Pentecost 15

Justice for ALL, Jesus and the demons

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Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 6 September 2015
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Ordinary Time)
Year B
Colour: Green

i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite
which is yes
e e cummings

 

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 1 – 6 September 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE!

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

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23. A selection of sayings about wealth, justice, generosity, and the poor.

Psalm Response: Psalm 125. This Psalm speaks of God’s protection for the righteous, a match to the theme of the readings from Proverbs.

James 2:1-10 (11-13), 14-17.  James teaches that partiality based on economic or social status is contrary to the call of Christian discipleship. God has enabled the poor to be rich in faith, but the rich have often exercised their power to oppress people and keep them poor. Disciples of Jesus must take direct action to relieve the needs of the poor — “faith without works is dead.”

Mark 7:24-37.  Jesus goes to Lebanon for a vacation and there encounters a local woman whose begging ultimately convinces him to free her daughter from a demon. Returning to Galilee, and re-entering the region of the Decapolis (where he had cast out a legion of demons), Jesus heals a man who could not hear or speak. The more he ordered others not to speak of this, the more they spread it abroad.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and again I say, “Rejoice!”  Galatians 4:4

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today?  Today’s focus: Your passions.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our willingness to have shared goals.

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

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your goals.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our prayers for one another.

Personal Prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: “But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends.” Colossians 2:22

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: How you spend your energy.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our confidence in God’s way.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: “Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!” Colossians 3:4

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your compassion.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our surrender to God’s leading.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Friday:

Adoration Focus: “You are the people of God; he loves you and chose you for his own.” Colossians 3:12

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your enthusiasm.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus: Our celebration of God with us.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.”  Ephesians 1:3

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your taking up of God’s life in yourself.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus:  Our call to mission that crosses barriers and boundaries.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does mean for you in the day ahead?

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son!” Ephesians 1:6

Confession: If the standard was perfection what would you have to bring to God for transformation today? Today’s focus: Your heart of worship.

The Word: See readings above.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Praying for revival in your church’s life.  Each day lift up an area of your church life and pray that God’s vibrant new life may sweep through it. Today’s focus:  The shared life of worship.

Personal prayers:

            Transforming Verse: Habakkuk 2:4 “…the righteous will live by faith.”  What does this mean for you in the day ahead?


Weekly Rhythm

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

 

Questions and prayers to explore the readings further. The notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.)

As you read remember the three basic questions:
What does the passage say?  What does the passage mean?  How does it apply to my life?

 Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23. A selection of sayings about wealth, justice, generosity, and the poor.

Prayer  

(inspired by Proverbs 22, James 2:1-17)

Gracious God,
we come before you today knowing that we often fall short of your call
to love one another well.
We allow ourselves to be blinded by wealth and power.
We ignore those around us who suffer injustice, poverty, and rejection.
We tune out the cries of the poor and those on the edges of our communities.
Help us to see your great generosity,
hear your word of mercy,
and feel your great love for all who need your redemptive grace.
Strengthen us to reach out in service to those who are in need.
Make us aware of those outside our own communities,
that we may see them as your precious children
and serve them in humility and joy.
May we continue to grow in grace
as we learn how to serve you
in the name of the great Servant,
even Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

 

Psalm Response: Psalm 125. This Psalm speaks of God’s protection for the righteous, a match to the theme of the readings from Proverbs.


James 2:1-10 (11-13), 14-17
.  James teaches that partiality based on economic or social status is contrary to the call of Christian discipleship. God has enabled the poor to be rich in faith, but the rich have often exercised their power to oppress people and keep them poor. Disciples of Jesus must take direct action to relieve the needs of the poor — “faith without works is dead.”

Prayer

(inspired by the book of James)

This prayer is a repeat from last week and will apply to next week’s reading from James again.

Father of Lights, from whom comes every perfect gift,
hear our prayers which we offer fervently to you, and in the name of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

We pray for the church, that we might show forth our faith in action,
regard all with impartiality, and be quick to listen and slow to anger.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our nation, that whenever trials may befall us,
that God may grant us endurance and wisdom.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the world, that the lowly may be raised up,
and that mercy may fall on us all.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, the injured, the vulnerable,
and those undergoing all forms of adversity,
that they might all be raised up; especially ______.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those celebrating this week, especially ____.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who have died (especially ____),
that they would draw near to God, and that God would draw near to them.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, let our prayers be offered to you
with the gentleness that is born from your wisdom from above,
that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and full of mercy. Amen.

 

~ written by Rick Morley, and posted on his A Garden Path blog.

 

 Mark 7:24-37.  Jesus goes to Lebanon for a vacation and there encounters a local woman whose begging ultimately convinces him to free her daughter from a demon. Returning to Galilee, and re-entering the region of the Decapolis (where he had cast out a legion of demons), Jesus heals a man who could not hear or speak. The more he ordered others not to speak of this, the more they spread it abroad.

Notice Christ’s compassion: He is prepared to have his mind changed by the Syro-Phoenician woman.  In the case of the deaf and mute man, notice how Jesus uses “sign language” and mouths an easily lip-read word.

The first will be last, the last will be first…really? The 15th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

medium_2215679522Yearly Rhythm

21 September  2014, The 15 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  15 – 21 September 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Readings for the week Sunday 21st September, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Exodus 16:2-15. A potential coup attempt against Moses and Aaron becomes the occasion for God to test the “whole gathered assembly” about their willingness to follow instruction. God provides quail for meat and “manna” for bread with specific instructions for its gathering and use.

Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45

Philippians 1:21-30. Week 1 of 4 in Philippians. Paul shares his trust in God in life or death, his desire to come and see the Christians at Philippi again, and his hope that when he comes he would find them of one heart and mind with each other and in whatever struggles they may face with those who oppose and persecute them.

Matthew 20:1-16. The economics of God’s kingdom look quite startling to those running on the economics of the kingdoms of this world: the parable of the vineyard.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE. 

Monday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 38:15) But I trust in you, O Lord; and you, O Lord my God, will answer me.

Confession:  We come to God in repentance.  This involves turning from our sins and turning to Christ.  We examine ourselves and confess our sin.  He forgives us. We allow the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead to bring to full blossom the forgiving life of Christ within us.   Each day give yourself into this process in a new way.    First examine yourself in silence then confess, receive the gift of forgiveness and ask God how He is calling you to live out this new life in the day ahead.

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the living out of the life of Christ in your church community.   In what ways would you like to see the life of Christ expressed within the life of your church?  Each day identify a new way.  Then pray for your church, picturing the life of Christ filling it and empowering it for that part of its journey.  Then pray for yourself that you may give yourself into the journey that Christ is leading your church on.

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 ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 37:4) Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s Shared Focus.

Personal Prayers:

               Dedication: I ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 36:7) How precious, O God, is your constant love!  We find protection under the shadow of your wings.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s Shared Focus.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: I ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 35:10) With all my heart I will say to the Lord, “There is no-one like you. …”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s Shared Focus.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: I ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

 Friday:

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

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s Shared Focus.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: I ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

 Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 33:11) But his plans endure forever; his purposes last eternally.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s Shared Focus.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: I ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 32:7) You are my hiding place; you will save me from trouble.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s Shared Focus.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: I ask you therefore: Do you repent of you sins and renounce all evil?  Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Will you obey Christ and serve him in the Church and in the world?
(Meth. Confirmation Service)

           

Weekly Rhythm

Thinking more about the lectionary readings
– linking our stories with the stories of God’s people.              

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Readings for the week Sunday 21st September, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Exodus 16:2-15. A potential coup attempt against Moses and Aaron becomes the occasion for God to test the “whole gathered assembly” about their willingness to follow instruction. God provides quail for meat and “manna” for bread with specific instructions for its gathering and use.  What would your “grumbling issue” be, your complaint against God?  How does he supply manna and quail in the face of your complaint?  The daily supply of manna and quail imply trust.  How do you need to trust God in the face of your complaint?

Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45   This psalm celebrates the might deeds and miracles of God.  Try to list these deeds as you read this psalm.  What deeds and miracles of God would your psalm be full of?

Philippians 1:21-30 Week 1 of 4 in Philippians. Paul shares his trust in God in life or death, his desire to come and see the Christians at Philippi again, and his hope that when he comes he would find them of one heart and mind with each other and in whatever struggles they may face with those who oppose and persecute them.  “Paul here uses a term he comes back to—“homothumadon”—to begin to catch this sense of communitas in Christ. We often translate this as something like “with one heart” or “in one spirit,” but the imagery here etymologically is more like either sharing the same “inner smoke” (“thumos” refers to the smoke from a sacrifice, which is thought to represent the inner life force that dwells in the chest cavity) or having hearts that beat in synchrony. Athletes and sports fans might describe this as being “in the zone”—only in this case, the “zone” is a collective experience. The whole team, the whole community, is “in the zone.”

That’s what Paul prays for this community in Philippi—a group of unlikely friends bound together in Christ. He wants them to be that united—not glommed together, but deeply, organically connected. And he wants this for them not for the sake of their own experience, but, as he says, for the sake of the “faith of the gospel.” People this closely bound will not be intimidated by opponents (who are unlikely to have such cohesion, anyway!). And they will not only not fear suffering, they will count suffering a privilege (verse 29) for the sake of Christ.

This is not a unity formed simply around shared assent to common beliefs (though those are not unimportant!). It is a unity formed by the Spirit among members of the body of Christ. And it is a unity that we are free either to embrace or walk away from. Paul calls this ragtag community of jailers, tradeswomen, retired army veterans and former soothsayers, to name just some of the motley characters we know of from Acts, to embrace it, and firmly. We’ll see some of the urgency in this call to these people in chapter 4. But the point for us, here and now, is that being “homothumadon” can also be a possibility, and more than that, an ideal opportunity for us, too.

But not if we just wish it so, or simply think nice thoughts or write neat articles, blogs or Facebook posts about it. Paul’s language is clear and concrete. “Homothumadon” happens when we “stand firm… striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, in no way intimidated by opponents.” This is language of contest and unified struggle moved by a common impulse. This is what happens when disciples of Jesus Christ bind themselves to one another in the power of the Holy Spirit and watch over one another in love as they engage their ministries in the world, together and separately. This is what happens as we fulfill the missional purpose for which the early church created this season after Pentecost and we have revived it.”  Source

Matthew 20:1-16. The economics of God’s kingdom look quite startling to those running on the economics of the kingdoms of this world: the parable of the vineyard.”  This parable is not about economic values, it speaks about the economics of God’s grace:  there is more than enough for all…it cannot be earned…it makes no sense from the perspective of worldly values…the last will be first and the first will be last.

How does this parable drive home these values of grace?

Praying the Lectionary Readings

Litany

(based on Psalm 105: 1-6, 37-43)

 

Give thanks and publish God’s fame,
among all races celebrate our Saviour’s deeds.
With your best songs and sweetest music
delight in all that God has done for us.
Glory in the Redeemer’s name,
rejoice from the bottom of your hearts.
In your worship find your true strength,
in praises celebrate God’s Presence.
Never forget the wonders God has done,
the surprises and the dark judgements,
We are a people of faith like Abraham,
the new race that has been chosen to serve.
God had led out his called people,
not a despairing soul among them.
God’s cloud sheltered them by day
and the fire led them by night.
God was with them across the sands
and rivers flowed out of the rocks.
For meat the quails were sent,
the bread of heaven was plentiful.
All the sacred promises are kept by God,
by faith we are the children of Abraham.
Happily the people of God come out,
they chose to shout and sing their joy.

B.D. Prewer, 2004

 

Call to Worship

(inspired by Matthew 20:16, Mark 9:30-37)

The first shall be last.
We come to worship as we are.

The last shall be first.
We come with confidence.

The first shall be last.
We come with questions.

The last shall be first.
We come burdened by failure.

The first shall be last.
We come celebrating success.

The last shall be first.
We come fearful of the future.

The first shall be last
and the last shall be first
and a little child shall lead them.

~ written by Katherine Hawker, and posted on the Liturgy Outside 

 

Prayer of Invocation: Matthew 20:1-16

Call all the laborers, O God,
Call your laborers who woke early,
Call your laborers who came late,
Call your laborers who feel wronged,
Call your laborers who feel overlooked,
Call your laborers who can’t feed their children with this wage,
Call your laborers who know they are working in your fields,
Call your laborers who use their wage to increase your love,
Call all your laborers, O God,
Tell us to roll up our sleeves
For we know that we have work to do.
Let us find you in the work we share here and now,
in Christ’s presence we pray.                                       Amen.

 

— posted on the United Church of Christ webpage.

 

Prayer of Intercession

(Ex. 16:2-15; Phil. 1:21-30; Matt. 20:1-16)

God,
like the Israelites in the wilderness,
we too have known Your love,
and experienced Your care and provision.
You call us to extend Your love to the world around us—
to care for others as deeply as we care for ourselves.
And so we bring the needs of our world before You now.
In Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who do not have what they need in order to survive;
those without enough food to eat, or shelter to keep them warm;
those without employment, or enough money to pay their bills;
those without access to medical care, or medicine to keep them healthy.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who have more than enough to meet their needs,
but who continue to feel empty inside;
who struggle to find meaning and purpose in life,
who turn to alcohol, drugs, or other destructive behaviours
to try and hide the pain,
who entertain thoughts of suicide.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are struggling physically,
who are battling life-threatening disease or injury,
who are living with chronic pain,
who are coping with Alzheimers,
or facing death.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of the first and the last,
and all those in between,
Your grace reaches out to all of us—
life-long believers or newcomers alike.
You call us to live as citizens of heaven,
to work together with one mind and one purpose,
to reach out in love to those in need.
Strengthen us so that we might live in a manner worthy
of the Good News we have received,
offering our lives to the building up of Your upside-down kingdom,
where the last are first, and the first are last,
and there is grace enough for all.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, Amen.

Christine Longhurst

 

Call to Worship

(based on Matthew 20: 1-16)

Come!
Come and worship,
you who woke early and you who slept late;
you who come often, and you who don’t.
Whether we are first or last or somewhere in between,
there is room for all of us in God’s kingdom,
and more than enough grace to go around.
Let’s worship God together!
Christine Longhurst

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