Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Readings for Sunday March 4 2012

Hello Everyone,

I am back in Minnesota and back to work. I flew in from Boise, ID, yesterday after spending a week with Mom and Dad. In the 12 days I was there, Dad made some small, incremental improvements especially with his Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. He is not making any improvements with the amount he eats and drinks each day. On any given day he may eat only 6 bites total or take 10 or 12 sips of liquids, mostly root beer and water. One bit of good news was that a week and a half after he was admitted he had not lost any weight. I don’t know what will happen in the future but if he continues to refuse to eat I may be headed back to Idaho soon.

I regret not having Ash Wednesday services last week. I hope you were able to get to another church for the imposition of the ashes. I went to the Meridian (ID) UMC and was pleasantly surprised after I received the ashes when Rev. John Mays asked me to put the ashes on him. We will begin Wednesday Lenten Services tomorrow night. Peace United Church will have soup and sandwiches at 6:00 PM and services at 6:30 PM. Grey Eagle will have services at 8:00 PM. My series this year will be “Living Life According to the Sermon on the Mount”. To get a jump on the entire series you can read chapters 5, 6, and 7 in the Gospel of Matthew. (Yes, the sermon is three chapters long!) Tomorrow night we will look at Matthew 5:1-20.

The texts for this coming Sunday are:

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 – This is God’s Covenant with Abraham. Verses 1-7 deal with God’s part of the covenant. What will God do for Abraham according to God’s promise? Why does God change Abram’s name to Abraham? (You may have to check the footnotes for the meaning of the names.) Verses 8-14 (and you should read them) is about what God asks Abraham to do for his part of the covenant. Note the assumption of slavery. What is it that God asks all the males to do? Why do you think servants and slaves are included? Verses 15-16 seem to be an addendum to the covenant. What does God promise in these verses? Whose name gets changed? Verses 17-22 are a follow up exchange between Abraham and God. What does Abraham do when he hears the promise of a son and how does God respond?

Psalm 22:23-31 – Verse 23: Who should praise the Lord? Why (verse 24)? Where does my praise come from (verse 25)? What is the promise in verse 26? What belongs to the Lord in verse 28? Who will praise the Lord in verses 29-31?

Romans 4:13-25 – Paul, in his letter to the Church in Rome, reflects on the Genesis verses above. It is a small Jewish midrash on the Genesis text. His point is that we are made righteous by faith as he stated in chapter 3. (The question that translators have to answer in 3:22 and 3:26 is whose faith saves us, our faith or Jesus’ faith? The Greek in those verses has “faith Christ” or “faith Jesus”. So is it “faith IN Christ” or “faith OF Christ”? The traditional translation is the first but more people are beginning to understand it as the second.) In our reading, Paul uses Abraham as an example of having faith that God will do what God promises.

Mark 8:31-38 – This passage follows immediately on the heels of Peter’s confession that Jesus in the Messiah. What does Jesus teach about the Son of Man? What was Peter’s response and why do you think he responded that way? Why do you think Jesus called Peter “Satan”? What must followers of Jesus do? What does it mean to “take up their (or your) cross? Is there anything we can give in return for our lives? What assumption do you make when you read Jesus saying that he will be ashamed of those who are ashamed of him?

Have a great week reading the Word of God!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Readings for February 19, 22, and 26, 2012

Hello Everyone,

I will be away a couple of weeks to visit my ailing father and help Mom where I can. Readings, without comment, for the next two weeks are:

February 10, 2012, Transfiguration Sunday
2 Kings 2:1-12 – Elijah goes to Heaven
Psalm 50:1-62
Corinthians 4:3-6– Light of the Gospel, Jesus the image of God
Mark 9:2-9 – The Transfiguration on the Mount

February 22, 2012, Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 – Turn to God who is gracious and merciful
or Isaiah 58:1-12 – False and True Worship
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 – Be reconciled with God
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 – From the Sermon on the Mount: Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting

February 26, 2012, First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 9:8-17 – God’s covenant with Noah
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Peter 3:18-22 – Christ suffered to bring us to God
Mark 1:9-15 – Baptism and Temptation of Jesus

Have a great couple of weeks reading the Word of God.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Readings for February 12, 2012

Hello Everyone,

Peace, Hope and Love in Christ to you this day.

The Old Testament and Gospel readings this week focus on the disease of leprosy. As many scripture commentaries point out, leprosy in the Bible is quite different from the leprosy we know today. Any skin condition whether it was acne, rosacea, some persistent rash or actual leprosy was called leprosy. Not knowing about these different skin conditions meant that everyone avoided the person with it for fear of contracting it. Today’s leprosy is called Hansen’s Disease, is caused by a couple of bacteria, and is curable with the proper medications when detected early. Here is the Wikipedia article on leprosy: Click here

Our readings this week are:

2 Kings 5:1-14 – The full story is contained in all of chapter 5. It is a story of faith, or the lack thereof, the finding of faith, the generosity of the prophet, and the greed of the prophet’s servant. What is the name of the man with leprosy? What is his job? Where does he come from? Who tells him about the prophet in Samaria? Where does his king send him (and it is not to the prophet) and what does his send with him? What is the response of the King of Israel? Who is the prophet of Samaria (Israel)? What are the prophet’s instructions to the man with leprosy? What is the man’s response? Who convinces him to follow the instructions? What happened? These questions only take us through verse 14, so please read the rest of the chapter for the full story.

Psalm 30 – In this Psalm of Praise the psalmist gives thanks to God for several things: for not letting his foes rejoice, for healing, and for life when he was near death. In verse 4, who does the psalmist call on to praise God? What are the 2 comparisons in verse 5? Verse 6 points to the psalmist being wealthy and having a attitude of self-sufficiency. In the last half of verse 7, how did the psalmist experience God? What is his plea in verses 8-10? What did God do in response to the psalmist’s plea (verses 11-12)?

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – This is a continuation of Paul’s argument that he tries to be all things to all people so that he may win a few to Christ which he does for the sake of the Gospel (verses 22-23). Here he uses an analogy of runners in a long distance race. He runs the race with purpose and not aimlessly. He “punishes his body” so that he may proclaim the message and not be disqualified. How many times in the last 20 years or so have we seen an evangelist lead many to Christ only to have some sexual or financial impropriety come to light that disgraces his/her ministry causing some to leave the faith?

Mark 1:40-45 – Who comes to Jesus and what does he ask Jesus to do? What emotion does Jesus experience and what does he do? (If your Bible has a footnote next to the emotion check it out. Ancient texts have two different words here. Most Bibles use the less strong emotion but I think the writer of Mark may have used the stronger emotion for Jesus.) As Jesus sends the man away, what does he tell him to do? What does the man in fact do and what is the result for Jesus?

Have a great week in God’s Word! May you be strengthened and moved to serve God and neighbor.