Week 4 (1-7 Oct.) – God’s Presence in the World
Sunday – At the Table of the Kingdom
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:20-29
On World Communion Sunday, we begin our week focusing on God’s presence in God’s creation – the Earth. When Christ gave us his Last Supper to observe it is to observe God’s presence in our lives. When we gather at the table together in Christ and eat the bread and drink the cup, it is to remember Christ as our Lord and Savior and the gift of the Holy Spirit in us that gives us our life in God’s creation. The Holy Spirit is God’s active presence in our lives that leads us, inspires us, and calls us together as God’s people gathered at the table of God’s Kingdom.
Pastor’s Pondering: When we gather at our Lord’s table where all do we see the Holy Spirit at work in our lives?
Monday – Creation Reveals God
Scripture Reading: Romans 1:20
When I look at all of creation, the complexities of life, the connectiveness of life, the systems of life that entail all of nature and the world, I can’t help but see God’s power and handiwork. To think that this is all came to be by chance over a long period of time seems to be illogical and harder to believe than in a greater being than ourselves creating it all. The fact that we haven’t destroyed it all as we exercise dominion over the world and all that is in it reveals to me that God is still at work preventing, fixing, sustaining life even as we do what we can to destroy it.
Pastor’s Pondering: What do you see when you look at creation?
Tuesday – Tabernacle
Scripture Reading: Exodus 40:34-38
When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, his dwelling place among them was to be in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle with cloud by day and fire by night led them through the wilderness to the promised land. When they encamped, the tabernacle was to be in the center of the camp and focus in their life together as God’s people. The Israelites looked to the Tabernacle as the place in which God resided in their midst.
Pastor’s Pondering: What place do we often look to as the place where God dwells in our communities?
Wednesday – Temple
When God brings the Israelites to the point that they have built their homes, their cities, and now their King’s palace, there is a desire to build a proper home for God. The Tabernacle was no longer suitable for God and so, a more permanent dwelling place for God is built – the Temple. It became the focus of not just the dwelling place but of their worship. The belief became that as long as the temple stood God was in their midst. Instead of faithfulness being the foundation of God’s presence with them it became the standing of a building. We find that God departed Israel for their lack of faithfulness long before the temple was destroyed and they were exiled from Israel and into the wilderness of Babylon.
Pastor’s Pondering: How can we make the same mistake as the Israelites in God’s presence in our congregation/life?
Thursday – In Christ
Scripture Reading: John 1:1-5; 10-18
Jesus Christ leaves us no doubt and the Apostle John wants us to know that there is no doubt that in Christ is God’s presence in the world. The crime that Jesus was convicted of was claiming to be the Messiah, God’s Son, the one that was coming to establish God’s Kingdom on Earth. It is only a crime to admit this if it is not true. That is why Jesus was wrongly convicted. For those who believe we are given the power to become the children of God. In Christ is God’s presence in the world as God’s Son.
Pastor’s Pondering: In what ways can we know in scripture that Jesus Christ was God’s presence in the world?
Friday – In Christians
Scripture Reading: John 17:20-24
When Jesus prays for the church that “…they all may be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” When we are in the Spirit, loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving our neighbor (as defined by Jesus) as ourselves then we become the presence of God to the world. We become the body of Christ, when we live our lives in the Holy Spirit, being obedient to the Word of God and loving as God loves us.
Pastor’s Pondering: How might we be God’s presence to the world?
Saturday – Christ Redeems
Scripture Reading: John 3:1-17
Jesus Christ, God’s presence in the world is not to judge the world but to save the world, to bring life to the world. To do that is to judge, but also to take the sentence of that judgement and to give the power to change and become the people who have life in God’s creation. Redemption takes us out of the wilderness (life without God) and brings us into a new life in God’s Kingdom as God’s creation and people who truly live in God’s love.
Pastor’s Pondering: What is required to know full redemption in Jesus Christ?