Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 100, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24:
- This is a great passage, and goes so well with the gospel lesson for today. What vivid images of God as our shepherd!
- God's preference is clear: "I will see the lost . . . I will strengthen the weak," and "the fat and the strong I will destroy." Which kind of sheep are you?
- Compare this to Jesus' teachings about who he came to serve. I will feed them with justice." What does it mean to be fed with justice? How do you feed your life with justice? Does working for God's justice in the world fill you up?
- "It is God that made us, and we are [God's]; we are [God's] people, and the sheep of [God's] pasture." Again, imagery of being sheep in God's fold. We belong to God. We humans have a great need to belong. The best we can belong to is God.
- "Worship the Lord with gladness." How do you worship? Do you find joy in your worship? Meaning? How do you keep from "going through the motions" of worship?
- "Give thanks." This is a season of Thanks-giving. How do you give thanks? Giving thanks involves more than words - "giving" is an action word. How do you take action to give thanks?
- I especially like the first part of this passage, verses 15-19. These verses sound like great words of blessing to speak on someone, a person of faith. To pray that God grants wisdom and revelation, enlightenment, riches of Christ's inheritance, knowledge of the immeasurable greatness of God's power. . .
- Aside from that, this passage seems very typical of a lot of the epistle writing. Here is set up the metaphor: Christ as the head of the church and of the body, the church as the body of Christ, and thus under Christ, who is over all things, filling all things.
- What passage in the gospels best describes the standards by which we gain eternal life? This passage tells us that it is our actions, not our words, that determines our eternal being. Do your words and actions match? What do your actions say about what you really believe?
- Where have you seen Christ in unusual ways? Where have you seen Christ where you have not expected? Do you think others see Christ in you?
- For a cute but on-target illustration, check out "Lunch with God."
- We often think of poverty and hunger and need far away from us. Where do poverty and hunger and need exist right in your own community? Why is it easier to see need far-away than at home?