Preview for Service of Word and Sacrament, October 8, 2023
Liturgical Color: Green
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tiburon, California
Visit the church website: www.wpctiburon.org,
240 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon, California 94920
This weekly study guide seeks to help members, friends, and visitors prepare for the upcoming Sunday service and teaching.
Questions about worship can be directed to the church office at: 415.383-5272, ext. 1 or .
Call to Worship
One: Let us offer our prayers to God
Many: in earnest praise and honest seeking.
One: Let us practice our faith
Many: in hopes of being of genuine help.
One: Let us stand up and be counted
Many: in a spirit of service.
God, you call us to an outward expression of our faith, though not one that seeks glory for ourselves. We try to give from what we have not so that we can be celebrated, but so that others can be blessed. Rid us of selfish intentions, and yet help us to leverage our generosity to inspire the generosity of others. Give us eyes to recognize the many ways in which others give, and bring us together as those who care for our shared world.
Sermon Focus & Title Attention,Sermon on the Mount 5 Robert McClellan
Jesus cautions us about doing things, even good things, for attention. He warns against grandstanding. He even recommends conducting the business of our faith in secret. This surely makes for a purer practice, as we don’t get lost in our search of others’ affirmation and praise. Are there times when, in fact, our good deeds or charitable giving can, in fact, leverage more good when allowed to exist in the open? Surely this makes our task harder, there may be times living out our faith in the eye of others doesn’t mean we are only seeking after their attention. The Jewish understanding of humility as taking up the right amount of space provides a helpful guiding principle as we discern how to live faithfully in the world.
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the LORD are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 ‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Come Sing, O Church, in Joy! 305
God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me 543
Quotes, Questions & Prompts for Reflection, Discussion, and Prayer
“Judaism does not define humility the way that the mainstream world does. In the ancient Jewish practice of Mussar, anavah is not about making yourself small and beating yourself up for never being good enough. It simply means taking up the appropriate amount of space. How much space to take up depends on the person and the circumstance.”
- Kate Adina Hennessey
- What are the earliest lessons you learned about humility?
- Why do you think Jesus taught to practice one’s faith in secret?
- What good things should be done in secret and what should be done in the public view?
- What about giving money? Should that be done secretly?
- What do you make of the Jewish understanding of humility as “taking up the right amount of space”?