Global Week continued

Readings for this week October 15 – 19
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Day 1 – The Light of the World

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 5:11-16

Jesus calls us ‘the light of the world’. We are to glow in a way that everyone can see, and so that our light can also shine for others to see by, so they can see the truth of the world around them and the place that Jesus calls them to inhabit. We testify to the reality and truth of Jesus. Whenever we serve God or others, whatever the circumstances, we are shining that light. We can serve wherever we are and no matter what our work is. As we follow Jesus, everything we do is in his service. Jesus makes no distinction between ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ work. There is no thought that ‘church work’ is more important than secular work, or that ‘spiritual’ matters are of greater significance than any other jobs we work at. It is all part of the service that we offer to God.

His mission encapsulates the entire range of activities that human beings engage in, stretches to all the places human beings have spread themselves, and includes every single human being in existence. None are beyond his reach, and none are beyond his love. The light is to be shined for all to see no matter who, what or where. Many are in darkness and need the light that only Christ can give, a light that he chooses to shine through us – if we will let him. We need to be visible. A light is no good if it cannot be seen, whether through being hidden or simply not switched on.

Questions to Consider
Where you find it difficult to live ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’? How does this affect your part in the mission of God to his hurting world?

Prayer
Holy God, change me and mould me. Make me more like you. Give me the strength to enter into your world, into the lives of others, with the same sacrificial love that you did. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – By His Spirit

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 4:1-31

The mission is God’s. The power to complete it is his too. Perhaps the temptation is to think that there is nothing we can add to the mission of God. Perhaps we think that faithfulness and obedience simply means hanging around until something happens and then strolling along behind it, waiting to see what happens next. But a little bit more is actually required from us.

The spread of the gospel depends on us being passionate about God, his message, and those who need to hear it. And that passion is best fuelled and directed by the Holy Spirit. We are called to be passionate martyrs, to give up our lives, be dead to ourselves. The passion and strength to accomplish this is fully revealed in us through the power of God’s Spirit. We see this especially in today’s reading. The people prayed together. They were filled with the Holy Spirit.  And then three wonderful miracles occurred because of this: they spoke boldly, they were united, and they shared everything they had. The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, and this gave them the boldness and passion they needed in order to tell others about Jesus. As Jesus said to his disciples, the Holy Spirit would come upon them, He would give them power, and then they would witness to the entire world. Sometimes we let our passion get the better of us. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and let prayer fuel our passion. We need God’s power in order to be truly effective.

Questions to Consider
Why do we often try to get by on our passion alone? What problems does this create for us?

Prayer
Lord God I pray that your Spirit would fuel my passion for following your son into the world, to reach those who are yet to know you. Make me passionate as you are passionate so I can love as you love. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Until We All Come In

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 10

“The fulfilment of the mission of the church thus requires that the Church itself be changed and learn new things. Very clearly the Church had to learn something new as a result of the conversion of Cornelius and his household. And, once again, the point must be made: this is not an achievement of the Church but a work of the Spirit. In that story we see Peter’s extreme reluctance to mix with the household of a pagan Roman officer. He tells the story of Jesus in that Roman house because he is directly questioned. The fruit of the telling is an action of the Spirit which takes matters out of Peter’s hands. He can only confess with astonishment that these uncircumcised pagans have been made part of God’s household. So the Church is moved one step on the road toward becoming a home for people of all nations and a sign of the unity of all. The last two centuries have seen giant steps along that road. The Church is now recognisable as a universal community in which all human cultures can be welcomed. But still we are only on the way, and the Church has to continue to learn new things as new people are brought to Christ. Only at the end shall we know what it means that Jesus is Lord of all. Till then our confession can only be partial, culture-bound, and thus incomplete. The whole world needs to know what Jesus’ lordship means. The writer to the Hebrews, speaking of the saints of the previous generations, says that apart from us they could not be made perfect, because God had prepared some better things for us (Heb. 11:39-40). The same logic leads us to look into the future and say that we cannot be made perfect without those who are to come after. God’s perfect reign cannot be made manifest to all until the mission of the Church to all nations is complete.”

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, p.124.

Question to Consider
What is your church community in the process of learning at the moment?

Prayer
Lord God, may your Spirit work a new thing in me just as you are working a new thing in your church and your world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Peace-Makers

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 5:9

“Today, few Christians would doubt that peace-making is an intrinsic aspect of the church’s missionary message. In the contemporary world, where terrorism, violence, crime, war, and poverty, often intimately related to and causes by one another, are the most important issues of the day, this aspect of Luke’s gospel is acutely pertinent. Our missionary involvement may be very successful in other respects, but if we fail here, we stand guilty before the Lord of mission. Peace-making, I therefore suggest, is a major ingredient of Luke’s missionary paradigm. The message that there is no room for vengeance in the heart of the follower of Jesus permeates both the gospel and Acts. It culminates in the account of Jesus praying for his crucifiers (Lk 23:34), which is echoed in the prayer of the dying Stephen (Acts 7:60).

Naturally we cannot ignore Luke’s own context and experience here. The horror of the Jewish War has taught him that the “peace” won through violent means has little to do with the peace Jesus offers. At the time of writing, the fledgling Christian church was still not sanctioned as an approved religion in the Empire. Luke was concerned about this and did not wish to see the church’s position jeopardized. His considerations were undoubtedly pragmatic, but they were also more than that. On the basis of his understanding of Jesus he just could not see how followers of Jesus could bring themselves to propagating the way of violence. Peace-making was, for him, integral to the church’s missionary existence in the world.”

David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, pp.118-9.

Questions to Consider
How are we to be peace-makers in our world? What does that look like on a global scale? What does it look like in our communities?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, in a world beset with violence and recrimination, make me a peace-maker in your troubled world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – Always Listening, Always Learning

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Proverbs 3:5-6

“Even though we share the gospel, we must never assume we understand or express it fully. We must always be listening to the prompting of the Spirit, even in the voices of those to whom we witness.

Vincent Donovan tells a story that illustrates this wonderfully. After affirming the religious devotion of the Masai toward their High God, Engai, he challenged the Masai with the idea that unwittingly they had trapped or limited Engai when they made him their tribal god. He encouraged them to free Engai, thus allowing him to be the High God of all the tribes, even of the whole world. There was a prolonged silence and Donovan wondered if he had gone too far. Finally, the silence was broken by a question: “This story of Abraham’s God, does it speak only to the Masai? Or does it speak to you? Has your tribe found this High God?”

Donavan admits that he almost gave a glib answer, until Joan of Arc inexplicably came to mind and he thought about the French and their tendency to associate God with France’s quest for glory. Then he thought of the American’s and their belief that God blesses their side in wars. And then he thought of Hitler, who never failed to call on Gott, der allmächtige, in his speeches. Vincent found himself silent with his thoughts for a long time. Finally, he said, “No, we have not found the High God. My tribe has not known him. For us, too, he is the unknown God. But we are searching for him. I have come a long, long distance to invite you to search for him with us. Let us search for him together. Maybe, together, we can find him.”

Bryant L. Myers, Walking with the Poor: Principles and practices of Transformational Development, Revised and Expanded Edition, p.348 (quoting Vincent J. Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered).

Question to Consider
In what ways has ‘our tribe’ not found the High God?

Prayer
Almighty Lord, may we never get complacent and think we know all we need to about you or that we have experienced you in full. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)