Monthly Archives: January 2015

Words and Actions

beach staticeYearly Rhythm

1 February 2015
The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany,
Year B, Colour: Green

‘As Jesus’ disciple, I am his apprentice in kingdom living. I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens as he would lead my life if he were I.’ Dallas Willard

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary
26 January –  1 February 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND ADDITIONAL COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE

Revised Common Lectionary Readings with thanks to www.gbod.org. The 4th Sunday after Epiphany.

Deuteronomy 18:15-20The people are afraid to hear God’s voice directly. God promises to raise up a future prophet, like Moses, to continue speaking to them. The people will be accountable for what the prophet tells them. And the prophet must speak only God’s word, or die.

Psalm Response: Psalm 111Praise to God for fulfilling promises of deliverance, establishing the nation, and providing guidance for the people.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13. Some in the church in Corinth have no qualms about eating meat that has been offered in pagan rites (which may very well have been nearly all the meat in Corinth!), because they — personally — do not recognize the existence of the gods to whom the meat was offered or the validity of the rites by which they were offered. Paul reminds these “cognoscenti” that while their reasoning may be correct in theory, most folks in Corinth would have been so saturated by the polytheistic culture that following Jesus for them would require them to stay away from any association with other ritual practices. Therefore, he warns them not to engage in any action that could be misinterpreted and so “wound the conscience” of “the weak.”

Mark 1:21-28Jesus teaches with authority and performs an exorcism in the synagogue at Capernaum. In Jewish practice, a person known to be a demoniac would not have been admitted into the synagogue. The presence and prophetic authority of Jesus both surface the demon and cast it out. The people are amazed, and the report about this “went out” (same verb in Greek as the command to the unclean spirit to “come out”) to the entire region of Galilee.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life.  Today: Think of home…

Confession: This week examine your use of the power and influence that God has given you.  If God had to ask you to account for your use of the power (gifts, talents, abilities, resources,) he has given you, how would you answer?  Use the prayer of dedication to help you in this process of repentance.   Possible focus: Indecision.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray for your own life: how is God seeking to send you?

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

             Dedication: “God I come to you as an empty vessel.  I have no power of own; that is no genuine, life giving power.  Make me an instrument of your power, I ask, and fill me with your life giving Spirit.  I yield myself to your mission and purposes.  Make me sensitive to your promptings.  Lord, I pray that the journey ahead may be a journey of power in “yieldedness” to your Spirit.”

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life.  Today: Think of people…

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Possible focus: Pride

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray for your church. Pray for a specific part of its life of service.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: See Monday’s dedication.

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life. Today: Think of creation…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus: Success/service

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray for ministers of the Gospel that they may lead while following Christ.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: See Monday’s dedication.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life. Today: Think of church…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus: the example of Christ.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray for your denominational church body:  that it may be empowered for mission.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: See Monday’s dedication.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life.  Think of God’s word…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus: Sacrifice.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray for all who are struggling to see themselves as empowered to serve God.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: See Monday’s dedication.

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life.  Think of your country…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus: Submission

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray for all who are facing opposition and hardship in their service of God.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: See Monday’s dedication.

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day praise God for a blessing that has touched your life.  Think of God…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus: being set free to serve.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for God’s direction and strength in our service in His name.  Today pray that in your worship you may serve God by lifting up his name.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: See Monday’s dedication.

 

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people.

 Additional information about the readings: (Notes in italics are with thanks to www.gbod.org.)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20The people are afraid to hear God’s voice directly. God promises to raise up a future prophet, like Moses, to continue speaking to them. The people will be accountable for what the prophet tells them. And the prophet must speak only God’s word, or die.

 *How has God spoken to you recently?
*What message have you heard?
*How have you responded?

Psalm Response: Psalm 111Praise to God for fulfilling promises of deliverance, establishing the nation, and providing guidance for the people.

 

The works of the Lord sustain us.
God has blessed us with life.
The precepts of the Lord guide us.
God has blessed us with wisdom.
The love of the Lord redeems us.
God has blessed us with salvation.
Go with God’s blessings.

— from the Worship Elements page of the Ministry Matters website.

 

*How does God sustain you, give you wisdom and bless you with salvation?
(Think of your community as you reflect on this question.)

 

1 Corinthians 8:1-13. Some in the church in Corinth have no qualms about eating meat that has been offered in pagan rites (which may very well have been nearly all the meat in Corinth!), because they — personally — do not recognize the existence of the gods to whom the meat was offered or the validity of the rites by which they were offered. Paul reminds these “cognoscenti” that while their reasoning may be correct in theory, most folks in Corinth would have been so saturated by the polytheistic culture that following Jesus for them would require them to stay away from any association with other ritual practices. Therefore, he warns them not to engage in any action that could be misinterpreted and so “wound the conscience” of “the weak.”

*How does this passage call us to be loving rather than right?

Prayer of Confession 

(based on 1 Corinthians 8: 1-13)

Holy God, we confess that we are an arrogant people – so full of “knowledge” that we hardly have any room for love.  We confess that we too often judge when we really need to listen.  We confess that we push people away when we you call us to welcome them into our communities.  We confess that we think only about protecting ourselves when we are challenged to risk everything for others.  Lord, forgive us for being more concerned with “being right” than we are with “showing love”.  Forgive us for demanding uniformity when you call us to celebrate diversity.  Guide us, Great God, to live according to your unconditional love.  Teach us to see one another as sisters and brothers so that we may learn to live as one family.

— written by Amy Loving,
and posted on The Worship Closet: The Place for Creative Worship Ideas. 


Mark 1:21-28
Jesus teaches with authority and performs an exorcism in the synagogue at Capernaum. In Jewish practice, a person known to be a demoniac would not have been admitted into the synagogue. The presence and prophetic authority of Jesus both surface the demon and cast it out. The people are amazed, and the report about this “went out” (same verb in Greek as the command to the unclean spirit to “come out”) to the entire region of Galilee.

Prayer for Worship

(inspired by Mark 1:21-28)

Brothers and sisters in Christ,
what hopes do you bring to worship?
We bring hope for health and wholeness.
What  afflictions do you bring to worship?
Physical pain?
    From illness and injury.
Emotional pain?
    From sad and scary life situations.
Mental pain?
    From dis-ease of many kinds.
With all of these afflictions,
it’s a miracle that any of us have made it to worship this morning!
But where else would we be?
We yearn to know God’s powerful love
and to know that wholeness is possible.
In today’s gospel, a person with an “afflicting spirit” * interrupts Jesus
and Jesus frees him.
And where does the miracle of his story and our stories begin?
When we bring all of who we are
—hopeful, afflicted, bold—
 into relationship with the Divine.
So come, let us enter this sanctuary with our whole selves
—hopeful, afflicted and bold—
Come, let us worship!

 

— taken from Holy, Whole-y One: Service Prayers for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany,
written by the Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniel,
pastor of Plymouth United Church, UCC, in Spring, Texas.
Posted on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways website.

 

*What would it mean for you and how would you “bring all of who you are – hopeful, afflicted and bold – into the relationship with the divine”?

Hearing God’s Call

girl with book smallYearly Rhythm

25 January 2015
The Third Sunday after Epiphany
Year B, Colour: Green

We continue to learn from the example of God-with-us (Jesus) while building a community that nurtures forgiveness and love. The colour Green for this season is the colour of new life and growth.

“Living the life of Jesus, day by day, until one day it becomes our own.” John Chittester.

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary : 19 – 25 Jan 2015

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday 11 January 2015. (3rd  Sunday after Epiphany) with thanks to www.gbod.org

Jonah 3:1-5, 10Jonah finally begins to fulfil his assignment to proclaim God’s judgment to the people of Nineveh (“that great city”). He walks through about one-third of the city’s streets on the first day, announcing that only forty days remain before doom arrives. The response of the entire city is rapid and complete: The entire human population fasts, “and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth” including the farm animals. God relents and does not bring harm to the city.

Psalm Response: Psalm 62:5-12In God alone our souls in silence wait. In God alone is our help.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31Paul reminds the Christians at Corinth that they should order their lives by the realities of God’s kingdom, not by the standards and practices of “this world” that is “passing away”.

Mark 1:14-20Mark offers the core of Jesus’ proclamation, perhaps the title or tagline of every sermon Jesus preached — “God’s kingdom has drawn near: repent and believe this good news!” Jesus calls some fishermen to leave their livelihood and their families to follow him.

Monday:

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

Confession: Pray: ‘Lord God we pray that in the quiet moments of our lives (as we become more aware of our inner lives and your Spirit in us) that your Spirit may bring about an inner transformation that may empower the outward call of the Gospel.’ Then be still and become aware of God’s life in you.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs encouragement.

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:  Our hands and feet are His.

Tuesday:

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

Confession: Lord God we examine our interaction with our circles of friends and we pray that here we may witness through our lives and words of care and love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to know that they are loved.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Wednesday:

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

Confession: Lord we examine the works of our hands and bodies.  In our work enable us to build your Kingdom through works of love, justice and righteousness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to discover faith in God.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Thursday:

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

Confession: Lord we examine our church lives.  Forgive us when we are passengers and lead us into callings of service.  Enable us to live out the Gospel of truth through the body of Christ.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to find work.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Friday:

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

Confession: Lord we pray that we may be guided as to how we can live out our faith in the context of our country.  Lord we find ourselves in this context; enable us to witness and be creative.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray for someone who needs strength in a struggle.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

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: Lord we examine our witness when we are among those who do not know us.  When we are in shopping queues or dealing with strangers at work.  Teach us how to build a positive atmosphere in all our contacts and not just among our inner circle.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs to find joy in living.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

Sunday:

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

Confession: Pray for any arena of life where you sense you need to confess and be empowered for new life and direction.  God is with you in every area of life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs reconciliation.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Our hands and feet are His.

 

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people.

Additional information about the readings: (Notes in italics are with thanks to www.gbod.org.)
These are also found in the PDF which you can download HERE.

Jonah 3:1-5, 10.

Jonah finally begins to fulfill his assignment to proclaim God’s judgment to the people of Nineveh (“that great city”). He walks through about one-third of the city’s streets on the first day, announcing that only forty days remain before doom arrives. The response of the entire city is rapid and complete: The entire human population fasts, “and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth” including the farm animals. God relents and does not bring harm to the city.

We need to remember that Jonah comes from a position of prejudice: the Ninevites are people from outside the Hebrew fold; they are not the “chosen”.  Many Israelites would have considered them outside God’s saving grace, beyond repentance.  His prejudice is part of the reason that Jonah flees the call of God but God’s call does not give up that easily. The Ninevites willingness to repent becomes an example to the people of Israel.  This story challenges our prejudices.  Try to read the entire book of Jonah and enjoy the story (it is only a couple of pages long).

Prayer of Confession

(inspired by Jonah; Mark 1:14-20)

God…you call us…and sometimes…we duck under the table…
hoping you didn’t notice us when you walked into the room.
You call us…and sometimes…we grab a stapler and a stack of papers…
trying to look too busy to be bothered at the moment.
You call us…and sometimes we just say, “No!”
We know that we aren’t expected to do everything…
but we often forget that you call us to be our selves
in the places where our very self is what is most needed.
So give us the grace to say “Yes” to your call…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

— written by Rev. Scott Cervas, and posted on the LiturgyLink website.


Psalm Response: Psalm 62:5-12.

In God alone our souls in silence wait. In God alone is our help.

Confession

(based on Psalm 62)

In the midst of the noise, confusion, and chaos of life, our souls long for quiet.  God longs for us to return to that safe place found in the presence of our Lord.  Trusting in our refuge-providing God, let us pour out our hearts before the Holy One:

God of Salvation, we seek refuge in all the wrong places.  We place our confidence in taking things from others, instead of delighting in with what we receive from you.  We set our hopes on fame and worldly possessions, instead of relying on your grace and steadfast love.  Almighty Deliverer, rescue us from our delusions.  Save us from our foolish choices, and guide us in the better way. 

— written by Amy Loving, and posted on The Worship Closet website.

How do you seek refuge in the Lord?
Is this escaping from life?
How is finding our refuge connection with real life?

1 Corinthians 7:29-31.

Paul reminds the Christians at Corinth that they should order their lives by the realities of God’s kingdom, not by the standards and practices of “this world” that is “passing away”.

We must remember that it is the sinful nature that is referred to as the world.  This is what is passing away. Scripture clearly reveals that God’s intention is to save and renew creation, not forget it.  It is the things that are ordered by God’s Kingdom that will be the building blocks of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev 21).

Are there things in your life that need to pass away?
Are there things in your life that need to be “ordered by God’s Kingdom”?

Mark 1:14-20.

Mark offers the core of Jesus’ proclamation, perhaps the title or tagline of every sermon Jesus preached — “God’s kingdom has drawn near: repent and believe this good news!” Jesus calls some fishermen to leave their livelihood and their families to follow him.

Follow Me (A Meditation)

We could only hear the voice
We could not see him
for he stood with the sun behind him
and he glowed
We dropped our nets where they were
screwing our eyes at the light
confused by its brightness
yet drawn by those words
“Come and follow me”
The light shifted just at that moment.
This was the daring plan
all heaven had been working on
through incarnation
and annunciation
around magnificat
those ancient words
scripted to lead nations into the reign of God
and here it was
bold
clever
centuries of work
whole generations had been longing for
a complete, worked out plan of salvation:
“Will you come and follow me”
it worked for us
but churches and project workers
have tried more advanced programmes
ever since.

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Listening to the Stones.http://newkilpatrickblog.typepad.com/nk-blogging/mucky-paws/  Used by permission.

How does this plan of following Christ work for you?

 

 

Yes!

yes smallYearly Rhythm

18 January 2015
The Second Sunday after Epiphany
Year B, Colour: Green

Our worship continues to encourage us to learn from Jesus, God with us: to listen and hear the call to ‘Follow me!’ as well as to provide a community of love and forgiveness in which to work this out in real life.

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Devotional Diary for 12 – 18 January 2015

Readings for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, notes with thanks to www.gbod.org.

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20) Samuel had some difficulty responding to a call from God. The message with the call (verses 11-20) was even harder to deliver to one who had been a father and a mentor.

Psalm Response: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Paul confronts the ease with which some in the church in Corinth could justify using prostitutes. This is no mere economic arrangement, Paul reminds us. Just as in marriage we are made one with a spouse, so in baptism we have been made one with Christ. As spouses belong to and are united with each other, so we belong to and are united with Christ. We are to give glory and allegiance to the One to whom we belong.

John 1:43-51 Jesus calls Philip to follow him. Philip announces to Nathanael that he has found the one expected by Moses and the prophets. Nathanael is skeptical until Jesus tells him he was watching Nathanael as he was sitting under a fig tree.

Additional thoughts on the texts as they might apply to your life are given in Weekly Rhythm (scroll down.)

Monday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 12:7) O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us…

Confession: This week: Examining our expectations. Often we have the wrong expectations and we miss the work of God’s Spirit in our midst because we are looking in the wrong place!  This week spend time listing your expectations then ask God to reveal the work that He is doing around you.  Then submit your expectations to God’s ways. Pray that God will allow you to find joy in being part of His work, according to His plan and timing. “In His time, in His time, He makes all things beautiful in His time.” Today’s focus: Are my expectations self-centred?

The Word: See readings above and notes on readings or use your own reading plan.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church community at the start of the year.  Pray for a sense of renewal and refreshing for all the members of your 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: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer) 

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 11:7) For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Are my expectations part of the big picture?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:This week pray for your church community at the start of the year.  Pray that those who are fence-sitting may make a decision for Christ that would get them “running the race with determination”!

Personal Prayers:

               Dedication: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer) 

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 10:16) The Lord is king forever and ever…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Am I willing to work as a team in the Kingdom of God?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:This week pray for your church community at the start of the year. Pray that those who are paralysed by hurts and rejection may find courage to move towards healing, forgiveness and be freed to live well.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer)  

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 9:1) I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Are God’s expectations the better way to go?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:This week pray for your church community at the start of the year. Pray that Christ may be your church’s Alpha and Omega (beginning and end)!

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer) 

Friday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 8:1) O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is you name in all the earth!

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Am I brave enough to wrestle with the ‘Kingdom of God’ vision.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church community at the start of the year.  Pray that God may give your church members people a deep realisation of the importance of reaching out for Christ.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer) 

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 7:10) My shield is God most high…

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: God’s expectations: true joy, love, life, healing, justice, righteousness, peace etc.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church community at the start of the year.  Pray that God may lead your church’s members to be sensitive to people in need; to care and love and not to manipulate as we reach out to them.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer) 

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 6:9) The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Trusting God: ‘I am no longer my own but yours…’

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church community at the start of the year. Pray that God may touch the hearts of those who will be in the worship services today.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “I have found my place of service and that is enough for anyone.” (Albert Schweitzer)

 

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people.

 Additional information about the readings: (Notes in italics are with thanks to www.gbod.org.)

 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20) Samuel had some difficulty responding to a call from God. The message with the call (verses 11-20) was even harder to deliver to one who had been a father and a mentor.

When have you sensed God voice speaking to you?

How do you respond to this voice of God?

“A child once dreamed the Voice was calling his name. . .’Samuel’;
Fishermen once heard the Voice when a young man bid them follow;
And still the Voice beckons today. . .can you hear?
Here I am. Send me.

Moses protested vehemently as the Voice spoke at the burning bush;
Mary stood amazed as the Voice proclaimed impending birth;
And still the Voice beckons today. . .can you hear?
Here I am. Send me.

Rosa Parks followed the Voice to the front of the bus;
Martin Luther King, Jr. heard the Voice as the bullet shattered;
And still the Voice beckons today. . .can you hear?
Here I am. Send me.

The Voice beckons from humble places. .
in the tears of hungry children,
in the cries of the frail and frightened elderly,
in the pleas of those whose dreams have been too long deferred;
and still the Voice beckons today. . .can you hear?
Here I am. Send me.

A timid believer pauses to listen to the Voice;
A struggling church hears the Voice and turns;
and still the Voice beckons today. . .can you hear?
Here I am. Send me.

 — written by Katherine Hawker, and posted on her Liturgy Outside website.

 

Psalm Response: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18.

Use the prayer below to allow this psalm to speak into your life.

“God, you know us better than we know ourselves.
You know our thoughts,
our weaknesses,
our motivations,
our sins.
And you love us still.
Forgive us when we don’t believe such love is true or possible;
When we wonder how You could love us just as we are,
when we forget our intricate construction,
fearfully,
wonderfully made,
in Your image!
Remove from our minds every thought which keeps us from you.
Break down the walls,
push aside the pride,
and help us to trust anew.
You know our hearts.
And you love us still.

Amen.

~ from All Things New, written by Rev. Susan A. Blain and Rev. Scott Ressman.
Posted on the United Church of Christ website.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Paul confronts the ease with which some in the church in Corinth could justify using prostitutes. This is no mere economic arrangement, Paul reminds. Just as in marriage we are made one with a spouse, so in baptism we have been made one with Christ. As spouses belong to and are united with each other, so we belong to and are united with Christ. We are to give glory and allegiance to the One to whom we belong.

The things we connect with shape our lives.  How is this dangerous? How is this life giving?

(Use the litany below to identify life-giving connections)

“For no one can lay any foundation
other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (3:11)

The foundation for blessing and grace.
The foundation for our unity.

I always thank my God for you
because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. (1:3, 4)

The source of wisdom.
The source of our ministry and teaching.

God is the source of your life in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1:30)

What is God’s wisdom for human sexuality, legal disputes,
marriage, singleness, widowhood, food sacrificed to idols?
What is God’s wisdom for testing and temptation?

Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
which you have from God,
and that you are not your own?
For you were bought with a price;
therefore glorify God in your body. (6:19-20)

How do we glorify God in what we wear for worship,
how we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
How do we recognize and release the gifts of the Spirit
for the common good?

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three,
and the greatest of these is love. (13:13)

Let us receive and proclaim the good news
of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Let us give thanks for this life
and for the resurrection of the dead.

Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting? (15:54-55)

For Jesus Christ is our sure foundation.
For Jesus Christ is our sure foundation.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.” (16:23)

 ~ written by April Yamasaki, and posted on the website of Emmanuel Mennonite Church.

 

John 1:43-51 Jesus calls Philip to follow him. Philip announces to Nathanael that he has found the one expected by Moses and the prophets. Nathanael is sceptical until Jesus tells him he was watching Nathanael as he was sitting under a fig tree.

 

Come and See!  (Inspired by John 1: 38-39, John 1:46)

 Come and see, come and see!
We come to see for ourselves who this Jesus person is.
Come and see, come and see!
We come with open hearts to experience Jesus
Come and see, come and see!
We come to follow Jesus
Come and see, come and see!
We come to deepen our relationship with God.
Come and see, come and see!
Yes, Lord we come to follow you!

~ posted on Lutheran Retreats, Camps, and Conferences

 Have you come and seen who Jesus is?
And how have you responded to what you have seen and heard?