Monthly Archives: August 2014

Good News for all! 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

good news for allYearly Rhythm

17 August  2014, the  10 th   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

Bringing worship into the every-day.

Devotional Diary   11 – 17 August 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Bible readings set for Sunday 17 August with thanks to www.gbod.org

Learn more about the readings HERE.

Genesis 45:1-15The other “bookend” of the Joseph story—Joseph, now second in command in Egypt, reveals his identity to his brothers and promises to provide land, food, and protection for the family during the famine and beyond.

Psalm 133.The blessing of living together in unity—a fitting response to the Genesis reading for today.

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. Paul concludes his excursus on the theological connection between God’s covenant with Israel and the Jewish-Gentile church with a strong affirmation of Israel’s place in God’s saving intent toward the whole world. All—Jew and Gentile—receive salvation by God’s mercy and grace, not by merit. God’s calling and gifts cannot be called back. Israel’s place is permanently secure while Gentiles are like grafts of a wild olive tree into a domesticated olive tree.

Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28. Jesus tells the crowd that it is what comes out of the heart that pollutes us. Then Jesus discovers great faith coming from a foreigner (the Canaanite woman) who won’t take “no” for an answer.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. (Psalm 105:3)

Confession: In what areas am I envious?  Does this envy “drive” my life in any areas?  How does this indicate restlessness within my own spirit?  How can my relationship with God help me with my envy?

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Spend a few moments thinking of the many resources that God has placed in and on this earth to sustain and enhance our lives.  Focus on how we as humanity are using these resources and how God would lead us and guide us into good stewardship and a healthy sustainable way of living.  Pray for this vision of life.

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:  “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (Psalm 104:24)

Confession: Does a seething anger just wait to rise up within my heart?   Do I find that I am quite controlled until I unexpectedly burst out in a rage?  Do I drive my car aggressively?  Ask God to allow you to acknowledge your anger and release its hold over your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord, help us to use the resources that you have given us responsibly and in ways that reflect your Kingdom and rule. Today focus on what the use of these resources should express: Care, love, nurture, creativity….  Rather than possession, selfishness, control, power and domination.   Pray that our world’s values may be renewed.

             Dedication: “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Praise the Lord… who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5)

Confession: In the face of crying needs we often choose not to notice or even deliberately ignore them.  Ask God to open your heart to his call to serve.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We focus on the resources of this earth.  Water, land, minerals, fuel, forests, etc.  In our short –sightedness and greed we have caused much damage and suffering.  Lord, help us, each one, to take the call to conserve and to be responsible to heart

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: But you, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generation. (Psalm 102:12)

Confession: Lord, make me aware of the pride in my life.  Pride that keeps me aloof and apart; pride that is rooted in insecurity and a need to prove myself; pride that makes me humiliate other human beings.  Lord, help me to make myself vulnerable and to serve rather than be served.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We focus on the resource of money.  Lord, our use of money reflects our priorities.  Help us to place this important area under your direction, and to seek your Kingdom first in this area also.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise. (Psalm 101:1)

Confession: Lord, forgive me for alienated myself from this world that you love.  Help me to reach out in love and care.  Help me to make a difference.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord, you have made vast spiritual resources available to us.   You have given us all we need to live a full life of love.  Enable us to open up your gifts and to share these with each other.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I invest huge resources for my own entertainment but will be resentful about a minor offering to alleviate another’s deep suffering.  Lord God, I pray for a generous heart.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We pray for guidance as to how you would have us use the resources of gifts and abilities you have placed within us.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. (Psalm 99:1)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I give all for my own ambitions and loose your call to share in love in important relationships in my life.  Help me to count the cost of loving and discover new joy in giving.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today we bring the resource of time before you, O God.  Help us to use time wisely.  We thank you for this gift.  May our use of it reflect your love, your order, and your priorities.  Release us from all that “drives” our time in inappropriate ways.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: “So keep Jesus before your eyes.  Don’t hesitate to go anywhere he leads you; don’t stay where you are and don’t look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.” (from “Rule for a new brother”)

                                                                  

 Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 17 August, the 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Thinking more about the readings –
their context and how they might help us lead transformed lives.
DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

With thanks to gbod.org for readings and initial comment.

Genesis 45:1-15The other “bookend” of the Joseph story—Joseph, now second in command in Egypt, reveals his identity to his brothers and promises to provide land, food, and protection for the family during the famine and beyond.

Note the joyful resolution to lengthy conflicts in this passage.  What hope does this give us?
How is God’s plan working itself out in the midst of human madness in this story?

Psalm 133.The blessing of living together in unity—a fitting response to the Genesis reading for today.

The stories we have read in the Old Testament readings over the last few week have reflected divisions, competition, deceit and betrayal.  Now the psalm lifts up the blessing of living in unity.  This unity is seen in the resolution of conflict and the reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers.  What contributes towards this kind of reconciliation?

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. Paul concludes his excursus on the theological connection between God’s covenant with Israel and the Jewish-Gentile church with a strong affirmation of Israel’s place in God’s saving intent toward the whole world. All—Jew and Gentile—receive salvation by God’s mercy and grace, not by merit. God’s calling and gifts cannot be called back. Israel’s place is permanently secure while Gentiles are like grafts of a wild olive tree into a domesticated olive tree.

There is a need for humility all round.  Salvation is by grace, by God’s action.  God will save all of Israel just as he saves the Gentiles, by His grace.

Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28. Jesus tells the crowd that it is what comes out of the heart that pollutes us. Then Jesus discovers great faith coming from a foreigner (the Canaanite woman) who won’t take “no” for an answer.

Canaanite: a descendant of the people who lived in Palestine before the Israelite invasion.   After “testing” her, Jesus commends her faith.  This story opens the door to the Gentiles, they too have faith.  The church’s mission is to the outsiders.

Praying the Lectionary Readings

An opening prayer from the re:worship blog page:

With Open Arms

With open arms You welcome all who call on Your name—
who acknowledge You as Lord, and look to You in faith.
No one stands outside the circle of Your mercy and love.
And so we come to offer You our worship—
to declare that You are our God,
and that we are Your people,
called and chosen by You from the very beginning.
Through the presence of Your Holy Spirit
open our eyes to see You here;
open our minds to receive Your truth,
and our mouths to speak and sing Your praise.
For You alone are God— worthy of all praise and worship,
now and to the end of time.
Amen.

 

Here is a new take on Psalm 133 from Rachel Hackenberg:

Psalm 133

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like a pianist pouring beauty into the world
with every note, with every phrase rehearsed, reworked,
with every scale spilled deliciously
into a song
like a mountain stream tumbling out over its banks
with the fullness of spring rains.

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

It is like a woman quietly brushing her hair
indulging in the joy of undivided being,
a moment without fracture and contortion from life’s
carnival mirrors;
at peace with herself.

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

~ written by Rachel Hackenberg, and posted on her blog

 

Here is a prayer of intercession taken from the re:worship website, based on the readings.

Prayer of Intercession

(Gen. 45:1-15; Matt. 15:21-28; Rom. 11:1-2, 29-32)

Merciful God,
In love You created us,
and in love You sustain us, day after day.
So it is with confidence that we bring our prayers to You,
knowing that You will hear and respond.

We pray for those who are estranged from spouse or family,
friends or neighbours;
who find it difficult to forgive past wrongs done to them;

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who for years have carried feelings of guilt or regret
for something they did or something they neglected to do;
who find it difficult to ask for forgiveness or forgive themselves;

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

For those who find themselves far away from You,
struggling to overcome their doubts or disillusionment,
and who wonder how to find their way back;

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

For those watching someone they love try to cope
with serious illness or injury
and who long for Your miraculous intervention;

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

For the many others in our world who are suffering this day—
from grief, or loneliness, hunger, poverty, violence or illness;

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Sustain all those who look to You in hope.
And strengthen us—Your people—
so that we may be a light to all those who find themselves in darkness.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Amen.

 

 

 

Staying or Walking? 9th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

feetYearly Rhythm

10 August  2014  9th   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

Bringing worship into the every-day.

Devotional Diary   4 – 10 August 2014

 DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE!

Lectionary Readings for Sunday 10 August with thanks to www.gbod.org Read more about the readings HERE!

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28. Sibling rivalry moves from murderous intent to economic gain as Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery.

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22,45bThis Psalm continues the Joseph story beyond the first lesson.

Romans 10:5-15  The connections between hearing, believing, confessing and calling upon the name of Jesus as Lord for salvation.

Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus frightens the disciples when he walks toward them on the stormy sea. He tells them not to be afraid. Peter walks toward him and sinks, only to be lifted by Jesus. The disciples declare Jesus to be the Son of God.

In our confessions we revisit a 21 day cycle of confession.  You will find a different focus for each day under the Confession focus.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: O Lord of life, Thy quickening voice awakes my morning song; in gladsome words I would rejoice that I to Thee belong. (Methodist Hymn Book 930)
Confession: Lord, I have used my tongue as a weapon of destruction.  I have spoken words that break down and do not build up.  I have despised my heart that has not been able to silence my tongue.  Forgive me and fill me with your words and your heart that seeks for the best for all.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: This week we focus on some issues that face our land and world.  In most of these areas we need to grow in Kingdom of God ways of praying and not simply pray out of fear and anger (although these emotions need to be acknowledged). Each day we will suggest an area and you are invited to ask God how He would have you pray into it.    Today’s concern: Morality.

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: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand (A Song of dedication)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: O love, how deep, how broad, how high!  It fills the heart with ecstasy, that God, the son of God, should take our mortal form, for mortals’ sake. (MHB 62)
Confession: Lord, I am part of a people. I am part of a community that fall far short of your Kingdom ideals.  Forgive us I pray and enable us to realise that your Kingdom is among us.  Fill us with your justice, righteousness and peace.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today’s concern:  Women.

Personal Prayers:

                Dedication: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand (A Song of dedication)

 Wednesday:

Adoration Focus:  High in the heavens, eternal God, Thy goodness in full glory shines; Thy truth shall break through every cloud that veils and darkens Thy designs. (MHB 48)
Confession: Lord forgive me when I desire peace but am not prepared to sacrifice and serve in building peace.  Lord help me to follow where you have led and to give myself that others may live in fullness.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide.
Seeking the Kingdom: Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today’s concern: Crime.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand (A Song of dedication)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Father like He tends and spares us, well our feeble frame He knows; In his hands He gently bears, rescues us from all our foes. (MHB 12)
Confession: Lord forgive me when I make your grace a “cheap” commercial product.  Help me to journey below the surface froth and bubble.  Help me to go deeper.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide.
Seeking the Kingdom: Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today’s concern: Corruption.
Personal prayers:

              Dedication: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand (A Song of dedication)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Earth rejoice, our Lord is King! Sons of men, His praises sing; Sing ye in triumphant strains, Jesus the Messiah reigns!  (MHB246)
Confession: Lord, I have neglected the gifts you have given me.  Some have atrophied.  Sometimes a lack of confidence has paralysed me, sometimes I have been caught up in struggle, sometimes I have been lazy.  Lord I thank you for your gifts that you have given and that I may use them for your glory.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide.
Seeking the Kingdom: Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today’s concern: Violence.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand  (A Song of dedication)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, Born to reign in us for ever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring. (MHB 242)
Confession: Lord, forgive me for my sins of neglect.   Those things which I have not done where You have prompted me into action.  When you speak help me to act.  Help me to develop a habit of listening and responding.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide.
Seeking the Kingdom: Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today’s concern:  Prejudice.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand (A Song of dedication)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: I sing the almighty power of God, that made the mountains rise, that spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.  (MHB 46)
Confession: Forgive me Lord, when I have been difficult to live with.  Forgive me when I have not carried my share of the load.  Forgive me when I have accepted unjust roles just because they have prospered my own comfort and interests.  Help me to make space for and to care for others.
The Word: See the readings above or use your own devotion guide. Seeking the Kingdom: Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today’s concern:  Unemployment and economic empowerment.

Personal prayers:

 Dedication: Lead me Lord I pray; take me, mold me, use me, fill me; I give my life to the potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me; I give myself to the potter’s hand (A Song of dedication)

Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 10 August, 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Thinking more about the Scriptures – their context and how they might help us lead transformed lives. DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE.

With thanks to www.gbod.org for readings and initial comment.

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28. Sibling rivalry moves from murderous intent to economic gain as Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery.  Thus begins an amazing story of the scapegoat being vindicated (think Jesus). This is a revolutionary story for its time – scapegoating was how the aggression and frustration of a community were dealt with, it was simply accepted and the victim hardly considered.  However this act of scapegoating is going to end very differently (again, think Jesus!).

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22,45b. This Psalm continues the Joseph story beyond the first lesson.

Romans 10:5-15 The connections between hearing, believing, confessing and calling upon the name of Jesus as Lord for salvation. “In these verses, Paul depicts the gospel as available to all persons, capable of saving all persons. Its availability is stressed by the idea of its nearness (see 10:8); no person in the Roman churches or synagogues was too distant to hear it.  The very words of Scripture that they cited in their prayers and liturgies (10:8) affirmed the grace of God that was the essence of the gospel.  The only thing keeping anyone from salvation was rejecting this good news (10:9-10). But the content of Paul’s gospel, as described in earlier parts of Romans and even in this chapter, needs to be kept in mind.  What Paul has in view here in the word and word of faith is not a new ideology.  It is not a set of dogmas that people have to swallow. It is rather the revelation in the life and death of Jesus of the perverted zeal of religious fanaticism, of the universal tendency toward rebellion and self-destruction that marks all people everywhere. The good news in this word of faith is that in Christ human rebellion was met by unconditional grace and forgiveness.” Romans Basic Bible Commentary 1988, Abingdon Press

Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus frightens the disciples when he walks toward them on the stormy sea. He tells them not to be afraid. Peter walks toward him and sinks, only to be lifted by Jesus. The disciples declare Jesus to be the Son of God. Water has two streams of meaning in the scriptures: The one, life giving, sustaining, refreshing, sparkling.  The other, destructive (as in flood, drowning) dark, fearful, evil.  By walking on the water Jesus demonstrates his authority over this destructive side of water.  He is the Lord of the waters.  Peter is a strange mixture of believing and not believing, (sound like us?), but Jesus is there for him. The boat was an early symbol for the church and its mission of salvation (think the ark). Should Peter have tested the Lord and walked, or should he have stayed with the church community? Jesus brings him back to the boat and the mission continues.  

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 Prayers to inspire your own conversations with God as an individual or part of a congregation

A Prayer for our church (the boat in Matthew 14:22-33)

 Enable this church to do your will

Make it vulnerable that it may speak with calm humility;

Make it outward looking that it may care deeply

Make it a community of peacemakers and bridge builders

In the midst of turbulence let the church make space for the hearing of your still small voice.

Delia – a member of St. Mark’s Church