Exploring Presence and Purpose, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

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19 October  2014, the  19 th Sunday after Pentecost
Year A,  Colour: Green

‘The Season after Pentecost is about seeking the Spirit’s guidance and supporting one another as we undertake these ministries in Christ’s name.” Source

Daily Rhythm

Bringing worship into the everyday

Devotional Diary  13 – 19 October 2014

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The Revised Common Lectionary readings for this Sunday, 19 October, with thanks to www.gbod.org 

Exodus 33:12-23.
Moses seeks assurance that God is with him and the people as he continues to lead them. God promises ever-abiding presence. Moses wants more than words. He asks to see God’s glory. God responds by allowing Moses to see the “after-glow” of the Divine Glory as God proclaims the Divine Name from a safe distance.

Psalm 99. 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.
Paul greets the Christians in Thessalonica with gratitude for their example of joyful faith in the face of persecution.

Matthew 22:15-22.
In the temple, a group of Pharisees try to trap Jesus, but he traps them in their own hypocrisy and divided allegiances.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: This week use these verses to guide your confessions:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29  As you confess today focus on those things that “weary” you.

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.     Our first prayer goal:  Every Member worship.  Our prayer is that every member would have a heart to express the abundant worth of God in his or her life and in this world.

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: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today focus on the heavy burden of false gods on your life’s throne.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the local church that we are part of    Our second prayer goal: Every member care: Here our goal is that each member may have a deep sense that they are cared for by their fellow Christians.  Pray that we may all be involved in caring for each other and that no-one may be left out of the circle of care.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  As you confess today focus on a new center for your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.    Our third prayer goal:  Every member ministry:  Here we pray that each person would discover that they are called and gifted by God.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today find rest in your submission to God’s way…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.        Our fourth prayer goal: Every member a host:  Here our prayer is that we as a church community would be a host for the gospel: that we would reach out and invite others to join us in our walk of faith.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today ask God how He would lead you to his light yoke.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.     Our fifth prayer goal:  Building a people of Praise.  I ask you to simple reflect on this statement and see how God guides you to pray for your church.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  As you confess today ask God to enthuse and inspire you in the way of the “light yoke.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.  Our sixth prayer goal:  Living the Kingdom of God.  I ask you to simple reflect on this statement and see how God guides you to pray for your church.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Jesus said, “Follow me!”  What does that mean in your life today?

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day thank God for something that you have never thanked him for before. It does not matter how small the gift may be, it is often in the smallest gift that the care of the giver is most clearly seen.  As you thank God for the gift, give praise to the giver.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. As you confess today move into worship and offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the local church that we are part of.     Worship in Spirit and in Truth..  I ask you to simple reflect on this statement and see how God guides you to pray for our church.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication:  Jesus said, “Follow me!”   What does that mean in your life today?

                                                                          

Weekly Rhythm

Exploring Scripture
Joining our stories to the story of God’s people

 DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Exodus 33:12-23.

Moses seeks assurance that God is with him and the people as he continues to lead them. God promises ever-abiding presence. Moses wants more than words. He asks to see God’s glory. God responds by allowing Moses to see the “after-glow” of the Divine Glory as God proclaims the Divine Name from a safe distance.

Moses is seeking reassurance for the journey ahead.  Who will be with him?  He asks that God continue to teach him.  God’s presence with Moses is what it is all about.

What journeys are you on or part of?  Think of the journeys that you share in community with others.  How would this conversation between God and Moses speak into these journeys?

 

Psalm 99. 

This psalm is one among those used at the Israelites’ New Year festival and celebrates the enthronement of the Lord.

Verse 1: the cherubim are winged figures on top of the Ark of the Covenant and symbolise the heavenly creatures surrounding God in worship.
Verse 2: Zion is Jerusalem
Verse 3: God is holy – different from any other.  The difference is expanded upon as the psalm continues.
Verse 5: The footstool may be the Ark of the Covenant.
Verse 5-8: These historical figures are described as mediators between God and Israel.
Verse 9: Calls us to worship for God is holy. (The holy hill is Mount Zion the Mount of which Jerusalem and the Temple were built.)

How does the holiness (the otherness) of God give us hope in our world?
Who/what are the mediators that connect you to God?
How does God’s holiness call you into worship?

 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.

Paul greets the Christians in Thessalonica with gratitude for their example of joyful faith in the face of persecution.

Verse 1: Paul, Silas and Timothy were all present at the beginning of this community in Thessalonica (See Acts 16:1-5 and 17:1-15)
Note that this church is  in  God the Father and Jesus Christ.  What does it mean to be in God?
Verses 2-10: How do these verses continues to assure the Thessalonians that they are in The Father and Son?
If Paul were writing to you how might he reassure you that you are in the heart of Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Matthew 22:15-22.

In the temple, a group of Pharisees try to trap Jesus, but he traps them in their own hypocrisy and divided allegiances.

“The question (verse 17) was cleverly conceived.  No matter what answer Jesus gave, he would condemn himself either as subversive of Roman Law and order or unfaithful to Jewish commandment.  Jesus’ answer put the decision back on his questioners.  Persons had to decide what their faith and loyalty required them to do.  Thus Jesus avoided a trap and left the ethical question to personal decision.” (Basic Bible Commentary)

We do not live in an ideal world, we find ourselves entangled in structures that offer good and bad.  How do we live in the midst of all this?  We do not hold ourselves apart; we pay to Caesar what is due to Caesar.  But we do not simply rubber stamp the structures and their injustice.  We know who we are and who guides our steps and whose Kingdom we serve and build.  We seek God’s transformation for all.

What do you find difficult about living within the structures of this world?
How might you be challenged by these structures?
How can you be part of Kingdom of God transformation?

Going deeper:

All our passages this week explore Presence and Purpose in some way. Moses is leading the Israelites on the journey of liberation to their new land.  The Thessalonians are witnesses to their salvation.  The “trapping” question in Matthew’s gospel is also asking how we live out our faith in a real world.  All these journeys and callings are made possible and are encourage by God’s presence and reign.

Think back over this week’s passages and see how they speak to you of purpose and presence.  The outline below may help you as you do this:

 

  • Exodus 33:12-23:  God with us in the journey of liberation
  • Psalm 99: God is on the throne, God is holy, worship the Lord.  We are connected to God (mediators)
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10: The reassurance (and signs) that we are in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Matthew 22:15-22: Engaging the world from a Kingdom of God perspective (this is our journey.)

 

Today choose one of the above passages that has spoken to you.  Read it slowly and out loud.  See what strikes your heart.

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

Confession

(inspired by Psalm 99)

Forgive us, O God,
when we stumble in the darkness
and turn away from your face.
Strengthen us to walk in your brightness
and live in your ways.
Enlighten the shadows
that keep us from growing
in your love and light.
Shower us with your grace,
that we might shine as your people
upon this earth.

~ from the Abingdon Worship Annual, posted on the Cokesbury website.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving and intercession

(inspired by Matthew 22:15-22, I Thessalonians 1:1-10, Exodus 33:12-23)

 

Companion God,
we praise you for the grace which is always on the move,
from death to life, desolation to hope, famine to feasting.
As we travel this road of pain and rejoicing,
we give thanks that you go with us as our guardian and friend:
that you have taken us by the hand and led us,
giving guidance and support.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that you have strengthened us for the work of faith,
the labour of love, the steadfastness of hope.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that you have made us imitators of your saints and disciples,
and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that as we have received your Word with joy,
even in the midst of our suffering,
you have revealed to us your ways.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that we belong to you and you have shown us your glory.
Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

– that through our example others have been encouraged and inspired.

Your presence travels with us:
You will give us rest.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

written by Nick Fawcett, adapted by Rev. I. Scott McCarthy and posted on the Starters for Sunday website from the Church of Scotland.

 

 

Reflection: Matthew 22: 15-22

 

For many years we have had the mistaken notion
that all the problems of the world
can be solved with a few dollar bills.

In Jesus’ time the Pharisees came to ask him if they should
pay taxes,
and Jesus, looking at a silver coin,
asked whose face and name were engraved on it.
“The Emperor’s,” they said.
“Well then, pay to the Emperor what is his” Jesus replied.

Has God’s face ever been on a coin?
We are the coin that bears the living likeness of God.
Giving of ourselves with whatever that may include,
is the only legal currency of the kingdom of heaven.

~ from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand website.