May 3 – Ch. 37 – Psalm 146; Matthew 10:16-20, 11:28-30, 28:16-20; Acts 16:11-40 // Exodus 4:10-17; Psalm 146; Acts 16:11-40; Matthew 11:28-30, 28:16-20
The Gospel calls us into relationships of equality and interdependence. Who does Christ call you to stand in solidarity with that the wider culture might tell you to steer clear of? What do those partnerships of solidarity look like in your life? How have you been and are yet meant to be changed through these relationships?
The earliest followers of Jesus transformed what it meant to worship God. As usual, they gathered to share the stories of their faith, they prayed and sang. But instead of sacrificing an animal to give thanks to and reconcile with God, they gave thanks (Eucharist) and found reconciliation through celebrating Jesus’ self-sacrifice for us. As he showed them to do just before he was killed, they broke bread and drank wine together, consumed his spiritual body and blood, at a table open to all rather than one reserved for the holy. This simple act of Easter communion with one another and the God-man Jesus opens up for us the universal mercy and grace the dying and rising of Christ brought and brings about for all time. Thanks be to God!
April 26 – Ch. 36 – Psalm 103; Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 14:26-31; Colossians 3:12-17 // Exodus 20:22-26; Psalm 103; Acts 2:41-47; John 4:19-26
Why do you worship God, if you do? Where, when and how do you most whole-heartedly worship God? What might and “uprising” of worship have to do realizing the Commonwealth of God in this world?
On Sunday we reflected on what it means to be a disciple of the Living Christ. John’s story of Jesus telling the disciples to cast their net on the other side of the boat, where they brought in a net full of fish after catching nothing all through the night suggests a couple of things about what it means to follow Jesus. First, the waters we’re meant to fish – and swim in – are not the waters our culture leads us toward. We will meet God in unexpected and even (to our minds) unlikely places – places that often don’t appear good or fruitful at first. Second, the uprising of discipleship – the upwelling of the desire to follow Jesus in thought, word, and deed is something that comes to us from another. Our call – and our response – comes to us from the Other other who becomes available to us, who chooses and even adopts us as his own, in the resurrection. In the resurrection, in discovering the true Aliveness of God, we are freed from our sins and for God to live and work through us for the good of all.
In the Sermon on the Mount, which we’ve been hearing in worship throughout Lent, Jesus asks his followers to make a pretty stark choice. Are they willing to live the radically countercultural life he’s encouraging them to, which will surely be costly in worldly terms, or are they more interested in continuing with life as usual. Coming to terms with this question is the real purpose of Lent and on Sunday we reflected on where our personal strengths and weaknesses might lie were we to commit ourselves anew to live these teachings of Jesus. Are we ready and willing to do that as we enter into Holy Week?
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