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Part 2 of ‘A Year with Matthew for a Matthew 25 Church’ is now available


Free downloadable resource covers every Sunday between June 7 and Nov. 22

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Part 2 of the “A Year with Matthew for a Matthew 25 Church” resource is now available for the nearly six months between Trinity Sunday on June 7 and Reign of Christ Sunday on Nov. 22.

Drawing on the Gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary Year A, the resource is designed to help preachers, educators and worship planners attend to the three focus areas of the Matthew 25 invitation: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty. Offered by the Office of Theology and Worship, the new resource takes advantage of the convergence of the focus on Matthew during the lectionary’s Year A and the April 2019 launch of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation.

According to the resource itself, the primary components of the 12-page document are:

  • A brief introduction to the Gospel of Matthew and how it functions in the lectionary
  • Theological, pastoral and liturgical guidance for the seasons of the Christian year, with a focus on the Matthew 25 themes of vitality, racism and poverty
  • Sermon prompts and music suggestions that highlight Christ’s call to righteousness, justice and reconciliation found in Matthew’s Gospel.

Additional features, which are found in Part 1 of this resource, include:

  • Seven ways to read the Gospel of Matthew (reading plans)
  • Emmanuel: God with us (a public reading of the Gospel)
  • The Sermon on the Mount (Scripture reading and hymn festival)
  • The 10 miracles (Scripture reading and hymn festival)
  • Reading Matthew in daily prayer (daily lectionary)
  • Index to the Gospel of Matthew (appendix).

The new resource is divided in this way:

  • A four-week June series on the Great Commission. “In this brief scene (Matthew 28:16-20), Matthew gestures to what Luke spells out in the ‘sequel,’ the book of Acts,” the resource states. “We begin to glimpse the events that were to unfold through the work of the Spirit in the lives of the apostles as they sought to bear witness to the resurrection: making disciples, baptizing and teaching them to follow Christ always.”
  • A nine-week summer series (July 5 through August 30) on the challenge of the gospel. In the Scripture passages during these weeks, the disciples are in “frequent situations of conflict and controversy, debate and danger, as Jesus’ words and actions put him at odds with religious leaders, political authorities, societal norms and cultural expectations,” in the words of the resource. The church’s work to carry out the three focus areas of the Matthew 25 invitation “draws the people of God into similar dilemmas. Jesus’ call to faith and faithfulness is often counter-cultural, socially unacceptable, politically unpopular and even scandalous to certain religious sensibilities. Yet those who undertake this work also come to know the gifts and blessings of following Jesus, the hope and joy of life in the Spirit and the grace and peace that come from God alone.”
  • A nine-week fall series is called “Glimpses of God’s Realm,” which runs from Sept. 6 through Nov. 1. Most of the Gospel readings in September and October feature Jesus teaching through parables, and those parables have much to teach us about building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty. “They provide valuable insights into the coming realm of God — where the hungry and thirsty are satisfied, where strangers are wrapped in welcome and where the body of Christ is strengthened and set free to serve God with joy,” the resource states.
  • A concluding three-week course on becoming a Matthew 25 church runs from Nov. 8-22. “Matthew 25 consists of two parables and a vision of the last judgment,” the resource says. “Together, these three passages conclude the fifth ‘book’ of Matthew’s Gospel, in which Jesus instructs his followers on ‘last things’ — how to live in light of God’s ultimate purpose for the church and for the whole Creation. As it is depicted in Matthew 25, this new way of life involves vigilant prayer, good stewardship and compassion for our neighbors.”

All hymns, psalms and spiritual songs listed throughout the resource are from “Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal.” For more ideas, see “The Book of Common Worship” and “Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching and the Arts.”

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