Give Up the Donkey

Give Up Lent Square copyTeaching Segment Notes
and Liturgy Intro
by Randell Neudorf
Sunday March 20th, 2016
Scripture Passage: Luke 19:29-40

Today we are going to participate in our first Liturgy and prayer time for Holy Week, but first I just want to set up a little of today’s story and connect some things to our wider Lent journey.

Jesus gets his disciples to steel a donkey. Jesus says “Go to the village ahead of you and you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden, untie it and bring it to here. If someone asks you why you are untying it, tell him that the Master needs it.” Even though that sounds a lot like stealing that is exactly what happens. We aren’t told what the owner of this young donkey says in response to the disciples but we know he gives up the donkey in the end.

Over Lent we have been asking ourselves:

  • “What is God asking us to give up?”
  • “What is God asking us to live into?”
  • “What is next?”

God doesn’t ask us to do something because God is dependent on us (if we opt out, God could use something as insignificant as a stone). God invites us to change, as an invitation to step into something bigger then ourselves.

Common Prayer CoverAs par of that invitation we are beginning our first day in our Holy Week Liturgical Prayers using the book Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

At The Commons when we use the word Liturgy we are referring to a prayer or meditation that has been written down, and intended to be read by the faith community as a group.

What does Liturgy do?

  • It connects us to the wider church – other communities of Jesus followers are reading the same prayer (or similar prayers) on the same day.
  • It connects us to the past – the church that has come before us. Liturgy is a tool of many church traditions, and has been passed down from generation to generation.
  • It connects us to the future – the kingdom that God is moving the world towards. Good Liturgy points us towards that future.

Before we begin it is important for us to make a disclaimer:

You are going to be asked to participate in this liturgy.
You’ll be reading the words in bold type. I’ll read the words in regular text.

Some of the words you read or hear might cause a number of strong emotional responses:

  • The words might leap off the page for you and you might think to yourself
    “Yes! That is amazing!”
  • You might be skeptical and think “It sounds nice, but it can’t be true”
  • You may even be offend, and think “That is a load of crap!”
  • Chances are you might have a combination of all 3 responses, and different people will respond differently to different wordings and ideas.

I want you to know that just because we read this together, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily whole heatedly agreeing with every word.

Pay attention to your responses:

  • Delight in the times when your spirit says “Yes!”
  • Be open to ask God “Why?” when things don’t seem to add up.
  • You are even aloud to be angry at God, but even if you are angry be brave enough to ask God “Why?”
  • No matter what your response leave room to listen.

What I am asking is for you to “Try this on for size” see how if fits and allow yourself to be open to listen to the spirit of God whispering between the lines of today’s Liturgy. The point isn’t to recite a creed or a manifesto, the point is to leave room and learn to listen for where God is working.

It is in that spirit I invite you to turn to page 208 in your Common Prayer book.