Prayers

Called to die?

DEAD LEAVESYearly Rhythm

22 March 2015
The Fifth Sunday in Lent Year B, Colour: Purple

 Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism.  In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need.  [Source]  

How to use this blog and for more on the Revised Common Lectionary click here!

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary   16 – 22 March 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE.

Lectionary Readings for this week (thanks to www.gbod.org) This is the fifth Sunday in Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34. God’s new covenant requires no stone tablets. It will be a covenant written in the people’s hearts, informing everything in their whole lives.

Psalm 51:1-12. A reprise of the confession of sin from Ash Wednesday. Today the focus is verse 6 — “therefore, teach me wisdom in my secret heart.”

Hebrews 5:5-10. Jesus is our great high priest by God’s appointment and made perfect through his obedience and suffering.

John 12:20-33.  Jesus tells Phillip and Andrew that the time for his glorification; i.e., his execution is drawing near and that those who serve him will be found with him wherever he leads or goes. God ratifies the message with a sound from heaven, which Jesus interprets as a sign that the present spiritual regime’s days are about to come to an end.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: 1 John 1:5: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

Confession: Lord,forgive us when we have looked at suffering through hardened eyes; give us your eyes of love.

The Word: Use the Revised Common Lectionary readings above or your own scripture reading plan.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord, we pray for all who have crossed boundaries to go out in mission in the name of Christ.  We pray that we may learn from their courage and sense of mission.

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:  O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: 1 John 2:2: “He (Jesus Christ) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Confession: Lord, forgive us when we have looked at the poor through hardened eyes, give us your eyes of love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord, we pray for all who have crossed boundaries and reached out to people different from themselves.  We pray that we may learn from their compassion and care.

Dedication: O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: 1 John 3:1: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Confession: Lord, forgive us when we have looked at our neighbour through hardened eyes, give us your eyes of love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We pray for all who have crossed boundaries and shared their faith and witnessed in difficult circumstances.  We pray that we may learn from their conviction and calling.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: 1 John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

Confession: Lord, forgive us when we have looked at those close to us through hardened eyes, give us your eyes of love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We pray for all who have crossed boundaries and cared for the poor and those lacking resources.  We pray that we may learn from their concern and generosity.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: 1 John 4:8: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Confession: Lord, forgive us when we have looked at those of other races through hardened eyes, give us your eyes of love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We pray for those who have crossed boundaries and have cared for and loved those of another generation.  We pray that we may learn from their empathy.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: 1 John 5:11: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

Confession: Lord, forgive us when we have looked at the young through hardened eyes, give us your eyes of love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: We pray for those who have crossed boundaries and have learnt to give with a generous spirit.  Pray that we may learn from their sense of self-sacrifice.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: 2 John 3: “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.”

Confession: Lord, forgive us when we have looked at ourselves through hardened eyes, give us your eyes of love.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  We pray for all who have crossed boundaries and learnt to worship God.  Pray that we may learn from their ability to look beyond themselves to see the greatness of God.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: O Christ, the Master Carpenter who at the last, through wood and nails, purchased our whole salvation, wield well your tools in the workshop of your world, so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench, may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.  We ask it for your name’s sake.  (Source unknown)

 

Weekly Rhythm

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

Prayers to help you apply the readings: (The notes in italics are with thanks to www.gbod.org.)

Jeremiah 31:31-34  God’s new covenant requires no stone tablets. It will be a covenant written in the people’s hearts, informing everything in their whole lives.

 Declaration of Grace / Absolution

(inspired by Jeremiah 31: 31-34)

The Lord comes to us with a new covenant, saying:

“I will write my law on your hearts;
I will forgive your wrongdoing
and remember your sins no more.”

 Sisters and Brothers,
your sins are forgiven;
be at peace.

~ copyright © 2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

 Psalm 51:1-12  A reprise of the confession of sin from Ash Wednesday. Today the focus is verse 6 — “therefore, teach me wisdom in my secret heart.”

Prayer

(based on Psalm 51)

 Mercy! Have mercy on me, O God Almighty!
I appeal to your unconditional love that never fails;
Forgive my sin because of your enormous compassion.
Wash away all my badness and make me clean.
All my sins are against you, my Lord –
Again I didn’t trust you, I turned away and did wrong.
You alone are holy and you alone can cleanse me;
Please let me rejoice in you again!
Form my heart to be devoted to you alone, O God,
And revive my spirit to be steadfast in loving you.
Remind me continually that I’m in your presence;
O that your Holy Spirit would thrive in me forever!
Restore my soul with the joy of your mercy
And strengthen my will to seek you continually.
My divided and distracted will is all that I have to give you;|
So I come with my broken heart, humble and convicted.
O God, because of your mercy you will not reject me;
Your smile and your embrace means everything to me!
My reformed heart gives praise to you for all to hear;
O Lord, this is the offering that brings you delight!

 ~ written by Bill and Kristi Gaultiere, inspired by Psalm 51.  Posted on Soul Shepherding.http://www.soulshepherding.org/

Hebrews 5:5-10 Jesus is our great high priest by God’s appointment and made perfect through his obedience and suffering.

Prayer

(inspired by Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 5:7-10)

Father, O God most high,
who dwells in the highest of heavens,
we praise you.

Father, O Lord most exalted,
beyond our thoughts and imaginations,
we praise you.

We celebrate the victory of your Son,
who has overcome death
and saved us from the power of sin.
We rejoice in his exaltation!

Our great high priest
has gone before,
has entered into the Holy of Holies,
and has opened up a way for us to follow.
In his name, we too would enter into your eternal presence,
for he is our priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.
To him be all praise,
together with you, O Father,
and the Holy Spirit,
one Lord, the same in every age.

Amen and Amen.

~ Hughes Oliphant Old, Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Ministers
http://www.amazon.com/Leading-Prayer-A-Workbook-Ministers/dp/0802808212.

 

John 12:20-33  Jesus tells Phillip and Andrew that the time for his glorification; i.e., his execution is drawing near and that those who serve him will be found with him wherever he leads or goes. God ratifies the message with a sound from heaven, which Jesus interprets as a sign that the present spiritual regime’s days are about to come to an end.

 

A Prayer of St. Ignatius

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.” John 12:26

Jesus, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve:
to give without counting the cost,
to fight needless of the wounds,
to work and not seek for rest,
to toil and not seek for reward,
save the reward of knowing I am doing your will. Amen.

— St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Posted on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank “Weekly Prayer” page.
Check that website for other good prayers and resources for worship.

 

Christ the King! (Christ the King Sunday, Year A)

christ the kingYearly Rhythm

23rd November 2014, Christ the King Sunday
Year A, Colour: White/Gold

Christ the King Sunday was first celebrated in 1925 in the face of certain governments declaring that they were the ultimate authority on all matters including religion.  It declares the Christ in our King, the ultimate authority.

Daily Rhythm

Bringing worship into the everyday

 

Devotional Diary  17 – 23 November 2014

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Readings for “Christ the King” Sunday, 23 November, with thanks to www.gbod.org

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24To the people scattered in exile in Babylon (Iraq), the prophet Ezekiel declares the word of the Lord: “I will seek out my sheep… I will rescue them… I will bring them into their own land.” To the Babylonian rulers, God announces that it is God, and not they, who will judge the covenant people, and that God, and not they, will establish a shepherd over them, a descendent of David.

Psalm 100.

Ephesians 1:15-23. Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus of the glorious inheritance of all believers. The same power that raised Christ from death and placed him above every imaginable power is at work on our behalf.

Matthew 25:31-46The final public teaching of Jesus. At the Great Assize,” the final Judgment, the King to Come, seated upon a throne and surrounded by the angels, will judge all based on how they have treated “the least of these.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE

Monday:

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today: Abundance of creation.

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God?  Today: Personal fears…

The Word: Use the readings above or your own Scripture reading plan.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”

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, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today:  Just and merciful judge.

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God? Today: Family….

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”

Personal Prayers:

 Dedication: Lord, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today:  Longing for every single human being.

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God? Today: Country…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today:  He will transform all things in a wonderfully creative way.

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God? Today: Future security…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

Friday:

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today:  He will always love you.

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God? Today: The poor and suffering…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today: He never hesitates to suffer with us.

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God? Today: Health…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: We sing: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  Each day thank God for his goodness.  Today: He allows us to enter his gate with thanksgiving!

Confession: This week examine the burdens that you are trying to carry on your own.  How can you hand them over to God? Today: Your salvation…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: In our shared focus you are encouraged to pray for those things that burden you and in which you need to trust God “In His time…”.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet…

 

                                                                            

Weekly Rhythm

Exploring Scripture
Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Notes in italics with thanks to www.gbod.org

 

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24.

To the people scattered in exile in Babylon (Iraq), the prophet Ezekiel declares the word of the Lord: “I will seek out my sheep… I will rescue them… I will bring them into their own land.” To the Babylonian rulers, God announces that it is God, and not they, who will judge the covenant people, and that God, and not they, will establish a shepherd over them, a descendent of David.

 

The leaders of the nation are its shepherds.  They receive from the sheep, in return they must care for the sheep. Sometimes (often?) the leaders fail in this call and neglect their call.  Here we see that God is faithful in his care as he gathers the sheep.

How can we allow God to shepherd us?  How are we called to be shepherds?

 Psalm 100.

What a wonderful call to praise.  God is above all.  He has created us, he cares for us (the shepherd. We are called to experience the actual presence of God in his love, faithfulness and goodness.

Recall your best moments of worship.  How did worship open your eyes to God?  What did it affirm about God?

Ephesians 1:15-23.

Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus of the glorious inheritance of all believers. The same power that raised Christ from death and placed him above every imaginable power is at work on our behalf.

This passage affirms many characteristics that are only to be seen in the expected Messiah.  This passage paints an amazing picture of Jesus.  As you read through it picture the Christ and note his different attributes as listed here.  Are you called into worship?

Matthew 25:31-46.

The final public teaching of Jesus. At the Great Assize,” the final Judgment, the King to Come, seated upon a throne and surrounded by the angels, will judge all based on how they have treated “the least of these.”

Looking at this parable what would you describe as the nature of Christian mission and service?
What is the criterion for accountability and judgement?
How is Christ manifest in the hungry or the stranger?  What are the implications for us?

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 

Call to Worship: The Kingship of Christ

 

Litany

 

Thanks and praise to you,

Jesus Christ, King and Lord of all,

given the name above every other name

 

Jesus, King and Lord of all,

we worship and adore you.

 

King of righteousness, King of peace,

enthroned at the right hand

of Majesty on high

 

Jesus, King and Lord of all,

we worship and adore you

 

Great high priest,

living for ever to intercede for us;

 

Jesus, King and Lord of all,

we worship and adore you.

 

Pioneer of our salvation,

you bring us to glory

through your death and resurrection;

 

Jesus, King and Lord of all,

we worship and adore you.

 

Every knee bows to you;

every tongue confesses,

you are King of kings

and Lord of Lords,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

~ copyright © John Leach/administered by The Jubilate Group.  Posted on The Jubilate Group website.http://www.jubilate.co.uk/liturgy/liturgy/kingship_call_to_worship

 

Prayer to the King of Glory

 

O Jesus,
You are the King of Glory,
You are the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.
And we pray that your Kingdom will reign forever
in our hearts and in this world.

Lord, we pray for your Kingdom to come here now,
bringing a kingdom of justice, righteousness, hope, love,
peace, mercy and grace for all.
Lord, we ask that you rule in our hearts,
lead in this world and govern over your kingdom.

But Lord honestly,
We often have our own plans and agendas
And we want to be rulers of our world.
Forgive us for those times.
And Lord we live in a time that would rather idolize the King of Pop
than worship you.
Help us to know how to live as your Kingdom People in these times.

And Lord , there are a lot of Kings in this world who terrorize, over tax, humiliate,
over exploit, and abuse those they are to lead.
Help us to spread the good news of the different kind of King you are.
Lord, thank you for being a different kind of King.
Thank you for your goodness and kindness in our lives.
Thank you for your generosity.
Thank you for loving us.
Thank you for your Kingdom that is unlike any
Kingdom in this world

 

~ written by Rev Abi, and posted on RevGalBlogPals blog. http://revgalblogpals.blogspot.ca/


Prayer Litany

 

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth,
just as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:10

 

Into places of conflict

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of the terrorist

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of the soldier

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of the politician

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one bereaved by war

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one made hungry

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one made homeless

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one who is in despair

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one who is ill

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one who has been abused

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one who is addicted

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one who is faced with unpayable debt

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of the lonely

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of the fearful

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of the depressed

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of one we wish to pray for…

may Your Kingdom come.

 

Into the heart of our world.

may Your Kingdom come.

 

~ adapted from http://wellsprings.org.uk/ and posted on Third Space blog.http://third-space.org.uk/blog

 

Blessing: You Who Bless

You who bless

 

“Come, you who are blessed,” Jesus says;

“for I was hungry and you gave me food,

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,

I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

I was naked and you gave me clothing,

I was sick and you took care of me,

 was in prison and you visited me.”

Matthew 25: 34-36

 

You who are yourselves a blessing

 

who know that to feed the hungering

is to bless

 

and to give drink to those who thirst

is to bless

 

who know the blessing in welcoming

the stranger

 

and giving clothes to those who have none

 

who know to care for the sick

is blessing

 

and blessing

to visit the prisoner:

 

may the blessing you have offered

now turn itself toward you

 

to welcome and to embrace you

at the feast of the blessed.

 

~ written by Jan L. Richardson, and posted on The Painted Prayerbook.http://paintedprayerbook.com/


The Lordship of Christ

Here’s a three-voice reading on the Lordship of Christ I put together for a service a few weeks ago.  It draws from the following scripture texts:  1 Corinthians 1:2-3, Colossians 1:15-17, 19-20; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Corinthians 8:5-7; Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 7:21; Ephesians 4:1; Romans 14:7-9; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24.

 

1:         To the church of God,

to all those whom Christ Jesus has made holy,

who are called to be God’s men and women,

to all true believers in Jesus Christ—their Lord and our Lord—

grace and peace to you

from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

2:         Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

He existed before anything was created

and is supreme over all creation,

for through him God created everything in heaven and on earth.

 

3:         He existed before anything else,

and he holds all creation together.

 

1:         God in all his fullness

was pleased to live in Christ,

and through him, God reconciled everything to himself,

making peace…by means of his blood on the cross.

 

3:         Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

he took the humble position of a slave

and was born as a human being.

 

2:         When he appeared in human form,

he humbled himself in obedience to God

and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

1:         Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

and gave him the name above all other names,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

2:         We know that there is only one God, the Father,

who created everything,

and we live for him.

 

3:         And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ,

through whom God made everything

and through whom we have been given life.

 

1:         This is the message we preach:

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord

and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,

you will be saved.

 

3:         For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God,

 

2:         and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

 

1:         Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’

will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.

 

2:         I beg you,

lead a life worthy of your calling,

for you have been called by God.

 

3:         We don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.

If we live, it is to honor the Lord.

And if we die, it is to honor the Lord.

 

1:         So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—

to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

 

2:         So, brothers and sisters,

be strong and immovable.

Stand firm.

 

3:         Always work enthusiastically for the Lord,

for you know that nothing you do for him is ever lost or wasted.

 

1:         May the God of peace make you holy in every way;

 

3:         may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless

until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

2:         He who calls you is utterly faithful,

 

1:         and he will finish what he has set out to do.

Christine Longhurst  http://re-worship.blogspot.com/search/label/Proper%2029%20A

 

 

 

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