Preview for Service of Word and Sacrament, July 21, 2019
The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
Liturgical Color: Green
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tiburon, California
This weekly study guide seeks to help us prepare for the upcoming Sunday service and teaching.
Call to Worship
One: Christ, you are the image of the invisible God.
Many: In you all things are created.
One: In you all things hold together.
Many: In your guidance we find our Way.
God, you have given us ample teachings of how to be in the world. You have blessed us with models, some famous and others known only to each of us personally. Still, your people have at times chosen to ignore your way of love, of caring, of living within our means. Many suffer because of the choices of others. Release us from self-centeredness, from the belief that what we do doesn’t really matter, and from entitlement that causes harm. Restore in us teachable spirits, open hearts, and the desire to be in right relationship with all things. Amen.
Sermon Focus & Title Hold Together Robert McClellan
Many people have been scarred by “angry guy in the sky” conceptions of God. Conceiving of God differently reopens the lines of communication and allows us to hear things differently. Today we encounter a prophetic word from Amos who warns of the destruction that naturally follows a people who have lost a sense of how to be in relationship. Rather than a threat from an angry God, we hear this as an invitation to reconsider the way we relate to the world around us. Recognizing the Christ as the one who holds all things together helps us understand our vocation as reconcilers not only of peoples of the earth but also of people with the earth.
1This is what the Lord GOD showed me-a basket of summer fruit. 2He said, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A basket of summer fruit." Then the LORD said to me, The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by. 3The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day," says the Lord GOD; "the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place. Be silent!" 4Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land,5saying, "When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, 6buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat."
7The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. 8Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?
9On that day, says the Lord GOD, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. 10I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day.
11The time is surely coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. 12They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
21And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him-23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.
24I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 25I became its servant according to God's commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. 27To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Hope of the World No. 734
Dream On, Dream On No. 383
Musical Guests: The Belle Choir: Wendy See, Melinda Stephenson, Melissa Muller and RuthE. Wells
Quotes, Questions & Prompts for Reflection, Discussion, and Prayer
“Our challenge is to create a new language, even a new sense of what it is to be human. It is to transcend not only national limitations, but even our species isolation, to enter into the larger community of a living species. This brings about a completely new sense of reality and value.” -Thomas Berry
1. How do you experience/react to Amos’ prophetic words? What do they have to do with us?
2. If you had to describe God to someone who’d never heard of him/her/they/it, what would you say?
3. What is the relationship between people’s destructive actions and their belief in their own impotence? What’s the solution to this problem?
4. What would listening to Spirit look like in our day and age?
5. If in Christ all things are held together, what is happening today?
6. Why are ecological crises theological crises?