The Story for the
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Oct 4, 2020
prepared by the Rev’d Rhonda Waters
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament shows the handiwork of the Lord.
One day tells its tale to another,
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language,
and their voices are not heard,
their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep has God set a pavilion for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again;
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever;
the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened,
and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often they offend?
Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight;
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
Something to Do
The heavens declare the glory of God
Gaze at the heavens. Do it at different times of day. Do it in different weather. What are they saying to you? Can you draw it? Or write it? Or dance or sing it?
Sweeter far than honey
The psalmists compares God’s law to honey, the sweetest thing they would have likely known. Do a taste test and find the sweetest thing in your house. God’s law is even sweeter!
Something to Wonder
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins…
What do you think are “presumptuous sins”? Are they the same for everyone? Or are your presumptuous sins different than mine? Why does the psalmist want to be kept from them “above all“?
Law as freedom
God’s law as a source of freedom is a constant theme throughout the Bible. Does this idea ring true to you? Why or why not? Either way, try to imagine why it might be the opposite for someone else.
Something to Learn
The Book of Nature
Philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages developed the idea that God revealed Godself through nature, creating a “book of nature” to be read alongside the Bible. The idea has still older roots, reaching back to Aristotle. Read a quick summary on Wikipedia.
Then read a modern working out of this idea from the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren:
The question of how God created the universe has never been a settled one, and has sometimes overshadowed more important questions about the purpose of God’s creative work. For example, what can Christians learn about God from creation itself? These important questions merit careful reflection...read on.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.