The Prodigal God Sermon Series: October 16 – November 20
Our Diocese is undertaking a program called ‘The Prodigal God’ this Fall from the Sunday after Thanksgiving to the end of the church year, The Reign of Christ. The goal of the program is to develop our sense of mission in the life of our church. Mission is the first priority in the Diocesan Strategic Plan, adopted at our Synod in May. In our generation, mission is focussed on proclaiming the gospel and baptising new believers as well as distributing used clothing and free skates. Our role in the wider community includes inviting people into the life of faith we share. I know, that sounds uncomfortable for many Anglicans. Faith has been a private affair for many. Sadly, too many in our time in this part of the world do not know God’s love. Now is the time for us to accept God’s call. I wonder, friends, how we might better communicate our love for God, the deeply spiritual worship we share week after week, and the transforming Spirit at work in out time.
Bible readings have been selected for the Mission focus. A book has been offered for us to read, The Prodigal God. My sermons will be presented as a series inviting all to accept the invitation … to discover God’s call to us. Through parable, example, and instruction, Jesus teaches us, no … he draws us into relationship with a God who loves, redeems, and sustains us.
October 23rd: The People around Jesus. Luke 15:1-10
To prepare for the sermon:
Remember, friends, Jesus uses parables when he wants to tell us something really important about God. As the gospel is read, listen with open heart to discern the revelation of God for you in the story today. The sermon series refers back to the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) as we look for God’s prodigal nature (reckless extravagance) in the readings for each week. You may want to read Luke 15:11-32 to refresh your memory. Bibles are in the pews.
Consider the two groups of people that gather around Jesus:
i) Those drawn to his message of grace including the broken and marginalised called ‘tax collectors and sinners’ in scripture.
What were they looking for?
Why were they drawn to Jesus’ message?
ii) Those critical of Jesus’ teachings, the Pahrisees and scribes – the religious leaders and teachers of the law.
What about Jesus or his teaching was objectionable to them?
Why did they keep coming to listen to him?
Discuss with your neighbour ways that both irreligious and religious people can be spiritually empty.
In what ways have y ou experienced God’s searching in your life?
Recall a time in your life that you can imagine God celebrating for you!
What have we encountered of God in this story?
This journey centred on God need not be something we walk alone. As church, faith community, we share this way of life with each other, as much for others as for ourselves.
Pray this week that the ‘favour of the Lord will be upon us, and prosper the work of our hands’ as described by the psalmist. The psalmist is praying that God will be with their community moving through their work so that all will be well.
Consider ways that God’s presence is shaping and renewing our community and the work we do.
Give thanks for all these things!