If we as Christians are to make any impact on society, any significant difference to the world we live in, then we need to work with those in our own fellowship and with those within and beyond the wider church to get there. All too often our relationships turn persons away from the church instead of drawing them toward it. Where do we go wrong?
Jesus teaches us to search for meaning, for truth, and for God. He urges us to seek openly and honestly and insists that we will find. We will discover life in abundance.
In knowing Christ we receive a heavenly foretaste of all that is to come. In this scripture passage, Jesus invites us to make that connection between heaven and earth. But it comes with a warning: Whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and vice versa. What qualities do we want to bind to ourselves for all eternity? Love, joy, peace, kindness?
Everything that Jesus introduces and represents he calls the kingdom of God. It’s the place where God smiles on what happens. Here God does what is needed. If we cannot see signs of God’s coming kingdom, perhaps we are looking in the wrong place or for the wrong things.
Kingdom signs mark Jesus’ practice. He reminds his followers of his presence when they join together in his name. In God’s kingdom people connect with one another and feel that they belong. God will not rest until God’s will is done and God’s kingdom is established, on earth as it is in heaven.

May we never lose the vision of what life can become or stop working for it.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 18:15-20

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Lectionary Week
September 4–10, 2017
Scripture Overview

Exodus 12 provides instructions for keeping the Passover. Yahweh defends those who seek Yahweh’s shelter. In the end, the people stand liberated from all false loyalties and allegiances, and vow allegiance to Yahweh alone. Psalm 149 sounds a strong note of realism. The rule of Yahweh binds Israel to an understanding that the social order must re ect the moral integrity of the world’s ultimate King. The reading from Romans 13 marks a point of transition within Paul’s letter. Paul here urges his readers to trust that faith in Christ makes a difference. Matthew 18 speaks to the importance of trustworthiness in the life of the believing community and provides measures for the restoration of confidence and for reconciliation.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 12:1-14. In the Passover meal, no one is excluded from the table. Where in your life can you be more inclusive?
• Read Psalm 149. If you wrote a new song to celebrate and recall a “mighty act of God” in your life, what would the song be about?
• Read Romans 13:8-14. Reading these verses of Paul’s letter to the Roman church, how would you de ne your neighbors? Are there neighbors, whether close by or far away, with whom you need a closer connection?
• Read Matthew 18:15-20. When have you spoken privately to a member of your faith community about an offense against you? What was the result?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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