Breaking Open the Scriptures
Scriptures for September 25th: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32; Song: Trust and Obey – UMH 467 Theme: God has a plan for us, if we just follow it.
Philippians: Paul has one major theme in all of his writings – that theme is Christ. Specifically, it is life in Christ. Christ is life, and anything else is death. Today Paul talks about what it means to live in Christ. It means living in community with people that are not like us. Christ will give us what we need in order to overcome our differences. The theme for today’s reading is unity. As Christians if Christ is our center: then we can be of the same mind, same love, and on the same accord. Paul uses a familiar hymn to remind the congregation of what it means to be one body of Christ. What are the songs of unity that we sing today? We sing them, but do we really live them out. Do we love all Christians? What stands in the way?
Matthew: By what authority is Christ allowed to work in your life? Do you give Jesus permission, or do you trust the will of God? As Jesus begins his teaching ministry – those same questions are asked of him – who gives you authority to do what you do? Jesus knew that any answer that he gave would be the wrong answer for the crowd. So he gives a parable instead – a parable of obeying the word of God. He was pointing out that sometimes it is those who think the most of God, who do the least of what God tells them. They (we) get so caught up on our own understanding that we forget that God is not in our minds and our hearts. The word of God is in the bible, and we have to constantly check our actions and our thoughts against the word in order to truly obey God. And that we need to be more concerned about our own actions than the actions of others.
Questions: What situations in our congregation require us to be on one accord? What do we need to do in order to get there? Is Christ really the center of the church? Does Christ have authority to work in our lives? By what authority to we do our work in the world?