Monthly Archives: October 2014

All Saints Sunday, Year A

all saints butterflyYearly Rhythm

2 November 2014
All Saints Sunday, 
Year A,
Colour: White/Red

On All Saints Sunday we thank God for his touch of love, care and guidance we receive through others.  We remember figures in our shared history as well as those who have been special in our lives and the life of our churches.

Daily Rhythm

Bringing worship into the everyday

       Devotional Diary
27 Oct – 2 Nov 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

This week we are praying for a harvest of fruit in our lives:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for this week from www.gbod.org

Revelation 7:9-17. John observes, inquires about, and reports on “the heavenly liturgy,” a scene of perpetual worship by the saints, the angels and the heavenly creatures before the Divine Throne.

Psalm Response: Psalm 34.

I John 3:1-3. We do not know exactly what the life of the coming age will be like, but we know that we are to be like Christ. So we must focus on purifying ourselves now, pursuing the practices of a holy life.

Matthew 5:1-12. Jesus teaches how God’s kingdom is reordering the life of the world. God is actively blessing those who live this way. Here is the heart of Wesley’s understanding of the possibility of all Christians becoming saints; or, as he would put it, allowing “sanctifying grace” to complete its work in us. Sainthood is not something reserved for a special few, but available to all who let God’s grace align their lives with what God is already blessing.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE

Monday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 24:1) The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…

Confession: Ephesians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  This week let the Spirit of God examine your heart against the fruit of the Spirit.  Then, where there is a lack, allow the Spirit to fill you with His life and grow His fruit. Today: Self-control

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional resources.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing, pray!”  This week we pray for God’s harvest of fruit in this world.   Think of the fruit of the Spirit and each day pray a particular fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control) into a situation or person that you lift before God. Today: Self-control.

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: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 23:1) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today: Gentleness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing, pray!”  See Monday’s Shared Focus. Today: Gentleness

Personal Prayers:

               Dedication: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

 Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 22:28) …for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today: Faithfulness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing, pray!”  See Monday’s Shared Focus. Today: Faithfulness.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 19:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today: Kindness and goodness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing, pray!” See Monday’s Shared Focus. Today: Kindness and goodness.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 18:46) The Lord lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Saviour!

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today: Patience.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing, pray!” See Monday’s Shared Focus. Today: Patience.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 16:11) You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today: Peace and joy.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing pray!” See Monday’s Shared Focus.  Today: Peace and joy.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 13:6) I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today: Love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Remember: “Pray without ceasing pray!”  See Monday’s Shared Focus. Today: Love.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; break me, melt me, mould me, make me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (Daniel Iverson 1890-1977)

                                                                          

Weekly Rhythm

Exploring Scripture
Joining our stories to the stories of God’s people

(Download the PDF here)

Revised Common Lectionary readings and notes in italics with thanks to www.gbod.org

Revelation 7:9-17. John observes, inquires about, and reports on “the heavenly liturgy,” a scene of perpetual worship by the saints, the angels and the heavenly creatures before the Divine Throne.This great multitude of saint comes from every nation, tribe, peoples, and languages (see also Revelation: 5:9, 13:7, 14:6.)  The point of unity is the slain Lamb of God.  All the saints find their life in the lamb. As we prepare for All Saints Sunday we remember where the life of the saints comes from.

Go further:
What can we learn from the way the saints find their source and centre for life in the lamb?
What can you do that will move you in that direction?

Psalm 34. A psalm that thanks the Lords and rejoicing in him as the source of life for the saints.  He will bring us through all things.

I John 3:1-3. Again we see that the source of purity (the God life we are called to) is only through Christ.  Our new lives are shaped by Christ.

Go further:
How is Christ shaping your life?
How can you co-operate with Christ in this work of transformation?

Matthew 5:1-12.Jesus teaches how God’s kingdom is reordering the life of the world. God is actively blessing those who live this way. Here is the heart of Wesley’s understanding of the possibility of all Christians becoming saints; or, as he would put it, allowing “sanctifying grace” to complete its work in us. Sainthood is not something reserved for a special few, but available to all who let God’s grace align their lives with what God is already blessing.” (gbod.org)

Go further:
As you read through this passage see how it calls you to a completely different way of life. What does this look like for you?

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

A Responsive Call to Worship for All Saints Day

(Hebrews 12: 1)

We remember, O God…

The countless saints of history
who have blazed a trail of courage through time,

We remember, O God…
The tender touch of loved ones,
the example of heroes,
the healing words of comforters,
the remarkable acts of fearless ones.

We remember, O God…
The gentle strength of grandmothers,
the loyalty of friends,
the kindness of strangers,
the joy of children,
the sacrifice of parents.

We remember, O God…
The supreme love of Jesus,
the blessing of his Spirit,
the reminder of his words,
the sharing of his suffering,
the glory of his resurrection:
shown forth in the lives of his disciples,
   young and old,
   dead and living,
   articulate and silent,
   strange and familiar,
   brilliant and ordinary.

We remember in every time and place the saints of God
who have shown us the Lord.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…
let us worship God with joy!

— posted on the Desperate Preacher’s website.


Litany for All Saints Day

O Cosmic Christ, in you and through you
and for you,
all things were created;

in you
all things hold together
and have their being.

Through Teilhard de Chardin,
scientist of the cosmos,
you imagined a new heaven and a new earth.
Through Teresa of Avila,
charismatic leader,
you inspired a church of courage and wisdom.
Through Mahatma Gandhi,
great soul,
you became nonviolent in the struggle for justice.
Through Catherine of Siena,
fearless visionary,
you forged a new path for women.
Through Meister Eckhart,
creative mystic,
you refused to abandon the inner light.
Through Hildegard of Bingen,
greenness of God,
you poured out juicy, rich grace on all creation.
Through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
drum major of freedom,
you shattered racial barriers
and freed dreamers to dream.
Through Anne Frank,
writer and witness,
you preserved goodness in the midst of great evil.
Through Cesar Chavez,
noble farmworker,
you transformed the dignity of human labor.
Through Vincent Van Gogh,
artist of light,
you revealed the sacredness
in sunflowers
and in starry nights.
Through Nelson Mandela,
reconciling leader

You birthed a rainbow nation
Through John Wesley,
who’s parish was the world,
you awakened awareness of lives transformed by love.
Through Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
guardian of the unwanted,
you enfleshed a reverence for all life.
Through Thomas Merton,
universal monk,
you explored the sanctity of every human search.
Through Mary Magdalene,
apostle to the apostles,
you ordained women to proclaim the good news.
Through Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
musician of Holy Mystery,
you bathed the world in beauty.
Through Julian of Norwich,
anchoress and seer,
you showed the Mother image of God.
Through Dom Bede Griffiths,
marriage of East and West,
you unveiled the divine face
at the heart of the world.
Through Joan of Arc,
defender and protector,
you remained true to personal conscience
over institutional law.
Through Rumi,
poet in ecstasy,
you illuminated friendship as mystical union.
Through Maura Clarke and Companions,
martyrs of El Salvador,
you rise again in the hopes of the dispossessed.
Through Rabbi Abraham Heschel,
Hasidic sage,
you answered our search for meaning
with wonder, pathos for the poor, and Sabbath rest.
Through Dorothy Day,
pillar of the poor,
you recognized holiness as bread for the hungry.

O Cosmic Christ,
in your heart
all history finds meaning and purpose.
In the new millennium,
in the celebration of jubilee
help us find that which we all seek:
a communion of love
with each other
and with you, the Alpha and Omega,
the first and last,
the yesterday, today, and tomorrow,
the beginning without end.
Amen. (Adapted and shortened)

 

— written by Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, is executive director of Alliance of International Monasticism, which links 200 Benedictine and Cistercian communities in the developing world with those in the United States. She is also director of development and communications for the Benedictine sisters of Erie, PA. She is the author of Between Two Souls: Conversations with Ryokan. Posted on theSpirituality and Practice website.


Pastoral Prayer

(inspired by Matthew 5:3-12)

 

Jesus went up the mountain, sat before the crowd,
and began to speak.
We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Richness and fullness in wealth, in knowledge, in spirit do not draw us to heaven. May we be filled with an emptiness and poverty that draws us ever closer to you. May we bring an end to emptiness and poverty that leaves any one isolated and without hope. Bless all with the kingdom of heaven. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Clinging to existence we forget to live. Striving for long years we forsake years that are long. May we release those to whoms’ memories, we cling. May we acknowledge our sadness and loss. You are with those who have died, be with all those who mourn, make us the instruments of your comfort. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Longing for power, surety, and the status quo we create systems of privilege, false normals, and stagnation. May we cease to seek privilege and instead long for the dignity of all. May we cease to seek surety and instead long for growth. May we give up stagnation and embrace humility. Make us see the common humanity of all who live on this earth. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Striving for satiation we surround ourselves with false comforts; in trying to be right we ignore the pain of others. Make us aware of the troubles and concerns around us, take away our security so that we might share that discomfort, bring us to hunger and thirst for righteousness so that everyone may be filled in truth. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Anger fills us with a need for vengeance and harsh justice; we seek to lessen our pain by inflicting pain upon others. May we acknowledge our anger but not be held by it. May we seek justice for the wrongs done against us but not be defined by them. Give us the gift to be merciful with ourselves and merciful with others so that all may receive mercy. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Refusing to look inward we carry emotional baggage, we leave parts of ourselves in shadow and darkness, we maintain ingrained habits and reactions. May we acknowledge our immaturity and a need to grow to more full and complete individuals. May we bring light into our inner darkness. Give us pure hearts oh God, so that we might see your face. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Destruction, not creation, becomes the all too easy answer for conflict. May we elect and maintain governments that seek not a cessation of violence but the creation that is the true opposite of war. May we recognize that creating cultures of peace is as much the cumulative action of our day to day lives as it is the acts of those in power. God grant that we might always strive for peace, that we might be called the children of God. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Limited as we are it is impossible to know and understand you fully. May we strive to discern when we are being persecuted for witnessing your truth and when we are being critiqued to know you more fully. May we never claim persecution in order to avoid necessary change. Grant that any adversity we face may bring us only closer to the truth of your kingdom. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

Christians throughout the world seek to walk the path that Jesus set for us. May we never walk the easy path of complacency. May we ever seek to speak your truth. May we never stop on the account of social stigma. May we ever seek to die to the world and live in Christ Crucified. Grant that we will continue to walk the way of the prophets and saints of old. We are the crowd.
May we listen, learn, and do. 

 

~ written by Ben G., and posted on ExtraORDOnary

 

Benediction

(based on Revelation 7: 12, 16-17)

 

Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honour and power
and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen!
We go out to be God’s people.
Go in strength to be the saints of God
for you will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike you, nor any scorching heat.
We go out to be God’s people.
Live the way of God with confidence
for God is your shepherd,
and will guide you to the spring of life.
We go out to be God’s people.

 

— from Seasons of the Spirit: All Saints Day—Year A, published by WoodLake Publishing.

 

 

Love, love, love! 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

love love loveYearly Rhythm

26 October  2014, the  20 th Sunday after Pentecost
Year A  Colour: Green

 ‘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 everyday

Devotional Diary
20 – 26 October 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for this week, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Deuteronomy 34:1-12. Moses was allowed to see — but not enter — the Promised Land. He died in the land of Moab and was buried in an unknown burial place there. The Israelites mourned his death for thirty days.

Psalm Response: Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 This psalm is the basis of the text, “O God Our Help in Ages Past.”

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8.  Paul continues his “re-introduction.” He recalls the suffering that accompanied his first visit. He also reminds them of the authenticity and gentleness of his proclamation among them.

Matthew 22:34-46.  The Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question: Which kind of commandment was the greatest? Jesus answers, and concludes his reply with questions for them about the identity of the Messiah. From that day, their questions ceased.

READ MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE

Monday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: your first realisation of God’s love.

Confession: The words of the hymn move from: “All of me and none of you” to “More of me and less of you” to “Less of me and more of you” and then to “None of me and all of you” (Theodore Monod.)  This week reflect on these words and see how God is turning your life inside-out. Today: The “All of me and none of” You areas of your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for your church that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: The young…

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, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in your name.

 

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God. Today: a time when you realised God’s greatness through creation.

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: The “More of me and less of You” areas of your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: the whole congregation of wonderful people…

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to stand secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: a hard time that he carried you through.

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: The “Less of me and more of you” areas of your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: Ministries…

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to stand secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God. Today: A time when He gave you a fresh beginning…

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: The “None of me and all of you” areas of your life”.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: Worship…

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Friday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: The fact that God is love!

Confession: See Monday’s notes.  Today: allowing God to shift you towards laying down your life…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: Its mission (God’s mission!)…

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today:  A time when your heart was full of joy…

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: Asking that God be raised up in your life…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: The spirit of joy…celebration…praise

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: Reason to lift up God’s holy name in praise…

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: Losing your false self, and finding you true self as you worship and lift up God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today:  Living within the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

                                               Weekly Rhythm

Exploring Scripture
Joining our stories to the story of God’s people

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Revised Common Lectionary readings and notes in italics with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Deuteronomy 34:1-12.

Moses was allowed to see — but not enter — the Promised Land. He died in the land of Moab and was buried in an unknown burial place there. The Israelites mourned his death for thirty days.

Prayer Reflection:  To Be What We Have Seen

(based on Deuteronomy 34: 1-12)

Sometimes…

…when we’re paying attention…
…or when we least expect it…
…when we’re looking…
…or when we’re most unassuming…
…you show us something that we have longed to see.

We may be vigilant seekers,
reading into the boring and routine or becoming excitable at the exciting;
wanting to capture with precision and delicacy
a moment that we discern is just for us.

We may play the fool,
backing into a divine embrace;
stumbling upon a transcendent promise;
no less moved by what we have witnessed.
Regardless of circumstances, it remains that we’ve seen it,
and it cannot be unseen.
You have made it seen.
You have shown it to us.
You are the one who led us—willing or reluctant climbers—
up the mountain.
You are the one who says to us,
“I have let you see it with your eyes,
“this beloved landscape of mine,
“this long-sought destination,
“this craved place of blessing and promise.”
Now that we have seen it, what would you have us do?
Now that we have caught a slight glimpse
or been given a lingering vision,
we wonder how to get to the place you’ve shown us.
It is too marvelous a place to live without,
too rich a source of life not to be shared,
too wonderful a reality to be forgotten.

You lead us back down the mountain—willing or reluctant rappellers—
because there is more to see,
and in one of your more clever twists,
we have become the guides,
the ones to show rather than be shown,
the ones to help make it seen.

How best shall we move on from what you have shown?
Simply: forward, to be what we have seen
for others longing to see it.

~ written by Jeff, and posted on Philosophy Over Coffee

To think about:
How are we called to be what we have seen?
Has this got anything to do with loving others as we love ourselves?

Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17  

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past is a hymn by Isaac Watts and paraphrases Psalm 90. It originally consisted of nine stanzas. In present usage, however, the hymn is usually limited to stanzas one, two, three, five, seven and nine. In 1738, John Wesley in his hymnal, Psalms and Hymns, changed the first line of the text from “Our God” to “O God.” Both Watts’ wording and Wesley’s rewording remain in current use. (Source)

Read the hymn alongside the psalm and see how they relate to one another and how they speak into your life:

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
Return, ye sons of men:
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.

To think about:
What is it that may satisfy us?  (See verse 14.)

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. 

Paul continues his “re-introduction.” He recalls the suffering that accompanied his first visit. He also reminds them of the authenticity and gentleness of his proclamation among them.

To think about:
Paul speaks of his life as poured out for others.
How does he do this in this passage?
How are you called to be poured out for others?  (Loving others as you love yourself)

Matthew 22:34-46. 

The Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question: Which kind of commandment was the greatest? Jesus answers, and concludes his reply with questions for them about the identity of the Messiah. From that day, their questions ceased.

“Jesus is not the first person to sum up the Jewish law in a condensed capsule. (See Psalm 15:2-5; Isaiah 33:15; Amos 5:4; Micah 6:8)  Such summarizing was also a favorite device of the rabbis. The laws were not new with Jesus.  But the substance of what it means to love God and who the neighbor is that one is to love – these bear his unmistakable mark.” (Basic Bible Commentary)

To think about:
How does Jesus live out the greatest commandments in his life?
We can only love God when we realize His love for us.  How does Christ life speak of God’s love of you?
How do the greatest commandments guide you in your response of love?

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 

Call to Worship

(inspired by Genesis 22: 1-14; Micah 6:8; Deuteronomy 6:5)

What does God command of us?
To love God with all our heart,
and all our soul,
and all our mind,
and all our strength,
and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

God does not call us to ease or to comfort.
But to presence, and abundance,
and grace in our struggle.
Let us worship the God who believes in us,
and trusts in us, and abides with us.
Let us worship the God who will ask much of us,
but will be beside us every step of the way. (Shortened)

~ written by Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Pastor at First Church Congregational, Rochester, NH.  She blogs here.

 

Opening Litany

(inspired by Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28, Luke 10:25)

Once upon a time
a wise man offered a challenge;
“What is the greatest commandment?”
The calendars on our desks share a vision of greatness;
bills to pay, phone calls to return, appointments to keep.
Love the Lord your God.

The cameras of our memories share what commands us;
children to bathe and partners to help
parents calling and grandchildren hopeful.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

Still the Spirit lures us to new priorities;
open spaces to experience wonder,
strangers becoming friends,
devotion to that which transcends.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

~ written by Katherine Hawker (2002) and posted on Liturgies Outside.

 

Prayer of Intercession

(inspired by Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Mark 12:28-34)

Our prayer today is for all who are victims of cruel laws and petty laws,
those who’re subjected to prejudice
denied opportunities, excluded, pushed to margins.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for all those who’re betrayed,
who don’t know loyalty, who fear to trust, or to love,
and who don’t realise that they’re already loved by you.
-The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the landless and homeless,
the refugee and evicted,
those who find themselves in foreign places and strange places.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the overworked and the underpaid,
for those in dangerous work and those in compassionate work,
for those who long to work but are denied the opportunity
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the Church, for all the branches of the vine
including this one we gather as part of, today:
body of Christ, people of Christ,
for whom the Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the creation gifts,
this earth in all its mighty wonder, yet tender fragility,
the gifts of life and resources to treasure.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

(Our prayer today is for the gifts we give
that we will give generously and thankfully
and that we’ll use these gifts with wisdom and love.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.)

Our prayer today is for those who lie close to our hearts
Those whom we worry about, those whom we miss,
those who carry disproportionate burdens at this time …

(local intercessions)

The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

~ written by Rev. Iain Macdonald.  Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website.

 

 Commission & Benediction

(inspired by Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 12:28-34)

Hear this: the Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
Therefore go out into the world
and love the Lord your God
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love others as you love yourself.

And may God give you justice and freedom;
May Christ Jesus set you free for love;
and may the Holy Spirit go where you go
……..and protect you on your way.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.

~ Copyright © 2000 Nathan Nettleton, LaughingBird.net

 

Exploring Presence and Purpose, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

purpose and presence smallYearly Rhythm

19 October  2014, the  19 th Sunday after Pentecost
Year A,  Colour: Green

‘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 everyday

Devotional Diary  13 – 19 October 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

The Revised Common Lectionary readings for this Sunday, 19 October, with thanks to www.gbod.org 

Exodus 33:12-23.
Moses seeks assurance that God is with him and the people as he continues to lead them. God promises ever-abiding presence. Moses wants more than words. He asks to see God’s glory. God responds by allowing Moses to see the “after-glow” of the Divine Glory as God proclaims the Divine Name from a safe distance.

Psalm 99. 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.
Paul greets the Christians in Thessalonica with gratitude for their example of joyful faith in the face of persecution.

Matthew 22:15-22.
In the temple, a group of Pharisees try to trap Jesus, but he traps them in their own hypocrisy and divided allegiances.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: This week use these verses to guide your confessions:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29  As you confess today focus on those things that “weary” you.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional resources here.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.     Our first prayer goal:  Every Member worship.  Our prayer is that every member would have a heart to express the abundant worth of God in his or her life and in this world.

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 said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today focus on the heavy burden of false gods on your life’s throne.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the local church that we are part of    Our second prayer goal: Every member care: Here our goal is that each member may have a deep sense that they are cared for by their fellow Christians.  Pray that we may all be involved in caring for each other and that no-one may be left out of the circle of care.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  As you confess today focus on a new center for your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.    Our third prayer goal:  Every member ministry:  Here we pray that each person would discover that they are called and gifted by God.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today find rest in your submission to God’s way…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.        Our fourth prayer goal: Every member a host:  Here our prayer is that we as a church community would be a host for the gospel: that we would reach out and invite others to join us in our walk of faith.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today ask God how He would lead you to his light yoke.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.     Our fifth prayer goal:  Building a people of Praise.  I ask you to simple reflect on this statement and see how God guides you to pray for your church.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  As you confess today ask God to enthuse and inspire you in the way of the “light yoke.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.  Our sixth prayer goal:  Living the Kingdom of God.  I ask you to simple reflect on this statement and see how God guides you to pray for your church.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today move into worship and offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.     Worship in Spirit and in Truth..  I ask you to simple reflect on this statement and see how God guides you to pray for our church.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication:  Jesus said, “Follow me!”   What does that mean in your life today?

                                                                          

Weekly Rhythm

Exploring Scripture
Joining our stories to the story of God’s people

 DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Exodus 33:12-23.

Moses seeks assurance that God is with him and the people as he continues to lead them. God promises ever-abiding presence. Moses wants more than words. He asks to see God’s glory. God responds by allowing Moses to see the “after-glow” of the Divine Glory as God proclaims the Divine Name from a safe distance.

Moses is seeking reassurance for the journey ahead.  Who will be with him?  He asks that God continue to teach him.  God’s presence with Moses is what it is all about.

What journeys are you on or part of?  Think of the journeys that you share in community with others.  How would this conversation between God and Moses speak into these journeys?

 

Psalm 99. 

This psalm is one among those used at the Israelites’ New Year festival and celebrates the enthronement of the Lord.

Verse 1: the cherubim are winged figures on top of the Ark of the Covenant and symbolise the heavenly creatures surrounding God in worship.
Verse 2: Zion is Jerusalem
Verse 3: God is holy – different from any other.  The difference is expanded upon as the psalm continues.
Verse 5: The footstool may be the Ark of the Covenant.
Verse 5-8: These historical figures are described as mediators between God and Israel.
Verse 9: Calls us to worship for God is holy. (The holy hill is Mount Zion the Mount of which Jerusalem and the Temple were built.)

How does the holiness (the otherness) of God give us hope in our world?
Who/what are the mediators that connect you to God?
How does God’s holiness call you into worship?

 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.

Paul greets the Christians in Thessalonica with gratitude for their example of joyful faith in the face of persecution.

Verse 1: Paul, Silas and Timothy were all present at the beginning of this community in Thessalonica (See Acts 16:1-5 and 17:1-15)
Note that this church is  in  God the Father and Jesus Christ.  What does it mean to be in God?
Verses 2-10: How do these verses continues to assure the Thessalonians that they are in The Father and Son?
If Paul were writing to you how might he reassure you that you are in the heart of Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Matthew 22:15-22.

In the temple, a group of Pharisees try to trap Jesus, but he traps them in their own hypocrisy and divided allegiances.

“The question (verse 17) was cleverly conceived.  No matter what answer Jesus gave, he would condemn himself either as subversive of Roman Law and order or unfaithful to Jewish commandment.  Jesus’ answer put the decision back on his questioners.  Persons had to decide what their faith and loyalty required them to do.  Thus Jesus avoided a trap and left the ethical question to personal decision.” (Basic Bible Commentary)

We do not live in an ideal world, we find ourselves entangled in structures that offer good and bad.  How do we live in the midst of all this?  We do not hold ourselves apart; we pay to Caesar what is due to Caesar.  But we do not simply rubber stamp the structures and their injustice.  We know who we are and who guides our steps and whose Kingdom we serve and build.  We seek God’s transformation for all.

What do you find difficult about living within the structures of this world?
How might you be challenged by these structures?
How can you be part of Kingdom of God transformation?

Going deeper:

All our passages this week explore Presence and Purpose in some way. Moses is leading the Israelites on the journey of liberation to their new land.  The Thessalonians are witnesses to their salvation.  The “trapping” question in Matthew’s gospel is also asking how we live out our faith in a real world.  All these journeys and callings are made possible and are encourage by God’s presence and reign.

Think back over this week’s passages and see how they speak to you of purpose and presence.  The outline below may help you as you do this:

 

  • Exodus 33:12-23:  God with us in the journey of liberation
  • Psalm 99: God is on the throne, God is holy, worship the Lord.  We are connected to God (mediators)
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10: The reassurance (and signs) that we are in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Matthew 22:15-22: Engaging the world from a Kingdom of God perspective (this is our journey.)

 

Today choose one of the above passages that has spoken to you.  Read it slowly and out loud.  See what strikes your heart.

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

Confession

(inspired by Psalm 99)

Forgive us, O God,
when we stumble in the darkness
and turn away from your face.
Strengthen us to walk in your brightness
and live in your ways.
Enlighten the shadows
that keep us from growing
in your love and light.
Shower us with your grace,
that we might shine as your people
upon this earth.

~ from the Abingdon Worship Annual, posted on the Cokesbury website.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving and intercession

(inspired by Matthew 22:15-22, I Thessalonians 1:1-10, Exodus 33:12-23)

 

Companion God,
we praise you for the grace which is always on the move,
from death to life, desolation to hope, famine to feasting.
As we travel this road of pain and rejoicing,
we give thanks that you go with us as our guardian and friend:
that you have taken us by the hand and led us,
giving guidance and support.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that you have strengthened us for the work of faith,
the labour of love, the steadfastness of hope.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that you have made us imitators of your saints and disciples,
and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that as we have received your Word with joy,
even in the midst of our suffering,
you have revealed to us your ways.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that we belong to you and you have shown us your glory.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that through our example others have been encouraged and inspired.

Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

written by Nick Fawcett, adapted by Rev. I. Scott McCarthy and posted on the Starters for Sunday website from the Church of Scotland.

 

 

Reflection: Matthew 22: 15-22

 

For many years we have had the mistaken notion
that all the problems of the world
can be solved with a few dollar bills.

In Jesus’ time the Pharisees came to ask him if they should
pay taxes,
and Jesus, looking at a silver coin,
asked whose face and name were engraved on it.
“The Emperor’s,” they said.
“Well then, pay to the Emperor what is his” Jesus replied.

Has God’s face ever been on a coin?
We are the coin that bears the living likeness of God.
Giving of ourselves with whatever that may include,
is the only legal currency of the kingdom of heaven.

~ from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand website.