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A small brown rock sits on my desk amid other sentimental stuff—wind-up clacking teeth, a challenge coin from a police department I served as chaplain, a tiny carved wooden elephant from Nigeria. The unassuming rock has a word etched on one side—gozo, a Spanish word translated as “joy.” The rock...

Holy One, bless our lives with joy. Lead us once again to an awareness that you are always with us—and in your presence we discover everlasting joy. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
October 16–22, 2017
Scripture Overview

In Exodus 33 Moses successfully argues that without Yahweh’s merciful presence Israel is no nation and that Yahweh’s and Moses’ efforts have come to naught. Psalm 99 mentions Yahweh’s royal rule, which brings to mind the human agents of that rule: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. Each of these leaders facilitated Yahweh’s conversation with the people and Yahweh’s rule over them. The opening lines from First Thessalonians raise a question about the church’s understanding of evangelism. Paul and his coworkers experience a change in themselves because of the Thessalonians, who become a living proclamation of the gospel by virtue of their ready acceptance of it. In the Gospel reading, Jesus answers a question with a question and confuses his “audience” both then and today.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you most longed for a glimpse of God’s glory? How did God give you the assurance you needed?
• Read Psalm 99. Where in your life is forgiveness needed to restore a loving relationship? How have you experienced “a forgiving God”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. As your Christian faith has developed, how have you seen it move “from head to heart to hands”?
• Read Matthew 22:15-22. How do you give to God “the things that are God’s”? What are some of those things Jesus wants you to give?

Respond by posting a prayer.

Kateb

Discovery Weekend Changed Me and Our Church.

"Discovery Weekend changed me. I now have a better and stronger relationship with God because of it. Also, it has changed our church because people from all grades got closer together." (Discovery Weekend is an Upper Room spiritual formation experience for middle schoolers).