Living the Lectionary – The Christian Difference

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. 

ReGIFTED – The Christian Difference

About this coming Sunday: 12th Sunday After Pentecost – The Christian Difference – The people of God are to be distinct from the world around them, showing that there is something different – and yet positive – about the Christian way.  Law: Far too often we chase after the ways of the world and its wisdom instead of God’s wisdom. Gospel: God’s wisdom, while seemingly strange to many of the natural ways of the world, is filled surprisingly with the blessings that we seek from the world – good reputation, favor, and even some sense of otherworldly mystery.

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)

Proverbs 9:1-10 – The Call of Wisdom – The image of Wisdom being a woman who is calling out in the street to the simple might seem surprising to us. Isn’t Wisdom supposed to be an elusive thing that only sages can enter into? Not according to Proverbs. Far too often, the fault for being unwise is our own for simply ignoring the many calls of wisdom. When is a time that you can remember when you disregarded a wisdom or wise way? What wisdoms call to you today, and from where?

Psalm 34:12-22– Counter intuitive Wisdom – The Psalmist (most likely David) continues in Psalm 34 from last week, turning to give advice out of the great fortune of what God has given him in victory. This Psalm is as if an overheard conversation went: “And then you wouldn’t believe it, I didn’t do what anyone else would tell me to, and just listened to God and His Word, and look at how it turned out.” Where have you experienced the world telling you to live one way and God telling you to live another?

Ephesians 5:6-21 – Children of Light – The recipients of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians lived in a city where Christian ways and culture would not have seemed at all “normal”. Paul reminds the Ephesians to continue to live in a way that is distinct from their neighbors. How does your (or could your) church community live in a way that would show a distinction from the way the world around you lives?

John 6:51-59 – True Food, True Drink  – Once again, Jesus’ “Bread of Life” discourse troubles the Jews greatly because He is not fitting their parameters. This is often the reality for sacramental Christians who believe that Jesus is truly present in the Lord’s Supper. When have you encountered questions or even scoffing regarding your beliefs about the Lord’s Supper?

GIFTED Considerations

Gift of God: God’s gift to you is a wisdom, a way of living life that is different and yet better than other ways of living. Reflect on what living by God’s wisdom has given you throughout your Christian life?

Giving Ourselves As Gifts: Wisdom is not often for one’s own use as much as it is to live in a way that benefits others – friends, family, customers, etc.  How can you apply God’s wisdom in your vocation this week?

Celebrating Gifts Given: Wisdom is often confirmed and handed down from person to person. Who has passed on the confirmed truths of Scripture to you in your life, and how might you give thanks for them in a palpable way this week?

Living the Lectionary Ideas

Learn: The book of Proverbs used as our Old Testament reading is a book filled with pithy lines of wisdom. Read some of the rest of this book and see if you can put some of its wisdom to use.

Do: Write a letter to a younger person, include in this letter some of the wisdoms that you have seen manifest themselves out of God’s Word and encourage them to follow this same path of wisdom.

Live: Become keenly aware of the “business as usual” moments in your life and vocation – challenge them with questions like “Is this really the best way to do things?” “How does this way of doing things line up with what I know from Scripture?”

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