Luke 15:11-32 (NIV) What does it mean to belong? A question we all can wrestle with in different seasons of life, particularly as we think about belonging to the family of God. This Sunday we’ll be talking about this question as we study the parable of the Prodigal Son, in the hopes that we might better understand our part in the family of God.
Call to Worship: Psalm 67 (NIV) Leader:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us People: and make his face shine on us— Leader:2 so that your ways may be known on earth, People: your salvation among all nations. Leader:3 May the peoples praise you, God; People: may all the peoples praise you. Leader:4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, People: for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. Leader:5 May the peoples praise you, God; People: may…
“You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” This question is posed to Peter, the lead disciple, outside while Jesus is being interrogated inside. Only a few hours earlier in the upper room, Peter had proudly declared to Jesus, “I will follow you anywhere. I will even lay down my life for you.” And, now, a few hours later just before the rooster crows, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” Peter answers, “I am not.” All four Gospels contain Peter’s failure. And why? Join us this Sunday as we seek to learn from Peter’s failure.
John 18:1-12 This Sunday we return to our studies in John within the series I’ve called Come and See. Back in the spring, we ended with Jesus’ great prayer in chapter 17 where he says, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). In other words, now is the time for glory. Glory means the revelation of what someone is like. This fall, we will see the supreme revelation of what the living God is like. We will behold His glory. And, it all begins in a garden. Join us this Sunday as we come and see the arrest of God.
Hebrews 5:11-6:3 Labor Day weekend marks the traditional end of summer. But many students have been back to school for a while already. Some may have found that they had regressed over the summer, and had to get back in the groove of learning. We expect students to progress from learning the ABCs all the way to advanced topics. The Christian life is also a school in which we are expected to advance from infancy to maturity, from milk to solid food.
The psalmist cried to the Lord in his distress, and he was heard. Jonah cried to the Lord from the belly of the fish, and he was heard. Jesus cried to the Lord, and he died. But his reverent submission spoke from the grave, and was heard. Now we hear his voice and submit in obedience, finding thereby eternal salvation.
Heb 4:14-16 Good help is hard to find, so the saying goes. The psalmist looked to the hills as he asked, “Where does my help come from?” He then answered his own question: My help comes from the Lord (Ps 121:1-2). Where do we look for help, especially during our spiritual journey? Our text tells us we can find timely help because we have a great high priest. We can boldly approach the eternal throne.
The ancient Collect for Purity prayed early in the Eucharist service of the Book of Common Prayer begins thus: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid. Is that a comforting thought or a scary thought? David wrote, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me,” then he dared to ask God to do so again: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Ps 139:1, 23). God’s living, powerful word penetrates into our deepest being, exposing us before his gaze. Will we survive his examination? Do we want him to know our heart?
Entering into God’s Rest Summer is almost over and, with it, the end of R&R, rest and relaxation. Soon we’ll be back to work, whether in the classroom or office, real or virtual, or in some other space doing “real” work with our hands. What is rest? Is it a state of mind, or a place, or a particular day? Technically, it’s the complete lack of motion, but that doesn’t sound very attractive. In this week’s passage from Hebrews the phrase “enter into God’s rest” occurs eight times. What is this rest? Where, when, and how do we enter it? And what is this rest like when we are there?
Jeremiah 18:1-12 ESV During the days of Jeremiah the prophet, God’s people had turned away from the Lord. Their gaze had fallen on worthless idols, forsaking living water for broken cisterns that could hold no water. And yet God kept reaching out, urging his people to return to him. On several occasions God used visible illustrations to get his people’s attention. One such illustration was the potter and the clay. This week we will reflect on what Jeremiah saw when one day God told him to go down to the potter’s house.
Hebrews 3:7-19 God delivered his people from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. Their destination was Mt Sinai, to meet with the Lord, then the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey. But at every step of the way the people were afraid: of Pharaoh and his army, of hunger, of thirst, of giants in the Land, even of the Lord. They kept thinking they were going to die. God brought them to the edge of the Land, but they refused to enter. They wanted to go back to Egypt, redefining it as the land flowing with milk and honey. They never got there because they died in the wilderness under God’s judgment. The Christian life is a journey, as allegorized in Pilgrim’s Progress. We are easily beset with fears which test our faith. We don’t make this journey alone; we travel together, encouraging one another.