Here are questions for us to prayerfully consider as we prepare for worship this Sunday (the lessons are from the Track 2 option). We hope you will find them a useful resource as you prepare to receive them in church. Click on the red headings below to go to the reading.
This passage conveys the essence of a prophetic message from the Hebrew Bible—calling people to change their ways and return to God by keeping sabbath and practicing their faith in practical acts of compassion. Here are two questions we can ask in response to this prophetic word: First, are we practicing sabbath? I.e., reserving one day a week to avoid commerce, not do chores, and even forgo intensive recreational activities. Ways to keep the Sabbath include sleeping in, reading, being with family and friends, praying, taking a walk, and taking naps. Imagine dedicating one day a week to that—it would be a delight! Second, are we giving our time, skills, and money to help others in practical ways. The prophet asks us to consider what God is calling us to do.
Read this portion of Psalm 103 as part of your prayers this week. Remember all that God has done for us!
The beginning of this passage contrasts the Old Testament experience of God at Mount Sinai, which included fearful signs of the holiness of God, with the New Testament vision of communion with God at the heavenly Mount Zion, a vision that is more celebratory (“festal”). How do you experience God in your life? What about your faith brings you joy? Also, in reference to the last part of the passage, what about your faith in God “cannot be shaken”?
A common theme in the Gospels is for Jesus to confront religious leaders over their scrupulosity in keeping religious rules. To be clear, what Jesus would do was as a rabbi critiquing the interpretation of the Law by those leaders—it was not a critique of observant Judaism. For us in the church, what are examples of problems in how people interpret our faith? How do religious leaders disregard or misinterpret the teachings of Jesus?