Living the Lectionary – Baptized, Shepherded, GIFTED

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. 

Baptized, Shepherded, GIFTED

About this coming Sunday: 8th Sunday After Pentecost – Baptized, Shepherded, GIFTED – This week we are reminded of our Baptisms which included us into God’s shepherding, and His leadership into the neverending pastures of the Resurrection.  Law: We are sheep, and left without a shepherd, we would simply wander aimlessly through life. Gospel: God gives us direction as members of His Son’s flock through our Baptisms which offer us identity, security, and meaning that we would not otherwise have.

About this Season and Series: 

Sundays After Pentecost/”ReGIFTED” – The long season of Pentecost affords us an opportunity to look into continuous readings from certain books – this year, we have a semi-continuous reading of Ephesians that serves as the basis of the ReGIFTED series.

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

Jeremiah 23:1-6 – Scattered and Gathered – God warns the evil shepherds of the religious and cultural elite who have used His people for their own gain, and promises that they will be avenged and rescued. Who are the cultural and religious elite that we perhaps should be wary of trusting?

Psalm 23 – Shepherded By God – It can be hard to pay attention to well known parts of Scripture, and this is perhaps the best known chapters of the Bible. Pay attention to it by making a list, mentally or on paper, of what God promises to us in this description of His shepherding work.

Ephesians 2:11-22 – Included into the Body – Paul reminds the Ephesians of their access to God which is provided through the work of the Trinity. Our Baptisms are an activity of the Trinity (hence we Baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) which include us into the mystical structure of the Body of Christ. As you read the text, what images of this Body come to mind?

Mark 6:30-44 – Fed and Shepherded – It is easy to miss the role of the disciples in this miraculous story, but they play an integral part: they see the need, they bring it to Jesus, they distribute the grace, they gather the leftovers. You are a baptized disciple of Jesus, how do you do these things in your work and life?

GIFTED Considerations

Gift of God: God gives us the gift of inclusion through His Word and Sacraments. What are the things of God that you have access to because of your Baptism and His work of inclusion?

Giving Ourselves As Gifts: A pastor once said that Christians are not to be only sheep, but sheepdogs who help in the work of shepherding. How might you give yourself as a “sheepdog” in God’s flock?

Celebrating Gifts Given: Healthy Christian discipleship is never a one-way street. We are not to only lead, but to follow; and not only follow, but lead. Who might you celebrate today that has given you Christ’s gift of leadership for your life, or who has been like Christ in serving you while you have led?

Living the Lectionary Ideas

Learn: Your Baptism gives your life identity, security, and meaning – through rescuing you from false gods that would try to replace themselves for your Baptized life. Read this introduction to “The American Mind Meets the Mind of Christ” at ConcordiaTheology.org

Do: Endeavor to write a personal mission statement that includes how God uses you in the midst of your life and work. Keep this mission statement in a prominent place that will remind you how God is using your Baptized life.

Live: There is an undercurrent of humility in all of our texts for this week. Humility is necessary to be shepherded. Attempt to live with the humility to accept God’s shepherding this week.

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