Tenth Sunday after Pentecost- Week of August 1, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Mighty God, you call us to be one body and share the love of Jesus with others. Help us love and support one another in our callings. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is GO. This week’s passage reminds us that we are all called to go out and share Jesus' love with others by using our unique gifts and talents. What are some of the gifts you can use to share Jesus’ love? How can you support other members of your household in sharing their gifts with others?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16
Reflect: Paul was lonely. He was missing his friends. He sent them a letter to remind them to be themselves and to live a life that would make God proud. Knowing who we are can be hard. Sometimes it seems like other people have better talents or that God loves them more. One friend told me she felt like everyone else was a flower and she felt like a potato. Flowers are pretty, but who wants French-fried flowers? Not me. Knowing who I am can make me patient with other people. When we think I am right, or better than other people it is hard to be patient. When I think the other person is too much, sometimes, it is me that is too much. Maybe the other person is trying to be patient with me too. When each person is growing in love, we are getting right. Can you think of a time when you grew more loving?
Respond: Bryan Skavnak is a storyteller who founded “Be the Nice Kid” company to teach kids to be themselves, to get along and lead a life that would make God proud. Share some of the stories from his website with your little. End by reading this quote:
“Some kids are smarter than you, some kids have cooler clothes than you, some kids are better at sports than you. It doesn’t matter. You have your own thing too. Be the kid who can get along. Be the kid who is generous. Be the kid who is happy for other people. Be the kid who does the right thing. Be the nice kid.” -Brian Skavnack- Lea Colvill
Adult and Elementary
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16
Reflect: In this passage from a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church members in Ephesus, we learn a great deal about what it means to live a Christian life and what characteristics we are called to develop as followers of Jesus. We also learn about how we are to treat other followers of Jesus as part of the same body of Christ. Scan through the passage and pick out some of the ways of being or treating people we can learn or develop. In what areas do you still want or need to grow? Find the verse about different callings or roles we can take in the body of Christ, to help grow the church. (Hint, if you can’t find it, try looking at Ephesians 4:11-12.) Some of the roles we can take on to “go” and spread the news of Jesus are pastors, teachers, and evangelists. What might the difference look like between those callings? Which one (or more than one) might you be called to? Can you think of other jobs you might add to the list as roles we take on in the church?
Respond: Try some role playing in “church charades.” Make a list of different roles we can play in the church: Pastor, Sunday school teacher, Sexton, altar guild, acolyte, etc. Have fun brainstorming all the roles you can think of that help support the life of the church. Write each of the chances to serve on a slip of paper and fold them up so you can’t see them. Place them in a basket and take turns drawing out a piece of paper and (without showing it to anyone else) act it out. See who can guess what you are doing first. If you are on-line, a leader can assign a role using a direct message or players can just choose their own identity.
- Carla Christopher Wilson
Adult and Youth
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16
Reflect: This passage in Ephesians is a hinge point. Paul shifts from describing all that God has done, for the world and the church, and even for Paul himself, to encouraging the reader to consider the kind of life that is a fitting response to God’s grace. God calls us into a life of unity in the Body of Christ, and God has also gifted the Church with a rich diversity of members. This unity is created by and rooted in God alone, but we are called to nurture and care for it in how we treat one another: with humility and gentleness, patience and love. The reality is that diversity can create tension, and so, it is important to hear Paul commend us to bear one another in love. We learn to love God by loving other people, and the gift of grace that is the diversity of the church allows us to encounter and learn to love those who may be different from us. Doing this work of love in the church prepares us to do it in our communities and the world.
Respond: Interview your priest or pastor, or possibly another adult leader in your community. Ask them what friendships they have that model unity in the midst of diversity (In other words, who is a friend that is very different from them?) Ask what relationships, individual or corporate, they have witnessed that model unity with others who differ from them. What makes these relationships work? What sets them apart? What makes these relationships special? How do they see God in the other person?
- Dorian Del Priore
Adult and Adults
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16
Reflect: Each person plays a role in the Body of Christ. While we are all different, we are pursuing the same goal together, as Paul says: unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God. The best thing about unity is that it does not mean uniformity. We each get to bring our different gifts, ideas, temperaments, quirks, and experiences to the table. These characteristics rub up against each other as we do life together. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “iron sharpens iron.” (NRSV) These moments produce greater maturity in us. They make our understanding of God, Jesus, and ourselves fuller. This is how we come to live a life worthy of the call of Christ. It is not easy. There will be days and times where it feels like we are losing a battle. But this is why the Church exists. We encourage one another, embrace one another, and love one another. We sharpen each other with the truth of Jesus and this is how we learn to approach the day with the glory of God and the good of others in mind.
Respond: Paul opens this passage by telling us to live a life worthy of the calling to which we’ve been called. (Ephesians 4:1) Take some time to think about what that means for you? Write down five ways you can serve or love those in your city, town, or neighborhood. Then take a few minutes to pray on each one and look for opportunities to do those things.
- CJ Quartlbaum