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Weekly worship: Sunday 19 August

Walk in the way of insight.

Man taking communion from priest
  • 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 and Psalm 111
  • Proverbs 9:1-6 and Psalm 34:9-14
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:51-58

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 and Psalm 111; Proverbs 9:1-6 and Psalm 34:9-14

Solomon isn’t often held up as a great example of leadership because of his demise in later years, but he started so well. And in these days of challenging political leadership where politicians are shirking responsibilities or acting immaturely in high office these words of wisdom from Solomon are powerful and prophetic:

Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.

Proverbs 9:6

Solomon’s dream in 1 Kings 2 presents a challenge to us individually, what would we ask for should the Lord appear to us in a dream asking us for what we want?

His example is a challenge to us to expect and ask more of our leaders; to demand that they do not put their personal prosperity and position before the wellbeing of people locally and globally.

In our advocacy and campaigning, we encourage political and economic leaders to walk the way of insight.

 

Ephesians 5:15-20

Paul describes the wisdom we need to live by, he encourages those first listeners to this letter to seek it out and not get caught up in the whims and shifts of wider society. Reading this letter today we too are beckoned to root ourselves in a deeper wisdom. The wisdom of praise and gratitude.

This passage has a greater emphasis on the positive ways to be wise in the world than in the things we are to avoid. To be filled with the Spirit while singing songs. and making melody to the Lord, describes many of the communities where Christian Aid works.

We're encouraged to lift our gaze, and learn from our sisters and brothers in the world church – communities who often demonstrate praise and gratitude whatever the circumstances.

How might we express thankfulness, regardless of circumstances? There is a deeper wisdom to live by than the one that is based on conditional gratitude; may God lead us in that way. And from our gratitude live with abundant generosity.

 

John 6:51-58

We believe in life before death. That's not to deny a life after death, but to recognise that the eternal life that Jesus speaks of repeatedly in this passage is in the present tense. It all starts now.

It's this fullness of life no one should have to wait until after death to experience. It's this hope of abundant life for all that inspires the work of Christian Aid.

We don't do this work in our own strength, but by the inspiration and sustaining bread of life; the daily bread that we need to sustain us, as manna in the wilderness.

It's in the coming close, and the eating of bread and wine, that we come close to the broken body for a broken world. And it's in rising from this eucharist/holy communion/Lord’s supper that we go into the world rejuvenated, with the hope of resurrection and restoration.   

Prayer

Give us today our daily bread. 
Give us parents happy because their children have gone to bed with full stomachs. 
Give us farmers who have won their land rights. 
Give us the peace of people who can go home at last in safety. 
Give us the pride of women who have worked together and got a fair price for their produce. 
Give us the hospitality of people who have almost nothing but share it anyway. 
Give us the shared pleasure of the meal that breaks a long emptiness, and the feast that follows shared work. 
Give us the justice of eating. 
Give us the joy of these good side effects. 
Give us an 'us.' 

Bread is never just bread. 
Our Father, give us today our daily bread. 

By Kathy Galloway, currently one of the Leadership Team of the Iona Community.

Points for prayer

  • Pray for humility, maturity and wisdom for those in positions of leadership in our own country and across the world.
  • Pray for the grace to be thankful whatever the circumstances and for those communities facing untold hardship to know a strengthening grace.
  • Pray for those in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who've experienced an increase in conflict over the last two years; for the 1.7 million people who've had to flee their homes; pray they would get the support and shelter they need.

Read the full prayer diary