Word for the Week
Sunday, September 17, 2017 Lectionary 24 Introduction
In today’s second reading Paul questions why we judge one another, since we all stand before the judgment of God. Yet we do sin against one another, and Jesus’ challenge that we forgive seventy-seven times reveals God’s boundless mercy. When we hear the words of forgiveness in worship and sign ourselves with the cross, we are renewed in baptism to be signs of reconciliation in the world.
Prayer of the Day
O Lord God, merciful judge, you are the inexhaustible fountain of forgiveness. Replace our hearts of stone with hearts that love and adore you, that we may delight in doing your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Genesis 50:15-21
After Jacob’s death, the brothers of Joseph begged for forgiveness for the crime they had done against him. You intended to do me harm, Joseph said, but God used this as an opportunity to do good and save many lives.
Psalm: Psalm 103: [1-7] 8-13
Lord, you are full of compassion and mercy. (Ps. 103:8)
Second Reading: Romans 14:1-12
This Christian community has significant struggles with diversity. Here Paul helps us understand that despite different practices in worship and personal piety, we do not judge one another. All Christians belong to the Lord Jesus Christ who died for all of us and will judge each of us.
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
When Peter asks about the limits of forgiveness, Jesus responds with a parable that suggests human forgiveness should mirror the unlimited mercy of God.
Theme for the Pentecost season (Autumn)
We live in a world constantly vying for our attention. Loud and insistent mixed messages attempt to convince us where our focus should be, who we should pay attention to, and how we should utilize our energy and resources. We are inundated with noise as our multitasking world screams for us to keep going – keep doing – keep moving. In the process of juggling these worldly demands, we can find ourselves off balance, confused, and at times wandering aimlessly.
The remainder of this Pentecost season we are encouraged to “be still”. While this goes against everything the world tells us to do, we are encouraged to listen past the noise to hear what truly is important: God’s purpose and path for our lives.
There are so many different directions we are pulled every day, and we can find ourselves lost on shaky ground. God remains our sure and steady foundation.
Holy God, as we wander and stray on our own – turn us towards You.
Jesus sets his eyes on the cross with unwavering focus. He knows where he is headed, what he has to do, and refuses to be led astray by an easier path. We too have a path before us, and we are called to follow Jesus’ example.
Holy God, as we are drawn to other priorities – refocus our eyes on You.
Every day is an opportunity to begin new, better than we were the day before. As we were formed from the clay of the earth, each day we are molded and shaped by God’s loving hands.
As we are shaped by the world around us – reform us into Your people.
Again and Again
We do not walk alone – every day God is with us, and every day He continues to lead, guide, and teach us to live as He intends. Our personal journeys may be different, but our destination is the same: to share God’s love with a sick and hurting world, to heal and comfort God’s people in our midst, to praise God for the abundance he provides, and to pray without ceasing.
Holy God, this is our prayer: Turn Us, Refocus Us, Reform Us … Again and Again