Word for the Week
Sunday, September 10, 2017 Lectionary 23 Introduction
Conflict is a part of relationships and life in community. Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are often used in situations having to do with church discipline. The prophet Ezekiel tells of warning the wicked to turn from their ways, and Paul reminds us that love is the fulfilling of the law. We gather in the name of Christ, assured that he is present among us with gifts of peace and reconciliation.
Prayer of the Day
O Lord God, enliven and preserve your church with your perpetual mercy. Without your help, we mortals will fail; remove far from us everything that is harmful, and lead us toward all that gives life and salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-11
God appointed Ezekiel as a sentinel for the house of Israel. Ezekiel must faithfully convey God’s warnings to the people. Remarkably, God—who is about to attack Jerusalem—gives a warning with the hope that repentance will make the attack unnecessary.
Psalm: Psalm 119:33-40
I desire the path of your commandments. (Ps. 119:35)
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14
The obligation of Christians is to love one another and so fulfill the heart and goal of the law. Clothes make the person as we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and live today in light of the future God has in store for us.
Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus offers practical advice to his disciples on how individuals—and the church as a whole—should show wrongdoers their need for repentance.
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