my help, I will sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Wind of the Spirit!  Blow in thy strength…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for God.  For those who feel lost, who pray without hope; who have no sense of Godly comfort, those who are tired and without purpose.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. (Psalm 62:11,12a)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: O Holy Spirit, author of holiness: sanctify my spirit.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for all those who hunger deep in their souls, that they may be fed with the Bread of Life.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

 

 

 

Christ the King! (Year C)

Christ the KingYearly Rhythm

Sunday 24 November 2013

 Christ the King

“Christ the King Sunday is a relative newcomer to the liturgical calendar, arriving only in the early twentieth century. At that time, many Christians in Mexico were suffering religious persecution from their anti-religious government, and secularism was rapidly gaining the upper hand in Europe. In 1925, the Roman Catholic Church declared this day as a worldwide celebration of the Kingship of Christ over every earthly power.” (Source)

This is also the last Sunday in Year C – Sunday December 1 marks the start of Year A.

 

Weekly Rhythm

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comment and Questions

(Click here for a PDF Download to use in small groups)

 Jeremiah 23:1-6.

God rejects the bad shepherds (kings) of Israel/Judah who scatter the flock. God promises to raise up good kings and a branch in the line of David to rule in righteousness.

“YHWH is King. Jeremiah prophesies that God will intervene to provide new leadership, new shepherds (rulers) who will be true shepherds of the people—caring for their needs, establishing justice for all, and promoting righteousness beginning in the government itself. That’s why this new king or reign will also be known as “The Lord is our righteousness” (Zedekyahnu). That name, by the way, was partly an ironic pun on the name of the “puppet” king, Zedekiah (“The Lord is Righteous”).” (Source)

Questions for reflection

1)      What are the characteristic of bad shepherds (kings)?

2)      Who sends the good shepherds?  What might their characteristics be?

3)      How is Christ the good shepherd?

4)      How are we called to be good shepherds?

 Luke 1:68-79.

The Song of Zechariah.

 Colossians 1:11-20.

A hymn of praise to Christ the King of all.

This is a subversive hymn.  It is a challenge to the way emperors were perceived at the time.  Christ rather than the emperor is the true image of God.  He is the King on a whole different scale, opening the way for all.

For reflection:

1)      Read this passage out loud and form a picture of Christ the King.  Then bow before the King and acknowledge this King as your King.

 Luke 23:33-43.

Jesus of Nazareth, “King of the Jews,” is crucified.

Jesus shows us what a real King looks like.   A real king will be persecuted and face crucifixion but will still act in compassion and love.

 Questions for reflection

1)      When we think of a King who stand above all authority and power a certain profile comes to mind.  How does Christ fit into this profile?

2)      Try to describe how Christ reigns as King.

3)      How does/will our King win the victory?  (Establish a New Heaven and a New Earth)

4)      How can we let Christ be King in our lives and communities?

5)      What steps will you take to move in this direction?

 

 Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 24 November

 Praying the Lectionary Readings

(Use these resources when preparing to lead or attend Sunday Worship)

 

Call to Worship 

Based on Luke 1:68-79

(The Voice)

God’s intervention has begun, He has moved to rescue us,

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed.

The Sunrise from the heavens will break through in our darkness,

We rise and walk in the light.

 

Prayer of Praise

Read each thought/verse out twice then pause as the congregation pictures Christ the King

Colossians 1 (Common English Bible adapted)

 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,

the one who is first over all creation,[a]

 

16 … all things were created by him:
both in the heavens and on the earth,
the things that are visible and the things that are invisible.
Whether they are thrones or powers,
or rulers or authorities,
all things were created through him and for him.

 

17 He existed before all things,
and all things are held together in him.

 

18 He is the head of the body, the church,

He is … the beginning, the one who is firstborn from among the dead[b]
so that he might occupy the first place in everything.

 

19 …all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him,

 

20        ….he reconciled all things to himself through him—
whether things on earth or in the heavens.
He brought peace through the blood of his cross.

Intercession and confession

Read Isaiah 23: 1-2.  (‘Shepherds’ here refers to kings and rulers)

23 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord.

 

The King of love commands: Care for my sheep.

We respond: Make us good shepherds who tend the flock.

King of love, you are the good shepherd who has lain down your life for the sheep.  You have been lifted up from the earth and have gathered the flock.  You have given us new life, enabling us to rise and walk in the light.  Your sunrise has broken through into our darkness.

The King of love commands: Care for my sheep.

We respond: Make us good shepherds who tend the flock.

We confess, we have been, are and may always be bad shepherds.  We have ignored the cries for help.  We have failed to seek out the abandoned and neglected.   We have not sounded the call for justice, righteousness, service and peace.  It has been easier to shut down and live in our own small prisons.  But Lord God you have found us.  And you have shown us your wounds, you have given us peace and you have sent us out, even as the Father has sent you.

The King of love commands: Care for my sheep.

We respond: Make us good shepherds who tend the flock.

So now we hear your call.  We open our eyes and see.  We reach out as the shepherds who follow their King.   We lift up the weak and frail who can no longer easily enter into the life of the community. Help us to shepherd them.  We lift up the broken hearted who have given up on living and see life through a confusing haze.  Help us to shepherd them.  We lift up the hungry who struggle to find their next meal. Help us to shepherd them.

The King of love commands: Care for my sheep.

We respond: Make us good shepherds who tend the flock.

So now we hear you call.  We open our ears to the cries.  We hear those who are oppressed, victimised and abused.  Help us to shepherd them.  We think of women, of children, of men, those who face verbal, physical, sexual, mental abuse.  Those who feel trapped and disempowered to move out of the abusive context. Help us to shepherd them.  We think of abusive social contexts, where good medical care is unavailable, where communities lack opportunities for employment, where facilities are minimal. Help us to shepherd them.

The King of love commands: Care for my sheep.

We respond: Make us good shepherds who tend the flock.

So now we hear your call. We think of creation.  All the wonders of an interrelated ecosystem: the soil, the rain, the wind, the sun.  Help us to shepherd them.  The birds, the insects, the reptiles, the mammals.  Help us to shepherd them. The fish, whales, sharks.  Help us to shepherd them.

The King of love commands: Care for my sheep.

We respond: Make us good shepherds who tend the flock.

 

  Sending Out:

 Christ, you are  our  King

Reign in and through us

May your will be done

As we seek your Kingdom.

 

 Daily Rhythm

Prayer Diary    18 – 24 November 2013

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship, focussed on the Lectionary Readings.

Click here for a PDF download

 Readings for the week (thanks to www.gbod.org)

 Jeremiah 23:1-6. God rejects the bad shepherds (kings) of Israel/Judah who scatter the flock. God promises to raise up good kings and a branch in the line of David to rule in righteousness.

Luke 1:68-79The Song of Zechariah.

Colossians 1:11-20. A hymn of praise to Christ the King of all.

Luke 23:33-43Jesus of Nazareth, “King of the Jews,” is crucified.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 67:3 – ” …may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”

Confession: This week we focus on how we have thought that we have known better than Christ our King.  The times we have sought to control our own destinies and have ended up in trouble.  We so often ignore the Master Potters words.  Focus on ways that you have marred the pot that is your life and bring it out of the darkness into God’s light for transformation.  Hear his words of life: What is he saying to you?  How can you better reflect the glory of his light in your unique life?

The Word: See readings above and comments and questions under Weekly Readings.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Pray for the gift of God’s guidance for someone who is loosing his or her way.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray. “ (A Christian song)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 67:4 – “Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for the gift of God’s peace for someone who is troubled.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray. “ (A Christian song)

 Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Psalm 67:4…his name is the Lord…rejoice before him.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone you know who needs God’s reassurance.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray.”  (A Christian song)

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 67:19 – “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone you know who is suffering, emotionally or physically.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray.” (A Christian song)

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 67:20 – “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for your local town that God’s life and love may continue to bring the gift of transformation to all its peoples.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray.” (A Christian song)

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 68:34 – “Proclaim the power of God … whose power is in the skies.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that God may prepare all his people to be particularly receptive to the Word as it is preached tomorrow.  Pray that that Word may bring them the gift of God’s life and love.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray.” (A Christian song)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 68:26 – “Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that we may catch the visions and dreams that God has for us both as people and as communities.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

“Lord, you are the potter, I am the clay.  Mould me and make me, this is what I pray. “ (A Christian song)

 

 

 

A New Earth (begin with the end in mind) Pentecost 26, Year C

rosebudYearly Rhythm

Sunday 17th November 2013

 This is the 26th Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time) Year C

 “Ordinary Time in the Church’s year occurs in two sections. The first part begins on the Monday following the Christmas season, which ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following January 6. It lasts through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Ordinary Time resumes after the Easter Season, on the Monday after Pentecost, and continues until evening prayer on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.

The readings during the liturgies of Ordinary Time help to instruct us on how to live out our Christian faith in our daily lives.”  (Source)

“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)

 

Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 17 November 2013

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comment and Questions

(PDF Download)

(Readings thanks to gbod.org)

Isaiah 65:17-25.
A prophecy of an entirely new world order inaugurated by God in which infant mortality is ended, everyone works and enjoys the fruit of his/her labor, and “They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.”

Isaiah 12. (Response to Isaiah)

 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (3rd of 3 weeks).

Paul instructs the Christians in Thessalonica on the importance of work and avoiding the creation of an “idle class,” whether rich or poor.

 Luke 21:5-19.

Jesus foretells of the destruction of the Temple, warns against being misled by alarmists, and anticipates dreadful times in which his followers must bear witness and will be given words, wisdom, and power to endure by the Holy Spirit.

 

The future is God’s future.  We are in God’s care and in the midst of crisis and persecution it is God who is our guide and foundation.  Note the words in our Gospel passage:  “and so you will bear testimony to me” “For I will give you words of wisdom” “Stand firm and you will win life”.  God will bring us through it all.  We do not rely on our will clever words.  He is the God of the new heaven and the new earth.

 

See Paul J. Nuechterlein’s sermon HERE for more insights.

 

Questions for reflection

1)     What kind of future do you anticipate for planet earth and all its peoples?  Why do you anticipate that future?  If it is a bad future, why?  If it is an optimistic future, why?

2)     How is God the God of our future?

3)     In crisis we are told not to forget our testimony.  What is this testimony?

4)     How do we rely on God’s words and not our own?

5)     What does “standing firm” mean and how do we do that?

6)     We are told to “start with the end in mind”.  How does the vision presented in these passages of scripture guide our lives today?

 

 

Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 17 November

Praying the Lectionary Readings

(Use these resources when preparing to lead or attend Sunday Worship)

 

Call to Worship 

(Based on Isaiah 65:17-25 NIV)

 Surely God is our salvation;

With joy we draw water from the wells of salvation.

Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

 

Praise, Confession, Thanksgiving

Lord God, we joyfully worship you because you are our full hope of salvation.     You are the God who gives us a glorious vision of our future.  A vision of the future where you have completed all creation, made all things new.   This future is one where the “the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox”, and “the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard no more.”  Lord God you have revealed to us how you do this renewing work through your Son, Jesus Christ. We celebrate that we need not fear this new work of yours because your tools are love, forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation.  So Lord today you hold this vision before us.  A Kingdom shaped by you as revealed in Jesus; a Kingdom where you are worshipped as the centre of all of life.

Lord into this vision we bring our stumbling lives.  We see the glory of transformed lives in the new heaven and new earth, but we struggle to love, forgive, reconcile.  We are among those who live by the values of a world that creates dangerous compromises with violence, materialism and an “each one for themselves mentality”.  Lord, if our game plan runs its course the wolf and lamb will never feed together, and tears will never be wiped away.  And so we find our hope as we worship before your throne. We humble ourselves and bow down to you.  Lord fill us with your life, help us to know your new heaven and the new earth within us today.  Lord we put aside our ways and we commit ourselves to the Jesus way, the truth and the life.

And so now, Lord God, we are shaped by this new vision, and in you, we begin to live the Kingdom of God dream now.

All this through Jesus name,

Hallelujah!

Amen.

 

Prayer of Petition and Intercession

(written by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild,  inspired by Isaiah 12:1-6, Luke 21, Mark 13, Revelation 21:1-5)

 17 “See, I will create

new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever

in what I will create…  (Isaiah 65 NIV)

 

We are glad and rejoice forever in you, O God.

With joy we draw deeply from your well of salvation

and pray that even as we have sung, you may fulfill our story—

the story of your love.

Though the world has been gripped by trouble since early days,

and life has often been short and tormented,

you have given us a vision of a day beyond the terrors:

a day when the heavens and earth will be new again,

a day when the sound of weeping will give way to delight,

a time when all creation will live in peace

and people will long enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Help us to hold to that vision when the temples about us are falling,

and our world is shaken.

Strengthen us for the telling of your truth

and for keeping to your path,

that we might not weary in doing what is right,

but through endurance may gain our souls,

even as you desire for us to do.

Lord, hear our prayer….

 

As we pray for a new heaven and a new earth this day,

we especially are aware of those among us

and those beyond these doors who are in deep need of your peace,

of your healing touch, of your just and bounteous kingdom.

We pray those who dwell in places of strife, need, and want….

Lord, hear our prayer….

 

We pray for those who have been bereaved in the past week….

Lord, hear our prayer….

 

We pray for those who are unemployed and those fear layoff or termination

and all those struggling with a burden in the workplace and the marketplace….

Lord, hear our prayer….

 

And finally, we pray for today for those of our brothers and sisters

who face persecution because of their faith.

For those who are deprived of their basic human rights,

and those who are deprived of their lives

because of their desire to worship and serve you…

Lord, hear our prayer….

 

Let us give thanks to the one to whom we pray,

the one who brings both the snow and the sun;

the one  who heals this troubled world;

the sick; and those who turn to Him in faith;

the one who grants new life not only to us,

but to the creation itself….

Lord, hear our prayer….

 

Gracious God,

we pray to you in the name of the one who came to show us the way,

he who is our Lord and our Redeemer, our brother and our friend.

We pray to you as one family, even as he taught us, saying…

Our Father….

 

~ written by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild, and posted on Kir-shalom.

 

Sending Out

You have been made new

The old has gone the new has come

Go to live a new life

Shaped by God’s new heaven and new earth.

 

 

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 11 – 17 November

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship, focussed on the Lectionary Readings.

(PDF Download)

Isaiah 65:17-25. A prophecy of an entirely new world order inaugurated by God in which infant mortality is ended, everyone works and enjoys the fruit of his/her labour, and “They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.”

Isaiah 12

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. (The 3rd of 3 weeks.) Paul instructs the Christians in Thessalonica on the importance of work and avoiding the creation of an “idle class,” whether rich or poor.

Luke 21:5-19. Jesus foretells of the destruction of the Temple, warns against being misled by alarmists, and anticipates dreadful times in which his followers must bear witness and will be given words, wisdom, and power to endure by the Holy Spirit.

This week we focus on creation. The Adoration focus includes a longer Psalm, highlighting the glory of creation. Remember the Westminster Confession tells us that God created the world “for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom and goodness.”

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 8

Confession: This week in our confessions we focus on two responses to the God who tends his people. The first: Ask yourself in what ways you need to allow your heart to be more open to God’s tending and care?  The second: In what ways is God calling you to express God’s care and tending in this world? Focus on one of these responses each day and allow God’s Spirit to guide you deeper in his gift of life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1-6

Confession:  See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.

 Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Psalm 65:9-13

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:1-4

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:5-9

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:10-18

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:19-24

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying for creation: The call: to conserve not to crucify.  Each day pray for a different aspect of our created world as God leads you.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord God, as you bring the flowers into bloom, may we bloom for you today.