On the journey with GodAugust 2017GP0|#d28d8743-68f2-423a-85a2-0a92c716ae45;L0|#0d28d8743-68f2-423a-85a2-0a92c716ae45|Mission Sunday;GTSet|#bb9274b4-45fe-43f1-8b69-3df0b933cdb0;GPP|#00279a6d-9ae4-47df-86a9-c3a4c4d91e9b;GPP|#96e4d92c-656e-45f6-9cd5-ab8aed108e3chttps://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/worship resources/mission sunday/367/On the journey with GodOn the journey with GodMission Sunday 2017



<p>​<span><strong>November is mission month.</strong> Help us celebrate what God is doing in the world and how God calls us to share the good news with others. Here are some tools to plan a Mission Sunday celebration. Below, you'll find a <a href="#sermon">sermon starter,</a> <a href="#children">children's story ideas</a>, and <a href="#songs">worship songs and readings</a>. We hope you’ll find them helpful. <br></span></p><h2> Lectionary Readings<br></h2><p><strong>November 12, 2017, Proper 27 (Year A)</strong></p><p> <strong><a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+24:1-3%2cJoshua+24:14-25&version=NIV" target="_blank">Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25</a>; <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2078:1-7" target="_blank">Psalm 78:1-7</a>; <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25:1-13&version=NIV" target="_blank">Matthew 25:1-13</a>; <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thessalonians%204:13-18" target="_blank">1 Thessalonians 4:13-18</a><br></strong></p> <a name="sermon"></a> <h2>Sermon starter</h2><p><em>By Stanley W. Green</em><br><strong></strong></p><p>The lectionary readings for Mission Sunday may at first seem disparate and disjointed. A closer, more careful reading, however, uncovers a coherent thread. The readings manifest a simple sequence that offers reinforcement for those who seek to flourish and support others on their journey with God. The various elements in the sequence follow the progression of the textual record, and may be encapsulated in four movements: <strong> <em>Choose</em></strong><em>, </em> <em> <strong>Catechize</strong></em><strong> </strong>(teach/instruct), <strong> <em>Cultivate</em></strong><em> </em>and <strong> <em>Comfort</em></strong><strong>.</strong><strong>  </strong></p><p>On the eve of his impending death, Joshua reminds the Israelite pilgrims that their identity is grounded in God. For it is only when we discover our true identity in Christ that we begin to live. The essence of the identity of the people who are about to cross the Jordan River is not geographical or tribal. They belong to God and are formed as a people by the call into relationship that came to Abraham. Joshua reminds them who, or whose, they are. Their true identity is in God. Joshua recounts their origins when their ancestors lived in the land beyond the River Euphrates. Joshua goes back to Abraham's father, Terah, during whose time their ancestors served other gods (24:2). God, however, took Abraham from that place and led him into a new land where God became his God and the God of his descendants. </p><p>That relationship of belonging brings about transformation and a deep intimacy with God. It is a reminder and a promise regarding the providence, protection and love of God. Are we living in fear of the future, or in the reassurance and security that we belong to God and exist as the objects of God's love and care? </p><p>In face of this certainty, Joshua then invites them to make a choice and to a renewal of covenant with this God who has been faithful, "… <em>choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the </em> <em>Lord</em><em>"</em> (Joshua 24:14-15). How do we <strong> <em>choose</em></strong>  – God, or the gods of our age, such as materialism, individualism, addictions, violence, etc.?</p><p>Having made our choice, the psalmist cautions that within the covenanted community it is imperative that we teach (<strong><em>catechize</em></strong>) the generations after us about the story that has shaped us:</p><p> <em>W</em><em>e will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commands." </em> <em>Psalm 78:4-7</em></p><p>The psalmist counsels that it is important that we share our stories about what God has done in our lives with the generations that follow us. We must tell our children what God has done for us. We must recount the stories of God's providence and salvation. Our stories of faith and life with Jesus Christ are to be grounded in our understanding of who, or whose, we are.</p><p>As they witness our faith and experience our relationship with God, we pray that they, too, will set their hope in God. They, too, will own an awareness of God and seek a relationship with Jesus Christ. Are we consciously and intentionally instructing (in word and deed) our children about the God whom we serve?</p><p>In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), Jesus reminds the covenanted, or committed ones, of the need to <strong> <em>cultivate</em></strong>  a spiritual preparedness, or a state of readiness, for Jesus' promised return. He tells a story about a party of virgins, perhaps bridesmaids, chosen to participate in a wedding. Each of the 10 virgins carries an oil lamp as they await the coming of the bridegroom. They expect that he will come at some time during the night. Five of the virgins are wise and have brought oil for their lamps. Five are foolish and have insufficient oil for their lamps. At midnight, all the virgins hear the call to come out to meet the bridegroom. Upon realizing their lamps have gone out, the foolish virgins ask the wise ones for oil. They are refused by the wise virgins who observe that there will certainly not be enough for them to share. While the foolish virgins are away trying to get more oil, the bridegroom arrives. The wise virgins then accompany him to the celebration. The others arrive too late and are excluded. Are we <strong> <em>cultivating</em></strong> a spiritual readiness by being with Jesus in the world, sharing the good news of God's healing and hope? </p><p>In the final reading (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), Paul responds to the concern among living believers about Christ's return. Paul's purpose is to reassure them regarding the Parousia (vv. 15-17). (A common understanding of Parousia refers to the second coming of Christ, but in the Greek language, it means presence.) In these verses, Paul doesn't emphasize spiritual geography. He doesn't talk about going to heaven, but, rather, being "with the Lord forever." Paul brings <strong> <em>comfort </em></strong>to the Thessalonian believers, and to us, with the reassurance that this is our true destiny — being with the Lord. This, too, was Joshua's, the Psalmist's and Jesus' concern: that we and our children will be with God wherever our journey takes us. </p> <a name="children"></a><h2>Children's story and giving project </h2><p>In the Psalm reading, the writer encourages adults to tell the story of God's faithfulness. But regardless of age, we all can tell stories about how God has been faithful! In the recent Ecuador mission bank materials, 18-year-old Sierra Ross Richer recounts the way God provides for life in the Amazon rain forest. Sierra lives with her parents, Jane and Jerrell Ross Richer, who serve with Mennonite Mission Network in Ecuador. </p><p>Mission Network supports a variety of ministries in Ecuador. One of the primary ways that mission happens is by sharing the good news of Jesus through friendships and loving our neighbors. In Ecuador, this happens by showing and teaching peace to children. When you give, you help other children learn about Jesus in many different ways. Did you know: </p><p>$5 a Sunday helps provide Sunday school materials for children in Quito. </p><p>$15 helps the church buy supplies for one of the peace workshops for children. </p><p>$25 a month helps <em>Vida Juvenil</em> provide homework support for children. </p><p>$50 a week helps provide a safe place for refugee families to come and receive help. <br> <br> <strong>Gift designation.</strong> All gifts to support ministries in Ecuador should be sent to Mennonite Mission Network, PO Box 370, Elkhart, IN 46515-0370. Please indicate that the funds are for "Mission Bank — Ecuador" or "Project #1724." <br> <br> <em>For more activities and stories, view the <a href="/resources/publications/Mission%20Banks/351/Finding%20God%27s%20peace%20in%20Ecuador">Ecuador mission bank materials</a>.</em><br></p><div dir="ltr" style="text-align:left;"></div><p></p> <a name="songs"></a><h2>Worship songs and readings</h2><p></p><div dir="ltr" style="text-align:left;">There are many songs and readings that fit these mission materials. You will have your own ideas, but here are some we found from <em>Hymnal: A Worship Book</em> (HWB), <em>Sing the Journey</em> (SJ), and <em>Sing the Story </em>(SS).</div><p></p><p> <strong>Gathering</strong></p><p>HWB 17 We gather together</p><p>HWB 21 All praise to our redeeming Lord</p><p>HWB 36 God of our strength</p><p>SJ 2 Hamba nathi (Come, walk with us)</p><p>SJ 124 Litany for candle lighting </p><p> </p><p> <strong>Praising/adoring</strong></p><p>HWB 46 I sing the mighty power of God</p><p>HWB 51 Let the whole creation cry</p><p>HWB 79 Lord, with devotion we pray</p><p>SJ 17 Halle, halle, hallelujah!</p><p>SJ 19 I will call upon the Lord</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Confessing/reconciling</strong></p><p>SJ 131 Litany with silence</p><p>SS 148 Prayer</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Proclaiming</strong></p><p>HWB 162 The God of Abraham praise</p><p>HWB 165 A mighty fortress is our God</p><p>HWB 188 Sleepers, wake!</p><p>HWB 638 God is working his purpose out</p><p>HWB 809 Scripture reading of Joshua 24:14-18</p><p>SJ 35 O Breath of Life</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Affirming faith</strong></p><p>HWB 326 O Love of God </p><p>HWB 565 My faith looks up to thee</p><p>HWB 570 We walk by faith</p><p>SJ 44 The love of God</p><p>SS 55 Love the Lord your God</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Praying </strong></p><p>HWB 359 Lead us, O Father</p><p>HWB 439 I want Jesus to walk with me </p><p>HWB 725 Praying</p><p>SJ O breathe on me, O breath of God</p><p>SJ 138 Responsive reading</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Offering</strong></p><p>HWB 383 God, whose giving</p><p>HWB 389 Take my life</p><p>SJ 60 Lord of all good</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Witnessing</strong></p><p>HWB 400 Santo, Santo, Santo</p><p>HWB 481 O God, your constant care</p><p>SJ 61 How can we be silent</p><p>SS 113 I will stand in the congregation</p><p>SJ 117 How can I say</p><p> </p><p> <strong>Sending</strong></p><p>HWB 419 Lead on, O cloud of Presence</p><p>SJ 156 Litany prayer</p><p>SJ 96 I'm pressing on the upward way</p><p>SS 118 Keep your lamps trimmed </p>