Each week, we post reflection questions from Sunday’s sermon text for those who would like to go deeper in their study of the Word. You can find the worship service for this Sunday on our Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYTINJvMDfA
Nov. 15, 2020
This week is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time on the Church calendar. Next week, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King and are off into another liturgical year with Advent, but today we simply call “The 24th Sunday after Pentecost.” We call this ‘ordinary’ time not because it is plain, but because we count the ordinals in this season. The color of this season is green because it is a time to do the daily work of growing as disciples. All of that is thematically appropriate as we consider this week’s text, a prayer about time and the “counting of days”:
- “Only 38 Shopping Days Remaining!” Every year as we approach the holiday season, the countdown begins (earlier every year it seems!). In my family, each December 1st we would take out our Advent Calendar with its 24 boxes and watch each one opened as we got closer to Christmas Eve. Does the countdown to Christmas make you eager and excited or weary and wary? What other events or dates do you countdown to and anticipate? Who in your life is always planning ahead?
- It’s healthy and hopeful to have things to look forward to; even in uncertain times or seasons in which plans may change. On the other hand, always anticipating something in the future sometimes takes us away from living in the present moment. We should never “wish our lives away,” because as this psalm reminds us: we only have a limited time in the world. “The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong…” Is there a part of your life that you didn’t appreciate at the time but now remember fondly? Is there any part of your life you look back on with regret; how do you reconcile yourself to that? How do you ‘seize the day’ and embrace living in the present?
- Talking about human limits, aging, and death makes some people uneasy or even avoidant. How comfortable are you with these conversations; do they make you anxious or afraid? How well do you feel we handle these subjects as a culture? Do you remember the first funeral you attended; who was it for, and what did that person mean to you? Was anything said that was particularly helpful or unhelpful for your understanding and grief during that time?
- The psalm presents the consideration of death and human limits as a place to gain insight: “Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” In what ways can you see great wisdom in accepting these truths? In the Rule of St. Benedict, the faithful were instructed to “keep Death daily before your eyes.” How does remembering your finitude deepen your faith and help you hold everything in proper perspective? How can learning to “count our days” inspire us live so that each of “our days count”? Psalm 118:4 says: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” How do you try to live this in your daily life?
- In contrast to our fleeting human lives, God is forever! “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” What comfort does it bring you to read that the Lord has “been our dwelling place in all generations”? What does it mean to you to ‘dwell’ in the eternal God?
I pray each of you feels the hope of future anticipation and the joy of the present moment this week.
Grace and Peace to you all!
Pastor Maggie Rust