Monthly Archives: September 2015

Job’s suffering, God’s glory and Family values

red pin-cushions

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 27 September
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first.
Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.”
Anonymous

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 28 September – 4 October 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

Job 1:1; 2:1-10  The prologue to Job sets the cosmic background for Job’s experience of dramatic loss and the questions about God’s justice and human suffering that follow.
Psalm 26.
This psalm focuses on the theme of integrity and asks for God’s vindication on the basis of the integrity of the person or community praying.
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. The writer of this theological treatise begins by declaring the glory of Jesus Christ — God’s ultimate messenger and Son, with majesty and authority above all angels, the pioneer and perfecter of our salvation.
Mark 10:2-16. Family values, Jesus-style: God has blessed and established the marriage bond as a relationship that is never to be discarded or reduced to disposable property. Jesus also blesses children and calls his disciples to do the same, never treating them as a nuisance or distraction from “real work.”

Monday:

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

Confession: Jesus asks the question: “Do you want to get well?”  Make life-giving choices!  Examine your life as you contemplate this question.  Bring areas where you have stagnated into Christ’s life changing presence and power. By the end of the week try to have a list of some areas where you have chosen life and some action plan that would lead you on this journey.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week pray for your local Church.  Pray that God’s spirit of praise may flow through your church and into your life and community.

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, you have a plan and purpose, a vision for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

Tuesday:

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

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your local Church.  Pray that the leadership would make life-giving choices that would co-operate with God’s plan to pour out his Spirit on us.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Lord, you have a plan and purpose, a vision, for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 73:24)

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your local Church.   Pray that all may have a sense of belonging and positive ownership so that God’s mission may be embraced.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Lord, you have a plan and purpose, a vision for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name. (Psalm 66:4)

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your local Church.  Pray that all may go with God’s prompting to discover and use their gifting and calling to service.

Personal prayers:

           Dedication: Lord, you have a plan and purpose, a vision for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

Friday:

Adoration Focus: The Mighty One, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.(Psalm 50:1)

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your local Church.   Pray that all may seek God’s healing as a community in any areas that separate people from each other.  Pray for the small group ministry.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Lord, you have a plan and purpose, a vision for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 34:8) Find out for yourself how good the Lord is.  Happy are those who find safety with him.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your local Church.   Pray for the giving of resources, time, energy, money, etc.; that we God’s generosity may abound.

Personal prayers:

           Dedication: Lord, you have a plan and purpose, a vision for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

Sunday:

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

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week pray for your local Church.   Pray that on this day the gathered community may know the worship of the heavenly courts: Our God is a great God!!!

Personal prayers:

           Dedication: Lord, you have a plan and purpose, a vision for our church communities.  Help me to be part of that vision in how I live today!

 

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with God’s story.

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?

 Job 1:1; 2:1-10  The prologue to Job sets the cosmic background for Job’s experience of dramatic loss and the questions about God’s justice and human suffering that follow.  

Psalm 26. This psalm focuses on the theme of integrity and asks for God’s vindication on the basis of the integrity of the person or community praying.  

Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. The writer of this theological treatise begins by declaring the glory of Jesus Christ — God’s ultimate messenger and Son, with majesty and authority above all angels, the pioneer and perfecter of our salvation.

 Prayer (based on Hebrews 1:1-3)

Long ago, at different times and in various ways,
God spoke to our ancestors through the Hebrew prophets.
But in these last days,
we have heard God’s voice through His Son, Jesus Christ,
who has been given dominion over all things
and through whom all worlds were made.

He is the One who sustains the universe by the power of his command;
the One who gave himself to free us from the grip of sin and death;
the One who, even now, reigns in the heavens, seated at the right hand of God.
This is our God!
Let’s worship together.

Christine Longhurst 

Mark 10:2-16. Family values, Jesus-style: God has blessed and established the marriage bond as a relationship that is never to be discarded or reduced to disposable property. Jesus also blesses children and calls his disciples to do the same, never treating them as a nuisance or distraction from “real work.”

 For Reflection: people are not disposable, they are…

Who is the person sitting next to you?

Rose Snyder

 You might say a name; describe how tall they are, and the colour of eyes and hair. But none of these things is what the person is. A person is invisible activities.

Who then is this person sitting next to you?

THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS A SUFFERER.

They are working away at problems. They have fears; they wonder how they are doing. Often they don’t feel too good about how they are doing, and they find that they can’t respect or be a good friend to themselves. When they feel that way about themselves, they have a hard time loving others. When they don’t feel good about themselves and find it hard to love others, they suffer.

THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU HAS THE RIGHT TO BE A PERSON.

That is, they have the right to be understood. And unless other people can understand them, they are thwarted from being a person.

THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS AN INEXHAUSTIBLE SORT OF EXISTENCE. Within them are energies that have been partially awakened. Nine tenths of their possibility has not yet been touched off. There is all kinds of good that is struggling to be born from way within that person. There are also worries, fears and hates that are struggling to get themselves expressed. Sometimes if only these could be expressed, they would be free to love other people.

THUS THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS A CLUSTER OF MEMORIES OF THE PAST AND EXPECTATIONS OF THE FUTURE.
They are really a whole colony of persons, of people met all during a life. Something of these people has entered into this person forever. So that the person sitting next to you is really a city – a community. In that community live the father and mother of this person; the boys and girls with whom they played most; the people with whom they went to school; the persons with whom they competed; the enemies they met; all the living things of this world that came and interacted with this person. They are still deep within.

EACH PERSON IS A WORLD OF EXPERIENCES.
And when a person drops out of the experiment of humanity a whole universe in which many people have gathered is lost.

THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS THE GREATEST MIRACLE AND GREATEST MYSTERY THAT YOU WILL EVER MEET.

THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS SACRED.

 

Esther, Prayer and Stumbling Blocks

Irish Bridge

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 27th September 2015
The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

[We] need training in stillness and silence…
if the inner world is authentic, an individual’s political, economic and service attitudes will always change organically from the inside out.
Richard Rohr

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 21-27 September 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22.  Esther advocates to the king for her life and the lives of her people. Haman is executed on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. These stories are background for the feast of Purim.

Psalm 124.  A psalm of thanksgiving to God for deliverance.

James 5:13-20. James calls for individual and corporate acts of prayer for healing and confession/forgiveness of sin and commends those who seek to restore persons wandering from the faith.

Mark 9:38-50.  Disciples of Jesus must never place stumbling blocks before others. Instead, they must focus on removing all forms of stumbling from their own lives, even if at high cost to themselves.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly). Today: Something of beauty.

Confession: This week focus on areas of your life where you are relying on your own strength.  Each day try to identify a way in which you resist allowing God’s presence to empower, lead and comfort you.  Then affirm your commitment to living out of God’s presence within you.

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for the peace of the world, for the rulers of all the nations…”  (Our intercessions this week are taken from the Methodist Service Book.)

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: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly). Today: Something incredible

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for government in accordance with God’s holy will, and for a just and proper use of the natural resources of the world.”

Personal Prayers:

           Transforming Verse: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly).  Today: Something comforting.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for the concerns and activities of this congregation (your congregation) and of this neighbourhood.”

Personal prayers:

           Transforming Verse: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly). Today: Something reassuring.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for ourselves, our families, friends and neighbours.”

Personal prayers:

        Transforming Verse: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly).  Today: Something challenging.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for all in sorrow, anxiety or sickness.”

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly). Today: Something awe-inspiring.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for the neglected, the persecuted and the lonely.”

Personal prayers:

           Transforming Verse: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: God is the source of all good things.  Each day praise God for something good that comes to us from him as a gift of grace (an undeserved gift given freely and abundantly). Today: Something inspiring worship.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: “I ask for your prayers for those in any need or trouble.”

Personal prayers:

           Transforming Verse: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:2)

 

 Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with God’s story.

 

The questions and prayers which are follow are curated to help you 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?

 

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22.  Esther advocates to the king for her life and the lives of her people. Haman is executed on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. These stories are background for the feast of Purim.

 

Prayer of Confession (inspired by Esther, Mark 9:38-50)

Today, O God, we ponder what you say to us through scripture and wonder what has changed. In the story of Esther, we hear about the abuse of power and the exploitation of women. We learn about the planned destruction of foreigners in the land. Each of these issues concerns the use of power to take advantage of those who are powerless – major causes still of people being denied the possibility of experiencing lives of dignity and worth.

Forgive us if our actions, or lack of action,
have contributed to continuing powerlessness in people’s lives

(A time of silence to contemplate these words.)

Strengthen us all to witness to our faith
with a freshness that attracts;
a sincerity that convinces,
and an integrity which confirms our allegiance to Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen

~ (shortened) written by Moira Laidlaw, and posted on Liturgies Online

 

Psalm 124. A psalm of thanksgiving to God for deliverance.


Prayer (inspired by Psalm 124)

Go in peace to enjoy and employ your gift of faith.
Our help is in the name of God who made heaven and earth.
Fear neither outward foe nor inner temptation.
Our help is in the name of God who made heaven and earth
Rejoice in your blessings and smile in your adversities.
Our help is in the name of God who made heaven and earth.
The inexhaustible grace of Christ crucified,
the tireless, eternal love of God,
and the live-in Guest who fills household of faith with many gifts,
will be with you this day and for evermore.
Amen!

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

 

James 5:13-20. James calls for individual and corporate acts of prayer for healing and confession/forgiveness of sin and commends those who seek to restore persons wandering from the faith.

Prayer (inspired by James 5:13-20)

Go now and celebrate wherever God’s name is honoured.
When suffering comes, pray in faith.
In times of joy, sing songs of praise.
Persevere in prayer and action
to bring the fallen back to the truth.

And may God save you from all that would harm you;
May Christ Jesus heal you and raise you up;
and may the Holy Spirit anoint you
and give you peace with one another.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

…In the name of Christ. Amen.

~ Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

 

Mark 9:38-50.  Disciples of Jesus must never placing stumbling blocks before others. Instead, they must focus on removing all forms of stumbling from their own lives, even if at high cost to themselves.


Gospel Reflection (inspired by Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48)

 

For whoever is not against us is for us. Mark 9:40

Who is for us?

Jesus’ answer:

anyone
who extends a helping hand,
who shelters the homeless,
who cares for the earth,
who feeds the hungry,
teaches the ignorant,
stands for justice,
gives
a cup of water
in my name
is all for us,

and belongs to me.

Jesus,
all we want
is to belong to you.

~ written by Anne Osdieck, and posted on The Centre for Liturgy Sunday Website
of Saint Louis University.

Rooted in God, Greatest or Least?

SPRING path and sea

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 20 September 2015
The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
Rachel Carson

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 14 – 20 September 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

Proverbs 31:10-31. In praise of the “model” married woman, rooted in God, faithful and competent as the manager of the household.

Psalm 1.  A celebration of a way of life rooted in God and fed by the “streams of water” through prayer and meditation on the word of God.

James 3:13—4:3, 7-8a. Those who live from the wisdom from above live in peace — responding graciously toward others, resisting the selfish willfulness of the flesh, and drawing near to God.

Mark 9:30-37. Jesus teaches his disciples a second time that he will face betrayal, execution, and resurrection. For the second time as well, the disciples demonstrate they do not understand his teaching. They continue to argue about who is the greatest. Jesus places a child already in their midst at the centre of their attention to remind them that whoever welcomes such a child welcomes Jesus and the One who sent him.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today.  Suggestion: Your ability to plan and vision.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration.  Today’s focus: thankfulness.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.  Today we pray for those who share in the youth ministry and children’s church (also teachers and schools).

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: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration. 

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today. Suggestion: That we are surrounded by mystery.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration. Today’s focus: Seeing the simple blessing of life.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.  Today we pray for all those involved in a specific serving ministry.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today.  Suggestion: The people you will meet today.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration. Today’s focus:  Seeing God’s hand in the awesomeness of life.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.  Today we pray for small groups within church life.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today. Suggestion: For art and song.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration. Today’s focus:  Seeing common things through new eyes of delight.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.   Today we pray for our women’s groups.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today. Suggestion: For flowers and colours.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration. Today’s focus: Taking nothing for granted.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.  Today we pray for all those who are called to give in special ways.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today.  Suggestion: For warmth and food.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration. Today’s focus: Living with a sense of gift and grace.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.  Today we pray for any individual that you are led to pray for.

Personal prayers:

           Dedication: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: We have so much to celebrate: Give God thanks for one reason for celebration today.  Suggestion:  For God and love.

Confession: This week each day list some things that stop you from really celebrating God’s greatness.  Remember, these things are robbing you of living life in abundance.  Bring them before God and pray that he may open the floodgates of celebration. Today’s focus:  Hearts that worship with abandon.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we pray that the spirit of celebration may touch a new area of our shared lives.  Today we pray for your church’s worship services.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, each day enable me to know a moment of real celebration.

 

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 31:10-31. In praise of the “model” married woman, rooted in God, faithful and competent as the manager of the household.

 

Psalm 1A celebration of a way of life rooted in God and fed by the “streams of water” through prayer and meditation on the word of God.

 

Prayer  (inspired by Psalm 1)

King of all the earth,
Creator of the universe,
Holy Triune God,
From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord.
Your law brings life, O Lord, and we meditate on it day and night;
Happy are we when we walk in your ways, O Lord.
You are a rich stream of living waters, and we would immerse ourselves in you;
Happy are we when we walk in your ways, O Lord.
You bring forth fruit in due season and establish the work of our hands;
Happy are we when we walk in your ways, O Lord.
Who is like our God, the One whose ways are full of life?
Happy are we when we walk in your ways, O Lord.
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 Oratio Contemplativa.

 

James 3:13—4:3, 7-8a. Those who live from the wisdom from above live in peace — responding graciously toward others, resisting the selfish willfulness of the flesh, and drawing near to God.

Prayer of Confession (inspired by James 3)

O God,
we live our lives as best we can—
dealing with difficult relationships and situations,
putting failures and disappointments behind us,
and moving into each new day
with as much energy, goodwill,
and optimism as we can muster.
But here, right now,
we seldom have the right answers,
we seldom seek your higher wisdom in our lives,
we just move ahead.
Forgive us for not asking for your insight.
Fill us with your wisdom,
that we may live lives
of goodness and peace. Amen.

Words of Assurance (inspired by James 3)

When we come before God in humility and honesty,
God draws near to us with forgiveness
and renewed blessing.
Thanks be to God!

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

 

Mark 9:30-37. Jesus teaches his disciples a second time that he will face betrayal, execution, and resurrection. For the second time as well, the disciples demonstrate they do not understand his teaching. They continue to argue about who is the greatest. Jesus places a child already in their midst at the centre of their attention to remind them that whoever welcomes such a child welcomes Jesus and the One who sent him.

Prayer (inspired by Mark 9:33-37)

The first shall be last.
We come to worship as we are.
The last shall be first.
We come with confidence.
The first shall be last.
We come with questions.
The last shall be first.
We come burdened by failure.
The first shall be last.
We come celebrating success.
The last shall be first.
We come fearful of the future.
The first shall be last
and the last shall be first
and a little child shall lead them. 

~ written by Katherine Hawker, and posted on Liturgy Outside
Vanderbilt Divinity Library.