Word for the Week
Sunday, November 19, 2017 Lectionary 33 Introduction
Our readings during November speak of the end times. Zephaniah proclaims that the coming day of the Lord will be filled with wrath and distress. Paul says it will come like a thief in the night and urges us to be awake and sober. Jesus tells the parable of the talents, calling us to use our gifts, while we still have time, for the greater and common good. In a world filled with violence and despair, we gather around signs of hope—word, water, bread and wine—eager to welcome the good news of Christ’s coming among us.
Prayer of the Day
Righteous God, our merciful master, you own the earth and all its peoples, and you give us all that we have. Inspire us to serve you with justice and wisdom, and prepare us for the joy of the day of your coming, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
Zephaniah (like the prophet Amos in last week’s first reading) presents the day of the Lord as one of judgment and wrath. Descriptions of the last day in the New Testament include details taken from Old Testament accounts of the day of the Lord.
Psalm: Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11] 12
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. (Ps. 90:12)
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Though we do not know and cannot calculate the day of Christ’s return, we live faithfully in the here and now as we anticipate the day when we will be given eternal salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
Jesus tells a parable about his second coming, indicating that it is not sufficient merely to maintain things as they are. Those who await his return should make good use of the gifts that God has provided them.
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