Ordinary Time (Proper 18) — World Hunger Emphasis
Luke 14:25–33/14:25–34 IV
Discipleship Comes First
Deuteronomy 30:15–20; Psalm 1; Philemon 1-21; Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a
Hymn of Vision
“Community of Christ” CCS 354
OR “O for a World” CCS 379
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
—Book of Common Prayer, Church Publishing Incorporated, 823.
Additional ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, are on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.
Gospel Scripture Reading
Luke 14:25–33/14:25–34 IV
Today, the emphasis for worship is to consider how we can live more simply by giving up possessions that stop us from fully embracing Christ’s mission and our life as a disciple. Discuss what possessions participants would be willing to give up to help the hungry and poor. Choose an object lesson from Bread for the World, 2014 Community of Christ International Peace Award recipient, at www.bread.org/hunger-no-more.
Based on Luke 14:25–33/14:25–34 IV
Disciples’ Generous Response
When your willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds your natural fear of spiritual relational transformation, you will become who you are called to be. The rise of Zion the beautiful, the peaceful reign of Christ, awaits your whole-hearted response to the call to make and steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ.” —Doctrine and Covenants 164:9b
A community garden offered through Stone Church in Independence, Missouri USA, has blessed the neighborhood and larger community with opportunities for healthy food, volunteering and community building.
A portion of your contributions to World mission tithes go to fund the World Hunger and Tangible Love grant. Projects such as the Stone Church community garden are able to bless communities because of the dedication of members and the generous contributions gifted out as grants.
Blessing of Mission Tithes
Share in a prayer for people who are hungry around the world using compass directions. Ask the congregation to stand facing north and offer a prayer for people who are hungry in countries to the north of your location; then face east, and do the same. Face south and, finally, west, praying as suggested.
For additional ideas and resources, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Receiving of Mission Tithes
Hymn of Discipleship
“O Christ, My Lord, Create in Me” CCS 507
OR “Lord, Jesus of You I Will Sing”/“Jésus, je voudrais te chanter” CCS 556/557
Preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Scripture Reading: Psalm 1:1–3
“Bread of the World” CCS 527
OR “O Lord, How Can It Be” CCS 529
Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine
Hymn of Mission
“Go Now Forth into the World” CCS 646
OR “God Forgave My Sin in Jesus’ Name” CCS 627
Ordinary Time (Proper 18)
Exploring the Scripture
In today’s text Jesus is talking about discipleship. Jesus describes faithful disciples in three ways:
- “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).
- “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).
- “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions” (Luke 14:33).
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is costly. Jesus candidly cautions that we should carefully consider the costs before embarking on life as a disciple (Luke 14:28–32). Our temptation is always to reduce the costly call of Jesus to something more comfortable. We naturally want to avoid the demands listed here—to give up family, risk being killed in a horrible way, and giving up our possessions. Committing to one of these is difficult enough; just one would make many hesitate. Jesus asks for all three.
Life as disciples is closely connected with Luke’s recurrent theme of the kingdom of God. Why are all three of these commitments necessary for the kingdom of God?
We give up our immediate family because in the kingdom of God we are all one family, all brothers and sisters. All deserve our care and concern. In the kingdom of God, we are loyal to all of creation, not just those in our family, clan, or nation. God’s peaceable reign is the end of nationalism and racism. In the kingdom of God all humankind is equal, made in the image of God.
We are prepared to die but not to kill, to suffer crucifixion but not to execute others. We are committed to do no harm, even if we are locked in prison, mocked, and tortured because the whole world is our country and all people are our nation. We give up possessions because they are God’s anyway (Psalm 24:1). We are simply stewards, managers, and trustees, not owners. God’s bounteous creation blesses all, not just some. We seek to abolish poverty and end suffering by our unstinting generosity. Societies with more equality generally have fewer social problems and are happier places.
- Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is costly.
- High-cost discipleship includes making sacrifices. Because this is difficult, some are tempted to soften Jesus’ demands and define them in more comfortable terms.
- Genuine disciples transform society into the kingdom of God.
Questions to Consider
- Does Jesus really expect disciples to make sacrificial choices?
- Why should disciples of Jesus Christ give up everything to transform the world?
- Is God asking of us anything God has not already done?
- Why is the sacred community important as a place where disciples of Jesus Christ can find strength?
- How does the Holy Spirit help us find the complete peace of full commitment to Christ and the kingdom?