Who are you following?

Sunset1Yearly Rhythm

26 January is the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (Ordinary Time) Year A

 

“The church sets aside a holy season called Ordinary Time as sacred.

The Ordinary is part of the religious tradition of being ordered in our daily lives so that we can always be in the presence of the holy.” (Becca Stevens)

 

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary  20 – 26 January 2014

20 – 26 January 2014

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship focussed on the Lectionary Readings

Download the PDF here.

 Readings for Sunday 26 January 2014, Third Sunday after the Epiphany Ordinary Time with thanks to http://www.gbod.org/:

 Isaiah 9:1-4 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” A word of hope for a land where Israel (Samaria) and Syria had fought most of their major battles in the past and were about to fight (or had already begun fighting) Judah without regard for the good of the people who called that land home.

Psalm 27:1, 4-9 This Psalm works as a response to the first reading if we join it as a prayer of those who live in a “land of deep darkness.”

1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Paul says, “I appeal to you … that there be no divisions among you … be united in the same mind and the same purpose. … Has Christ been divided?”

Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins to announce the kingdom of God by the Sea of Galilee, healing, teaching, and calling fishermen to be his disciples.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works Thy hand hath made… Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: This week our confessional focus is our thought life.  Our prayer is that our thoughts may reflect the Spirit of God and that we may always be conscious of God’s immediate presence with us.  Today, focus on your double mindedness.  What draws you away from your focus on God?  Pray that God’s Spirit may cleanse your thoughts.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today focus on children as God’s children and pray that they may be seen as such by all.

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 in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “I see the stars I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed… Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s Confession.  Today focus on restless thoughts that need to find their peace in God. Pray that God may fill you with His peaceful thoughts.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today focus on all those called to care for and teach children.  Pray that they may be filled with God’s love and encouragement.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: “When through the woods and forest glades I wonder, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees… Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on revengeful thoughts.    Pray that God may break the bonds that tie you to these thoughts and release the object of these thoughts into God’s hands.  Now pray that God fills you with a deep sense of forgiveness and freedom.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for schools that lack organisation and resources.   Pray that the children may not lose hope.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze. Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on impure thoughts that crush God’s joy in your life.  Pray that your focus may be on the purity of God and that in Him you may find your joy.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for children that are struggling emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically.  May they know the sustaining presence of God.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: “And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in. Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on thoughts that distract you from the task immediately at hand.  Pray that God may give you the gift of focus, to seek first the Kingdom of God.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for children who are abused at school or at home.  Pray that the root issues may be dealt with and that healing may come.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.  Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on selfish thoughts.  Pray that God may enable you to be free to see life through the eyes of your fellow human beings and to care deeply for them without being crushed by their sorrows.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for the schools of our land.  Today pray for children that are caught up in substance abuse (drugs, alcohol,etc.)  Pray that they may receive the help and care needed.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Today focus on thoughts that prevent you from praising God.  Thoughts that see your praise as insignificant; self-conscious thoughts; thoughts of doubt and thoughts that question.  Pray that God may give you release and fill your mind with thoughts of praise.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray that everyone at our schools may know that God is always close to them and that they may find life and strength in Him.

Personal prayers:

 

            Dedication: God in all: In your walking – God; In your talking – God; In your life – God; In your strife – God; In your seeing – God; In your being – God; In your days – God; In your ways – God; In your night – God; In your plight – God; In your reason – God; In every season – God; With God I’m bound all around. (David Adam)

 Weekly Rhythm

 Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comment and Questions

Download the PDF here.

 Isaiah 9:1-4 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” A word of hope for a land where Israel (Samaria) and Syria had fought most of their major battles in the past and were about to fight (or had already begun fighting) Judah without regard for the good of the people who called that land home.

 “This week’s reading from Isaiah may seem very familiar, not only because the text itself is familiar, but also because part of this same text was included in the first reading for Christmas Eve just one month ago. On Christmas Eve, it is paired with the reading from Luke describing the birth of Jesus and the coming of the shepherds. On Christmas Eve, we hear this text describe Jesus as the light in the darkness, a child born for us who will deliver us from bondage and uphold the kingdom forever, with emphasis on the birth of the child.

 Today, however, a shorter selection from the same text (verses 1-4) supports this week’s Gospel in making a different point. While Luke quotes Isaiah in connection with the birth of Jesus, Matthew quotes this same text to proclaim the prophetic significance of the beginning, the primary location, and the major theme of his public ministry. Light begins to dawn now that Jesus has headed directly into “Galilee of the Gentiles,” the region controlled by the tetrarch Herod, who had just arrested John the Baptizer.

 Jesus going to Galilee thus has a two-fold purpose. First, it is a fulfillment of this text from Isaiah. Light does shine precisely in this region formerly known as the tribal lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, places where Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel had fought their wars so “nothing important” was disturbed, and places later that became the target of “ethnic dilution campaigns” of one conqueror of Palestine after another. Keep the mix of languages and cultures there mixed enough, and oppressed enough, and no one of them will have the strength or the urge to resist the new overlords. This is why this place was known to Isaiah as “the land of deep darkness,” and this is why it still had that nickname in the time of Jesus. If light is to shine in deep darkness, this is where Jesus must go.

 But in the narrative itself, we see how this place continues to live up to its ancient reputation. The darkness at the heart of Galilee wasn’t satisfied to keep to its own borders. The tetrarch Herod, like his namesake who ruled at the time of Jesus’ birth, was noted for over-extending his power. John the Baptizer lived and worked primarily in Judea, not Galilee. Despite the fact that John was openly critical of Herod’s taking the wife of his dead brother as his own wife, Herod had no real jurisdiction over John. And yet he had John arrested, jailed, and later, we learn, beheaded in Galilee.

 That John was arrested and taken to a dungeon in Galilee becomes part of why Jesus headed there, too. He was not running away from Herod, as the phrase “he withdrew into Galilee” (fairly common in English translations) may suggest. A better translation would be something like “he made his home in that region again.” Galilee became “home base” for Jesus’ public ministry not just because an old prophet said so, but because the people there, governed by a man like Herod who had sought to silence John, desperately needed good news.

 And that is what Jesus began to give them. Verse 17 represents the core of every sermon, every teaching and every action Jesus took in his public ministry there. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [God] has drawn near.” (Matthew uses “heaven” in place of “God,” a sign of his Jewish heritage in what is unarguably the most Jewish of the gospels).”

 Psalm 27:1, 4-9 This Psalm works as a response to the first reading if we join it as a prayer of those who live in a “land of deep darkness.”

 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Paul says, “I appeal to you … that there be no divisions among you … be united in the same mind and the same purpose. … Has Christ been divided?”

 Questions to reflect on this passage.

Try to describe the situation in the Corinthian church using this passage.

Can you draw any parallels with other situation with which you are familiar?

How can we fall into the temptation of following people rather than Christ?

What is the “message of the cross”?

What unites us as Christians?

What would help you move into greater unity with fellow Christians?

 

Matthew 4:12-23 Jesus begins to announce the kingdom of God by the Sea of Galilee, healing, teaching, and calling fishermen to be his disciples.

 “Jesus is walking along the shoreline, spies Simon Peter and Andrew fishing in the lake, and calls them both at once, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people” (v. 19). A little later he repeats the same process with two other fishermen, also brothers, James and John (v. 21).

 Call, and immediate response. The word comes, and they all leave their livelihoods and families, everything and everyone they’ve got, and with James and John, and become disciples of Jesus, on the spot.

 Why would they do that? Why would they leave nets, boats, livelihoods and family at the simplest of calls from Jesus? “Follow me!” It’s not because these men were especially sensitive to the voice of God or Jesus. Their dullness, resistance, contradiction of his teaching, denial and desertion of him later on show their level of faith wasn’t all that special, either.

 What was special was Jesus’ message, a message he’d been proclaiming in the area already for a while before he called them: “The kingdom of God has drawn near” (v. 17). If that message were true, if Jesus were right about that, that’s a message worth leaving everything for. Why wouldn’t you want to be in on the ground floor of what would happen next?

 Now remember where this is happening: Galilee of the Gentiles, land of deep darkness. Lands ravaged by outside forces, people treated as worthless. Jesus is declaring the kingdom of God drawing near here, right here – light in the darkness.

 If the prophet’s words were ringing in their ears as Matthew rings them in ours, how could they do anything but follow Jesus?”

Source

     

Praying the Readings

 These resources may be used when preparing to lead or attend Sunday worship.

Merciful God,

You call us to follow;

to turn away from our own selfish interests,

and to take up our cross and follow after You,

even if the path is difficult to see,

or is heading in a direction we would never have chosen for ourselves.

Forgive us for being so quick to question

and so hesitant to follow.

Help us to see with the eyes of faith,

rather than from our own human point of view.

Teach us to follow without fear,

knowing that You are always with us,

leading the way.

Amen.

 [via re:Worship]

I pray for the following grace:

to know Jesus more intimately,

to love him more intensely,

and to follow him more closely.

From Ignatian Spirituality.com

Let the love of Jesus

surround and consume you

Let the peace of Jesus

gently touch your heart

Let the courage of Jesus

help you persevere in faith

Let the wisdom of Jesus

help you follow the path

which leads to giving all

for the one who gives us life

 [source]

 

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