25 October 2020 is the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost.
The Lectionary readings for this week are Deuteronomy 34:1-12 and Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 and Matthew 22:34-46.
The Deutoronomy text is the focus of Rev. Geoff McKee’s sermon. The death of Moses. “Man proposes but God disposes”: i.e. people can make plans but whether or not they are successful depends on God.
Moses could relate to that.
We must remember that the Church does not need any of us, but we all need the Church.
Read on for all 4 of this week’s Lectionary scriptures, Geoff’s audio sermon, prayers and a Musical Selection from Katherine Robertson.
Lectionary readings for this week
Deuteronomy 34:1-12 (New International Version)
The Death of Moses
34 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”
5 And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. 6 He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.
9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.
10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendour to their children.
17 May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica
2 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Whose Son Is the Messiah?
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’
45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
Eternal God, before whom the book of history is laid and who sees every event, knows every character, experiences every moment, compared to you we are but a mere speck of dust caught in the sunlight; for we exist only in the moment, what we call the present – a gift from you. We cannot return to yesterday and correct our errors, we cannot venture into tomorrow and discover what lies ahead, now is all we have, we are a limited people, confined, restricted; and yet, from beyond time and all the stars, you reach out to us in love, to embrace us, to enfold us, to make us welcome, and we rejoice and give you thanks for your mercy and your grace.
God of mercy, whose heart is full of forgiveness, and who does not deal with us as we deserve: when we have thought of ourselves more highly than we ought and forgotten to put our relationship with you first; forgive us, we pray. When we have loved only those who love us and ignored or turned aside from those who need a smile and a hand of friendship; forgive us, we pray. When we have acted as if all tomorrow was ours yet neglected to do good in the moment of this day; forgive us, we pray.
May Christ Jesus, who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and loosened the tongues of the dumb, free us from our faults and all that would hold us back from being the children that the eternal and loving God desires. Amen
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
Holy God, who gave your law to Moses, and who personified your law of love in Jesus your Son, as Jesus reached out to those on the margins, so now in our prayers we do likewise.
We pray for all who have little love in their lives – those who are lonely and afraid, those who are addicted and trapped, those who grieve and mourn, those whose relationships have shattered into a thousand shards. God of love, help us to hold them close.
We pray for those who love the wrong things – those for whom money or possessions are “god” and where greed has taken over, those who love only for gaining the approval of others, flattery, or power, those who can only love self and where bitterness or hurt has made them inward-looking; God of love,
help us to unlock their hearts.
We pray for those who love to such an extent as to give totally of self – those who are persecuted for truth or oppressed because they take a stand for justice, those who face discrimination because of skin colour, gender sexuality or class, those who strive tirelessly for the Good News of Jesus often facing hostility or apathy from others; God of love, help us to work in solidarity with them.
[A moment of silence to bring personal prayers to God…]
God of Love, hear our prayers spoken and unspoken, and receive them in Your grace and mercy, through Jesus, our loving Saviour who taught us to pray together…
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
“Christ be in my waking” was written by Stuart Townend.
Stuart is one of today’s leading worship songwriters. He travels around the UK and abroad, leading worship at events and performing concerts on his own or with his band.
The words of this song are so reassuring and comforting. We know the Lord is with us every moment of our lives, through all the highs and lows, leading us and protecting us.
What a wonderful Saviour!