Shaping Sunday Worship

Lament, Conflict and Miracles of life

birds on a fence

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 28th June
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

“Life is too urgent to be lived fast, too important to be consumed in a blur of activity, too precious to not take notice of the God moments; the God-love that bursts out in unexpected and unanticipated beauty.” (Ann Voskamp)

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 22 – 28 June 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

2 Samuel 1:1, 17, 17-27.   David leads his troops in a public lament for the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.

Psalm 130.  In response to the cry of national mourning, “Out of the depth I cry to you, O Lord!”

2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Last week, Paul placed the ball in the Corinthians’ court to restore their relationship. This week, Paul reminds the church to make good on its past promise to provide generous support for his collection for the poor in Jerusalem. At stake, says Paul, is not only their integrity, but their participation in the global body of Christ. He expects them to give all that they can so that the standard of living for Christians around the world would be more balanced.

Mark 5:21-43. Two more illustrations of the power of the Word to bring abundance of life where no life seemed possible: the healing of a woman with an issue of blood (and so unable to sustain a pregnancy) and the raising of the daughter of Jairus who had died.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 12:7) O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us…

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus: Joy

The Word: See readings above or use own devotional aid.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse: Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”

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: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 11:7) For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice…

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus:  Freedom from sin.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse: Psalm 91:15 “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.” Pray for those in trouble that they may call on the Lord and find deliverance.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 10:16) The Lord is king forever and ever…

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus:  Sharing care and love with others.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse:  Philippians 3:1 “Finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!”  Pray that a spirit of joy may fill God’s people.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 9:1) I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus: Discovering purpose and calling.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse: Revelation 3:20 “Here I am!  I stand the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Pray that those who do not know Christ may have ears that hear and that they may open the door.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

Friday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 8:1) O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is you name in all the earth!

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus: Relationships

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse:  Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Pray that Christians may stand firm in their faith and not be misled by destructive forces that rob us of life.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 7:10) My shield is God most high…

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus: Order out of chaos.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse:  John 13:34 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love you another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Pray that God’s church may be united in its love and witness.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 6:9) The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

Confession: This week we ask God for a vision of life lived at its best.  This vision should inspire us to take hold of God’s gift of life. Each day ask God to help you take hold of this vision of life in a new way. Today’s focus: Trust and faith.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: Praying through the scripture.  Each day you will be given one verse to inspire your prayers for this world. Reflect on this verse and pray as God prompts you.  Today’s verse: Psalm 92: 1+2 “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…”  Pray that God may increasingly release his church to bring praise to his name.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: May your Kingdom come, may your will be done, in my life today.  Reign King Jesus reign!

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 1:1, 17, 17-27.   David leads his troops in a public lament for the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.

Think of David’s relationship with Saul.  What does this public lament tell us about David in the light of this relationship?  How does David’s action speak into any situation in your life?

Think of David’s relationship with Jonathan? What does this public lament tell us about David in the light of this relationship?  How does David’s action speak into any situation in your life?

Psalm 130.  In response to the cry of national mourning, “Out of the depth I cry to you, O Lord!”

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

 

2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Last week, Paul placed the ball in the Corinthians’ court to restore their relationship. This week, Paul reminds the church to make good on its past promise to provide generous support for his collection for the poor in Jerusalem. At stake, says Paul, is not only their integrity, but their participation in the global body of Christ. He expects them to give all that they can so that the standard of living for Christians around the world would be more balanced.

How is God calling you to live out the generosity of the Gospel?

Prayer

(2 Corinthians 8:7-15)

Go out, among the outcast and the grieving,
and speak the word of life and hope.
Do not fear, but trust in God’s word.
Watch for the Lord with eager expectation,
and be generous with all God has given you.

And may God respond to your every cry with mercy;
May Christ Jesus take you by the hand and lift you to life;
and may the Holy Spirit build you up in faith, in speech,
……..in knowledge, in passion and in love.

… go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
……..In the name of Christ. Amen.

— Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton http://www.laughingbird.net/

 

Mark 5:21-43. Two more illustrations of the power of the Word to bring abundance of life where no life seemed possible: the healing of a woman with an issue of blood (and so unable to sustain a pregnancy) and the raising of the daughter of Jairus who had died.

How may God be calling you to risk and touch the healing power of Christ?

Call to Confession

God calls us in our lives to take a risk,
to be like the woman in the gospel
who reaches out to Jesus for healing for herself;
or the father who risks the scorn of others
to bring Jesus to his dying daughter.
Let us ponder for a moment the places in our lives
where we may resist turning to God for healing and change.

(silence)

Litany of Confession

When we resist your call to open our hearts to allow
the freshness of your grace to enter:
God have mercy.

When we close our eyes to your new and unexpected possibilities
of healing and reconciliation.
Christ have mercy

When we let fear overwhelm us,
and cling to the security of what we know
instead of risking new steps toward your freedom and justice:
God have mercy.

Assurance of Grace

God’s mercies are fresh every morning.
In Christ God offers forgiving grace
and welcome into a community of trust, abundance, and hope.
Let us give thanks for the mercy of God,
and pass the peace of Christ in community among us.

— written by Rev. Susan A. Blain, and posted on the Worship Ways website.
http://uccfiles.com/

 

 

Palm Sunday: He is our King!

palm tree branchYearly Rhythm

13 April 2014
Palm Sunday, Year A.
Colour: Scarlet/Red/Purple

“On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.”

Image Source

 Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary   7 – 13 April 2014

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship, using the Lectionary Readings

Download the PDF here.

 See “Weekly Rhythm” for commentary and questions about the readings.
Also “Praying the lectionary Readings”  for prayers based on the readings.

Readings for Sunday 13 April 2014: Palm Sunday

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (Palms liturgy)
Philippians 2:5-11  The way of Jesus Christ — emptying himself, taking the form of a servant, dying
Matthew 21: 1-11 (Palms liturgy)  Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ’s kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: Humble, riding on a donkey.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: Competition/co-operation.

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: loneliness

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 are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: I have come not to be served, but to serve.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: All or nothing/knowing your calling or role.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: corruption

Personal Prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King.  Today: He gives his life as a ransom for many.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: Materialism/contentment.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: hurt and pain.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King.  Today: This is my body, given for you.  This is my blood, poured out for you.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: I did it my way/Grace and mercy.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: meaningless/directionless

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: …and he washed their feet.

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today: I can only rely on myself/body of Christ

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: anger/violence

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: I have come that you might have life…

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today:  My next purchase will bring happiness/to give is more blessed than to receive.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: your own life.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day we think of a way in which Christ kingship is different to any other kingship.  Then we thank Christ that he is our unique King. Today: Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Confession: Lord we so often proclaim your kingly reign in our lives but yet continue to live by “earthly kingdom” rules.  This week bring the values you live by under the God’s scrutiny and let him fill you with heavenly values. Focus for today:  Fear for the future/trusting in God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to make a difference to this world and our lives.  This week picture Jesus entering into situations of need and see him making a difference. Today’s focus: worship services

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Lord, you are a unique King, riding on a donkey, hanging on a cross; lead me in your unique ways.

 Weekly Rhythm

Sunday 13 April 2014

Commentary and questions about the lectionary readings.

Download the PDF here.

 Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (Palms liturgy)

Salvation comes about because of the stone the builders rejected. This stone has become the capstone of the new gates of the temple in Jerusalem.  He is the Blessed One who comes in the name of the Lord.  Though the psalm itself does not identify who this ‘One’ is, the larger context of the Psalm makes it clear that he is the Promised Seed  of the house of David, the Messiah.  It is for this reason that this psalm is frequently alluded to in the New Testament.   (NIV Compact Bible Commentary, John H Sailhammer, Zondervan.)

Philippians 2:5-11The way of Jesus Christ — emptying himself, taking the form of a servant, dying.

How does this picture of Christ relate to him riding into Jerusalem as he does in the Gospel Passage?

Matthew 21: 1-11 (Palms liturgy) Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Marcus Borg writes: “In this blog, I focus on what Christians call “Palm Sunday.” The story is familiar: as the week of Passover begins, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey and people cheer him, shouting “Hosanna – blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Less well-known is the historical fact that a Roman imperial procession was also entering Jerusalem for Passover from the other side of the city. It happened every year: the Roman governor of Judea, whose residence was in Caesarea on the coast, rode up to Jerusalem in order to be present in the city in case there were riots at Passover, the most politically volatile of the annual Jewish festivals. With him came soldiers and cavalry to reinforce the imperial garrison in Jerusalem.

It is clear what Pilate’s procession was about. By proclaiming the pomp and power of empire, its purpose was to intimidate. But what about Jesus’s procession, his entry into the city?

As Mark, the first gospel to be written, tells the story, Jesus planned it in advance. It was not a last-minute decision, as if he decided to ride a donkey because he was tired or wanted people to be able to see him better.

And – this is the crucial connection – riding a donkey into Jerusalem echoes a passage from the prophet Zechariah:

Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey (9.9).

That king, the passage continues, will be a king of peace:

“He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations” (9.10).

Thus for Passover that year, two very different processions entered Jerusalem. They proclaimed two very different and contrasting visions of how this world can and should be: the kingdom of God versus the kingdoms, the powers, of this world.
The former is about justice and the end of violence. The latter are about domination and exploitation.

On Friday, the rulers of this world kill Jesus. On Easter, God says “yes” to Jesus and “no” to the powers that executed him.

Thus Palm Sunday announces the central conflict of Holy Week. The conflict persists. In words from St. Paul, the rulers of this world crucified the Lord of glory. That conflict continues wherever injustice and violence abound. Holy Week is not about less than that.”

 

“The symbolism is captured in Zechariah 9:9 “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It was perceived that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin.

According to the Gospels, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there laid down their cloaks in front of him, and also laid down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118: 25–26 –… Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord ….

The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.Source

In this quote there are two sides of Christ: the assertive side: See I am your King (in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9) But humble and in peace: riding on a donkey.

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

A Palm Sunday Prayer

On this day of great rejoicing, Lord Jesus Christ, when we welcome You as our King and Saviour, we also walk in the shadow of Your cross. “Hosanna!” we cry. “Blessed are You who come in God’s name to save us. Hosanna!”

Strengthen our faith on this Palm Sunday so that when the time comes to carry the cross we might still call out to You with heartfelt praise. Give us the grace and the courage to follow You this Holy Week from death to resurrection, from darkness to the fullness of light.

We need You, Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Hosanna!

Amen

Falling Upward: Living through shattered dreams (Pentecost 23, Year C)

 

jengaYearly Rhythm

Sunday 27th October 2013

 This is the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time) Year C

 “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)

“Ordinary Time is the season of the Church year when (we) are encouraged to grow and mature in daily expression of (our) faith outside the great seasons of celebration of Christmas and Easter and the great periods of penance of Advent and Lent.

Ordinary Time is a time to deepen one’s prayer life, read the Scriptures, unite more deeply with the Lord in the Eucharist and become a more holy and whole person.

Ordinary Time is a period when average people like you and me strive to become the extraordinary messengers of the Gospel that we have been commissioned to be through our Baptism.

Ordinary Time is this day, this moment.  Now.” 

(source)

 

This week I spent three days on what we call a district ministers’ retreat.  Sammy Njenga was our facilitator.  One afternoon our activity was to share together in building a “Jenga Tower” (a team exercise game to see how high you can build before the tower falls over).  Judging by the exclamations and laughter the big moment of the game was when the tower came tumbling down.  When reflecting, Sammy made the point that the game was designed so that the tower would fall.  He said that the same is true of life.  The Lectionary readings address something of this.

 

 

Weekly Rhythm

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

(Comment and Questions – PDF Download)

 Joel 2:23-32.

The only reading from Joel in Year C. The previous verses describe with graphic detail the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. These verses speak of a restoration to come and later a time when God’s Spirit would be poured out on ALL flesh with simultaneous portents in heaven and earth — while the sky is dark and the moon blood red, people of all ages and stations will prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams.

Psalm 65.

A psalm of thanksgiving for fruitful times, especially for a successful harvest. To offer this psalm in response to Joel is to participate in the promise of abundance to come. Response: “Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices.”

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 (4th week of 4).

“The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.”

Luke 18:9-14

A religious leader: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people … ” A tax collector: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

 (Readings and comments: thanks to gbod.org)

 

Questions for reflections and discussion

1)      Why do you think a Pharisee and a tax-collector have been used as the characters in this story?

2)      What are the differences between what the Pharisee and Tax collector say?

3)      What do their body actions express?

4)      In noting the Pharisees words, explore what drives our needs to compare ourselves favourably to others.  Is this related to our need to blame others?

5)      Richard Rohr uses the term “falling upward”.  How might the tax collector be “falling upward”?  How is this different to climbing up the ladder in our own righteousness?

6)      What kind of community would the Pharisee be moulding?  What kind of community would the tax-collector be part of?

7)      How might this story influence your life?

 

 

Weekly Rhythm

(Shaping Sunday Worship)

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 (Use these resources in your preparation to lead or attend worship)

 

Call to worship (Based on Psalm 65 NIV)

 Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders

Where morning dawns, where evening fades,

you call forth songs of joy.

We shout for joy and sing.

  

Praise, Confession and Thanksgiving

 

Joel 2:23-32

23 Be glad, people of Zion,

rejoice in the Lord your God,

for he has given you the autumn rains

because he is faithful.

He sends you abundant showers,

both autumn and spring rains, as before.

24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;

the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—

the great locust and the young locust,

the other locusts and the locust swarm[a]—

my great army that I sent among you.

26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,

and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,

who has worked wonders for you;

never again will my people be shamed.

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,

that I am the Lord your God,

and that there is no other;

never again will my people be shamed.

 

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your old men will dream dreams,

your young men will see visions.

29 Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

30 I will show wonders in the heavens

and on the earth,

blood and fire and billows of smoke.

31 The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

32 And everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved;

for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem

there will be deliverance,

as the Lord has said,

even among the survivors

whom the Lord calls.” (NIV)

 

Lord God we bow before you and worship.  You are the rock on which we build, the sure foundation for an optimistic future.  You, God of the ages, gather our past, act in the present and prepare our future.  Without you we are trapped in an endless cycle of repeating the past.  With you we can break free and journey into new, life-giving territory.

We do see wonders in the heavens and the earth. Lord, give us insight to see where the portents, the signs that surround us, are pointing.  The sun, heralding each new day, the moon calling us to look up by night, buds unfurling in spring, crops bearing grain, rains watering and reviving.  We hear the cries of life, “It’s a girl,” “It’s a boy!”  We celebrate stories of victory won, the triumph of good over evil.

Then we see an empty tomb,

“But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”  (Acts 2:24 NIV)

You are with us in our places of despair, in our graveyards, in our broken dreams, in our stress, in our lost and rebellious wanderings. But today we interpret the signs, it is happening.  Lord we turn to You, the life giver. Your Spirit is pouring out, bringing new life to young and old, slave and free, man and woman. Yes, to us.

You are hope, healing, revival. You bring that future to us in this present moment. Abundant showers, vats overflowing with goodness, all calling on the Lord’s name and knowing salvation.

And so Lord, evening fades and morning dawns and calls forth songs of joy.

In Jesus name

Amen

 

Intercessions and healing

Introduction to the Intercessions

The prophet Joel writes to the exiles as their past lies in ruins and they wonder what their future holds.  Will they always live in a diminished way? Today’s prayer is for those who relate to this sense of lost years and the need for restoration.  We must grieve the changes in our lives, but the journey of grief brings healing.

 

Prayer:

Let us be still.

In the quietness bring to mind those devastating moments that have left your life ruined in some way.  How have you struggled?  What feelings have made you cry out?  What feelings hang like a dark cloud over your life? How has this robbed you of life?  What years has the locust eaten?  Now hear the prophet Joel as he speaks God’s restoration into your life:

 

Be glad for your God brings deliverance.  Like the rains that fall during Spring bring provision, the Lord will restore your loss with interest.  He says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—and you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you;   never again will you be shamed.  Then you will know that I am …the Lord your God.”   I will pour out my Spirit on you.  Your inner child will wake up to God’s word, your tired heart will dream again, your oppressed self will be set free to live again.  You will see wonders and signs of salvation all around you.  All you need to do is call on the name of the Lord for this outpouring of life renewing rain. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

(Based on Joel 2:23-32 NIV)

 

Sending out: (Luke 18:9-14)

Go now,

not to be the judge of others.

not to compare and find others lacking.

But go,

               As one who comforts the broken

As one who lifts up the fallen

 

 

 

Daily Rhythm

21 – 27 October

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship

(Download the PDF here.)

 

Devotional  Diary   21 – 27 October 2013

 

Readings for the week (Thanks to gbod.org)

Joel 2:23-32.  (After the aftermath)  The previous verses describe with graphic detail the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. These verses speak of a restoration to come and later a time when God’s Spirit would be poured out on ALL flesh with simultaneous portents in heaven and earth — while the sky is dark and the moon blood red, people of all ages and stations will prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams.

Psalm 65.  A psalm of thanksgiving for fruitful times, especially for a successful harvest. To offer this psalm in response to Joel is to participate in the promise of abundance to come. Response: “Now thank we allour God with hearts and hands and voices.”

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18.”The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.”

Luke 18:9-14.  A religious leader: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people.  A tax collector: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”  For comments and reflection on these readings see Rhythm of Worship (jamesnicolson.co.za)

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 150:1 Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: self-righteousness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area. Today: Our home town.

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:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 150:2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: false dignity.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: South Africa.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: feeling of being hard-done by.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Africa

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 149:1 Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: Unforgiveness

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Middle East.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 149:3 Let them (us!) praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: hard heart.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Our world.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 147:1 Praise the Lord.  How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

Confession: In our confession this week we examine the barriers in our lives that stop us from humbling ourselves and worshipping God, allowing Him to embrace and kiss us in love and celebration.  Today: boredom.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: God’s mission in this world.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8

 

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 147:7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.

Confession: Today we don’t focus on a barrier, just spend some time praising God and continuing to give us the barriers that you have focused on during the week.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: The Churches that are all around us.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go… Psalm 143:8