Pentecost 11

David weeps, building community and true bread

Dune grasses Yearly Rhythm

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

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

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

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 3 – 9 August 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

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

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

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

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

Monday:

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

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

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

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

 Tuesday:

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal Prayers:

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

Wednesday: 

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

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

Thursday:

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

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

Friday:

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

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

Saturday:

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

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

Sunday:

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

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

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

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

Personal prayers:

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

 

Weekly Rhythm

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

 

 

Questions and prayers to explore readings:  

(Notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.)

 As you read remember the three basic questions:

What does the passage say?
What does the passage mean?
How does it apply to my life?

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

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

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

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

Make us over again, O gracious God…

(This prayer continues under the Ephesians passage below)

 

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

 

Prayer
(inspired by Psalm 130)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

 Gospel Reflection (John 6:41-51)

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

They murmured.

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

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

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

What better way than to be your food?

Jesus, we believe.
Be our food.

 

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

Who do you say that I am? 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

2012-02-25+16.49.24Yearly Rhythm

24 August  2014
The 11 th   Sunday after Pentecost
Year A,  Colour: Green

“Lent is about preparing people to live as disciples of Jesus. Easter Season is about giving especially the newly baptized or confirmed time to focus deeply on the doctrinal foundations of the faith and on discerning the Spirit’s calling and gifts for ministry, culminating in a celebration and commissioning for these ministries at Pentecost. 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  18 – 24 August 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

This week’s readings (with thanks to gbod.org)

Exodus 1:8-2:10 — A pharaoh who did not know the family of Joseph made his descendants into hard-labour slaves and tried to reduce their numbers by infanticide. The Hebrew midwives and the daughter of Pharaoh had other ideas, so Moses was raised in the royal household.

Psalm 124

Romans 12:1-8 — Paul calls the Christians at Rome to offer themselves fully to God.

Matthew 16:13-20 — In a stronghold of Roman authority, Jesus asks the disciples who others say he is. Peter confesses, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE.

Monday

Adoration Focus: We are called to respond to God in many ways. In our adoration focus we look at some of these ways.  Today, “Glory in the name of the Lord”

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I rely only on my own strength and I ignore your call to share in the richness of your infinite resources.  Help me to “plug-in” and to live out of your power.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom: The church (remember, you are the church!) has a role to play in all areas of life.  This week we pray for some of these concerns that the church is called to.

Shared Focus: Christ came to bring reconciliation.  Pray that the church may make this ministry of reconciliation relevant to our situation.  Pray that the peoples of your land may come closer together in creativity and peace.

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: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

Tuesday 

Adoration Focus: Today, “Lift up His holy name.”

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I fill my life with hurry and never touch base with your order and love.  Help me to listen to your breathing and to be filled with your breath.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The call goes out from the prophets to facilitate justice.  Pray that the church may be a creative part of this process.   Thank God for those within the church who are reflecting on this issue from God’s perspective and are voicing Godly concerns.

Personal Concerns:

                Dedication: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

Wednesday 

Adoration Focus: Today, “Love the Lord your God.”

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I live only for what I can get.  Lord, I find it so hard not to get swallowed by the spirit of materialism, and sometimes I don’t even recognise that I am guided by its ethics.  Set me free that I may be guided by your values.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The call goes out to feed the poor and alleviate poverty.  Pray that the church may take this call to heart and reach out in compassion.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

Thursday 

Adoration Focus: Today, “Praise His holy name.”

Confession: Lord, I do not have a firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you. O Lord, strengthen my faith I pray that I may find my peace in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The call goes out for the church to be part of the fight against crime and corruption.  Pray that we may build relationships across all barriers and that mutual love and respect for life may be our guide.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

Friday 

Adoration Focus: “Prostrate yourself before the Lord.”

Confession: Lord, I am so reluctant to actively witness to your glory.  Lord, forgive me and show me how to witness in loving and creative ways.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  The call goes out for the church to care for people with HIV/AIDS.  Pray that the church may deal with this issue with deep compassion and embrace all who suffer.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

Saturday 

Adoration Focus: Today, “Sing a new song to His name.”

Confession: Lord you have said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”  I have sought first my own kingdom.  Forgive me and help me to have Godly priorities.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: The call goes out to the church to help build family life.  Pray that we may promote healthy families and good family dynamics particularly in an accepting and embracing way.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

Sunday 

Adoration Focus: Today, “Bow before the name of the Lord.”

Confession: Lord I am so self-focused I find it difficult to praise others and even to really lose myself in my praise of you.  Forgive me Lord and give my heart wings to rise up in praise.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  The call goes out to the church to strengthen the moral fibre of our country.  Lord, you have called us to a whole new way of life.  Help us not to compromise the values of your call and help us to promote these values in every way we can.  May your holiness spread throughout our land.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: Today I choose to follow you…”  (Song of commitment)

                                                                      

 Weekly Rhythm

Thinking more about the readings –
their context and how they might help us lead transformed lives.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Readings and comments this week are all thanks to www.gbod.com

Exodus 1:8-2:10.

“The story begins with subversion! Note who the powerful actors are and are not. Midwives and daughters overcome the reactionary and murderous behavior of the most powerful men in Egypt. Their resistance preserves the life not only of Moses but of many other male children as well. The result is a total backfiring of the Pharaoh’s plan to reduce the Hebrew population. Instead, their population multiplies! And one of their own comes to be the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s daughter!

Life and compassion trump fear and oppression. Midwives defy rules. Daughters save a doomed brother. The Pharaoh’s daughter takes in an orphan floating in the river, and his real mother is hired as his wet nurse.”

What does this tell us about who the important players are in our context today?

Can “small” actions lead to big results?

Psalm 124.  A victory over persecution is celebrated.  Note verse 8, a common statement of faith in the name (presence) of God.

Romans 12:1-8.

Against the backdrop of their mixed Jewish-Gentile community, Paul calls the Christians at Rome to offer themselves fully to God with minds no longer conformed to a Jewish-Gentile dichotomy/enmity paradigm, but transformed by the awareness we are being made into one body, each of us with differing gifts.

Using the imagery of body, Paul pushes the olive tree graft image radically further. Gentile Christians are not merely grafted into the main trunk of God’s covenant with Israel, but all Christians both form one body in Christ, collectively, and individually, each is part the whole like the arm is part of the whole body. We are both collectively and individually being redesigned in Christ to be connected to each other and incorporated into Christ starting with baptism, regardless of the backgrounds from which we have come.

The Holy Spirit gives each of us a variety of different gifts for us to offer to strengthen the whole community. Paul lists a sampling of these in verses 6-8. Note that the gifts listed here are focused not on the “institution” of the church, but on the core activities of the Christian community with each other and on mission in the world—proclaiming God’s living word, serving others, teaching, coaching, giving, leading, and offering mercy.

Matthew 16:13-20.

In a stronghold of Roman authority, Jesus asks the disciples whom others say he is. Peter confesses, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then calls Peter and the church in which he will eventually lead to storm the gates of death, assured of victory, and to take authority to “bind and loose” on earth.

In the book of Daniel, the Son of Man is portrayed as a deliverer to come. There was wide speculation at this point in history about just who or what kind of person this might be. So Jesus wasn’t asking about what people were thinking about him, but rather about what Jewish people in this most Gentile-controlled of regions expected the Son of Man to be. They, of all people, had good reason to long for deliverance, and so for the coming of the Son of Man.

The answers to this question say a lot about the hopes and expectations of these people. That John the Baptist tops the list indicates just how expectant (and perhaps disappointed) they were. Others seemed to expect a prophet to return, either from heaven (Elijah) or from the grave (Jeremiah or another of the major prophets).  Hear what that suggests: Only such an extraordinary intervention could generate true deliverance! Yet in just such an extraordinary intervention they were placing their hope.

Then, and only then, did Jesus ask the question about himself. “Who do you say I am?” Peter’s response is also telling. “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.” In other words, you are the promised deliverer. You are what folks were looking for in the Son of Man, whether they understood that to be something like John the Baptist or one the prophets returned from the dead, but also much more.

Jesus doesn’t congratulate anyone on their identification of the Son of Man. But Jesus does congratulate Peter on his identification of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. “Blessed are you, Simon, Jonah’s son. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven.” And he goes on, “You are Peter (a stone) and on this rock (same word) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”

It’s a powerful image Jesus uses for the church in his blessing of Peter. Often, we think of Hades (the realm of the dead) being on the offensive to destroy us all. But here, Jesus reverses that. The church is storming Death’s dominion, and Death’s best defenses cannot stop us setting its captives free. What holy boldness Jesus intended for us to embody as his body!

And this confession and blessing of the church is also made at Caesarea Philippi, in the heart of Empire’s strongest stronghold in all of Palestine.”  Source

Praying the Lectionary Readings

Who Do You Say I Am?

When Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi,
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied:
“Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah,
and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them,
“But you—who do you say I am?”

Lord, You are the Bread of Life,
which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

You are the Good Shepherd,
who lays down His own life for the sheep in His care.

You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
the path by which we come to know God the Father.

You are the Light of the World,
illuminating the way for all who walk in darkness.

You are the Resurrection and the Life,
the source of eternal life for all who believe.

You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God,
and our Redeemer and Lord.

Source

 

Here’s an affirmation of faith written by Michael Perry, posted originally on re:Worship.

We Believe

We believe and know
that Jesus is the Holy One of God.

We believe that he is the Christ,
the Son of  God,
who was to come into the world.

We believe that he is in the Father
and the Father is in him.

We believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God,

and that by believing
we have life in his name.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession

(based on Romans 12:1-8)

Merciful God,
we confess how easy it is for us to begin to adopt
the attitudes and actions of the world around us;
to let our lives be shaped by contemporary culture
rather than by Your call.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear and forgive.

We confess how often we think of our own interests first—
more concerned with our own status and well-being
than with the well-being of others.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear and forgive.

We confess that we have not always treated one another
as valued members of Your Body, the Church;
that we have allowed intolerance and resentment to tear us apart.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear and forgive.

We confess that we do not always acknowledge You as Lord,
trusting in our own abilities and following our own goals
rather than submitting ourselves to Your will and Your call.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear and forgive.

Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, transform us.
Change us from the inside out,
so that our words and our lives would bring honour and glory to You,
our Saviour and Lord.

Source