Global Week

Readings for this week October 22 – 26
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Day 1 – The Call for Justice

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Micah 6:8-15

Sometimes the sheer ubiquity of pain and suffering and deprivation in our world can make us question whether God really knows or cares about all the bad stuff that goes on in this world. It just seems like there’s too much injustice in the world. But we don’t need to worry on this point. Justice is part of who God is. His heart is for the poor and oppressed, not because he is biased, but because the world is biased against them. God promises that his judgment will fall upon social evils, on the people and the structures that hurt and oppress others. God wants an end to the dishonesty, greed and selfishness that cause suffering and poverty. He wants a fairer society in their place, a society where everyone is able to live without the fear of death through a lack of food and shelter.

So do we sit back and wait for God to do this? Not at all. We belong to this world and God calls us to ‘act justly and to love mercy’. Part of being a responsible steward is to bring oppressive and unjust situations to an end. We need to be ready to stand with those in need and be God’s voice for justice and restoration. But we also need to ‘walk humbly with God’ in all this. We need to recognise that we are not strong in ourselves and we are part of the problem. We are simply a people chosen by a loving and forgiving Father. The journey of justice is about following him ‘sheepishly’ with a firm, unshakeable belief in justice for all people.

Questions to Consider
What injustices are you becoming aware of in the world around you? What can you do to learn more about this?

Prayer
God of compassion, your power and love can make the difference in everyone’s lives; help me be a pathway for that power and love into the lives of others. Nothing is too great for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Seeing God’s Story as Our Story – and Everyone’s Story

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 18:18-30

While God’s story is for everyone, there are two ways in which human response to the story creates a bias that favours the poor. First, it is apparently very hard for the non-poor to accept the biblical story as their story (Lk 18:18-30). Wealth and power seem to make people hard of hearing and poor at understanding (Lk 8:14). Even Christians who are not poor have a problem living out the story. There is a strong temptation to domesticate the story in a way that uses it to validate their wealth or positions of privilege and power. For the Christian non-poor, there is a need to appropriate the whole biblical story as stewards, not owners. The church has lost its way in this regard from time to time.

Second, it is the poor who most consistently seem to recognize God’s story as their story. The church has a long history of growing on its margins and declining at its center. Furthermore, God has always insisted that caring for the widow, the orphan, and alien is a measure of the fidelity with which we and our societies live out our faith (Ps 72, 82). No story in which the poor are forgotten, ignored, or left to their own devices is consistent with the biblical story. If the poor are forgotten, God will be forgotten too, it seems. Loving God and loving neighbor are twin injunctions of a single command, a command that is good for our well-being.

If the biblical story is for both poor and non-poor, then we must work to understand the poverties of both as seen from God’s perspective. Furthermore, we must see how the poverty of both interact, reinforcing each other.

Bryant L. Myers, Walking with the Poor: Principles and practices of Transformational Development, Revised and Expanded Edition, p.102.

Questions to Consider
In what ways do we domesticate the gospel? How can we make sure we don’t do this?

Prayer
Lord God, it is not my gospel, it is yours. May I read myself first and foremost through the eyes of your gospel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Living Simply

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Song of Songs 7:10-13

Living simply allows us to enjoy God’s world ‘as it is’, without distraction. And there are so many distractions around us that vie for our attention, that threaten to consume our time and resources and world when we should be focused on more important things. When we put God and his kingdom first we can enjoy his good gifts so much more. Simplicity allows us to see the wealth of good things God has made available for all to share. Song of Songs is a story of love between a man and a woman. The gift of love these two generously share far outshines the stack of things we use to try and secure love. To lovers the simplest things in life look fantastic. The sights, smells, sounds and tastes of the world are their delight. Their imagination runs wild and they are not bound by cautious rules of consumption or worried about possessions.

By contrast those whose lives are complicated are often focused, not on the people they care for, but on the things they own. There is little time for enjoyment. When we embrace simplicity we are freed to enjoy many things, including what is most important—the love and friendship of others. Embracing simplicity allows us to avoid the trap of seeing the complications and toys and distractions of life as more important than people – or rather allows us to avoid the trap of not seeing how these things threaten to consume our lives. A life of simplicity gives us greater space to see the ways in which the spread and impact of our lives inhibits the lives of others.

Questions to Consider
What do you think you really need in life? What you can do to help ensure everyone in the world has these things?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, teach me simplicity so that my life becomes a life that allows others to breathe and find the freedom of life in Christ. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – “Your Will Be Done”

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 6:9-13

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Like the Lord’s Prayer itself, this is a very famous bible verse that is so well known that, perhaps, most people tend to pass over it rather quickly without really thinking about what it means. What we pray for in this verse – but what we also, to some degree, proclaim as the ultimate reality described in this verse – is that God’s will would be done on earth, would be the reality on earth in the same way that his will reigns in heaven. Jesus calls us to believe in the good news of the kingdom – and then issues a second call to people to “Come follow me.” Believing and following go together.

Mission involves proclamation and presence. We proclaim the reign of God, we share the message (God’s message) of the crucified and risen Christ and the love embodied in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But we also embody that message ourselves. We follow Jesus into the world, into the spaces and places where the kingdom is coming and also where the kingdom needs to come. We cannot pray “Your will be done”, and then not actively work in the service of his good and perfect will. We are hypocrites if we do this. The preaching of the gospel and working in service to God’s kingdom reign of justice and love go together. They are inseparable, for Jesus, and for us.

Questions to Consider
How is God’s will being done in your life at the moment? How do you stay in touch with what God’s will for you is?

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 5 – Inspired by the Destination

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Revelation 21

Sometimes it can be helpful to remind ourselves where God’s plan for all of creation is ultimately heading. When you’re on a journey and travel gets tough and you start to feel disheartened, or simply even get distracted, remembering the ultimate destination that is being aimed for can be a good way of staying – or getting back – on track. When Jesus was trying to explain what the fullness of the kingdom of God was like, many times he used the image of a great celebration, a lavish banquet feast open to everyone from every nation, where we will all gather and rejoice at the overthrow of evil and the joy of being with the God who made it all possible. And this ultimate destination is for all people, is the place where God longs for all people everywhere to end up. The banquet is for all: we are simply the messengers with the invitations.

This is also a good reminder that we are in God’s hands, not our own. It is up to him, not us, to ‘make it happen’. What is required from us is faithful obedience. The saving, redemptive power displayed on the cross was God’s doing, not ours. The fulfilment of all that the cross accomplished is likewise his responsibility, not ours. We are to labour for it, to work towards it, to be channels through which the Spirit of God flows into the lives of others, but the final form of the glorious consummation of all things is God’s to shape. He will see us through, no matter the course the journey takes.

Questions to Consider
What do you do to remain inspired and working towards the fulfilment of the kingdom? What pictures of the kingdom keep you going? Why?

Prayer
Loving Father, I long for the day of your kingdom, when all things are renewed and the great banquet begins. Help me fill the seats around the table; keep that vision of the fullness of your kingdom before me. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)