First, don't forget that we are collecting non-perishable food for the food shelf before Thanksgiving. Bring at least one item, or more if you can, the next two Sundays.
Here are the readings for this Sunday.
Isaiah 65:17-25 - This reading is similar to Revelation 21 and 22 in its declaration of God's new Creation. In fact, John may have borrowed some of the images seen in this passage. The new will replace the old and the old will not be remembered. Everyone will live extremely long lives and no one will die prematurely. Life will be productive and lived in joy. This is the promise!
Isaiah 12 - This short chapter is used as the Psalm of the Day. It is a song of thanksgiving and praise for God's salvation and glory.
[Alternates: Malachi 4:1-2a, God's coming judgment of the arrogant and evildoers, and Psalm 98, a song of joy at the victory of God.]
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 - We conclude our reading in 2 Thessalonians and as usual the lectionary leaves off quite a bit. I will probably read the entire chapter in services this week which means we will have read the entire letter. The only other letter we have read in its entirety is Philemon. As Paul concludes the letter, he asks for prayers that his ministry will continue and then warns the congregation against idleness. It seems that some thought that the end was near and they didn't need to work any more. Paul uses language here that is similar to some of the other letters: imitation. Basically, imitate Paul (because Paul imitates Jesus).
Luke 21:5-19 - The verses from 5 to the end of the chapter are sometimes called Luke's "Little Apocalypse". In our passage Jesus warns the disciples that they will suffer, be persecuted, arrested and tried. and some put to death. He says that they do not have to prepare a defense because he will give them the words to say at that time. Words that cannot be refuted. He also promises that they will not perish (even if put to death because God is a God of Life; see last week's lesson.)
How are we being useful for the Lord? Are we too idle? Are we willing to suffer for Jesus? Do we trust the Holy Spirit to give us the words we need to share God's Kingdom with others?
May you be blessed by the readings this week!