Sunday 1st August 2021
We turn our attention to Dwelling in God
Greetings Friends and families of East Geelong UC,
Peace be with you.
I pray this day finds you well,
staying warm and finding joy in the quiet moments gifted to us in this season.
Here is an offering for your self-guided worship for Sunday 1st August. So come, let us turn our attention to dwelling in God.
Our dwelling place today is found in the Gospel of John. In the continuation from last week’s reading. Today Jesus declares himself to be “The Bread Of Life”. We continue our reflecting around what it means to be spiritually nourished in and by Jesus.
It’s clear from the first paragraphs of this Gospel that the disciple John broke sharply from the styles of the other Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They focused on events, following Jesus through the bustling marketplaces and villages. Unlike them, John assumed that readers knew the basic facts about Jesus. Instead, he mulled over the profound meaning of what Jesus had said and done. The NIV Student Bible says the book of John reads as if it were written under a great shade tree by an author who had lots of time for reflection. In his first sentence, John highlights Christ’s nature. John’s book tells the story of the eternal Word who became flesh and dwelt with humanity. People often turn to the Gospel of John because it spells out so clearly the basics of the Christian faith. Jesus proves who he is, diagnoses humanity’s problems, and bluntly describes what is necessary for conversion to everlasting life.
A gentle reminder that our time is for dwelling in God through hearing more of God’s stories. Leaving room for God to speak to us in our reflections and preparing to meet God as we meet with one another.
And so we make ready…
You may like to find a quiet song or piece of music to listen to as you settle into this moment that helps you draw into the presence of God. I have included the lyrics to a favourite hymn, I am the Bread of Life, you may like to use these for your meditation. Set your space using the symbols of our faith and community we have with us at home. If you still have your candle, light it before you begin with the prayer below.
A Prayer to begin…
Holy One, Holy Three.
In this moment we seek you.
Through all of the uncertainty we know you are with us.
Open our eyes this day to see you
revealed to us again in your words.
Open our minds to new understanding
and our hearts in love for you even more
As we dwell in you alone
Our strength and our Foundation.
Through the name of the Christ who redeems and saves. Amen
The Scripture for the day will be John 6: 24-35
Additional scripture to use for your reflection this week is from the Letter to the Ephesians below.
As you read, on a piece of paper or in your Bible
- note the words or phrases that stand out to you with a !
- Note the questions or confusion you have with ?
- Note the important things like names of people and places with *
- Write a sentence or two for yourself summing up what you hear God saying to you through this reading.
(you may like to use different coloured pens or pencils – it is okay to mark your bibles as it helps you to retain your lifelong journey of understanding and drawing nearer to God…)
John 6: 24-35
24 So when the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
Jesus’ Discourse About the Bread of Life
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate all the loaves of bread you wanted. 27 Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life—the food which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.”
28 So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” 29 Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires—to believe in the one whom he sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what miraculous sign will you perform, so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.
In response to your reading of the scripture consider the following questions and write some reflections.
What is your favourite type of bread or bakery product? Why is Jesus being compared with a food staple? How do you relate to this?
What do you think it mean to work for the food that remains to eternal life?
What do you want more of in life? What happens when we want more of something just to fulfill a current need over more of Christ?
What does the Bread of Life mean to you? How is Jesus your substance and nourishment for life and spiritual growth?
Ephesians 4: 1-16
Live in Unity
4 I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he captured captives; he gave gifts to men.” 9 Now what is the meaning of “he ascended,” except that he also descended to the lower regions, namely, the earth? 10 He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. 11 And he himself gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. 14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. 15 But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. 16 From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body builds itself up in love.
In response to your reading of the scripture consider the following questions and write some reflections.
Is my personal conduct in life reflecting my calling to living in Christ?
Is there one area where I can improve my personal conduct in life to better reflect living in Christ and outwardly reflecting God’s love?
How am I actively participating in the building up of the body of Christ?
Is there an area in which I could be better equipped for this role? Now that I am aware, what am I going to do about seeking equipping?
A Prayer in response
Loving God we turn to you this day…
In your prayer, express how you are feeling about the strength of your roots. If there is a vulnerability pray specifically for God to strengthen you in this place. Pray for Christ to dwell in your heart and for your life to be strengthened day by day through his presence in your life.
Pray that God would continue to strengthen you day by day.
Hear the words of the Psalmist this day…
By David. (Ps 14. God’s Word Translation)
1Godless fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt.
They do disgusting things.
There is no one who does good things.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven on Adam’s descendants
to see if there is anyone who acts wisely,
if there is anyone who seeks help from God.
3 Everyone has turned away.
Together they have become rotten to the core.
No one, not even one person, does good things.
4 Are all those troublemakers,
those who devour my people as if they were devouring food,
so ignorant that they do not call on the Lord?
5 There they are—panic-stricken
because God is with the person who is righteous.
6 They put the advice of oppressed people to shame
because the Lord is their refuge.
7 If only salvation for Israel would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice.
Israel will be glad.
Prayers of Us
Spend a few moments recalling to mind:
- people who you would like to put before God.
- Places or situations across the world you want to see God speak into.
- The work of the UCA Assembly.
- Rev Sharon Hollis – Newly appointed president of the assembly, Rev Charissa Suli – Newly appointed president – elect of the assembly.
- Members and Friends of our UCA Partner Church in North India as they deal with the devastating Covid outbreak
- Your brothers and sisters in Christ both near and far.
- Your family and friends.
- Those whom you love, who are no longer here with us.
when you are ready, offer them to God and conclude with the Lord’s prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
Here these words of blessing for you as you close this moment in time.
God who is the Source of all
Jesus the redeeming grace
And the Spirit who comforts and soothes us,
be with you now and always. Amen.
A note from Rev Amanda
Spending time alone and in community developing and deepening our relationship with God is paramount. Although we are not in person please know that I am here with you in this moment. Praying with and for you in these days. If, after today’s dwelling place you would like speak or have me pray with you please reach out. I would be delighted to spend the time with you growing in God together.
Blessings for the days ahead.
Yours faithfully in Christ’s fellowship