The Season of Ordinary Time
AUGUST 2, 2020
1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1
23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
25 So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
27 If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. 28 (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of
consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. 29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?
31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
2 Peter 1:2-11
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2 Kings 5:1-14
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
As we focus on the beginning of Peter’s second letter over the next few weeks (2 Peter 1:2-11), go further in your study by watching the Bible Project’s overview of 2 Peter. This video breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. In 2 Peter, Peter calls for faithfulness and confronts corrupt teachers who distorted the message about Jesus and lead others astray.
- Consider how you might prepare the table in a way that sets this meal apart from other meals—perhaps a centerpiece of some sort, a candle, a table-cloth, fine dinnerware, etc.
- Be intentional in considering how to inform everyone that this meal will be a bit more intentional than usual; more is happening than just the consumption of food. You are seeking the nourishment of God through fellowship with others, and fellowship requires both speaking and listening. So, look out for each other, don’t let any one person dominate the conversation or let anyone go unnoticed.
- Even though this time can be rather organic, it might be helpful to elect someone to take the lead. This person will pray the opening blessing and guide everyone through the dialogue and discussion.
1. PRAYER OF BLESSING
Before partaking in the meal, the leader can either read the following prayer of blessing or offer their own.
God, our Father, giver of life,
by your Spirit, may this meal
be a taste of your kingdom—
not only in food but fellowship too.
Nourish us in the way of your Son,
so we may share what grace we receive
with all those we encounter in need.
In the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes it’s difficult to gather everyone’s attention before a meal. Using a call to worship that requires a group response is a great way to quiet a room before you pray. Consider using CWC’s current call to worship for this season of the Christian Year (Ps 118:24 ):
ONE: This is the Day
the Lord has made!
ALL: We will rejoice
and be glad in it!
Physical signs are excellent ways to include kids during prayer (adults often appreciate them more than they let on too). If your children aren’t old enough to fully understand the words prayed (or if you just want to offer those gathered another way to engage), consider using the sign of the cross when the Trinity is invoked as a way for them to participate in the prayer.
As the food is passed around and people begin to eat, invite each person—one by one—to finish this sentence:
“I’m thankful that God has…”
Though we’ve titled this portion “Thanksgiving,” it might be appropriate depending on your gathered group to include—in addition to things you’re thankful for—things that are also weighing on you. Some call this practice, “Happys & Crappys.” With this approach, you are invited to rejoice with those rejoicing and mourn with those mourning (Rom 12:15).
If you choose to include the sharing of difficulties in addition to thanksgivings, don’t be afraid to pray short prayers of intercession mid-meal and practice discernment together.
3. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
As you continue to eat or as people start to finish up, continue by asking these questions to facilitate open discussion in response to today’s worship service. If anyone was absent or needs a reminder, see the sermon synopsis below.
- What priorities does God have that you don’t right now?
- What habits have you said “yes” to that don’t help you glorify God in every area of your life?
- Where in your life is God inviting you to love by listening?
Many of us want lives that are more expansive, whole, and free; but it’s not as easy as wanting it (otherwise everybody would live that way). In this passage, Paul invites us to examine the structure of our lives, and how we can partner with God to build lives that are “constructive,” not just to us, but for others.
From Numbers 6:24-27 NLT—often referred to as the "Aaronic blessing."
At the conclusion of the meal and the discussion offer this blessing to those gathered around the table:
May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.
And everyone can respond with:
The Benediction might be a great opportunity to involve someone else at the table. The leader could simply ask someone, or perhaps you could use a fun selection process, such as: the youngest person, the oldest person, the person who’s been to the most states or the most countries, or someone wearing green (since green is the color of Ordinary Time).
Either in addition to, or in place of, consider using the Lord’s Prayer at the close of your meal. This allows all those gathered to join in one final unison prayer before leaving.
In this prayer we are reminded of God’s desire for heaven to come to earth and encouraged that he will make us instruments of that kingdom-coming through his sustaining, cleansing, and sanctifying grace.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Want more to do?
In the story of the Bible, God is depicted as a generous host who provides for the needs of his guests. However, humans live from a mindset of scarcity and hoard God’s many gifts. In this video, we explore God’s plan for overcoming our selfishness by giving the ultimate gift of himself in the person of Jesus.
Take the following portion of this week’s text and “transpose” it into a prayer for yourself or for someone the Spirit brings to mind. Challenge yourself to come back to this prayer throughout this week considering how you might even participate with Christ in answering it.
So whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God.
Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles
or the church of God.
I, too, try to please everyone
in everything I do.
I don’t just do what is best for me;
I do what is best for others
so that many may be saved.
OTHER WAYS TO RESPOND
The Sunday Worship Service is the start to a week of continued worship service. God’s kingdom-values are revealed to us each Lord’s Day so we can respond by more faithfully living out those values in our home, work-place, market-place, and all our relationships.
If you would like some practical ways to love others well, specifically during this season of special circumstances, click below to find opportunities.