Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Readings for Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello Everyone,

I want to invite you, your family and your friends to church this coming Sunday. Special guest Stephen Goss will present an “Eyewitness Account of the First Passion Week”. Here is a description of this account:

“People all over the world are still thinking back to events of nearly 2000 years ago. What is it about Jesus Christ that stirred the people of the 1st century and every generation since? And what do those events hold for the present day, and for the future? These questions are answered in this account of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“We invite you to see this account, told from the perspective of an ‘eyewitness’ to help us feel what his followers might have felt: their excitement as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, their wonder as he cleared the Temple, their anguish at his trial, their grief at his death, and their overwhelming joy at seeing the risen Christ!”

Following Mr. Goss’ presentation we will celebrate with Communion which is open to all.

Mr. Goss will be at both churches: 9:00 AM at Grey Eagle UMC and 10:30 AM at Peace United.

Our reading this week are:

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 – We have skipped the (supposed) defection of David and his men from Saul’s army to the Philistine side and the battle that eventually saw the death of Saul and his son Jonathan who was David’s best friend. In the first half of this chapter David receives the news of their deaths and proceeds to have the messenger killed because the messenger admitted to being the one to put Saul out of his misery. Our reading today is David’s lament over the death of his king and his friend. Verse 18 is one of several indications in the Old Testament of other ancient documents that have be lost in antiquity.

Psalm 130 – I use this psalm as a unison reading in the funerals I lead. No matter how bad our sin is God’s forgiveness is greater and because of that we live in hope.

Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15, 2:23-24 – Pastor, where do I find this in my Bible? Well, if you have access to a Catholic Bible it is one of 3 books between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah. If you have a Protestant Bible with Apocrypha it is one of 18 books between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Apocrypha is basically the Old Testament books that Catholics and many Orthodox traditions include in their bibles and which the Protestant and Jewish have rejected. The passage, beginning in verse 12, reads:

“Do not invite death by the error of your life, or bring on destruction by the works of your hands; because God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things so that they might exist; the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them, and the dominion of Hades is not on earth. For righteousness in immortal. . . . for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.”

OR Lamentations 3:23-33 – It is good that we should be burdened in some way, especially in our youth, because the Lord will show compassion. Jeremiah was writing this entire book in anguish over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonians. There is some movement away from the OT notion that God is the source of all things including destruction (verse 33) but the passage from Wisdom of Solomon above goes a lot further in separating God from death.

Psalm 30 – The psalmist celebrates the victory of God’s life over the death imposed by his enemies. The Lord changes mourning into dancing and removes the clothes of death and dressed him up in joy.

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 – One of the things that Paul has asked the Church in Corinth to do was to take up a collection for the materially poor Christians in Jerusalem. He is imploring them to finish the work which they started. Giving out of their abundance will help others who lack and some time in the future the roles may be reversed.

Mark 5:21-43 – We have skipped the story of Jesus healing a man possessed by a “Legion” of demons on the other side of the lake (the reason they were on boats in last week’s reading). The demons are allowed to enter a herd of pigs who promptly throw themselves off a cliff into the lake. The herder complains to the town people who then ask Jesus to leave. Sometimes it is just easier to live with your demons, or someone else’s, then to start a new life. So Jesus and Co. sail back to the west side of the lake where they are once again beset by the crowds. Now we get two healing stories one encompassing the other. Jairus’ daughter is sick and he begs Jesus to come to the house to heal her. Jesus agrees. As they travel a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years sneaks up on Jesus and touches his cloak. She is healed but Jesus senses that power has left him. What is it that healed the woman (see Jesus’ answer in verse 34)? Jairus’ servants report that the daughter has died but Jesus insists on seeing her saying that they must trust him. Taking the girl’s hand he commands her to get up and she does. Is it significant that the girl is 12 years old and the woman had been bleeding for 12 years? Do we see in this narrative that to God in Jesus death is no different then any other physical ailment?

This has been a long post and I thank you for bearing with me. Don’t forget about our special church service this weekend featuring Stephen Goss. I hope to see you there.

May God bless you in wellness, in sickness, in life, and in death, because in God there is no death.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

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