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The writer of the letter to the Hebrews, whom scholars believe is not Paul, is a theologian and a storyteller. The eleventh chapter begins by setting out the direction and the definition of faith. Faith is an orientation to the future. For the writer, faith is not a set of...

Holy and loving Creator, teach us to grab your hand as we step forward on curving trails, stony paths, or barren deserts. Give us confidence in your love, guidance, and care as we risk bold ventures, conviction to speak up when we see injustice, and strength to live each day as instruments of your peace and compassion. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
August 5–11, 2019
Scripture Overview

The prophet Isaiah brings a harsh message to the Southern Kingdom of Israel. Although they are performing sacrifices and observing feasts, they have lost their heart for God. God wants no more meaningless sacrifices but instead wants the people to repent. The psalmist proclaims a similar message from God. The people’s sacrifices have become pointless because they have forgotten God. The primary offerings that God desires are thanksgiving and ethical living. The author of Hebrews sounds a note of harmony, emphasizing that Abraham’s faith in action—not his performance of religious duties—brings him favor with God. Jesus teaches that we cannot rest on our laurels of having faith. Instead we should remain vigilant and continue to perform acts of charity, including caring for the poor, as a response to our faith.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Isaiah 1:1, 10-20. Consider the author’s difficult questions: Is there blood on your hands? Does your worship lead you to acts of mercy and justice?
Read Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23. How do you offer thanksgiving as sacrifice and go in the right way?
Read Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16. How do you demonstrate faith as a verb, not just a noun?
Read Luke 12:32-40. God promises us a bountiful kingdom, but we cannot take our worldly possessions there. How do you work toward living as if you are already in God’s bountiful kingdom? How do you help to create it?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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“For the past two years, I have used Journey to the Table to cultivate community with young adults in Nashville. The rhythm of Journey to the Table with preparation, prayer, listening, silence, and discussion created space for young adults to reflect, grow in their faith, and build relationships. The topics are extremely relevant for emerging adulthood, and the activities and schedule are adaptable for different contexts. We invited the participants to continue the relationships built at Journey to the Table through year-round life groups and affinity groups. I’m looking forward to next year’s Journey to the Table – it truly sets a table for building relationships and growing in our faith.” Learn more about Journey to the Table.