#ThreeSteps In a Christian’s Walk: Step Forth...In Your Spiritual Gifts
We step out into our own identity in Christ. We step toward others in our extended family in Abraham. And we step forth, both within the community of the church and toward the wider world, in the power of the spiritual gifts we have been given, whatever these may be. And we step forth not to assert ourselves, our superiority, or our gifts. We step forth, letting the life-giving power of the Spirit flow through us and these gifts within the community of the church and into the world God is out to save.
- Exodus 1:8-2:10
- Psalm 124 (UMH 846)
- Romans 12:1-8
- Matthew 16:13-20
Season of Creation: FIRE
Season of Creation invites us into a time of pause and reflection. With Moses we are given opportunity to “turn aside to see” how God calls to us and empowers us in and through the whole creation God is out to save.
- Exodus 3:1-15
- Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b (UMH 828)
- Romans 12:9-21
- Matthew 16:21-28
Season of Creation: DEATH
As Christians we have a paradoxical relationship with death. On the one hand, we, with our brother Paul, see death as an enemy whose destruction is already declared in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (I Corinthians 15:26). On the other hand, also with our brother Paul, we affirm that we are baptized into the death of Jesus, and only through experiencing a death like his in baptism are we promised the hope of a resurrection like his (Romans 6:4-8). So already, within some of the most famous passages from one early Christian writer’s most famous work we encounter death as at once enemy and portal to life.
- Exodus 12:1-14
- Psalm 149 or Psalm 148 (UMH 861)
- Romans 13:8-14
- Matthew 18:15-20
Season of Creation: WIND, SKY, AND SEA
Fire fascinates us, draws us in, and then reduces us to trembling. Death is at once enemy, and sister. And today, we join the witness of scripture in joy and terror at the power of wind, and sky, and sea, and with Francis we confess that God is surely praised through them.
- Exodus 14:19-31
- Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21 (UMH 135)
- Romans 14:1-12
- Matthew 18:21-35
Season of Creation: FOOD
We increase God’s praise when we address not just our own "hanger," but the legitimate howls of hanger or hunger, “the cries of the needy,” as we pray in our confession of sin, cries we are called to hear as Christ’s body, are respond to with whatever means we have, just as God did, and longs to do through us — without hesitation.
- Exodus 16:2-15
- Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45 or Psalm 78 (UMH 799)
- Philippians 1:21-30
- Matthew 20:1-16
World Communion Sunday
World Communion Sunday was started in 1940 as a Presbyterian-led initiative of the Federal Council of Churches toward ecumenical celebration of Communion by some Protestants in the United States on the same Sunday at a time when most U.S. Protestant denominations celebrated Communion infrequently (quarterly at most), and rarely on the same schedule. Not all churches involved in the Federal Council at the time chose to participate, but there was fairly strong uptake by Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists (now known as UCC), and some Baptist groups at the time. These, in turn, generally promoted the idea across their missionary networks outside the United States so there would be more of a feel of worldwide Communion on that day, even if the practice was (and remains) in fact largely limited to a few U.S. Protestant denominations.
United Methodists worldwide continue the practice, as do the Methodist churches outside the United States we and our predecessor denominations autonomized in the twentieth century. We also mark this observance with a special offering that supports scholarships worldwide and in the U.S. and ethnic in-service training programs.
- Exodus 17:1-7
- Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 (UMH 799)
- Philippians 2:1-13
- Matthew 21:23-32