Readings for the Week of August 25

Psalm 84I Kings 8:1-43 Ephesians 6:10-20John 6:56-69

One of the prayers we use for our call to worship comes from the Morning Prayer of the Celtic Daily Prayer. It begins with a passage from Psalm 27, riffs on the Great Commandment, and concludes with one from John 6 which is contained in the Gospel reading for this week.

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;
to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. - Ps 27:4

After the Psalm, the prayer includes this call and response portion which is a version of the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:36-40.

Call: Who is it that you seek?
Response: We seek the Lord our God.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your heart?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your soul?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your mind?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your strength?
Response: Amen. Christ, have mercy.

And then, this portion of the prayer concludes with what the Northumbria Community, the compilers of the Celtic Daily Prayer, call a Declaration of Faith. They draw on the words spoken by Peter after some of Jesus' early disciples leave when the Lord's words were too much for them.

To whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life,
and we have believed and have come to know
that You are the Holy One of God.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ,
King of endless glory.

In John 6:67, just prior to the above declaration, Jesus asks a pointed question, "Do you also wish to go away?" Peter's response is almost exasperated and he undoubtedly has a lot of questions. But, when he says, "to whom shall we go?", we hear in his question a statement of confidence in Jesus. A confidence based upon many things, not least of which is the basic integrity of Jesus' claims.

We don't know everything about life in God's Kingdom. We may even struggle with our own faith from time to time. But, if we can hear ourselves voicing Peter's question, we are on the right path. We've got nowhere else to go but to continue following this teacher from Nazareth.

Here is the collect for this week (Proper 16):

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Paul Hill