Ordinary Time (Proper 28)
Luke 21:5–19/ 21:5–18 IV
Prepare to Testify
Malachi 4:1–2a, Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:6–13, 1 Nephi 3:189, Doctrine and Covenants 162:3
Hand out pens or pencils and paper as people enter the worship area.
As music plays, invite everyone to write on the paper provided a list of what they have to “Make a joyful noise to the Lord” about.
Invite the congregants to share with one another what is on their lists.
Call to Worship
Testify through Song
“Now Sing to Our God” CCS 108
OR “Earth and All Stars” CCS 102
Disciples’ Generous Response
Read the mission story “God Has Not Forsaken Me!”
Statement: How might our generosity today affect others’ lives? That which we offer—our time, talent, and treasure—are all tangible ways of testifying about our commitment to Christ’s mission, our mission.
For additional ideas and resources, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
Set a rocking chair in the front and have a child on the lap of the reader as That’s Good! That’s Bad! by Margery Cuyler, Henry Holt and Company,115 W. 18th St., New York, NY,10011, ISBN 9780805029543, is read to the child.
OR An alternative to reading the story is to share an experience when something you thought was bad turned out to be helpful.
Discussion: Have you ever thought something was bad and then it turned out to be helpful and good? Amid a bad experience, how might there be a chance to testify?
Luke 21:5–19/21:5–18 IV
Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn
“When We Are Called to Sing” CCS 229
OR “How Long, O God, How Long?” CCS 455
Based on Luke 21:5–19/21:5–18 IV
We Pray for Peace
And those who publish peace, even tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
—1 Nephi 3:189, adapted
Light the peace candle.
Use “God of the Sparrow,” CCS 138, as the prayer for peace, using the whole congregation as readers and singers. Divide reading and singing the stanzas in various ways (for example, readers—men, women, children, all; or left side, right side, all; or musicians—a cappella solo, children’s choir, adult ensemble). Add an “amen” at the end of the song.
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.
Hymn of Challenge
“You Are Called to Tell the Story” CCS 625
OR “When Holy Ghost Shall Come in Power” CCS 628
God, who’s out there that you want me to swap stories with? I need to listen to their stories and they need to hear mine. God, bring me together with people you’d like me to be in a witnessing relationship with. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read aloud Doctrine and Covenants 162:3 and:
Lovingly invite others to experience the good news of new life in community with Christ. Opportunities abound in your daily lives if you choose to see them.
—Stephen M. Veazey, words of counsel presented to the 2013 World Conference
Ordinary Time (Proper 28)
Exploring the Scripture
Luke portrays Jesus here as a powerful prophet. In this passage, while everyone else is caught up in the grandeur of the temple, Jesus is saying the grandeur will not last because the temple will be destroyed. The author of Luke, of course, has the advantage of writing this Gospel after the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Luke was aware of the resistance and battles fought against the Romans and the persecution that followed. In fact, this passage reflects the persecution experienced by the early church found in Acts.
The real point of Jesus’ seemingly dark, pessimistic, end-times speech is that through all these rough times—wars, famine, earthquakes and personal persecution—God is with us, regardless. We will be tempted to follow false prophets who may proclaim security in many ways, but they will only lead to greater sorrow. Security and stability are in the hands of God where, “not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).
Note that Jesus points out that amid these struggles, his followers will have opportunities to testify to their lives in Jesus. What a momentous, yet terrifying, opportunity! Such a statement cannot be trivialized. Such an idea—that in the face of suffering there exists opportunity—is not easy to grasp.
With wars, famine, earthquakes, and all manner of disaster present in our lives, we have the opportunity to respond to such events—feed those who are famished, seek peace with those at war, comfort those whose lives have been shaken and do all this in the name of Jesus Christ. Such an opportunity may well lead us into dangerous places, where we once again may be called to testify to the life we know in Christ. However, in those difficult times it is important to affirm that we belong to God.
- God is always with us.
- During difficult times and at all times, we belong to God.
- The opportunity to engage in Christ’s mission can come during difficult times. Nevertheless, we are called to have courage that God is with us as we testify in name of Jesus Christ.
Questions to Consider
- What are some of the “false prophets” you have placed your trust in? What happened?
- How can difficulties also be opportunities?
- When have you had the opportunity to testify in the name of Jesus Christ during a difficult time?
- Share your testimony affirming God is always with you. Be specific about how you have experienced this.