Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
1. Why does Jesus call justice, mercy, and faith the "weightier matters of the law?"
2. Why are these more difficult to practice than a strict list of rules?
Reflection: In this passage, Jesus calls justice, mercy, and faith the “weightier matters of the law” because in the long run, they are what will really matter. By the rest of the passage, it is clear that the Pharisees are more concerned with the way they are viewed than by how holy they actually are. As long as others see them as holy, it doesn’t matter what happens behind closed doors. Justice, mercy, and faith are more difficult to practice than a strict set of rules because they involve using our minds.
Prayer: Dear God. Strengthen my faith in you, and help me to grow in justice and mercy. Help me to focus on strengthening my inner self instead of trying to change how I appear on the outside. Amen.
The 2013 Advent Devotions were written by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) youth and their leaders at the 2013 Youth Triennium. Each day provides a lectionary-based Scripture passage, questions for reflection, and the students' responses.
1. In what ways are we like the Pharisees in this passage?
2. How does Jesus want to turn our priorities upside down?
Reflection: We are so proud of our religion sometimes. It is great to proclaim the gospel, but so often it becomes, at least for me, about making yourself seem more interesting. This is such a tough realization. We choose to take the honor of the faith and leave the hard work and humility that Jesus urges at the door.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be an honest and humble disciple for only your glory ...
Originally written for the 2013 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study
W here do universal human rights begin?” Eleanor Roosevelt’s question concerns the crowning achievement of her public service. In 1947 she chaired a United Nations committee of members from various political, cultural, and religious backgrounds charged with drafting a human rights declaration for all the world’s peoples.
Over a year and 1,400 votes later, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This landmark document represented the first international recognition that human rights and fundamental freedoms apply to every person ...
1. Why are these two commandments the greatest?
2. How can we better model this type of love in the world today?
Reflection: God made us—every single one of us. And going further, God has blessed us with so much. Every bite we eat. Every step we take. Every sin forgiven. All (and so much more) are blessings from our Lord. Knowing that God has done so many wonderful, awesome, powerful, things in our lives, shouldn’t it be automatic for us to adore, praise, worship, and love him? Of course, as humans we forget to ...
by Esther Lee
On December 5, the Salvation Army in New York hosted a delightful holiday concert, presenting four singing Ambassadors. Little did anyone know that it would fall on the day one of the most revered men who symbolized unity and freedom would pass away. The news of Nelson Mandela’s death grieves us all. It made the concert even more meaningful, as he had committed his life to fighting for freedom and peace, which were precisely the messages that the Ambassadors promoted.
The Ambassadors who sang were:
by Esther Lee
On November 22, I had the privilege of meeting Jo Ella Holman, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Regional Liaison for the Caribbean, and learning about the current events in the region. She discussed happenings in the Caribbean and church’s ecumenical efforts to improve welfare.
In the beginning of her briefing, Jo Ella asked the attendees our immediate thoughts associated with the word “Caribbean”. The responses included natural disasters, African Diaspora, and corruption. The unsettling words came with shared aching hearts for the region’s history. A regrettable reality of the region that stood out to ...
by Esther Lee
On November 20, 2013, Presbyterian World Mission sponsored a Webinar discussing updates on the current situation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. The purpose of the webinar was to learn how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is responding to the people of the Philippines affected by the typhoon and how U.S. Presbyterians can faithfully and effectively be involved in the recovery.
About Human Rights Day
Liturgical and action resources
Our willingness to give God praise often depends on our circum- stances. How can we adopt amore consistent mindset of praise and thanksgiving?
Reflection: We can adopt a more consistent mindset of praise and thanksgiving by looking at everything good as a blessing from God, from everything we see to the music we hear. If we realize that everything has a good side, a blessing, then we can truly achieve this.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for everything you created. Help us in our growing faith with you, Lord. Praise be to you. In the name of your ...