17/03/2019: Imitators of God

CALL TO WORSHIP:          Psalm 27 (CEV)

 (By David.)

A Prayer of Praise

1 You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe. I am not afraid of anyone. You protect

me, and I have no fears.
Brutal people may attack and try to kill me, but they will stumble. Fierce enemies

may attack, but they will fall.
Armies may surround me, but I won’t be afraid; war may break out, but I will trust

you.

I ask only one thing, Lord: Let me live in your house every day of my life to see how

wonderful you are and to pray in your temple.

In times of trouble, you will protect me. You will hide me in your tent and keep me

safe on top of a mighty rock.
You will let me defeat all of my enemies. Then I will celebrate, as I enter your tent
with animal sacrifices and songs of praise.

Please listen when I pray! Have pity. Answer my prayer.
My heart tells me to pray. I am eager to see your face,
so don’t hide from me. I am your servant, and you have helped me. Don’t turn from

me in anger. You alone keep me safe. Don’t reject or desert me.
10 Even if my father and mother should desert me, you will take care of me.

11 Teach me to follow, Lord, and lead me on the right path because of my enemies.
12 Don’t let them do to me what they want. People tell lies about me and make

terrible threats,
13 but I know I will live to see how kind you are.

14 Trust the Lord! Be brave and strong and trust the Lord.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

OT READING:          Genesis 15:1-6a (CEV)

The Lord’s Promise to Abram

1 Later the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”

But Abram answered, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own. You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”

The Lord replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That’s how many descendants you will have.” Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with him.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

NT READING:  Philippians 3:14-4:1 (CEV)

14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.

17 My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. 18 I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again 19 that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.

20 But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ 21 has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.

Dear friends, I love you and long to see you. Please keep on being faithful to the Lord. You are my pride and joy.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

GOSPEL READING:           Luke 13:31-35 (CEV)

Jesus and Herod

31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “You had better get away from here! Herod wants to kill you.”

32 Jesus said to them: Go tell that fox, “I am going to force out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and three days later I’ll be through.” 33 But I am going on my way today and tomorrow and the next day. After all, Jerusalem is the place where prophets are killed.

Jesus Loves Jerusalem

34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. 35 Now your temple will be deserted. You won’t see me again until the time when you say,

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

TO THINK ABOUT

Lent is a personal spiritual journey we are each invited to take, and it happens in the reality of how life works. We live with 24-hour news cycles which carry so many stories of death, violence, of dishonesty and greed, stories of pain and broken trust, of climate change and natural catastrophe! Perhaps, we wonder despairingly, will this ever end?

I wonder where you find yourself in your life journey at this present time? What is your reality? _

 A PLAN OF ACTION FOR LENT:

  • Connect yourself with a Christ Following community [and other faith communities] that practice ministry to people outside of it as much as to those within it. Both are important, but vitality exists when the promises of God reach beyond the doors of a Church.
  • Look for opportunities to serve others. Ask God each day what the plan God has for you is – and be prepared to be surprised at what opportunities to minister to others come your way.  If you are not able to volunteer outside of your home, perhaps you can arrange a phone visit or write a card to someone, so they know they are cared for.
  • Refuse [to let the news] overwhelm you. We are powerless over much of what happens, but we often let it take control of our lives, and we lose our focus when we do.
  • Search for stories of Good News. You will have to look for them, but they are there, brimming with accounts of courage and leadership changing our world for the better.
  • Focus your charitable giving on things (or one thing) that you perceive is making an impact on the lives of others, including the world of nature that is under so much stress. You will feel a sense of connection with God’s creation outside of your immediate sphere. You will also be helping to bring God’s work into the world.[i]

A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Lent is a time to encourage one another, to help each other keep our spiritual focus in the right place and to use our daily energy wisely and compassionately. Whenever we work for the Lord and act in Jesus name – we transform the world for the better.

Lent is a time to take heart, to bear one another’s burdens with grace and care, to take care of ourselves so that we are strong for others, and to be witnesses to the promises made to Abraham, the patriarchs, the matriarchs, and the prophets who came before us.

Have a blessed week,

Rev.Tim

[i] Published by the Office of Communication of The Episcopal Church, 815 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017

© 2019 The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

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