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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

As we conclude this series that interweaves the doctrine of God with the Psalms, I cannot help but reflect on belief and knowledge as partners in the Christian life.

Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).

Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants answer, “Think about the people in your neighborhood. What are the daily challenges and worries they experience? What would protection mean for them today?”

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Psalm 20.

  • God is said to be the God of another biblical figure in the first verse (Psalm 20:1). Who is that person, and can you remember anything about his story? Feel free to look it up in a Bible dictionary or online.
  • This psalm seems to be addressed to a specific person or group of people. If you read it first as a personal message and then as a message for a group of people, how does the psalm read differently to you, if at all?
  • Imagine that the psalm is written specifically for your neighbors or the people living close to your home. What would be their desires or plans? How would God protect them in their “day of trouble”? What would need to happen?
  • The Preaching Notes for today connect Psalm 20 with 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. In what ways do you see the world needing to be saved or reconciled? How about your own neighborhood?
  • In what ways is your group feeling called to begin the work of reconciling? Do not hesitate to mention small things like picking up litter or offering help with rides, for example. Make your ideas as relevant and concrete as possible. If you don’t know, in what ways are you called to listen to people’s hearts’ desire and their plans?

Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.

Sending Forth (2 minutes). End with the following prayer, a similar prayer, or the Lord’s Prayer:

God, whose listening is never on silence and who always has notifications turned on for our problems, we pray for our neighbors today. Help us to listen to their hearts’ desire and the plans they have for the community. Help us to take pride not in the fulfillment of our plans, but in the plans they have for a better future. Amen.

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Rev. Manohar Joshi is the author of the best-selling book The Resilient Parent: Everyday Wisdom for Life with your Exceptional Child and senior pastor of Walnut Creek United Methodist Church in California. Manohar (aka Mantu) brings his experiences as a stay-at-home dad, sports coach and referee, creative writer, university teacher, and minister in the trenches together in ways to help you find your fresh connections with the Divine.

In This Series...

Trinity Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes