the promised land

Love, love, love! 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

love love loveYearly Rhythm

26 October  2014, the  20 th Sunday after Pentecost
Year A  Colour: Green

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

Daily Rhythm

Bringing worship into the everyday

Devotional Diary
20 – 26 October 2014

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Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for this week, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Deuteronomy 34:1-12. Moses was allowed to see — but not enter — the Promised Land. He died in the land of Moab and was buried in an unknown burial place there. The Israelites mourned his death for thirty days.

Psalm Response: Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 This psalm is the basis of the text, “O God Our Help in Ages Past.”

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8.  Paul continues his “re-introduction.” He recalls the suffering that accompanied his first visit. He also reminds them of the authenticity and gentleness of his proclamation among them.

Matthew 22:34-46.  The Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question: Which kind of commandment was the greatest? Jesus answers, and concludes his reply with questions for them about the identity of the Messiah. From that day, their questions ceased.

READ MORE ABOUT THE READINGS HERE

Monday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: your first realisation of God’s love.

Confession: The words of the hymn move from: “All of me and none of you” to “More of me and less of you” to “Less of me and more of you” and then to “None of me and all of you” (Theodore Monod.)  This week reflect on these words and see how God is turning your life inside-out. Today: The “All of me and none of” You areas of your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for your church that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: The young…

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, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in your name.

 

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God. Today: a time when you realised God’s greatness through creation.

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: The “More of me and less of You” areas of your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: the whole congregation of wonderful people…

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to stand secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: a hard time that he carried you through.

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: The “Less of me and more of you” areas of your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: Ministries…

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to stand secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God. Today: A time when He gave you a fresh beginning…

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: The “None of me and all of you” areas of your life”.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: Worship…

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Friday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: The fact that God is love!

Confession: See Monday’s notes.  Today: allowing God to shift you towards laying down your life…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: Its mission (God’s mission!)…

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today:  A time when your heart was full of joy…

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: Asking that God be raised up in your life…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today: The spirit of joy…celebration…praise

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: What is inside your heart today?  Reach into your heart and find that note of praise and lift up your song to God.  Today: Reason to lift up God’s holy name in praise…

Confession: See Monday’s notes. Today: Losing your false self, and finding you true self as you worship and lift up God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray for your church, that it may find its life and renewal through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is Lord!  Today:  Living within the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, help me to “stand-up” secure in your care and reach out beyond myself in Your Name.

 

                                               Weekly Rhythm

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

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Revised Common Lectionary readings and notes in italics with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Deuteronomy 34:1-12.

Moses was allowed to see — but not enter — the Promised Land. He died in the land of Moab and was buried in an unknown burial place there. The Israelites mourned his death for thirty days.

Prayer Reflection:  To Be What We Have Seen

(based on Deuteronomy 34: 1-12)

Sometimes…

…when we’re paying attention…
…or when we least expect it…
…when we’re looking…
…or when we’re most unassuming…
…you show us something that we have longed to see.

We may be vigilant seekers,
reading into the boring and routine or becoming excitable at the exciting;
wanting to capture with precision and delicacy
a moment that we discern is just for us.

We may play the fool,
backing into a divine embrace;
stumbling upon a transcendent promise;
no less moved by what we have witnessed.
Regardless of circumstances, it remains that we’ve seen it,
and it cannot be unseen.
You have made it seen.
You have shown it to us.
You are the one who led us—willing or reluctant climbers—
up the mountain.
You are the one who says to us,
“I have let you see it with your eyes,
“this beloved landscape of mine,
“this long-sought destination,
“this craved place of blessing and promise.”
Now that we have seen it, what would you have us do?
Now that we have caught a slight glimpse
or been given a lingering vision,
we wonder how to get to the place you’ve shown us.
It is too marvelous a place to live without,
too rich a source of life not to be shared,
too wonderful a reality to be forgotten.

You lead us back down the mountain—willing or reluctant rappellers—
because there is more to see,
and in one of your more clever twists,
we have become the guides,
the ones to show rather than be shown,
the ones to help make it seen.

How best shall we move on from what you have shown?
Simply: forward, to be what we have seen
for others longing to see it.

~ written by Jeff, and posted on Philosophy Over Coffee

To think about:
How are we called to be what we have seen?
Has this got anything to do with loving others as we love ourselves?

Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17  

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past is a hymn by Isaac Watts and paraphrases Psalm 90. It originally consisted of nine stanzas. In present usage, however, the hymn is usually limited to stanzas one, two, three, five, seven and nine. In 1738, John Wesley in his hymnal, Psalms and Hymns, changed the first line of the text from “Our God” to “O God.” Both Watts’ wording and Wesley’s rewording remain in current use. (Source)

Read the hymn alongside the psalm and see how they relate to one another and how they speak into your life:

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
Return, ye sons of men:
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.

To think about:
What is it that may satisfy us?  (See verse 14.)

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. 

Paul continues his “re-introduction.” He recalls the suffering that accompanied his first visit. He also reminds them of the authenticity and gentleness of his proclamation among them.

To think about:
Paul speaks of his life as poured out for others.
How does he do this in this passage?
How are you called to be poured out for others?  (Loving others as you love yourself)

Matthew 22:34-46. 

The Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question: Which kind of commandment was the greatest? Jesus answers, and concludes his reply with questions for them about the identity of the Messiah. From that day, their questions ceased.

“Jesus is not the first person to sum up the Jewish law in a condensed capsule. (See Psalm 15:2-5; Isaiah 33:15; Amos 5:4; Micah 6:8)  Such summarizing was also a favorite device of the rabbis. The laws were not new with Jesus.  But the substance of what it means to love God and who the neighbor is that one is to love – these bear his unmistakable mark.” (Basic Bible Commentary)

To think about:
How does Jesus live out the greatest commandments in his life?
We can only love God when we realize His love for us.  How does Christ life speak of God’s love of you?
How do the greatest commandments guide you in your response of love?

 

Praying the Lectionary Readings

 

Call to Worship

(inspired by Genesis 22: 1-14; Micah 6:8; Deuteronomy 6:5)

What does God command of us?
To love God with all our heart,
and all our soul,
and all our mind,
and all our strength,
and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

God does not call us to ease or to comfort.
But to presence, and abundance,
and grace in our struggle.
Let us worship the God who believes in us,
and trusts in us, and abides with us.
Let us worship the God who will ask much of us,
but will be beside us every step of the way. (Shortened)

~ written by Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Pastor at First Church Congregational, Rochester, NH.  She blogs here.

 

Opening Litany

(inspired by Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28, Luke 10:25)

Once upon a time
a wise man offered a challenge;
“What is the greatest commandment?”
The calendars on our desks share a vision of greatness;
bills to pay, phone calls to return, appointments to keep.
Love the Lord your God.

The cameras of our memories share what commands us;
children to bathe and partners to help
parents calling and grandchildren hopeful.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

Still the Spirit lures us to new priorities;
open spaces to experience wonder,
strangers becoming friends,
devotion to that which transcends.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

~ written by Katherine Hawker (2002) and posted on Liturgies Outside.

 

Prayer of Intercession

(inspired by Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Mark 12:28-34)

Our prayer today is for all who are victims of cruel laws and petty laws,
those who’re subjected to prejudice
denied opportunities, excluded, pushed to margins.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for all those who’re betrayed,
who don’t know loyalty, who fear to trust, or to love,
and who don’t realise that they’re already loved by you.
-The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the landless and homeless,
the refugee and evicted,
those who find themselves in foreign places and strange places.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the overworked and the underpaid,
for those in dangerous work and those in compassionate work,
for those who long to work but are denied the opportunity
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the Church, for all the branches of the vine
including this one we gather as part of, today:
body of Christ, people of Christ,
for whom the Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

Our prayer today is for the creation gifts,
this earth in all its mighty wonder, yet tender fragility,
the gifts of life and resources to treasure.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

(Our prayer today is for the gifts we give
that we will give generously and thankfully
and that we’ll use these gifts with wisdom and love.
The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.)

Our prayer today is for those who lie close to our hearts
Those whom we worry about, those whom we miss,
those who carry disproportionate burdens at this time …

(local intercessions)

The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

The Lord our God is one:
We will love with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength.

~ written by Rev. Iain Macdonald.  Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website.

 

 Commission & Benediction

(inspired by Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 12:28-34)

Hear this: the Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
Therefore go out into the world
and love the Lord your God
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love others as you love yourself.

And may God give you justice and freedom;
May Christ Jesus set you free for love;
and may the Holy Spirit go where you go
……..and protect you on your way.

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

~ Copyright © 2000 Nathan Nettleton, LaughingBird.net