G.I.F.T. 8-21-16

 Growing In Faith Together   

 August 21, 2016

 Today’s Texts:
 Isaiah 58:9b-14 
 Psalm 103:1-8 
 Hebrews 12:18-29
 Luke 13:10-17

GATHERED BY GRACE 
For 18 years the woman had been unable to stand upright, lift a child, or gaze at the stars. Bent over, she saw only what was on the ground. "You are free," she heard Jesus say. Jesus touched her and suddenly she could raise her arms high in the air, look at the world, and praise God.

Discuss in your household or small group: 
* Have you ever had a physical problem that slowed you down?  What was hardest: the pain, the curious stares, the need for help? 
* Do you keep a Sabbath day for yourself or for your family? If you do not keep a Sabbath, what is stopping you?
* What are some strategies we can share with each other for balancing the need to follow rules we believe came from God with compassion we believe God has put in us? 
* Who in your community is bent over, is living “in the shadow” some way?

DAILY BIBLE READINGS
These readings are related to the Sunday readings. M-W reflect upon the past Sunday’s readings and Th-Sa prepare for the next Sunday.  Try to take time each day to read the assigned Bible passage.
Sunday Luke 13:10-17
Monday Psalm 109:30-31
Tuesday Ezekiel 20:18-20
Wednesday Luke 6:6-11
Thursday Psalm 112
Friday 1 Peter 4:7-11
Saturday Proverbs 21:24-26
Sunday Luke 14:1, 7-14

NEXT SUNDAY: Proverbs 25:6-7; Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK
For the Week:  Thank you for Sabbath rest and renewal.

Throughout the Day: Bless the Lord, O my soul. 

A Blessing to Share:  May God set you free from 
whatever ails you!

For mealtime say responsively: God is full of compassion and mercy: abounding in steadfast love.

Summer Mealtime Prayer:   
Lord, we gather by your grace.
Forgiven much, we seek your face.
Fed with these gifts of yours so kind 
Lead us to love all whom we find. Amen.

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION  

Devotional Practice:  
Spend some time during your devotions reflecting on the gospel. The woman's gratitude for her healing takes one-half a sentence in this passage. Picture that bent-over, shunned woman and her despair after 18 years of this condition. Imagine Jesus’ touch on that bent back, her amazement at being able to stretch her arms up high and walk erect. Imagine her swooping up a grandchild and dancing with the child. Close with a prayer of thanksgiving.

Summer Ritual: 
Summer is a glorious time to celebrate the goodness of God and the sacredness of life. Take some quiet time alone each week this summer. Become aware of what is around you (mindfulness is a popular word for this). Pay attention to the flowers. Delight in the colors.  Run water over your hand. Enjoy the coolness. Appreciate the miracle of the human body, the joy of laughter and friends, the freedom of a bird in flight, or the precious smile of a child. Give thanks to God the Creator of all things for this world and all that is in it.

SCATTERED FOR SERVICE  
Everyone is a little stressed this week with the school year having started around town – new classes, teachers, schools…not to mention a whole lot more people around Iowa City!  Take a deep breath, try a little kindness, and don’t forget to smile.

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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