Living the Lectionary – (Un)Compassionate

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

(un)compassionate

About this coming Sunday: 5th Sunday After Pentecost – (un)compassionate – God is compassionate in His nature. That word “compassionate” breaks down to mean “suffering together”.  God literally came to our world in order to suffer with us, and to break us free of suffering. Law: Suffering exists in the world because of sin, because of our sins which we commit everyday. All of our sins, even those which we feel are minor, contribute to the suffering of the world. Gospel: God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer with us, to show us the power of His compassion – His suffering together with us – that finally broke the enduring power of suffering on the Cross and opened our door to the Resurrection.

About this Season and Series: 

Sundays After Pentecost/”(Un)comfortable” – The long season of Sundays after Pentecost is one in which we look to the growth of the Church, and one in which we often encounter Jesus teaching His disciples. In our short series, “(Un)comfortable”, we seek to understand a Jesus who “Disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed”.

Reflecting on the Readings (readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)

Lamentations 3:22-33 – Enduring Compassion – Jeremiah writes the book of Lamentations as he is witnessing God allowing a foreign nation to take his countrymen into exile and prison. Even in the midst of this stark reality, Jeremiah holds out belief in God’s compassion. What is going on in the world today that might cause you to question God’s compassion? How do you hold on to faith during these questions?

Psalm 30 – Mourning into Dancing – As David writes this Psalm for the dedication of the Temple, built by his son Solomon, he likely is remembering when God told David that David would not be allowed to build God’s temple because of the “blood on his hands”. The days of David’s mourning over this have changed to dancing. Which “days of mourning” has God changed in some way for you, that you can now rejoice in?

2 Corinthians 8:1-9; 13-15 – Compassionate Giving – As Paul continues to write to the Corinthians, he  encourages them to give like the Macedonian churches who, although they are poor, have given greatly. In engaging in this kind of sacrifice, Paul believes that the Corinthians will understand better the sacrifice of Jesus. Who do you know who is giving greatly, even out of a relative poverty, and how might you emulate their faithful acts in your own life?

Mark 4:35-41 – Uncomfortable Compassion – Jesus’ compassion at times made people around him uncomfortable, including those who thought Jairus’ daughter was dead, and even the woman who was made well. How does Jesus’ compassion shown in the forgiveness of our sins make us uncomfortable?

Living the Lectionary Ideas

Learn: The theologian Arthur C. McGill writes eloquently and convincingly about the roles of suffering and compassion in Christian theology. His short book “Suffering: A Test of Theological Method” is a phenomenal read.

Do: Paul encouraged the Corinthians to take up a collection for a specific cause. Could you take up a collection among your friends and neighbors for something that would show God’s compassion?

Live: We often speak of compassion in terms of acting or living “in solidarity” with an oppressed people. How might you live with this attitude of solidarity this week?

GIFTED Considerations

Gift of God: How has God shown His compassion for you this week?

Giving Ourselves As Gifts: To whom are you showing compassion?

Celebrating Gifts Given: Who has shown you compassion? Have you expressed your thanks to them for God’s work shown in them?

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