Monthly Archives: August 2015

Justice for ALL, Jesus and the demons

lookout

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 6 September 2015
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite
which is yes
e e cummings

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 1 – 6 September 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org:

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23. A selection of sayings about wealth, justice, generosity, and the poor.

Psalm Response: Psalm 125. This Psalm speaks of God’s protection for the righteous, a match to the theme of the readings from Proverbs.

James 2:1-10 (11-13), 14-17.  James teaches that partiality based on economic or social status is contrary to the call of Christian discipleship. God has enabled the poor to be rich in faith, but the rich have often exercised their power to oppress people and keep them poor. Disciples of Jesus must take direct action to relieve the needs of the poor — “faith without works is dead.”

Mark 7:24-37.  Jesus goes to Lebanon for a vacation and there encounters a local woman whose begging ultimately convinces him to free her daughter from a demon. Returning to Galilee, and re-entering the region of the Decapolis (where he had cast out a legion of demons), Jesus heals a man who could not hear or speak. The more he ordered others not to speak of this, the more they spread it abroad.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and again I say, “Rejoice!”  Galatians 4:4

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today?  Today’s focus: Your passions.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our willingness to have shared goals.

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)

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your goals.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our prayers for one another.

Personal Prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: “But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends.” Colossians 2:22

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: How you spend your energy.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our confidence in God’s way.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: “Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!” Colossians 3:4

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your compassion.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our surrender to God’s leading.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Friday:

Adoration Focus: “You are the people of God; he loves you and chose you for his own.” Colossians 3:12

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your enthusiasm.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our celebration of God with us.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.”  Ephesians 1:3

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your taking up of God’s life in yourself.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus:  Our call to mission that crosses barriers and boundaries.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does mean for you in the day ahead?

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son!” Ephesians 1:6

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your heart of worship.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus:  The shared life of worship.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?


Weekly Rhythm

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

 

Questions and prayers to explore the readings further. The notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.)

As you read remember the three basic questions:
What does the passage say?  What does the passage mean?  How does it apply to my life?

 Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23. A selection of sayings about wealth, justice, generosity, and the poor.

Prayer  

(inspired by Proverbs 22, James 2:1-17)

Gracious God,
we come before you today knowing that we often fall short of your call
to love one another well.
We allow ourselves to be blinded by wealth and power.
We ignore those around us who suffer injustice, poverty, and rejection.
We tune out the cries of the poor and those on the edges of our communities.
Help us to see your great generosity,
hear your word of mercy,
and feel your great love for all who need your redemptive grace.
Strengthen us to reach out in service to those who are in need.
Make us aware of those outside our own communities,
that we may see them as your precious children
and serve them in humility and joy.
May we continue to grow in grace
as we learn how to serve you
in the name of the great Servant,
even Jesus Christ. Amen.

~ Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press.
Posted on the Ministry Matters website.

 

Psalm Response: Psalm 125. This Psalm speaks of God’s protection for the righteous, a match to the theme of the readings from Proverbs.


James 2:1-10 (11-13), 14-17
.  James teaches that partiality based on economic or social status is contrary to the call of Christian discipleship. God has enabled the poor to be rich in faith, but the rich have often exercised their power to oppress people and keep them poor. Disciples of Jesus must take direct action to relieve the needs of the poor — “faith without works is dead.”

Prayer

(inspired by the book of James)

This prayer is a repeat from last week and will apply to next week’s reading from James again.

Father of Lights, from whom comes every perfect gift,
hear our prayers which we offer fervently to you, and in the name of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

We pray for the church, that we might show forth our faith in action,
regard all with impartiality, and be quick to listen and slow to anger.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our nation, that whenever trials may befall us,
that God may grant us endurance and wisdom.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the world, that the lowly may be raised up,
and that mercy may fall on us all.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, the injured, the vulnerable,
and those undergoing all forms of adversity,
that they might all be raised up; especially ______.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those celebrating this week, especially ____.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who have died (especially ____),
that they would draw near to God, and that God would draw near to them.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, let our prayers be offered to you
with the gentleness that is born from your wisdom from above,
that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and full of mercy. Amen.

 

~ written by Rick Morley, and posted on his A Garden Path blog.

 

 Mark 7:24-37.  Jesus goes to Lebanon for a vacation and there encounters a local woman whose begging ultimately convinces him to free her daughter from a demon. Returning to Galilee, and re-entering the region of the Decapolis (where he had cast out a legion of demons), Jesus heals a man who could not hear or speak. The more he ordered others not to speak of this, the more they spread it abroad.

Notice Christ’s compassion: He is prepared to have his mind changed by the Syro-Phoenician woman.  In the case of the deaf and mute man, notice how Jesus uses “sign language” and mouths an easily lip-read word.

Words of love, being fruitful, clean from the inside

little stream kirstenbosch

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 30 August 2015
The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B

“Because our hearts are oriented primarily by desire, by what we love, and because those desires are shaped and molded by the habit-forming practices in which we participate, it is the rituals and practices…that shape our imaginations and how we orient ourselves toward the world.”

-James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom

To discover why following the Revised Common Lectionary and the seasons of the Church Year click here! And some further reading here.

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 24 – 30 August 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org:

Song of Solomon 2:8-13. A suitor calls on his beloved to prepare for their uniting.

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9.  A fitting response to the first reading with its celebration of young love and marriage.

James 1:17-27. Be the first fruits of God’s generosity toward others. Stay away from excess and impurity. Actively do the word. Restrain the tongue. Make sure the weak and vulnerable are protected.

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem confront Jesus about why his disciples do not follow the customary hand washing rituals before eating. Jesus insists that true cleanness is not a matter of external cleansing, but the cleansing of the “inner self.” Uncleanness results not from anything external, but only and always from what is inside.

Monday:

Adoration Focus:  Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: This week our focus is the engaged life.  Confess ways in which you have quit or put your arrow back into the quiver.  Offer your mind to God for a new spirit of Kingdom of God engagement: Be a Kingdom Builder!  How is He calling you to engage?  Link this to the Shared focus below.

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?”  Area of focus: Making the difference.

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)

            Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?” Area of focus:  Meeting a need.

Personal Prayers:

            Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?”  Area of focus:  Discovering a new avenue of service.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus:  Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?”  Area of focus: The mission of your church community.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?”  Area of focus:  An area that is facing threat.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?” Area of focus: A confusing issue…

Personal prayers:

           Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Spend some time just sitting at the feet of God each day and worship in the presence of His glory.  Complete these phrases in different ways each day:  Lord you are wonderful because….  Thank you Lord for…..

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Listen to God, how is He calling you to pray? Engage your mind in your prayers. God is asking, “What do you want me to do for (with) you?” Area of focus: Worship.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Bible Verse “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  (Matthew 7:7)

 

Weekly Rhythm

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

Questions and prayers to explore the readings further.    The notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.

As you read remember the three basic questions: What does the passage say?
What does the passage mean?
How does it apply to my life?

 Song of Solomon 2:8-13. A suitor calls on his beloved to prepare for their uniting.

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9.  A fitting response to the first reading with its celebration of young love and marriage.

  

James 1:17-27. Be the first fruits of God’s generosity toward others. Stay away from excess and impurity. Actively do the word. Restrain the tongue. Make sure the weak and vulnerable are protected.

Prayer of Intercession (inspired by the book of James)

Father of Lights, from whom comes every perfect gift,
hear our prayers which we offer fervently to you,
and in the name of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
We pray for the church,
that we might show forth our faith in action,
regard all with impartiality,
and be quick to listen and slow to anger.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our (my) prayer.

We pray for our nation,
that whenever trials may befall us,
that God may grant us endurance and wisdom.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for the world,
that the lowly may be raised up,
and that mercy may fall on us all.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, the injured, the vulnerable,
and those undergoing all forms of adversity,
that they might all be raised up; especially ______.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for those celebrating this week, especially ____.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who have died (especially ____),
that they would draw near to God, and that God would draw near to them.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
let our prayers be offered to you
with the gentleness that is born from your wisdom from above,
that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and full of mercy. Amen.

~ written by Rick Morley, and posted on his A Garden Path blog.

  

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem confront Jesus about why his disciples do not follow the customary hand washing rituals before eating. Jesus insists that true cleanness is not a matter of external cleansing, but the cleansing of the “inner self.” Uncleanness results not from anything external, but only and always from what is inside.

 

Gospel Reflection

(inspired by Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)

These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far away.  Mark 7:7

Lord,
let our hearts not be
far from you.

Help us reach out to our neighbour,
even when we are busy or tired.
Let us tear down walls
when we’d
rather
let them stand.

Stretch us, please.

Whether we are
visiting a prisoner, offering a smile, feeding the hungry,
be within us so that whatever we do,
we do with your love.

Let the world know we are your disciples
not because our hands are clean,
but because they are soiled
with the mark of your
people.

 

~ written by Anne Osdieck, and posted on Saint Louis University’s The Center for Liturgy web site.

 

 

The house of God, the armour of God and the words of life

NG KERK Franschoek

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 23 August 2015
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Ordinary Time
Year B
Colour: Green

“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance,but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers.”

-Dr. Ester Buchholz-

For more about the rhythm of the church year and the Revised Common Lectionary click HERE!

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 17 – 23 August 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE:

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org:

 1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43.  Highlights of the story of the dedication of the temple complex in Jerusalem with extended portions of the dedicatory prayer by King Solomon. In this prayer, Solomon calls on promises in the covenant with David to ask God to sustain the dynasty and to hear the prayers prayed in or toward the temple.

Psalm 84. A psalm in praise of the beauty of the temple and its worship.

Ephesians 6:10-20.  Put on the whole armour of God as defence against surrounding evil spiritual strongholds and pray constantly for all sisters and brothers in Christ.

John 6:56-69.  Jesus continues to contrast those who “chew on his flesh and live into eternity” with those who “ate the manna in the wilderness and died” while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. The point is so clear and offensive, perhaps particularly in that context, that many of his followers abandon him; but Peter and an unspecified number of others remain because they are convinced he has the words of life.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart.  Today: Never-ending love….

Confession: Become aware of your thoughts and emotions as they are right now. Where/on what is your life focused? Remember your focus determines your fulfillment.  Hebrew 12:2: “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus”.  Why should you focus on Jesus?   Each day renew your focus:  How will you move to becoming more Christ-focused today?

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  Our prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way.  Today: Your 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)

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart.  Today: Forgiving love…

Confession: See Monday’s Confession focus

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Our Prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way. Today: In your work place/home.

Personal Prayers:

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart. Today: Restoring love (Think Prodigal Son)

Confession: See Monday’s Confession focus

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Our Prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way. Today: Your land.

Personal prayers:

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart.  Today: Assuring Love.

Confession: See Monday’s Confession focus

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Our Prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way. Today: Your family.

Personal prayers:

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart.  Today: Joyful love.

Confession: See Monday’s Confession focus

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Our Prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way. Today: In a difficult situation.

Personal prayers:

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart.  Today: Communicative love.

Confession: See Monday’s Confession focus

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Our Prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way. Today: Your world.

Personal prayers:

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day focus on the loving heart of our Father God and each day thank him for a different aspect of that heart.  Today: Ever present love.

Confession: See Monday’s Confession focus.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Our Prayer is that the Father’s will may be done on this earth.  Each day reflect on our world and pray for the Father’s will to be done in a new and specific way.  Today: Your church.

Personal prayers:

Transforming verse: Hebrews 12:1-2 (A description of focus) “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Weekly Rhythm

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

Questions and prayers to explore readings:

(The notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.)

As you read, remember these three basic questions:
What does the passage say?
What does the passage mean?
How does it apply to my life?

1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43.  Highlights of the story of the dedication of the temple complex in Jerusalem with extended portions of the dedicatory prayer by King Solomon. In this prayer, Solomon calls on promises in the covenant with David to ask God to sustain the dynasty and to hear the prayers prayed in or toward the temple.

Litany (based on 1 Kings 8: 22-30)

Will you, God, live on this small planet earth?
Look! Heaven and earth cannot contain You,
much less this house of prayer
which we have built and cherished.
    Raise the stone and you shall find me,
    cleave the wood and I am there.

There is no god like you, God of Jesus,
neither on earth nor elsewhere in the whole universe!
A God who keeps every promise
and shows unswerving love to your servants
who with all their hearts walk in your ways.
    Blessed are you, our Creator and Redeemer,
    in whom we live and move and have our being

~ Written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s Home Page.

 

Psalm 84. A psalm in praise of the beauty of the temple and its worship.

Prayer (inspired by Psalm 84)

King of all the earth,
Creator of the universe,
Holy Triune God,
From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord.
Our souls long for your courts, O Lord of hosts;
Happy are we who dwell in your house and are ever praising you!
Our hearts and our flesh rejoice in the living God;
Happy are we who dwell in your house and are ever praising you!
We have found a home in your presence, Our King and Our God;
Happy are we who dwell in your house and are ever praising you!
Who is like our God, the One who strengthens his people,
the One who reveals himself to all who seek after him?
This is our God, the Holy One.
Come before him with thanksgiving and offer him the sacrifice of praise.

~ excerpted from a longer prayer posted on the Oratio Contemplativa website.

 Ephesians 6:10-20.  Put on the whole armour of God as defence against surrounding evil spiritual strongholds and pray constantly for all sisters and brothers in Christ.

 Prayer of Confession  (inspired by Ephesians 6:10-20)

Spirit of God, we confess that we put on airs more often than we put on the armour of God.  We are guilty of girding ourselves with lies instead of the truth.  We try to protect ourselves with arrogance, superstition, and self-reliance instead of righteousness, faith, and your gift of salvation.  Our footsteps do not follow your path of peace.  And we are quick to use your Word to attack one another, instead of striking out against the sins we personally commit.  Forgive us, Holy God.  Gift us with the wisdom and strength to change our ways, so that we may live as your faithful ambassadors of the Good News.

~ written by Amy Loving.  Posted on The Worship Closet website.

John 6:56-69.  Jesus continues to contrast those who “chew on his flesh and live into eternity” with those who “ate the manna in the wilderness and died” while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. The point is so clear and offensive, perhaps particularly in that context, that many of his followers abandon him; but Peter and an unspecified number of others remain because they are convinced he has the words of life.

Gospel Reflection  (inspired by John 6:60-69)

“Do you want to leave me too?” Jesus asks.

He does not water down his words or change them.
“Whoever eats my flesh will live forever.”

Where would we go, Jesus?
Who has life and words like yours?

If you can create a universe from nothing;
if you can invent a wheat field,
then we believe that you can come to us
as bread.

Holy One of God,
come nourish us, be with us and sustain us,
or we will not have the strength.
Our journey will be too hard.

~ written by Anne Osdieck, and posted on Saint Louis University’s The Center for Liturgy web site.