Monthly Archives: August 2015

The wisdom of Solomon, the clear-thinking church and the Eucharist

STILL WATER

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 16 August 2015
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

 Faith is the ability to honour stillness at some moments and at others to ride the passion and exuberance.
Alan Lightman

For more information on following the Revised Common Lectionary through the Christian year click HERE!

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 10 -16 August 2015

TO DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF CLICK HERE!

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

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14.  Solomon succeeds David as King and follows David’s advice (in the preceding and intervening verses) to consolidate his power by isolating or ordering the death of David’s most powerful adversaries. Some years later, he has a dream in which he asks the Lord for discernment to govern, and God promises him wisdom beyond that of any before or since.

Psalm 111.  A psalm of praise in a time of national and religious stability and prosperity. The last verse is the reason this psalm was chosen as a response to the first reading.

Ephesians 5:15-20. The writer advises the churches to be clear minded and grounded in the Holy Spirit. The regular singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and giving thanks to God in all things are good practices to sustain such groundedness.

John 6:51-58. Here the language of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ becomes graphic and specific. The Greek verb changes here from “phagein,” a generic term for eating with some symbolic overtones, to “trogein,” a much more specific verb meaning “to chew upon.” This verb was explicitly physical in its referents at the time. The meaning of the teaching for the gospel’s audience: Those, and only those, who gather to offer the Eucharist and so receive the blessed and transformed bread and wine have eternal life. Indeed, the gospel commends Holy Communion as THE means, par excellence, of abiding in Jesus Christ (verse 56).

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104: 1 “O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendour and majesty.”

Confession: Our “thought chains” can bind us and suffocate the fullness of life that Christ wants to give us.  This week identify some thought chains in your life and bring them to God, he is the one who can renew your mind.  Allow God to direct you in a positive thought direction.

The Word:

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)

            Transforming verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:2 “He wraps himself in light as with a garment…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal Prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:2-3 “…he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs boldness to confront an issue.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:3 “He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:4 “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayer:

            Transforming Verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:5 “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 104:33 “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone who needs reconciliation.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Keep this verse before you through the week ahead:  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

  

Weekly Rhythm

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

Questions and prayers to explore readings:    (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?

 

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14.  


Solomon succeeds David as King and follows David’s advice (in the preceding and intervening verses) to consolidate his power by isolating or ordering the death of David’s most powerful adversaries. Some years later, he has a dream in which he asks the Lord for discernment to govern, and God promises him wisdom beyond that of any before or since.

 Prayer: The Gift of Wisdom

Holy Wisdom,
you granted Solomon’s request for an understanding mind
and the knowledge to discern good from evil.
Fill us with such understanding and knowledge
that we may act as instruments of your loving desire for creation,
working with you to transform 0ur conceit into concern for others,
our fear into love, our violence into peace,and our brokenness into wholeness.
Amen.

 — from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers
copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.


Psalm 111.  

A psalm of praise in a time of national and religious stability and prosperity. The last verse is the reason this psalm was chosen as a response to the first reading.

 Prayer: Psalm 111: 2-4

How amazing are the deeds of our God!
Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness and justice never fail;
He is gracious and compassionate to all.
Come and worship!

 

Ephesians 5:15-20.

The writer advises the churches to be clear minded and grounded in the Holy Spirit. The regular singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and giving thanks to God in all things are good practices to sustain such groundedness.

Prayer (based on Ephesians 5:20)

Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. 5:20 (Phillips)

Give thanks to God!
We thank God for joy, for laughter,
for abundant blessings of every kind.

Give thanks to God
at all times and for everything!
We thank God, when we can and as we can,
for struggles, for solitude, for fears.

Give thanks to God
at all times and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We thank God that, in Christ,
our joys as well as our pain,
our losses as well as our laughter,
are in God’s heart and hands.

~ written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.

 

John 6:51-58.

Here the language of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ becomes graphic and specific. The Greek verb changes here from “phagein,” a generic term for eating with some symbolic overtones, to “trogein,” a much more specific verb meaning “to chew upon.” This verb was explicitly physical in its referents at the time. The meaning of the teaching for the gospel’s audience: Those, and only those, who gather to offer the Eucharist and so receive the blessed and transformed bread and wine have eternal life. Indeed, the gospel commends Holy Communion as THE means, par excellence, of abiding in Jesus Christ (verse 56).

Prayer Reflection:   Breadmaker Supreme

Take 3 kilos of flour says the recipe …

 

We thank you, Lord, for flour:
flour made from wheat or other grain, grown in the mystery of the earth,
ripened in the warmth of the sun; ripened, then cut down at the hearvest by the farmer’s skill,
ground by the miller,
sold by the shop assistant,
placed in the bowl… we thank you, Lord, for flour.

We thank you, Lord, for salt:
Jesus told us we were to be salt of the earth, and we must never lose our flavour.
The salt, which adds flavour to our food, is also antiseptic to our wounds,
reminding us of the challenge to our faith
and the healing power of Jesus …we thank you, Lord, for salt.

We thank you, Lord, for yeast:
that small yet living organism
that enables the bread to rise,
that reminds us of the fact that even small works done in Jesus’ name
can enable the kingdom to grow …we thank you, Lord, for yeast.

We thank you, Lord, for water:
water, without which none of us could live,
water, which forms the other elements of our bread into dough,
which, having risen, and been formed and drawn into shape by human
hands, is baked to give us the staff of life;
water, which cleanses and renews us,
refreshes and revives us,
the water of baptism, which commits us to our faith …
we thank you, Lord, for water…

We thank you, Lord, for bread:
Bread, the basis of the food we eat,
bread for toast, for sandwiches, for bread and jam,
bread for bread pudding and bread for buns –
and bread that is broken and shared in communion with one another,
in remembrance – remembrance of that night when Jesus sat with his friends at supper,
and broke the bread and gave it to them,
saying, “This is my body broken for you.”
We thank you, Lord, for bread.

~ posted on the Diocese of Bath and Wells website.

 

David weeps, building community and true bread

Dune grasses Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 9 August 2015
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”

Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 3 – 9 August 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33. David’s son Absalom had begun a civil war against his father. Still, David orders to his army were to “deal gently” with him. When Absalom was found stuck in a tree, he was executed and brought to David. David wept bitterly.

Psalm 130.  A psalm often used at funerals and an appropriate response to the story of David’s deep grief over Absalom. John Wesley heard this psalm sung by the choir on the day of his turning to God at Aldersgate, May 24, 1738.

Ephesians 4:25—5:2.  The writer encourages the congregations to give up practices that lead to broken relationships with God and others and engage in practices that build up community.

John 6:35, 41-51. Jesus says the Father, not his own teaching, draws people to “eat of him,” “the true bread that is coming down from heaven.” Those who “eat of him” are receiving eternal life.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Praying for Women’s’ groups who are working for God’s Kingdom.

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: My commitment: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Praying for all women who are focussed on building a better world for all.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Praying for all women who are bringing up children and seeking to ground them in Kingdom of God values.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Praying for all women who face put downs and abuse simply because they are women.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Praying for all those who are struggling to provide for their children and themselves because they are living below the bread line.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Praying for a world that acknowledges God’s call for us to live and work as equal partners in this world.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day reflect on the best moments you have known in your life and give God praise for a different moment each day.

Confession: Each day reflect on God’s perfection and purity.  Experience His abundant love, His righteousness and justice.  Then let His light shine into your life.  Remember He comes to save and not condemn.  Into what area of your life is His hand of love and transformation reaching?

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for women.  Today: Giving thanks for all that God has given us through the lives of the wonderful women that we share in life with.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Today I will strive to co-operate with God and all who are seeking to build a world that reflects the loving reign of God.

 

Weekly Rhythm

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

 

 

Questions and prayers to explore readings:  

(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?

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33. David’s son Absalom had begun a civil war against his father. Still, David orders to his army were to “deal gently” with him. When Absalom was found stuck in a tree, he was executed and brought to David. David wept bitterly.

Prayer
(inspired by 2 Samuel 18, Ephesians 4:25-5:2)

O Eternal One, whose message to us has always been that our relationship to you is inextricably related to how we treat our sisters and brothers, bend low your spirit this day and touch us with your power.

• Wean us from our tendency to nurture perceived slights and to put hot coals to our anger.
• Wean us from all tendencies to take advantage of others for personal gain.
• Wean us from negativity and from becoming bitter whether or not we think we are justified in our feelings.
• Wean us from the all too human and common tendency to gossip about others and to slander them in any way.
• Wean us from carrying malice in our hearts and from giving in to anything that would poison relationships with others.

Make us over again, O gracious God…

(This prayer continues under the Ephesians passage below)

 

Psalm 130.  A psalm often used at funerals and an appropriate response to the story of David’s deep grief over Absalom. John Wesley heard this psalm sung by the choir on the day of his turning to God at Aldersgate, May 24, 1738.

 

Prayer
(inspired by Psalm 130)

O Lord our God, we come to you, seeking to
rise up from the depths and agony of despair.
Please listen, our Saving God—
we need your help and blessing.

Lord, through the tenderness
of your mercy towards us
we have learned to worship you—
and to revere your Holy Name;
therefore, we place our entire trust
and hope in you, our Trustworthy God.

We gather to offer you our thanks,
for we know that you offer us
your unfailing love and mercy
that is beyond our understanding.
You know our longing for forgiveness,
and you offer us your presence – which
blesses us from God’s overflowing store
of mercy, hope, freedom and joy. Amen.

~ written by Joan Stott, and posted on The Timeless Psalms.
If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide the following acknowledgement: © 2011 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.

 

 Ephesians 4:25—5:2.  The writer encourages the congregations to give up practices that lead to broken relationships with God and others and engage in practices that build up community.

 (This prayer completes the prayer begun under the Samuel passage above.)

…Give us a consistent kindness and compassion for others. Keep us always tender hearted even when the world delivers difficult blows and setbacks to us. Teach us once again about your redeeming grace in order that we may learn, however slowly and however tentatively, how to forgive others. Teach us how to live abundantly into the future as victorious and expectant people, greeting each new day with eagerness and excitement. And indelibly remind us that we are among your forgiven and beloved community.

We present to you all who have special need of your grace today. Keep them in your gracious care and insofar as we are able use us to make their burdens lighter. Be with those who war and who are victims of war and grant to us a peaceful world. Amen

~ written by Richard Einerson, and posted on Richard J. Einerson: Prayers of the People. 

  

John 6:35, 41-51. Jesus says the Father, not his own teaching, draws people to “eat of him,” “the true bread that is coming down from heaven.” Those who “eat of him” are receiving eternal life.

 Gospel Reflection (John 6:41-51)

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. John 6:41-51

They murmured.

Bread?
Down from heaven?
We know his mother and father.
They live down the street!

This is not about knowing,
but believing, Jesus says.

Believe that I love you
and want to be a part of you forever.

What better way than to be your food?

Jesus, we believe.
Be our food.

 

~ written by Anne Osdieck, and posted on The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.