Listen to the teachings! We close this week with our starting point of Psalm 78 and its recounting of God’s compassionate love for Israel. Throughout the psalm we read of God’s interaction with Israel. Reading this history displays the constancy of God’s love through human faithfulness and human rebellion. In this history we also see confession, absolution, and renewal.
The psalmist invites us to remember God’s actions on behalf of Israel and, by extension, God’s actions for us. We remember God’s love and compassion so that we will also be formed by that love and compassion. As we grow and that love shapes us, compassion and love become a larger part of our own lives.
Psalm 78 begins to shimmer and attract my attention when the psalmist deepens the invitation to remember the teachings and to pass on this wisdom to children “so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God.” As one who once developed Sunday school and other religious curriculum resources for children, I tend to focus on the place of children in congregational ministry and mission. Every adult in every congregation teaches children. Some adults offer positive models of discipleship for children, while other adults may unconsciously model a faith that becomes more like that identified by the psalmist as “a stubborn and rebellious generation.” All God’s people need awareness that they model faith and discipleship for children. Our actions directly and indirectly show love and concern for children who are relatively innocent and powerless. Look for the children around you. They may not be visible in your congregation’s Sunday gatherings, but children are in your community. How will you pass on traditions of faithful discipleship to the next generations? Be a faithful friend of God for the children.

Holy God, keep us faithful in mission and ministry for the sake of your love. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 25:1-13

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Lectionary Week
November 6–12, 2017
Scripture Overview

This week’s passages speak of ultimate commitment or of the return of Jesus or they speak in parables that reflect a protagonist who has been delayed in an anticipated appearance. Living so far from the time of the texts makes it difficult to appreciate the urgency with which the issues arose in various communities and the crises they precipitated. Eschatology, however, is not to be thought of merely as a speculative venture in which curious religious people gamble on a time when the world will end. In the Bible, the coming advent of God demands from and warrants for the people of God a distinctive style of life. In Joshua 24, Israel receives an opportunity to de ne itself by identifying its God. First Thessalonians 4 comforts anxious believers who are worried about the fate of their deceased parents. Jesus’ resurrection is not an isolated event, Paul argues, but the beginning of the resurrection of all people. The prospect of Jesus’ return forms the basis for hope.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25. When have your ministry activities become so time-consuming that you lost your connection to God? How can you regain that connection?
• Read Psalm 78:1-7. Which of the teachers in your life are you most grateful for? Why?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. How concerned are you with the end of time? What would you say to someone who claimed to know when the “end of the age” would be?
• Read Matthew 25:1-13. What part has fear played in your journey of faith? What does fear have to do with receiving God’s love?

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