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.
Two understandings of God come from this passage—that God is near, and that God fills the heaven and earth. How do these views change what we believe about God? Something we may need to unlearn is that God is distant, and that God does not care about the details of our lives. How would this different belief change how we live? One change may be how we pray—to go through the day with our heart open to God, offering a simple, semi-continuous prayer such as “Lord, have mercy.” That constant offering of our heart is like a rescue signal sent by someone in distress; and even if things are going well, our prayer is a reminder that God is near, God cares, and we need God’s help in our lives.
The psalms are often concerned with things that may surprise us—especially the two-way path of justice. That path includes protecting those without power (people who are weak, poor, humble, and needy); and holding accountable people with power who use their advantage for wicked purposes. How do we see that two-way path of justice in our world today? Where are we on the path?
The heroes of our faith—from the Bible and through history—often faced great challenges. This passage lists some of them and what they faced (enduring persecution, working for justice, and more) and concludes these were people “of whom the world was not worthy.” Do you know people like this? What did these heroes have in common to help them endure these hardships? How did the example and grace of Jesus show them the way and give them the power to follow it? How does Jesus and his grace help us today?
This Gospel may raise questions for us. Some questions may be a result of realizing that Jesus is different from our assumptions about him. How do we imagine Jesus? Have we ever had that image challenged in our life of faith? How was this challenge presented to us? What did we learn? How have we changed our prayers and way of life based on that new way of seeing our Lord?