Presbyterians Today

SEP-OCT 2016

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 39 ISTOCK.COM Choose appropriate Bible readings. The words of the Law (Torah) express God's call to right relationship. The cries of the prophets bear witness to God's way of righteousness, justice, and peace. The prayers of the psalmists help us worship in times of grief and pain. The stories of the Gospels demon- strate God's gracious gift of recon- ciliation in Jesus Christ. The letters of the apostles reveal how early Christian communities struggled to live in unity and peace. The sermon theme should offer the peace, hope, and challenge of the gospel. Pray not just for peace, but for justice as well. Liturgical acts of reconcili- ation must never be disconnected from our calling to work for what is just and right. Calls for reconcilia- tion without corresponding work for justice ring false, perpetuate oppres- sive systems, and dishonor the Lord (see Isa. 58). Include opportunities for response. Encourage acts of com- mitment, solidarity, and self-offering as concrete ways to embody the way of the gospel and the hope of recon- ciliation in Christ. Receive the blessing. The blessing of the triune God calls us to be one so that the world may believe (see John 17). Sometimes it's appropriate for Christians to gather and pray with neighbors of other faiths or no faith in times of crisis or tragedy. In such situations, we are to offer a faithful and authentic account of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15–16), while being respectful of the beliefs and hospitable to the practices of others.

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