Weekly Reflection: Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lectionary (Year A):  Revised Common Lectionary: Exodus 3:1-15 or Jeremiah 15:15-21; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c or Psalm 28:1-8;  Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

Theme: “The Church’s Modus Operandi (MO)”

Message:  “God’s Great Expectations of His Church”

Paul leaves his theological dissertation to address some practical concerns he has for the church at Rome, and their mission in the name of Jesus Christ.

He spells out exactly what kind of lifestyle should pursued with a strong emphasis on hospitality, grace, harmony, peace, and he sums it all up with the exhortation: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

Quote(s):

“Archdeacon Peter’s face was like stone.  He was the worst kind of Christian, Philip realized: he embraced all of the negatives, enforced every proscription, insisted on all forms of denial, and demanded strict punishment for every offense; yet he ignored all the compassion of Christianity, denied its mercy, flagrantly disobeyed its ethic of love, and openly flouted the gentle laws of Jesus.  That’s what the Pharisees were like, Philip thought; no wonder the Lord preferred to eat with publicans and sinners.”
– Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

Film, other visual aids:

Tender Mercies

Radio

Blind Side

Music: “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life,” “Here I Am, Lord,” “A Charge to Keep I Have,” “Rise Up, O Saints of God”

Call to Worship:

‘I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Prayer of Confession

“We remember with shame the unjust judgments we have made based on race, or appearance, or social status. (Pause)

We remember with shame our words spoken with harshness and haste. (Pause)

We remember with shame our thoughts that were unworthy of our Christian profession. (Pause)

We remember with shame our preoccupation with material possessions. (Pause)

For these things of which we are ashamed, and for others as well, we ask for pardon in the name of our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ.”*

Intercessory Prayer:

Our Gracious Heavenly Father, who made room for us in the Kingdom of God, inspire and equip us to make room for those you love in our communities, our churches, our homes, and our lives.  Today we pray for all those who serve us, and for those who depend on us to serve them, and for those who would be blessed to have their needs met by the abundance with which you have blessed us.  May we always remember that to whom much is given much is required.

Offertory Sentence: Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant also be.  Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. *

Offertory Prayer:

We have counted ourselves as your followers and your servants, and through these gifts we follow your example of serving others.*

*Leroy Koopman, 2011 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center

avatar About Bruce Laverman

Bruce is a retired pastor and former Director of Evangelism in the Reformed Church in America now living in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the RCA's representative to Evangelism Connections and serves as Managing Editor of this Web site.

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