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Swept Away

The Spirit of God has been described as being like the gentle presence of a dove, but also like a whirlwind. A shaping and transforming power, shaking and rearranging the spiritual landscape. Pentecost invites us to consider the accounts of God’s power in the creation narratives in Genesis and to think again how God is making a way for mankind to return to a new garden.

We are aware being ‘swept away’ can be wonderful but it can also be tragic. Someone can be swept away in a loving embrace, but something shameful can be swept under the carpet. You can be swept away looking at stars stretching out as far as the eye can see - and whole neighbourhoods and livelihoods can be swept away in a terrible storm. We want to concentrate this month on the creative constructive power of God at work in our lives - yet we need to be aware of the destructive negative powers that try to destroy God’s creation. We will never fully understand the existence of evil in the world, but we are called to believe that the cross of Christ has ultimately defeated the power of evil. Perhaps we can never be free from an element of disturbance and questioning in this life.

When something is swept up - it causes a disturbance which creates something new. A tsunami is an example of how the landscape itself can be swept up and a whole new vista is created. The old maps no longer relate to the new landscape that has been brought about by the tsunami.

In reflecting upon Geneses and creation, then upon the Acts account of Pentecost, something new and dynamic is created. The Spirit sweeps over the void of nothingness before the creation of the world and brings meaning out of chaos, now He sweeps through a broken creation and the church is created as the agent to bring about his Kingdom (Ephesians 2. 10).

This month we are exploring themes of creation and reclaiming what has been lost, what we thought was wasted. We are being invited to explore the way God can use our brokenness to allow us to become the ones who bring health and healing to others

Like a potter, God sweeps up all the broken pieces, and folds them back into creation (see Jeremiah 18: 1-17).

Prayers & Readings

Subthemes

Date Subtheme Readings Notes
1 Jun 2017 Dust and Word in Conversation

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

Isaiah 64
James 1:2-4

These next three days bridge the Word of Life series (May) and take it into ‘Swept Away’ the theme for June. We can take time to reflect upon the journey that has been made since Ash Wednesday,

The Word of life speaks through us when we suffer for our faith. Remember those throughout the world who are seeking to live the re-created life of the Spirit and find themselves misunderstood and ostracised. Like Jesus was at the beginning of the series. People who ignore the easy way out. (Peter 4:12)  Suffering as a process of recreation - Could link to imagery around Raku pottery.

When dust talks back
Now the clay speaks to the potter - don’t hide your face from us for ever - longing for God to reveal himself. Write a prayer of repentance. Compare the idea of God hidden from us because of our sinful heats and God being revealed to us because of his loving compassionate heart.
(Isaiah 64) What does it mean for the Lord to make his face shine upon us?

Thinking about how #URMoreThanDust has led to us exploring the Word of Life (the breath that gives life to the dust) and how this voice speaks of God’s plans for our re-creation - part of this re-creation comes about through the trials that life brings across our path. These trials make us stronger perseverance is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit changing us giving us wisdom making us into God’s completed creation (James 1. 2-4).

4 Jun 2017 Swept away by the Spirit

Acts 2:1-21
Numbers 11:24-30
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
John 20:19-23
John 7:37-39

Suggested reading:
Romans 8:14-17

At Pentecost the disciples were swept away by the spirit.

Acts 2:1-2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Dust is healed and reformed in the wind and fire stretching out into language and culture. Creativity is stirred up the church is formed and brought to life.  Write seven prayers asking the Spirit to shape the church today for her calling.

11 Jun 2017 Sweeping over the void

Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Psalm 8
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Matthew 28:16-20

Suggested:
Romans 8 18-30
Psalm 104: 24-30
Exodus 31: 1-11

Trinity Sunday - thinking about the Holy Spirit sweeping over the void and creating community and meaning, removing emptiness. Creating a world that was good.

The great commission - going out into the world, bringing order out of chaos. The Spirit moves in the world through people to continue his purpose.

Write seven prayers seeking God’s help to see where he is bringing order out of chaos.

18 Jun 2017 We are stardust?

Genesis 18.1-15 Genesis 21:1-7
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)
Romans 5:1-8

Suggested readings:
Genesis 15:1-6
Psalm 139

From a Notion to a Nation.The church is called to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. In other words to recognise the beauty in life (the joy of ‘stargazing’) but also to be aware of the dangers that can come from procrastination. Abraham knew when to move on.

Write seven prayers inviting God’s guidance to know both when it is right to dream, plan and prepare and when it is time to move on.

Matthew10:14: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.”

Could link to ‘We Are Stardust; song by Crosby Stills and Nash.

25 Jun 2017 Swept up in God’s embrace

Genesis 21: 8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
Romans 6:1b-11
Matthew 10: 24-39
Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18

Suggested readings:
Jeremiah 18: 1-17

(6 day series)

The redemption of human error:
Psalm 69:18 Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies.

Casting out of Hagar into the wilderness.  Thinking about ‘worthiness’ - what are you worth? Hagar and her son have been cast aside as worthless but God redeems the outcast, the marginalised and the despised and gives them life, dignity and purpose.

The Romans passage could be linked to Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’

Matthew 10:30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted.

Reclaiming the dust and redeeming it.
(Links back to #URMoreThanDust)

Write six prayers about: that which was cast aside being brought back in.  We ask God to draw near us and redeem us.

(6 days so July introduces a new theme)