week beginning november 29 - agape class the lord and his prayer by n. t. wright week beginning...
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Advent Daily Devotional Guide for
The Lord and His Prayer by N. T. Wright
Week Beginning November 29
Each day begins with a theme phrase as a breath prayer. For at least ten breaths, say the phrase in your mind on both inhalation and exhalation. Be sure and take deep breaths and make both inhalation and exhalation very slow and relaxed. At the end of your prayer time, repeat the same breath prayer five times, then, for at least five minutes, remain quiet and just be with God, Be open to all the possibilities of God’s communication with you from silence to the song of a bird or the laughter of a child. Be open to the needs of others that may come to you. Be comfortable with the silence. Remember that many times the most loving response to someone is not words but a hug. Whatever you feel, know that God’s loving arms enfold you.
Breath Prayer: “Our Father”
Words of Comfort: Old Testament Scripture:
As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him. — Psalms 103:13
New Testament Scripture:
Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.
When he had spent everything, a severefamine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himselfout to one ofthe citizens ofthat country, who sent him to hisfields to feed the pigs. He would gladly havefilled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himselfhe said, ‘How many ofmyfather’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to myfather. and I will say to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no knger worty to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.
so he set qJf and went to h.is father. But i’hiie he was stilifor: off, his father sow hirri end ‘os f,Tied vith compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 1 am no longer worthy to be called your son. ‘ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—andput it on him; put a ring on hisfinger andsandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and isfound!’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:1124
Advent Devotionals FIJMC 2009 Page 1
“God is generous in all people, generous (in the ees ofthe stingy) tn a fault: he provides good things for all
to enjoy. the undeserving as vell as the desering. lie is astonishingly merciful (anone ho knows their oxn heart
truk. and still goes on e\pcriencing Gods grace and lose. will agree with this); how can e. his forgiven children. be
an less? Onh when people discover that this is the sort of God they are dealing ‘ itli ill thc\ have an) chance of
making this way of life their own.
. . This God is different. lfyou liked in a society here everyone believed in this God. there ouldni he an
violence. There wouldnt be any revenge. There would&t be any diisions ofclass or caste. Property and possessions
wouldnt be nearly as important as making sure our neighbour xas all right. Imagine ifeen a few people around
ou took Jesus seriously and lived like that. Life would be exuberant. different. astonishing. People would stare.
And ofcourse people did stare hen Jesus did ii himself The reason why crowds gathered. as Iuke told us
earlier, was that power as flowing out ofJesus, and people ere being healed. His whole life as one of exuberant
generosity. giing all hed got to give to everone who needed it. He was speaking ofwhat he knew: the extraagant
love ofhis Father, and the call to live a lavish human life in response.
— N. I. Wright. Lukefor Everyone. p. 74
One of the most comforting ideas throughout scripture is that of God as a loving parent, father and mother
to us, who understands, nurtures and empowers us to grow up to be loving parents as well. In this time of silence
envision yourself wrapped in the loving arms of this divine parent. Hear God say to you in the words of Isaiah 43,
“you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” Know that as Saint Paul writes in Romans 8, “neither
death, nor life,... nor things present, nor things to come, ... nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God.”
Words of Challenge:
Old Testament Scripture:
Have we not all onefather? Has not one God created us? Why then are wefoithiess to one another,
profaning the covenant ofour ancestors?— Malachi2:1O
New Testament Scripture:
But I say to you, Love your enemies and prayfor those who persecute you, so that you may be children of
your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous
and on the unrighteous. — Luke 6:44-45
“When we call God ‘Father’, we are called to step out as apprentice children. into a world ofpain and
darkness. We will find that darkness all around us: it will terrif3 us. precisely because it will remind us ofthe darkness
inside our own selves The temptation then is to sxitch offthe news. to shut out the pain ofthe vorld, to create a
I ‘ Ike I ord and His Fra)e
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To call anyone a father or mother implies not just a privilege but a responsibility, a responsibility to return the love given to you, to love your brothers and sisters, and to grow up to be the best adult you can possibly be. What does a life lived out of such responsibility look like? It looks like the life of Christ Jesus did his best to understand, nurture and empower all his brothers and sisters, in spite ofthe oppression of an evil empire, in spite of the terrorists who called him to join in fighting that empire, in spite of those whose indifference allowed poverty, disease and injustice to flourish, in spite of all those who sought to kill him for the crime of not agreeing with them. In this time of prayer, picture those around you who are in need of understanding, nurture and empowerment. Ask God to show you how you might make a difference In their lives. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirft to strengthen you for these tasks.
Repeat the Breath Prayer “Our Father”
DAYZ Breath Prayer: “Our Father in heaven”
Words of Comfort: Old Testament Scdptum: The LORD existsforever; your word isflrmlyfixed in beaten. Yourfaithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and It standsfast. — flolnu 119:899O
New resament ScrIpture: And I saw the holy dty the newJerusalem, coming down out ofheavenfrom 604 prepared as a bride adornedfor her husband. And I heard a loud voicefrom the throne saying, “See, the home ofGod is among mortals. He willdwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himseffwillbe with them; he will wipe every tearfrom their eyes. Death wilibe no more; mourning and crying andpain willbe no more, for theflrst things have passed away.”
- Revelation 21:24
“‘Have’ and ‘earth’ are the two interlocking arenas of God’s good world. Have. is God’s space, where God’s writ runs and God’s future purposes are waiting in the wings. Earth is our world, our space. Think ofthe vision at the end ofRevelation. It isn’t about humans being snatched up from earth to haven. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth. God’s space and ours are finally manied, integrated at last”
—N. t Wright TheLoMaadHbPlwyer, p. 24 ..
Heaven is not just some “place” where good people go when they die. Heaven is that part of God’s creation where God’s will is done, where justice, compassion, nurture and power to grow up into God’s image are fully present. Whereas Christ is the image of God that we, as humans, are growing toward, heaven is the image of God that the whole creation is growing toward. To pray, “Our Father in heaven” is to affirm that God has a dream for the creation and we wish to be part of it Saint Paul writes in Romans 8 that, “the creation itself will be set free from Its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” In this time of prayer, envision the new creation, the world which God is creating even now, the world where justice, compassion, nurture and the striving to be what God dreams, are finally realized. Imagine Christ embracing you with the words, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the woridl”
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Words of challenge: Old Testament ScrIpture:
The LORD looks downfrom heaven on humankind to see sfthere are any who are wise, who seek after God.
— Psalm 14:2
New TmeS ScrIpture:
Do not store upfor yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in
andsteal; but store upfor yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where
thieves do not break in andsteaL For where your treasure is, there your heart wi