Monthly Archives: June 2014

Rest: Finding our true selves in Christ

solitudeYearly Rhythm

6 July  2014
The 4th   Sunday after Pentecost
Year A,  Colour: Green

“Lent is about preparing people to live as disciples of Jesus. Easter Season is about giving especially the newly baptized or confirmed time to focus deeply on the doctrinal foundations of the faith and on discerning the Spirit’s calling and gifts for ministry, culminating in a celebration and commissioning for these ministries at Pentecost. The Season after Pentecost is about seeking the Spirit’s guidance and supporting one another as we undertake these ministries in Christ’s name.” [Source]

 

Daily Rhythm

            Devotional Diary   30 June – 6 July 2014

DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION HERE!

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

Readings for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, from www.gbod.org. Learn more about the readings HERE!

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 — Abraham sends a trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac.

Psalm 45:10-17

Romans 7:15-25a — Paul reckons with the power of sin at work in his body.

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 — Jesus reflects on the resistance of the people to John and himself, prays to God, and invites the heavy laden to come to him.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 150:1 Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: self-righteousness.

The Word: Use the readings above or any other scripture reading plan you are following.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Your family or friendship circle.

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: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 150:2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: false dignity.

The Word: Use the readings above or any other Scripture reading plan you follow.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: The schools, learners and teachers of our land.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: feelings of being ‘hard-done by.’

The Word: Use the readings above or any other Scripture reading plan you follow.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today:  The Churches that surround us: that they may be filled with the power and love of God.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 149:1 Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: Unforgiveness.

The Word: Use the readings above or any other Scripture reading plan you follow.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today:  Your land and its wonderful variety of people.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 149:3 Let them (us!) praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: a hard heart.

The Word: Use the readings above or any other Scripture reading plan you follow.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Praying for the countries of our continent.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 147:1 Praise the Lord.  How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: boredom.

The Word: Use the readings above or any other Scripture reading plan you follow.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today:  For all the worship services that take place tomorrow.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 147:7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.

Confession: Today just spend some time praising God and continuing to give up the barriers that you have focused on during the week.

The Word: Use the readings above or any other Scripture reading plan you follow.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today:  Pray for the poor and hungry.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

 Weekly Rhythm

The 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

 Comments and questions about the Lectionary Readings

 

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 — Abraham sends a trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac.

“My father loves a good love story more than anything. He loves to tell us, his children and their spouses and his grandchildren, over and over again the miraculous story of how he met my mother, and how it was love at first sight, and of the lengths he went to in order to convince her that he was worthy of her love. Most of all, he loves to remind us that love itself is a miracle. It is the miracle of all miracles. The thing about love, for my father, is that you can’t make it happen. But if it does happen to you, if you do happen to come across in this life a person whom you can truly love and who loves you in return, it is nothing short of miraculous. It is, for him, God’s ultimate gracious gift.

I don’t know if it was that kind of love that Rebekah and Isaac shared, but I can imagine from reading the details of the story that it is just the sort of love story my father would tell over and over again. He would tell his children and his grandchildren about how, somehow, by chance, by a miraculous working of God, Abraham’s servant just happened to run into Rebekah on that fateful day in which he was searching for a mate for Abraham and Sarah’s only son.

Besides the miracle of love, a theme we might explore in this context as we consider the faith that has been passed on to us through the stories of the first families is the theme of radical trust. Abraham trusted God to work through his servant and bring Isaac a life partner with whom he would find joy and love and be able to build a family. Abraham’s servant trusted that if he prayed with faith, God would give him a specific sign that would enable him to identify the right woman for Isaac. Rebekah trusted that if she went with this servant, she would meet and marry a man who with whom she could build a family and a happy and prosperous life.”  [Source]

Psalm 45:10-17  The bride is to be presented to her king. She is called to be loyal and to serve him.  Although we may not share this world view, see how this may relate to our relationship with our King, Jesus Christ.

Romans 7:15-25a — Paul reckons with the power of sin at work in his body.

Our Gospel passage speaks of those who labour and are heavy laden.  How does Paul fit this description in this passage?  How does he indicate we find our way through this struggle?  Now look at Christ’s words in the Matthew passage below.

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 — Jesus reflects on the resistance of the people to John and himself, prays to God, and invites the heavy laden to come to him.

This passage calls us into a wonderful invitation.  It is not limited: come to me all…  It is an invitation of grace: to those who are struggling, not to those who have earned of deserved the call.  It involves taken on a new “light” yoke: living in Christ’s Kingdom of God reign,  Christ living in you (as Paul would put t)   This is true freedom, the way of living that we were created or, living our true lives.  This way of living grounds us even in the face of resistance.

As The Message puts it so beautifully:

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

 Praying the Lectionary Readings

 

Resources to use when preparing to attend or lead Sunday worship

 

Lord, I am tired.  Tired of losing the plot. Tired of being distracted. Tired of conversations that lead me nowhere but despair.  Tired of being led this way and that by voices that “know better.”

Now you are calling:  “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and you will find rest.  Take my yolk upon you…”  Lord how this touches my lost soul.  Can I find a new centre out of which to live?  A new yoke that brings life not death?  A new centre that will bring freedom to live out my true life?

Yes Lord, I come.  I know this requires obedience and loyalty.  Most of all this requires my willingness to invite You to live within me.

Come, Lord, come.

You are the life giver, my life giver.

*************************

Below are the words from a song that explores this theme:

(Listen here)

HIGHER THAN THE MOUNTAINS

“Are you weak and heavy laden?
Weighed down by your burden?
Come to me and I will give you rest.

There’s a cross upon a hill and its love reaches still the hearts of all who stop and see
On his head crown of thorns, hands and feet by nails torn
Broken heart for you and me….

His love…..

Higher than the mountain
Deeper than the ocean
Longer than the road you’re travelling on
Wider than the desert,
Flowing like a river
Reaching the weak and the strong

Are you weak and heavy laden?
Weighed down by your burden?
Come to me and I will give you rest

Bow your life before my cross
Here is hope for a world that’s lost.  I am the God of resurrection.
Scratch the dark and be surprised, in that death I will arise.
My light will shine in your direction.

Oh His love…

Higher than the mountain
Deeper than the ocean
Longer than the road you’re travelling on

Wider than the desert,
Flowing like a river
Reaching the weak and the strong”

(© James Nicolson)

 

 

 

 

 

Driving Forces

driving forcesYearly Rhythm

29 June 2014

The 3rd  Sunday after Pentecost

Year A, Colour: Green

“Lent is about preparing people to live as disciples of Jesus. Easter Season is about giving especially the newly baptized or confirmed time to focus deeply on the doctrinal foundations of the faith and on discerning the Spirit’s calling and gifts for ministry, culminating in a celebration and commissioning for these ministries at Pentecost. The Season after Pentecost is about seeking the Spirit’s guidance and supporting one another as we undertake these ministries in Christ’s name.” Source

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary  23 – 29 June 2014

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

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

See “Weekly Rhythm” below for comment and question to engage with the readings.
Also “Praying the lectionary Readings” below for prayers based on the readings.

Genesis 22:1-14. The attempted sacrifice of Isaac.
Psalm Response: Psalm 13A Psalm of lament.
Romans 6:12-23. When we are baptized, buried and raised with Christ by water and the Holy Spirit, we are given a new life and a new master. Sin no longer reigns and drives us to death, but God and righteousness rule and lead us to life.
Matthew 10:40-42. Rules for Mission: Expect, look for, and bless those who offer welcome.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples. Today’s focus: God never gives up.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: things we have given up on.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in local church life.  Today,

pray for caring ministries within the church.

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: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples. Today’s focus: He is always reaching out.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: Those we need to reach out to.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in local church life.  Today, pray for ministries that reach out in care outside of the immediate church community.

Personal Prayers:

 Dedication: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

 Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples. Today’s focus: No-one is excluded.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: Someone who you have neglected.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in local church life.  Today, pray for evangelistic outreach to those who do not know the abundant love of God.

Personal prayers:

 Dedication: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples.  Today’s focus: Loving attention to the smallest detail.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: Some small action that will express care and love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in our church life.  Today, pray for ministries that reach out to young people.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples. Today’s focus:  He seeks the lost and neglected.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: Some “ignored” person to reach out to.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in local church life.  Today, pray for “giving” ministries (sharing of resources with others).

Personal prayers:

Dedication: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples.  Today’s focus: He is always bringing healing.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: Wounds you need to bind and bring healing.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in local church life.  Today, pray for those exercising preaching and teaching ministries.

Personal prayers:

 Dedication: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the activities of God in our lives and in our world. Then praise and thank God for His choice to be busy with the business of loving His world and its peoples.  Today’s focus: Enjoying the worship of His people.

Confession: This week we examine what activities fill our lives.  Are we busy with the things of God’s Kingdom?  Are we allowing God to direct the business of our lives?  Each day ask God how you can do this in a deeper way. Today’s focus: worshipping God with our whole hearts!

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we focus on a different expression of God’s love in particular activities in our church life.  Today, pray for worship ministries.  

Personal prayers:

Dedication: If Christ had to return in the day ahead what would He find my life busy with?

 

Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 29 June 2014, the third Sunday after Pentecost

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Genesis 22:1-14.
The attempted sacrifice of Isaac.

“Faith is spoken of as fearing God. Fear includes reverence, trust, love and an awesome respect and wonder at God’s great and mysterious power.  Fear and love always go together, for an absolute love of god demands undivided loyalty and total surrender of oneself to God.” (Basic Bible Commentary)

How does Abraham demonstrate  faith in this story?

What do you think was in Abraham’s mind when he says, “God will provide the sacrifice.”

Does this story promote human sacrifice (known to have been practiced in the region at the time)?

 

Psalm Response: Psalm 13A Psalm of lament.

Note the psalmist’s cry of “How long..?”

Why is the psalmist calling out in this way?

How does this cry find expression in your life?

How does the psalm express faith in God’s saving power?

 

Romans 6:12-23.
When we are baptized, buried and raised with Christ by water and the Holy Spirit, we are given a new life and a new master. Sin no longer reigns and drives us to death, but God and righteousness rule and lead us to life.

In our “weakness” do we need the law? Why or why not?

In our “strength” do we need the law? Why or why not?

What directs our lives according to this passage?

 

Matthew 10:40-42.
Rules for Mission: Expect, look for, and bless those who offer welcome.

Now, using this passage what would you say to those who were preparing to go out in mission?

How would these words apply to our lives lived day by day?

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 

O Lord God, source of all blessings

You have blessed so that we may bless others.

O Lord God, source of all giving

You have given so that we may give to others.

O Lord God, source of all love

You have loved so that we may love others.

O Lord God even as you were sent

So now you send us.

We go in your name to share your blessings.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

 

 

Lent, Easter, Pentecost … now what?

JESUS WEBYearly Rhythm

22 June  2014
The 2nd Sunday after Pentecost,
Year A, Colour: Green

“Lent is about preparing people to live as disciples of Jesus. The Easter Season is about giving especially the newly baptized or confirmed time to focus deeply on the doctrinal foundations of the faith and on discerning the Spirit’s calling and gifts for ministry, culminating in a celebration and commissioning for these ministries at Pentecost. The Season after Pentecost is about seeking the Spirit’s guidance and supporting one another as we undertake these ministries in Christ’s name.” Source

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary  16 – 22 June 

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship using the Lectionary Readings found at www.gbod.org
See “Weekly Rhythm” for comment and question to engage with the readings.
Also “Praying the lectionary Readings” for prayers based on the readings.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE!

Readings for the week 22 June: the Second Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 21:8-21Isaac (“he/she laughs”) is weaned. Sarah contends for his inheritance against Hagar’s son, Ishmael (“God hears”). Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away. God provides for all of them.

Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17.

Romans 6:1b-11. Baptized into Christ’s death, we are raised with him to walk in newness of life.

Matthew 10:24-39. Jesus instructs his disciples as he sends them out on mission.

Daily Devotions:

Monday:

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God. Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: vulnerability in loving.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of?  Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: allowing vulnerability in loving.

The Word: See reading above or use your own devotional help.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: people with faiths different from your own.

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, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God. Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: dance, joy and celebration.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of?  Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: joy and celebration.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: young people.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Lord, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God. Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: giving focussed attention.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of?  Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: caring listening…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: the elderly.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God. Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: perfect co-operation.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of? Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: willing co-operative spirit.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: those journeying to or from work.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God. Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: costly sacrifice and humility.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of? Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: spirit of sacrifice and humility.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: the unemployed.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God.   Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: awesome creativity.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of? Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: passion for creativity.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: those facing failure.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: This week we focus on the mystery and wonder of our Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is community filled with wonderful passion. Each day identify some aspect of the passions and loves that fill the heart of God. Then praise God that He is this kind of God. Focus for today: worship, praise and giving honour.

Confession: This week examine the passions of your heart.  What is your heart full of?  Identify Godly passions in the life of Jesus.  Pray that God may fill your life with these. Focus for today: praise, worship and adoration.

The Word:
Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The Trinity holds this world in an embrace of deep passion.  If you were to share in this embrace how would that direct your prayers for this world?  Today focus on: communities gathering for worship.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, in the day ahead, I choose to share in your passion for this world and its peoples.

 Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 22 June 2014, The Second Sunday after Pentecost

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Some commentary on this week’s readings, with questions to help you apply God’s word to your life:

Genesis 21:8-21Isaac (“he/she laughs”) is weaned. Sarah contends for his inheritance against Hagar’s son, Ishmael (“God hears”). This is a story of jealousy, rivalries and mercenary attitudes.  Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away. But God provides for all of them.  “Although Hagar and her son lie outside the mainstream of promise, they are not beyond the activities of divine mercy.  The well in the wilderness is revealed to Hagar in her distress by divine agency, “God opened her eyes” (Peake’s Commentary of the Bible).  In this tale we have the main stream (the in-group) acting uncaringly and questionably.

Is this sometimes how our church families behave?  Yet God works in the midst of it all and even those cast aside find that God is with them.  And their future is wide open.

What does this tell us about those on the outside? (Perhaps you?)

 

Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17. An individual lament: the cry of one who feels abandoned by God.

How does this psalm relate to our reading from Genesis 21:8-21?

It seems the psalmist is struggling to trust in God. How is this struggle reflected in the psalm?

How even in the midst of this struggle is the psalmist expressing trust?

How does this psalm speak to you?

 

Romans 6:1b-11. Baptized into Christ’s death, we are raised with him to walk in newness of life.  Paul relates this dying and rising with Christ in relational terms.  We, as we identify with Christ, die with him.  It is not our physical bodies that die, but rather our sinful natures tied to rebellious desires.  We then share in a new life, also in relation with Christ. We have received grace so how can we then go on living as if nothing has occurred?

We are called to “keep ourselves open to the true life in Jesus Christ in the midst of all the death that does surround us and would engulf us.”

How do we “keep ourselves open” to this true life in Christ?

 

Matthew 10:24-39. Jesus instructs his disciples as he sends them out on mission.

Matthew’s Gospel contains a number of teaching sections: Chapters 5-7, 10, 13, 18, 24-25.  This passage finds its context in the second teaching section (chapter 10) which is focussed on the mission of the followers of Christ.  The chapter deals with the how of mission (verses 5-15), then some possible responses they (we) will encounter (verses 16-25) and finally the rewards of mission.

If you were planning a mission in the name of Christ and had to brief your mission team, how would you do that using this passage of scripture?

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

The Old Testament Readings this week focus on the cry of the outcast and the prayers also follow this theme. It is comforting that God’s mission extends even to those who feel abandoned and left out.

 

For those who suffer, and those who cry this night,

give them repose, Lord;

a pause in their burdens.

Let there be minutes where they experience peace,

not of man but of angels.

 

Love them, Lord, when others cannot.

Hold them, Lord, when we fail with human arms.

Hear their prayers and give them the ability to hear You back

in whatever language they best understand.

 

Amen   [Source for Prayer]

 

God help the Outcasts

Lyrics  from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; performed by Heidi Mollenhauer (Esmeralda), Brian Cummings, Debi Mae West, and Lisa Russo (Watch on You Tube here.)

 Esmeralda:

I don’t know if you can hear me
Or if You’re even there;
I don’t know if you would listen
To a gypsy’s prayer.
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast,
I shouldn’t speak to you;
Still I see your face and wonder,
Were you once an outcast too?

God help the outcasts,
Hungry from birth.
Show them the mercy
They don’t find on Earth.
God help my people,
We look to you still;
God help the outcasts
Or nobody will.

 The Rich:

I ask for wealth, I ask for fame,
I ask for glory to shine on my name;
I ask for love, I can possess.
I ask for God and His angels to bless me.

Esmeralda:

I ask for nothing –
I can get by,
But I know so many
Less lucky than I.
Please help my people,
The poor and downtrod
I thought we all were
The children of God.

God help the outcasts, Children of God