20th Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament

Exodus 33:12-23

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

The Epistle

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead– Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

The Gospel

Matthew 22:15-22

The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

My Rant

“Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

This comes from the same man who said seek first the kingdom of God and all else shall be added onto you. It seems as though we need to get it right in both realms, material and spiritual. We all know people who are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. And we all know some who are so focused on ‘worldly success’, that they have no idea what life is all about.

Friends, we have created a false division between worldly and spiritual. Mastery consists of accomplishing what is required in this life by the power and through the awareness of Creator’s grace. Ttuly, we are to be in this world, but not of it.

Jesus came and taught his closest friends and family just how to become a master of living by the power of God. Christ was a mystic Master. He knew the deep secrets of God hidden in plain sight.

In every generation since, Christ has sought and found devotees who live in living contact with Him through the Holy Spirit. Consider the ancient words for Spirit come from the same root as the words for breath. Ruah = Breath. Ruh Allah = Spirit of God.

All this is to say that i want to share some of my insights from following a path of givimg attention to the breath for the past 30 years. And Christ has been my teacher.

Breathing Insight

  • Breath is Life
  • Present moment awareness of one’s breathing is a key to Truth.
  • Doing, not knowing brings results.

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Occasion: Proper 23Sunday, October 11, 2020Year (cycle): A

The Collect: 

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament: Exodus 32:1-14

1When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 2Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ 3So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ 5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ 6They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” ’ 9The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’

11 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.” ’ 14And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

       and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Epistle: Philippians 4:1-9

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 ‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 14For many are called, but few are chosen.’

My Rant

We have been called and chosen

If you knew your calling as a King’s Kid

  • You are a guest of honor at the King’s Son’s Wedding.
  • Your inheritance is eternal joy.
  • No worries.
  • The Peace of God’s protection.
  • Our name in the Book of Life.
  • Ease-a-tatian.
  • Prayer Power

Come to the feast

  • Rejoice in the Lord always
  • Put on your wedding garb.
  • Party crashers not welcome.

18th Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 [Alternate: Isaiah 5:1-7]

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

12 Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 You shall not murder.

14 You shall not commit adultery.

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

18 When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, 19and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.’ 20Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.’

Epistle: Philippians 3:4b-14

4If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-46

33 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ 41They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’

42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
   and it is amazing in our eyes”?
43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Thoughts and Images:

OT. – Ten Commandments the Shall Nots

Epistle – Paul’s Credentials

Gospel – Parable of the Vinyard

My (W)Rap:

Working Title:

The Ugly Truth about Us and the Good News

– A Nasraddin Parable: Whatever You Say

One day the King invited Molla to his palace for dinner. The royal chef prepared, among others, a cabbage recipe for the occasion. After the dinner, the King asked, “How did you like the cabbage?”

“It was very delicious,” complimented Molla.

“I thought it tasted awful,” said the King.

“You’re right,” added Molla, “it was very bland.”

“But you just said it tasted ‘delicious,'” the King noted.

“Yes, but I’m the servant of His Majesty, not of the cabbage,” he replied.

What is the moral of this story?
  • Allegiance has consequences?
  • Only One Thing of Importance?
Jesus Shares a Parable – The Vineyard

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-46

33 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ 41They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’

42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
   and it is amazing in our eyes”?
43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

What is the moral of this story?
  • Are we refusing God’s message.
  • Are we the Scribes and Pharisees?
  • Has the Spiritual Authority of The Kingdom been taken from the Church?
Where is our Spirit being fed?
  • Gurus
  • Opras
  • Beatles
  • Video Games
  • The World Wide Web

Christ calls us to let go of All that damps down our Light and Authority as His body on Earth.
  • Buildings?
  • Salvation by works?
  • Sundays?
sA Parable – Coming Homes
There was a new priest, just a year out of Seminary who had an affair and was caught. The Church asked him to stay of because they loved him and his work among them. But he was overwhelmed by shame and guilt. He could not face his flock. So he moved on and did the best he could. He remarried, he help his new, local church, he grew in wisdom. One day he met some dervished who loved God. They expressed their love in song and dance.
He was blessed in body, heart and mind. So he decided to attend their Spring Nature Retreat. He arrived a few minutes late and the were already singing and dancing:
“Come, come, whoever you are, even though you’ve broken your vows, a thousand times; Come, come, again.” As he danced, the tears welled up as he realized he was home again.
What is the moral of this story?
  • Where is our home?
  • Love is all that matters.
  • Hope springs eternal.
So What’s the Good News?
  • We have a choice
  • We have a Savior
  • We Know what we are called to do and be.

Peace Is Not a Four Letter Word

Journaling as a Way to Peaceful Living

When one takes the time to put thoughts on paper, cyclical thoughts are laid to rest. More importantly, writing down your visions, thoughts and musings allows the deepest thoughts to rise to their proper place in one’s life.

All journaling is thus, and opportunity for insight and expansion of one’s limited point of view. I especially like to write down dreams including troubling dreams.

What do you like to journal about?

I Confess

I confess that I have left undone, things I should have done,

and done things I ought not to have done.

I have not remembered Thee on every breath.

I have not loved my neighbor as myself.

I have been short tempered and mean.

Oh, Who will deliver me from this ego

of sin and death?

There is One Whose forgiveness is so deep

as to be like the desert wind,

which removes from the sands of time,

all traces of your wrong-doing.

This One is The One Who fashioned you.

Shams says, “Rejoice in this power of Love.”

Living Intentionally

I

Living ntentionally
A Workbook for Creating a Personal Rule of Life
Br. David Vryhof
MONASTIC WISDOM
for everyday living Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Living is a continuing series of sermons, workshops and teachings from the Brothers that seeks to distill the collective wisdom of the past and offer practical timeless messages to live by in today’s world.

Want to think more about developing a rule of life? Check out “A Living Tradition,” an online series of posts in which the Brothers reflect on the process of revising the SSJE Rule and offer guidelines to others interested in developing a rule: http://www.SSJE.org/monasticwisdom.
To order more copies of this workbook and other resources visit http://www.SSJE.org/goodnews.
To read and listen to the Brothers reading from the Rule, visit http://www.SSJE.org/audiorule. You can purchase a printed copy of the SSJE Rule at http://www.cowleypublications.org. Arule of life allows us to clarify our deepest values, our most important relationships, our most authentic hopes and dreams, our most meaningful work, our highest priorities. It allows us to live with intention and purpose in the present moment.

Sometimes when people hear the phrase “rule of life,” they imagine a list of rules which they would be bound to follow. It’s not an inviting image for most of us, and more often leads to ‘death’ rather than ‘life.’ (Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to keep New Year’s resolutions?) But creating a list of rules to follow is not the intention of a rule of life.
The word “rule” derives from a Latin word, regula, which implies not so much a system of rules or laws, but rather a way of regulating and regularizing our lives so that we can stay on the path we have set out for ourselves. A rule is like a trellis which offers support and guidance for a plant, helping it to grow in a certain direction. A rule of life is descriptive in that it articulates our intentions and identifies the ways in which we want to live. And when we fall short of these intentions, the rule becomes prescriptive, showing us how we can return to the path that we have set for ourselves and recapture our original vision. It is not something fixed and rigid, but something which can and should be adapted to our present circumstances and shaped to fit our current needs and desires.
Rules of life grew out of the monastic tradition of the Church and have their origins in the 3rd and 4th centuries, when Christian monastic communities first came into being in the deserts of Egypt.
Even though rules of life were originally developed for communities, they can also be useful for individuals. In a rule of life an individual can put into words those things that he
or she values most and can identify ways in which they can be achieved or lived. In the pages that follow, we suggest a number of questions to guide individuals and groups in developing their own rules of life. We strongly recommend that you keep it simple, and that the goals you set be realistic and achievable. You might want to begin by identifying five or six principles that describe the kind of person you want to be and the ways in which you want to live. Writing these on an index card and keeping them nearby to remind you of your purpose may be a good way to start. You can always elaborate or add to your rule later, if need be. For now, start small and keep it simple.

Like any spiritual discipline, adopting a rule should help you to live more faithfully. It is a tool to aid you in living a rich and meaningful life. Designing a rule is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end: namely, to live our lives for God with purpose and intention.
Two prayer exercises you might find helpful in beginning to design a rule of life:
In prayer, imagine yourself in a conversation with Jesus in which you describe to him what it is you value most and how you want to live faithfully in the world. Ask what he values most and how he wants you to live.
You might imagine yourself at the end of your life and reflect on what you would like others to think of you or say about you at that time. You might even write your own eulogy. This meditation helps clarify what is most important to us by helping us reflect on who and what we want to be/become. Suggestions for Use

In the pages of this workbook, we offer some topics and questions you might want to consider in designing your own rule of life. Here are some suggestions for how you might use this workbook:
• Invite God into the process: Say a prayer for God’s guidance as you sit down to meditate on these questions. You may want to pray about each question, or stop and say a prayer as you come to the end of each section.
• Take time: Allow yourself time to dwell with each of the questions here. You may not immediately know the answer and your answers may change over time. You might find it helpful to work through the workbook’s sections over a series of days.
• Be gentle: Remember that this is a chance for you to celebrate and sanctify what matters most to you, not to berate yourself for what you aren’t doing.
• Be realistic: Being honest about what you are capable of accomplishing and what your schedule allows is essential in creating a rule. An overly strenuous rule will not be sustainable or enjoyable to keep.
• Write your goals down: Putting pen to paper asks you to engage in a more concrete way than simply thinking about a theme or question. Use the space provided
in the pages of this workbook to write down concrete goals. My Relationship with God and with the Church

How would I describe the relationship with God that I desire and seek?







What spiritual practices or disciplines do I already know feed this relationship?







What spiritual practices or disciplines might I adopt that would help me grow in this relationship?






What pattern or rhythm of prayer (including times for silent reflection or for retreat) would fit my present circumstances?






How will I incorporate times for regular worship, alone and with others, into my life?






How can I take advantage of the sacraments of the Church (for example, the Holy Eucharist and the Rite of Reconciliation) to deepen my relationship with God?







From the preceding pages, synthesize your thoughts for how you will shape your relationship with God and the Church into two or three achievable goals.

Write them here:























My Relationship with Others

To what relationships in my life should I be giving special attention?











What guidelines can I identify that would help me grow in love for my spouse, my family, my friends, my colleagues in the workplace, and others?











What specific roles and responsibilities do I have?








How will I carry them out faithfully in my day to day life?








How will I carry them out faithfully over the long term?








How will I seek and serve God in others, especially in those who are different from me?












In what ways can I contribute to the work of God in the world, advancing the cause of peace and justice and bringing healing, reconciliation and hope to my community, my Church, my nation and the world?











From the preceding pages, synthesize your thoughts for how you will shape your relationships with others into two or three achievable goals.

Write them here:























My Relationship with Myself

Where in my relationship with myself do I recognize the need for change or balance?











How will I care for myself (e.g., by eating healthy foods and by getting regular exercise and adequate sleep)?











How will I preserve a “balance” in my life, so that one area of life (for example, my work) doesn’t dominate other areas?







How will I express my creativity and develop my mind (through study and reading, the arts, music, etc.)?







How can I incorporate times for rest and recreation into my day, my week, my year?








From the preceding page, synthesize your thoughts for how you will shape your relationship with yourself into two or three achievable goals.

Write them here:























My Stewardship of Resources

How can I be a good steward of the resources God has entrusted to me (money, possessions, talent, time, education, experience, etc.)?











How can I best employ my gifts in the service of God and for the benefit of others?












What commitment will I make to God and to the Church regarding my talents, time, and resources?







How will I care for the environment (e.g., by living more simply and avoiding wasteful extravagance)?







What cause(s) am I drawn to support?







From the preceding page, synthesize your thoughts for how you will shape your stewardship of resources into two or three achievable goals.

Write them here: You might find it helpful to collect the goals you articulated at the end of each section into one space. Take a moment and write the major points of your rule here. Living a Rule of Life in Association with SSJE:

The Fellowship of Saint John
The Fellowship of Saint John is comprised of nearly 1,000 men and women throughout the world who desire to live their Christian life in special association with the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. They have a vital interest in the life and work of the community and support it with their prayers, encouragement, and financial gifts.
Members of the Fellowship seek to live an ordered life of prayer and service in association with our community, and follow a rule of life which expresses a common commitment to faithful discipleship. The purpose of the rule is to strengthen our abiding in Christ by bringing rhythm, order, and balance to our discipleship. The rule helps us offer
the whole of ourselves to God each day and keeps us open to God’s love and purpose for us. Members are encouraged to adapt the Rule of the Fellowship to their particular life circumstances, describing for themselves how they will endeavor to live out its principles.
For more information on the Fellowship of Saint John and their Rule of Life, visit our website at http://www.ssje.org.
980 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02138 U.S.A. http://www.SSJE.org.
printed on recycled paper

Way of Love Propers

8 Proper Options with Prayers and Songs
Arranged by Jerusalem Greer

A few notes:
When can I use this?
You can use this resource at any point during the year. Here is our suggested timeframe for 2018-2019 Ministry Year. These 8 propers can be used as a framework for Small Group gatherings, Evening Prayer, 1 dedicated Sunday during each season of practice, or more…
Season
Ordinary Time Ordinary Time Ordinary Time Advent/Christmas Epiphany 1 Epiphany 2
Dates
9/9-9/30 Oct 7-28 Nov 4-25 Dec 2 – Jan 5 Jan 6- Feb Feb- March 5
Practice
Rule of Life Learn Bless Go Rest Pray
Lent
March 6-April 14 (Palm Sunday)
Turn
Easter
April 21-May 19 (Ascension)
Worship
Why start with Rule of Life?
We began by introducing the concept of developing a Rule of Life and that The Way of Love is essentially such a rule. We felt that this was an important component to helping people understand not just the what and the how but the WHY.
What about the songs?
We have included songs from a variety of traditions and eras. This is by no means definitive list, simply a starting point.

RULE OF LIFE
Living with God with intention and purpose in the present
Prayer: ​Lord, creator of all things, help us to embrace The Way of Love “Rule of Life’ for our lives, creating with you, an intentional path. Be present to us as we seek purpose in the present moment, clarifying our most important values, relationships, dreams and work, as we grow into a more meaningful life with you. Amen.
OT: ​Jeremiah 29:4-14
4 ​Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ​5 ​Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. ​6 ​Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. ​7 ​But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. ​8 ​For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,[​a​] ​9 ​for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.
10 ​For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. ​11 ​For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. ​12 ​Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. ​13 ​When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, ​14 ​I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Psalm:
Psalm 16
Song of Trust and Security in God
A Miktam of David.
1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”[a]
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;[b] their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.

5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Epistle: ​Ephesians 4:1-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.”
(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Gospel: Mark 12: ​28 – 34
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
Recommended Songs
Come Thou Fount
Walk in the Light
Just a Closer Walk with Thee
Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)” by Chris Rice I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
Be Thou My Vision
Called Higher – All Sons and Daughters
For Reflection and Discernment
In what area of your life do you wish to be more intentional?
In which part of your being – heart, mind, body or soul, – would you like to feel more connected to God?
The Way of Love is a Rule of Life. Who would you like to travel The Way of Love with, helping to keep each other accountable?

LEARN:
Reflect on Scripture each day, especially on Jesus’ life and teachings.
Prayer:​ ​O God, from whom all wisdom flows, guide us in the reading and reflecting on Scripture, especially at this time, on the life and teachings of Jesus. Help us to draw near to you as your word dwells begins to within us. May we open our minds and hearts to your word, so that we may see your story and your work present in our everyday lives.
OT:Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[​a​] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem[​b​] on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Psalm: ​Psalm​ ​78 A Maskil of Asaph.
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;
6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Epistle:
Acts 8: 26-40 Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south[​g​] to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,

and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?”[​h​] 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip[​i​] baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
Gospel:​Matthew 5:1-6 *​
When Jesus​ saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil
*​
against you falsely​ on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in
heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Recommended Songs
Thy Word – Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith How Firm a Foundation
Ancient Words by Lynn DeShazo
Word of God by Brenton Brown
O Christ, the Word Incarnate
For Reflection and Discernment
What ways of reflecting on Scripture are most life-giving for you?
When will (or do) you set aside time to read and reflect on Scripture in your day? With whom will you share in the commitment to read and reflect on Scripture?

BLESS:
Share faith and unselfishly give and serve
Prayer:​ Just as Jesus called his disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in his name, we are empowered by the Spirit to bless everyone we meet, practicing generosity and compassion and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and selfless actions. Help us o Lord, to boldly share our stories of blessing and invite others to follow your Way of Love.
OT: ​Ruth 2:1-14
Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 4 Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you.” They answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “To whom does this young woman belong?” 6 The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please, let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.’ So she came, and she has been on her feet from early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.”[​a​]
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” 13 Then she said, “May I continue to find favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.”
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he heaped up for her some parched grain. She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she got up to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, “Let her glean even among the standing sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 You must also pull out some handfuls for her from the bundles, and leave them for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Psalm: 103:1-5
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live[​a​] so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Epistle: ​James 3:13-18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for[​f​]those who make peace.
Gospel: ​Matthew 10:5-15 The Mission of the Twelve
5 T​ hese twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6​ ​but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7​ ​As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’[c​ ]​ 8​ ​Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,[​d]​ cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9​ ​Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, ​10 ​no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 1​ 1 ​Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 1​ 2 A​ s you enter the house, greet it. 1​ 3 ​If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return toyou.1​4I​fanyonewillnotwelcomeyouorlistentoyourwords,shakeoffthedust from your feet as you leave that house or town. ​15 ​Truly I tell you, it will be more

tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
Recommended Songs:
Count Your Blessings
Showers of Blessing
Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul – Andre Crouch 10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
A Living Prayer – Alison Krauss
Joy Is In Our Hearts – Sara Groves
For Discernment and Reflection
What are the ways the Spirit is calling you to bless others?
How will (or does) blessing others – through sharing your resources, faith, and story – become part of your daily life?
Who will join you in committing to the practice of blessing others?

GO:
Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus
Prayer: ​Just as Jesus went to the highways and byways, he sends us beyond our circles and comfort, to witness to his love, justice, and truth with our lips and with our lives. Lord, help us as we go to listen with humility, and to bring your healing to a hurting world and be present to us dear Lord, as we work to live into our identity as the Beloved Community, a people reconciled in love with you and one another.
OT: Isaiah 2:1-4 (A Vision of the whole world reconciled together as beloved community)
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3 Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

Psalm: ​Psalm 133
The Blessedness of Unity A Song of Ascents.
1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.
Epistle:
1 John 3:11-24
11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters,[​d​] that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 All who hate a brother or sister[​e​] are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. 16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister[​f​] in need and yet refuses help?
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God;

22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
Gospel: ​ ​Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Recommended Songs:
They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love All Who Love and Serve Your City
Go Tell It On The Mountain
Us for Them – Gungor
See The Love – The Brilliance
For Discernment and Reflection
To what new places or communities is the Spirit sending you to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God?
How will you build into your life a commitment to cross boundaries, listen carefully, and take part in healing and reconciling what is broken in this world?
With whom will you share in the commitment to go forth as a reconciler and healer?

REST:
Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration
Prayer:​ Create God, from the beginning you have established the sacred pattern of going and returning, labor and rest. Especially today, you invite us to dedicate time for restoration and wholeness – within our bodies, minds, and souls, and within our communities and institutions. Give us wisdom and courage to practice resting, saying no to the tyranny of the urgent, instead placing our trust in you, the primary actor who brings all things to their fullness. Amen.
OT: ​Exodus 20:8-11
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your
work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Psalm: ​Psalm 23
The Divine Shepherd A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;[​a​]
3 he restores my soul.[​b​]
He leads me in right paths[​c​]
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[​d​]
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely[​e​] goodness and mercy[​f​] shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.[​g​]
Epistle: ​Hebrews 4: 1- 11
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.[​a​] 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God[​b​] has said,
“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. 4 For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he sets a certain day—“today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[​c​] would not speak later about another day. 9 So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.

Gospel:​ Matthew 11:25-30
25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank[​i​] you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[​j​] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Recommended Songs:
Be Still My Soul
Psalm 23
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms Hungry – Kathryn Scott
Lead Me – Dan Loewen
For Discernment and Reflection
What practices restore your body, mind, and soul?
How will you observe rest and renewal on a regular basis?
With whom will you commit to create and maintain a regular practice of rest?

PRAY:
Dwell intentionally with God daily
Prayer: ​Lord God, may we follow Christ teaching – coming before you with humble hearts, boldly offering our thanksgivings and concerns to you, and listening for your voice in our lives and in the world. Whether in thought, word or deed, individually or corporately, create an awareness within us, that when we pray we invite and dwell in your loving presence.
OT:​ I Samuel 3:1-10
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was
rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’
Psalm: 86:1-13
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all day long.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication.
7 In the day of my trouble I call on you, for you will answer me.
8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
Epistle:​ James 5:13-18
13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is

powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
Gospel: ​Luke 11:1-13
Jesus He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins,for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Recommended Songs
I Come to the Garden
Down to the River to Pray
I Want Jesus to Walk With Me
Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling Here Are My Hands – Aaron Niequist
For Reflection and Discernment
What intentional prayer practices center you in God’s presence, so you can hear, speak, or simply dwell with God?
How will (or do) you incorporate intentional prayer into your daily life? With whom will you share in the commitment to pray?

TURN:
Pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus
Prayer:​ L​ ike the disciples, we are called by Jesus to follow the Way of Love. Help us o God, to remember that with your help, we can turn from the powers of sin, hatred, fear, injustice, and oppression toward the way of truth, love, hope, justice, and freedom. And that in turning, we reorient our lives to Jesus Christ, falling in love again, again, and again. Amen.
OT ​Jonah 3:1-19
3 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 “Get up, go to Nineveh,
that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8 Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
Psalm ​119:169-176
169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.

170 Let my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
171 My lips will pour forth praise, because you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your promise, for all your commandments are right. 173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
Epistle ​1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Gospel: ​Mark 2: 13 – 17
Jesus[​b​] went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14 As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
15 And as he sat at dinner[​c​] in Levi’s[​d​] house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting[​e​] with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. 16 When the scribes of[​f​] the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax

collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[​g​] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Recommended Songs
Take Me To The Water
Come, You Sinners, Poor and Needy
Just As I am
You Are Mine – Enter the Worship Circle (Karla Adolphe) Lord, I Need You – Matt Maher
The River by Brian Doerksen
For Reflection and Discernment
What practices help you to turn again and again to Jesus Christ and the Way of Love? How will (or do) you incorporate these practices into your rhythm of life?
Who will be your companion as you turn toward Jesus Christ?

WORSHIP:
Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God
Prayer: ​Oh God, be present to us as we gather with other before you to worship. Open our hearts and minds to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, give thanks, confess, and offer the brokenness of the world to you. As we break bread, may our eyes be opened to the presence of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, and create an awareness among us that we are made into one body, the body of Christ sent forth to live the Way of Love. Amen,
OT: ​Deuteronomy 10:12-22
12 So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lordyour God[​c​] and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being. 14 Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth with all that is in it, 15 yet the Lord set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today. 16 Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. 19 You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. 22 Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven.
Psalm: ​150:1-6
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament![​a​]
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

5 Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Epistle: ​Acts 2:43-47
43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[​a​] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[​b​] and ate their food with glad and generous[​c​] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Gospel: ​Luke 34: 13- 35
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[​f​] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.[​g​] 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth,[​h​] who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.[​i​] Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah[​j​] should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us[​k​] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Recommended Songs:
Let Us Break Bread Together
Oh for a Thousand Songs to Sing
We Gather Together
Holy, Holy
God of Mercy, God of Grace
All the trees of the field will clap their hands- Sufjan Stevens Let that Everything Has Breath – Matt Redman
For Discernment and Reflection
What communal worship practices move you to encounter God and knit you into the body of Christ?
How will (or do) you commit to regularly worship?
With whom will you share the commitment to worship this week?

12 Pathways to Higher Consciousness

FREEING MYSELF

1. I am freeing myself from security, sensation, and power addictions that make me try to forcefully control situations in my life, and thus destroy my serenity and keep me from loving myself and others.

2. I am discovering how my consciousness-dominating addictions create my illusory version of the changing world of people and situations around me.

3. I welcome the opportunity (even if painful) that my minute-to-minute experience offers me to become aware of the addictions I must reprogram to be liberated from my robot-like emotional patterns.

BEING HERE NOW

4. l always remember that I have everything I need to enioy my here and now — unless I am letting my consciousness be dominated by demands and expectations based on the dead past or the imagined future.

5. I take full responsibility here and now for everything I experience, for it is my own programming that creates my actions and also influences the reactions of people around me.

6. I accept myself completely here and now and consciously experience everything I feel, think, say, and do (including my emotion-backed addictions) as a necessary part of my growth into higher consciousness.

INTERACTING WITH OTHERS

7. I open myself genuinely to all people by being willing to fully communicate my deepest feelings, since hiding in any degree keeps me stuck in my illusion of separateness from other people.

8. I feel with loving compassion the problems of others without getting caught up emotionally in their predicaments that are offering them messages they need for their growth.

9. I act freely when I am tuned in, centered, and loving, but if possible I avoid acting when I am emotionally upset and depriving myself of the wisdom that flows from love and expanded consciousness.

DISCOVERING MY CONSCIOUS-AWARENESS

10. I am continually calming the restless scanning of my rational mind in order to perceive the finer energies that enable me to unitively merge with everything around me.

11. I am constantly aware of which of the Seven Centers of Consciousness I am using, and I feel my energy, perceptiveness, love and inner peace growing as I open all of the Centers of Consciousness.

12. I am perceiving everyone, including myself, as an awakening being who is here to claim his or her birthright to the higher consciousness planes of unconditional love and oneness.

I Confess

I confess that I have left undone, things I should have done,

and done things I ought not to have done.

I have not remembered Thee on every breath.

I have not loved my neighbor as myself.

I have been short tempered and mean.

Oh, Who will deliver me from this ego

of sin and death?

There is One Whose forgiveness is so deep

as to be like the desert wind,

which removes from the sands of time,

all traces of your wrong-doing.

This One is The One Who fashioned you.

Shams says, “Rejoice in this power of Love.”

Simulacra Prayers

Simulacra Prayers

Oh you pious ones,

You offer your rote simulacra prayers,

written by theological experts,

who no doubt loved their Lord.

Their prayers we’re authentic when penned.

Now they fall from your lips with lackluster intent

on lackluster ears.

Creator deserves more attention than that.

Shams discovered a powerful practice.

Next time you sit with loved ones for a meal,

Stop for the briefest moment in silence

Now let words rise in heartfelt gratitude

For the meal Creator has provided from Her abundance.