Sore Knees: Cultivate
In The Meeting of the Waters, Fritz Kling describes mercy as filling “gaping holes, both spiritual and physical, in the lives of unnoticed, unwanted people” (p. 41). At LEAPAsia we’ve expanded this description. For the ignored and forgotten, we try to fill emotional, social, educational, physical, and spiritual holes. We’ve chosen to use the word cultivate to illustrate this process of helping people help themselves. We try to start where they are and then support them on the path toward who they were created to be.
In this week’s sore knees challenge post, our teacher lectionary takes us from the Foundation to Mercy, from receiving His nourishment to cultivating others. Again, we’re not attempting to script but rather to inspire your lifting.
You’ll find the same four sections as last week:
- Entering the Throne Room: a call to worship
- Seeking Mercy: confession, repentance, and forgiveness
- Advocating: mediating between Yahweh and our students (and their families), colleagues, and schools
- Going Forth: leaving the throne room blessed to be a blessing
References are linked to passages. Other links will take you to songs.
Entering the Throne Room
Merciful Yahweh, You nourish and nurture me by filling gaping holes in my heart and spirit.
- You are water when I’m thirsty and food when I’m hungry. (Psalm 63:1-8)
- As I mourn over sin, You bring the good news–and the reality–of healing, freedom, light, comfort, beauty, joy, and praise. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
- In spite of my inadequate and sometimes reluctant planting and watering, You, amazingly, make seeds grow. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
- You who are rich in mercy do not treat me as my sins deserve. (Psalm 103)
Be merciful to me a sinner when my heart is calloused. (Matthew 13:1-23).
- When I’m distracted and scattered instead of focused on You. (Matthew 13:4)
- When the seed of your Word falls on rocky ground, when I don’t let it root into my heart. (Matthew 13:5-6)
- When hardship, wealth, and the worries of life choke out your Word in me. (Matthew 13:7)
- When I’m ever hearing but never understanding, ever seeing but never perceiving. (Matthew 13:14-15)
Remember that I am but dust; replace my stony, stubborn heart with one that is tender and responsive.
- Bless my eyes so that I see; bless my ears so that I hear. (Matthew 13:16-17)
- May I be an oak of righteousness planted beside your living water, rooting deeply into your Word, bearing fruit in season, for the display of your splendor. (Isaiah 61:3; Psalm 1)
- Prune and purify me and help me to abide in You so that I can produce fruit for Your glory. (John 15:1-8)
- Cultivate the soil of my heart so that I produce a crop 30, 60, even 100 times what You sow in me. (Matthew 13:8)
You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.
I intercede for my students and colleagues; I labor on my knees for their drought-stricken lives:
- Bless their eyes so that they see; bless their ears so that they hear. Cultivate the soil of their heart so that they understand, so that they grow strong and tall, rooted in You, and produce a crop from what is sown in them. (Matthew 13:16-23)
- Make their desert bloom. (Isaiah 35)
- Do the work for which You were anointed: Proclaim good news, especially to the ignored and forgotten; bind up their broken hearts; release the slaves; set the prisoners free; shine light into their darkness; crown them with beauty. May they become Your oaks of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
- Sure Foundation for our times, share Your rich store of wisdom with me so that I’m able to fill gaping holes in their lives, hearts, and spirits. (Matthew 9:13)
- Like You, may I be streams in their desert and shade in their parched land. (Isaiah 32:1-2)
- What I ask for in Your Name is mercy for their souls. Give me wisdom and time to attend and fertilize; help me not to give up. (Luke 13:6-9)
Remember that they are but dust. Be gracious toward them and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.
Your thoughts are not my thoughts,
neither are my ways Your ways.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are Your ways higher than my ways
and Your thoughts than mine.
The rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish
so that it yields seed for the sower
and bread for the eater.
So is Your word that goes out from Your mouth
and into our lives, schools, and classrooms,
into drought-stricken hearts and spirits.
It will not return to You empty,
but will accomplish the purpose for which You sent it
and complete the assignment You gave it.
We will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of thornbushes,
the Vine will produce branches and the branches fruit.
No more thistles, but oaks of righteousness.
May we, they be monuments to You, Yahweh.
All for Your renown,
living and lasting evidence of You!
Adapted from Isaiah 55:8-13, New International Version and the Message.