Monthly Archives: February 2014

You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

salt and lightYearly Rhythm

Sunday 9 February 2014

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

“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)

 Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary   3 – 9 February 2014

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship using the Lectionary Readings.

Download the PDF document here.

 See “Weekly Rhythm” below for comment and questions on the readings for small group use or personal reflection.

Also “Praying the lectionary Readings” below for prayers based on the readings.

Isaiah 58:1-12. The fast God chooses and honours reflects real change towards justice and mercy in the lives of people and communities.

Psalm 112: 1-10

1 Corinthians 2:1-16. Paul’s proclamation in Corinth was not based on elegant human wisdom, but on spiritual wisdom displayed with power.

Matthew 5:13-20The Sermon on the Mount continues: “You are salt and light. I have come to fulfill the law and teach you to do likewise.”

This week:  Our adoration focus comes from the opening verses of Psalm 95.  Our confession focus is based on the prayer of an unknown Confederate soldier.  You are invited to reflect on this prayer a line at a time and let that thought lead you into confession.  By the end of the week we will have moved through the entire prayer.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  (Psalm 95:1)

Confession: “I asked for strength that I may achieve; I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.”  (Let these thoughts lead you into confession and healing.)

The Word:  See readings above or use you own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that our community may be a forgiving community and that this forgiveness may lead to reconciliation.  Pray that we may find our example for forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ.

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: 

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                (Micah 6:8)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and praise.  (Psalm 95:2)

Confession: “I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that our community may be a supportive community.  Pray that we may take hold of the gift of encouragement with both hands.  Pray that God may enable you to encourage someone today.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                            (Micah 6:8)

 Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:3)

Confession: “I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that our community may be a community of the poor, that even those at the lowest rung of the ladder may be treated like those at the top.  Pray that God would abolish favouritism in our midst.  Each one is an important part of the body of Christ.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                           (Micah 6:8)

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. (Psalm 95:4)

Confession: “I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that our community may be a community of hope.  Pray that we may hear words of hope and not despair.  Pray that we may be a place where those who have lost hope may find it.  Pray that our eyes may be open to see Jesus the Light of the World shining in our midst.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                              (Micah 6:8)

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:5)

Confession: “I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that our community may be a community of power, not to laud it over others, or to make our names great, but power to serve and to pour out our lives for many.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                           (Micah 6:8)

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker… (Psalm 95:6)

Confession: “I got nothing that I had asked for, but everything that I had hoped for.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that our community may be a community of faith. That we would not just speak words but that our faith would be a biblical faith that walks with God in trust and dares to live by God’s Kingdom values.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                             (Micah 6:8)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: …he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:7)

Confession: “Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered; I am, among all men, most richly blessed.”

Dear Lord, forgive us when we do not walk in faith and enable us to walk humbly with our God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that our community may be a community of worship in Spirit and in truth.  That is a community that worships in response to the revelation in Jesus Christ.  Holy Spirit, lead us in our worship today.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                             (Micah 6:8)

 

Weekly Rhythm

Comments and Questions on the Lectionary Readings.

Download the PDF document here.

 Isaiah 58:1-12. The fast God chooses and honours reflects real change towards justice and mercy in the lives of people and communities.

 You are salt and light (Matthew 5:13-20). The reading from Isaiah for today spells out what such a salty, shining life in God’s kingdom entails here and now. It is not a “holier than thou” life bound by fast days and ritual calendars for the sake of keeping the fasts and observing the traditions. Rather, ritual both mirrors and directs real life.  Ritual fasting becomes a means of deliverance for others, not simply a way to enhance self-discipline. The oppressed are set free. Yokes are broken. People share their bread with the hungry, their homes with the homeless, the clothes with those lacking them, and their whole lives with their families and communities. The kingdoms of this world, in the prophet’s day and now, encouraged obtaining, storing up and keeping all of these things for oneself as a sign of importance and blessing. But in God’s kingdom, it’s in the sharing of them all, including our own lives, widely—being salty, being light—that the true fast is kept and shown. Live like this, the prophet continues, and your whole community will be like a well-watered garden and like a spring that never runs dry.  Source

1)      Why is it important to be told all about our sins? (verse 1)

2)      How do we fall into the same sin as Israel? (verses 2-5)

3)      How would you define “your own interests”? (verse 5)  Think first in the context of the passage and then in your own life and context.

4)      What interests should we be seeking?  How are those interests described in this passage?  (verse 6,7 ,9b and 10a)

5)      What will be the results of this new focus? (verse 8-12)

6)      What surprises you about the results?

7)      How would you see this passage applying to your lfe?

Psalm 112: 1-10

 1)      How does this Psalm reinforce the message of Isaiah 58:1-12?

2)      What new perspectives does it offer?

3)      How would you see the message of this psalm working in the context of real life?

4)      What happens when “bad things happen to good people?”

5)      What kind of life does Christ model for us?

1 Corinthians 2:1-16. Paul’s proclamation in Corinth was not based on elegant human wisdom, but on spiritual wisdom displayed with power.

What is the wisdom of God’s Spirit?

What has this got to do with the cross?

Why can we only enter into this wisdom through the Spirit of God?

What does it mean to have the mind of Christ?

How do we discern the mind of Christ and live in this wisdom?

Matthew 5:13-20.  The Sermon on the Mount continues: “You are salt and light. I have come to fulfill the law and teach you to do likewise.”

 “What does it mean for salt to remain salty? The form of table salt we know, a chemically synthesized and purified form of sodium chloride, cannot but be salty. It is salt! But that was not how salt was experienced in the time of Jesus or in many places in the world today. Salt then and in many places still today is a mixture of a variety of compounds. The more salts in those compounds (whether sodium or magnesium or whatever!), the more valuable it was because the saltier it tasted. But the more inert dissoluble compounds in the mix, the more “fillers” we might say, the less salty and the less valuable it was. The blessing, “You are salt” is complemented by the call to remain salty, not to dilute what God’s kingdom is doing with “fillers” from the kingdoms of this world. Bigger is not better. More volume does not equate to better value. Be real. Be authentic—authentic to the one whose kingdom makes us salty!

 Likewise, with being light, shining God’s righteousness to all, shine that light! In the face of the claims of the kingdoms of this world, there may be serious temptation to hide the light to escape notice. No, Jesus says. Shine! Shine brightly! Go to the highest places and the most threatening people and shine, shine, shine!

 Being salty and shiny like this becomes the means by which disciples of Jesus may fulfill the law. Such blessing is God’s means to enable anyone who lives it out to exceed the righteousness of the most prominent religious leaders.”   Source

 Being Salt or Light in the world has been described as being a bit of God where you are.   What do you like/dislike about this description?

How does this call to be salt and light make you feel?

How can we be salt and light?

 Pray the prayer under the heading: Praying the Lectionary Readings.

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 Prayers you may pray during the week and on Sunday

Heavenly Father,

 Thank you that you made us in your image.

Help us to reflect your light and your image in this world.

Thank you that you made us the light of the world.

 Help us to never shrink back from who we are.

 Thank you that we are not meant to be hidden.

 Strengthen us to live as a city on a hill.

 Thank you for your grace.

 May you be pleased with our good deeds offered in response to your grace and may they bring glory to you.

 Thank you that you have called us the salt of the earth.

 Help us to be salty.

 Let us bring out the flavours of righteousness, love, and mercy in this world.

 Help us to salt the world.

Let us lead others to eternal preservation through Christ Jesus.

Help us to sting as salt does in a wound.

 Let us speak the truth in love so that others may come to know the Truth.

 Mix us into the earth as to salt the fields of a defeated enemy.

 Let us proclaim that death is defeated by our Lord Jesus Christ!

 Father,

 You told us that we are salt and we are light.

You told us that we are, not will be these things.

 Help us to remove all doubt and disbelief,

 And live as the salt of the earth and light of the world,

 So that you may be pleased with us.

Amen

 [Source]

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