Call to Worship: Psalm 81:1, 10-16 | Lesson One: Jeremiah 2:4-13 | Lesson Two: Luke 14:1, 7-14
We become like who or what we worship. This is the sober warning from the prophet Jeremiah. As we took up this ancient text, we noted that it is hard for us to connect with a time in the history of God’s people that is so removed from us culturally. But we also noted that the human condition has not changed and that we still struggle with the temptation to not worship the one true God truly and faithfully. The face and shape of idolatrous temptations often change but the human condition does not.
We also noted that the temptation to idolatry is sneaky and subtle. The temptation to idolatry doesn’t ask you to turn away from the living God - it invites you to violate the substance of what it means to worship the one true and living God. Note that one refrain from the prophets that carries through to Jesus’ ministry is the warning that it is possible to worship God with our lips but not with the whole of lives.
Here is the thing: none of us worship the one true God truly all of the time. All of us drift into patterns of living when, to use the metaphorical image from Jeremiah, we turn away from the living water and dig our own leaky cisterns. What is required of us is to live our lives in such a way that we are convicted of our folly (regular worship and fellowship helps here!), so that we might repent (turn away) from patterns of living that lead to death, and return to God and the patterns of living that make for life.
It is not the easiest thing to recognize when we are drifting away from the living water. Jesus’ words in our gospel reading from Luke remind us that the shape it takes is quite often mundane. Jesus confronts the religious leadership about the fact that they are addicted to self-aggrandizement and self-promotion. This has caused them to overlook the weak, the vulnerable, and the powerless. How the religious leadership treated those at the margins proved they were slipping into an idolatrous relationship with Roman patterns of living and thinking that exalt human power and pride (you become like what you worship!); in turn this is why they can’t accept that Jesus’ personhood and pattern of living is the revelation of the character of the one true God, Yahweh. Jesus confronts the leadership. He says, in so many words, that those who live in such a way that they seek their own good over the good of others will be out step with what God is doing in the world. Contrasted with that way of living, Jesus offers up the pattern of the cross. “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” is not a sentimental saying that is just another way of saying, “mind your manners”. It is a caution that the only way to live well and die well in this world is by living in the shape of the cross, and repenting when we don’t.
We pray for those affected by the recent earthquake in Italy. For families who grieve the loss of loved ones and those who are frightened to return to their homes, we ask for your presence to comfort and to guide.Be with those who continue to search and recover.
Lord God, we continue to lift up to you our concern over the violence that continues to plague our cities and world. We ask for the hearts to be softened by your Holy Spirit. We also ask for your justice to prevail in this world and that it would guide us to a world of peace. We also pray that we, through all of our actions, may be peacemakers in this world.
We pray for our local schools as they begin to greet students throgh their doors. We ask for a safe year of learning and growing for your children and youth in the city. May we all find ways to better our systems of learning for our kids.
Be with Andrew, Amy and Irene Fields in their mission field in Columbia. Grant fruitful conversations, teaching opportunities, and experiences that can lead others to Christ. Give the Fields confidence that you are walking with them in this journey.
Lord in your mercy....hear our prayer
- END OF SUMMER BBQ! Join us on the beach for some grilling, hanging, and playing on the beach. More information and an RSVP are here.
- SERVICE TIME moves to 10:00 AM starting on September 11th.