Turn Away from Self and Turn to God -- An Alternative Lectionary: Proper 10

David Ackerman, Pastor of St. Paul's United Church of Christ of Trauger, PA, and like me a lectionary preacher, has created an alternative fourth year lectionary that takes us into places we may not necessarily go otherwise.  Here is David's liturgical materials and lectionary thoughts for Sunday July 14.  You can find more information in his recently published book Beyond the Lectionary: A Year of Alternatives to the Revised Common Lectionary -- plus his weekly lectionary materials, which I repost here on Thursdays.


Proper 10

July 14, 2013
“Turn Away from Self and Turn to God”
Call to Worship:  Psalm 55:1-2a, 12-16 NRSV
One: Give ear to my prayer, O God; do not hide yourself from my supplication.
Many:  Attend to me, and answer me; I am troubled in my complaint.
One:  It is not enemies who taunt me – I could bear that; it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me – I could hide from them.
Many:  But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with whom I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng.
One:  Let death come upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol; for evil is in their homes and in their hearts.
Many:  But I call upon God, and the Lord will save me.
Gathering Prayer:  As we come before you today, Holy One, open us to the fullness of your presence.  Help us to experience the peace of the life that you promise us through Jesus, who knows us better than we know ourselves.  Amen.
Confession:  God, you know what is in us and how quick we are to rebel against you and turn away from you.  Yet even now, we look to you and ask your forgiveness.  Help us to turn away from our selfishness and focus selflessly on you.  Show us how to reject the idolatries that would keep us from you, and teach us to embrace the life you reveal to us in your child, Jesus, in whose name we pray.  Amen.
Assurance:  Today God has given us grace beyond our deserving and above our imagining.  Let us, then, with our whole lives give praise to the God who delivers us from evil and leads us into all truth.  Amen.
Scriptures:  Numbers 16:1-5, 23-35 – “Korah’s Rebellion”
Acts 14:8-18 – “A Commotion in Lystra”
John 2:23-25 – “Jesus Knows What is in People”
Commentaries and sermon ideas are available in Beyond the Lectionary.
Reflection questions:
In the story of Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16, what is the complaint against Moses?  Do you agree with it?  Why do you think these people suffer the fate that they do?  Does the story seem unfair to you?  How might justice prevail?
Do you see any echoes of the story of Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16) in Psalm 55?
What do you make of the commotion in Lystra in Acts 14?  How do you think you would have responded to these events if you had been in Paul’s or Barnabas’ shoes?
Today’s reading in John 2 is very short, but what do you make of the telling statement in v 25?
Prayer of Thanksgiving:  Giver of life, we thank you that you have not abandoned us to death.  We praise you for your mercy, knowing that you know the innermost thoughts of our hearts.  We ask that you would lead us beyond ourselves into today and tomorrow, so that we might be about your ministries of healing and reconciliation.  Amen.
Benediction:  Now, let us go as a people healed and delivered for the purpose of proclaiming your good news to all people.  Amen.


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