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.
ABOUT THE WEEK STARTING July 3rd: THE 7th Week after Pentecost
Overall Theme: Where you find comfort – the readings all point us to find comfort in God, which is where we have ultimate comfort that lasts. Law: So often we try to find comfort in what we do, but we often find that we cannot comfort ourselves in this way. It feels hollow, perhaps even phony. Gospel: God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we would not have to comfort ourselves, but be comforted by the knowledge that He died for us and lives again.
REFLECTING ON THE READINGS
Isaiah 66:10-14– Being Comforted – This reading is from the last chapter of Isaiah and comes just as the bad news of Judah’s exile has been delivered. But in the midst of this, God promises comfort using the imagery of a child being comforted by a mother. A mother will often explain to a child why he or she is hurt or is being disciplined, but she does so gently, aiming to teach. What is God teaching you in the midst of your discomfort? || Isaiah’s imagery is palpable. We can almost feel what it is like to be comforted by the mother in the reading. What imagery of comfort comes to your mind when you think of God’s care for you? How do your images reinforce God’s Gospel message for you?
Psalm 66:10-15*– Worship in the Midst of Trouble – In this section of Psalm 66, we see the response of God’s faithful people to hard times. There is an acknowledgement of the hard times, but nonetheless, there is worship. What are the hard times that you are going through now? How might God be testing you as silver? What are the burdens that you feel? || “Yet You have brought us out to a place of abundance,” this line is the clearest Gospel line in this reading. Our place of abundance is knowing our sins are forgiven and that we belong to God through Christ. How does this abundance relate to the answers that you had about your difficulties, trials, and burdens? *This psalm reading differs slightly from the lectionary that we normally follow.
Galatians 6:1-18 – Crucified Comfort – Paul discusses what could be called the ethics of a Gospel people here. This ethic emerges from Paul’s statement, “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Paul makes it clear that this is not an imposed ethic — something that the false apostles of Galatia are far too willing to impose upon others — but that this ethic emerges naturally out of the death of Jesus which provides life to the Christian once he or she has died in the waters of Baptism. A crucified ethic does not care for self or for boasting, but rather emerges out of the new life given in Christ. Who is trying to impose their ethics upon you? Where do those imposed ethics feel foreign? What do you do with those things? || What does it mean to you to have a new life in Christ? If you, like Paul, have had the world crucified to you and you to the world, then what does that mean for your life now and in the future? Can you formulate this in a way that is not simply going back to rule keeping? How does is this new life more comfortable?
Luke 10:1-20– Comforted in Your Written Name – It would be easy for the disciples to feel that their comfort would come from the works that they did – casting out demons, speaking the Gospel, etc. But Jesus tells these disciples to find their comfort and rejoice that their names are written in heaven. What are the good works that tempt you to find your comfort in them? Where might you be placing your rejoicing instead of in the fact that your name is written in heaven alongside the names of these disciples? || Look again at what Jesus gives to the disciples to say: “Peace be to this house” and “The Kingdom of God has come near”. Are these the messages of a religion that is all about what you should do? Or are they about something else? How do these messages serve to comfort those to whom they are spoken? How does this inform you about how to comfort people around you?