Thursday, July 18, 2013

Against All Odds, God Delivers Us -- Alternative Lectionary -- Proper 12


For those of you who preach or plan worship and wish to explore texts that don't appear in the three year cycle of the Common Lectionary, here is David Ackerman's liturgical and sermonic assistance.  This is reposted by request from David's blog  Beyond the Lectionary.  

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Proper 12


July 28, 2013
“Against All Odds, God Delivers Us”
Call to Worship:  Psalm 83:1-2, 9, 18 NRSV
One:  O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
Many:  Even now your enemies are in tumult; those who hate you have raised their heads.
One:  Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the Wadi Kishon, who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the ground.
Many:  Let them know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.
Gathering Prayer:  Out of the commotion of our lives, loving Creator, you have brought us together in this time and place.  We rejoice in your presence with us this day, and we give thanks for all the ways that you have delivered us time and time again from the dangers and calamities of life.  Lead us now and always.  Amen.
Confession:  So often, God, we have failed to trust in your saving hand.  We put our faith in ourselves instead of you and turn our backs on you even when you reach out to rescue us from ourselves.  Forgive us, God.  Help us so that we might truly know that you are our redeemer who frees us from evil and raises us from death.  Amen.
Assurance:  This day, the Holy Spirit delivers us from all trouble and leads us into the life of God’s promise.  Let us receive this amazing gift of grace and mercy, knowing that it is God’s hand and not our own that has made it happen.  Amen.
Scriptures:  Judges 7:2-8, 19-23 – “Gideon Defeats Midian”
Acts 19:21-41 – “The Riot in Ephesus”
John 5:25-29 – “Those Who Hear Will Live”
Commentaries and sermon ideas are available in Beyond the Lectionary.
Reflection Questions:
What do you make of the story of the troops that lapped water like dogs in Judges 7?  What powerful point does the winnowing of the troops make?   How do you deal with the violence in this reading?
What do you think about the kind of prayer that we see in Psalm 83, where the author asks God to destroy the people’s enemies?
What is Demetrius’ motivation in starting a riot against the disciples in Acts 19?  Is his interest still a powerful motivating factor for people today?
Jesus speaks of his authority to judge and to give life in John 5.  What are your thoughts on the difference between “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of condemnation” in this passage?  Does verse 29 suggest that we are saved by good works?
Have you ever experienced God’s deliverance in your life?  What was that like?  What made you think that it was God who delivered you and not just you yourself?
Prayer of Thanksgiving:  We thank you, Giver of life, for the ways in which you have rescued us from the trappings of evil and the jaws of death.  As you lead us into life this day, may we not forget all that you have done for us.  Teach us to count our blessings and to show how much they truly mean to us.  Amen.
Benediction:  Let us go now, knowing that God has delivered us and given us new lives this day.  May we show our gratitude for the gift of God’s saving grace by sharing the good news of it with a world that yearns to hear and receive it!  Amen.

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