Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Readings for Sunday, July 8, 2012

Grace and Peace from God to All,

First, Suzann is on vacation this week but will be in on Friday afternoon to put together the bulletins for our Sunday churches.

Secondly, for all who knew her and her husband, Clarence, there will be a memorial service for Evelyn Fierabend at the Grey Eagle United Methodist Church this coming Saturday, July 7, at 11:00 AM. Clarence grew up in the Long Prairie Grey Eagle area. Clarence and Evelyn were faithful supporters of Grey Eagle UMC.

Third, as you have probably heard or read in the Messenger, Peace United Church and Grey Eagle UMC will be switching worship times in the month of August. Please make appropriate plans so that you will be in church. The vast majority in both churches of those responding to my survey in May said that they would be willing to worship at a different time occasionally or that they would worship no matter what the time. It is my feeling, and I hope it is yours also, that the time of worship should not stop us from worshipping. I hope to see as many, if not more, worshipping in August as in July or September.

Finally, our guest this past Sunday, Stephen Goss, has written a fictional story which you may be interested in purchasing and reading. The book is titled “Heidi’s Hope” and can only be found on Amazon (paperback or Kindle). Here is the link: "Heidi's Hope". If the link doesn’t work simply go to Amazon.com and search for Stephen Goss. It will be the first book on the results page.

Our readings this week are:

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 – You may as well read verses 6-8. With Saul dead and the enemies of Israel still active, the Israelites need a new warrior king. Since David has proven himself as a leader under both Saul and the Philistines, he is their choice. David then proceeds to capture Jerusalem and made it the new capital of the twelve tribes.

Psalm 48 – This is a psalm of praise for God and God’s city, Zion, which is Jerusalem, and the temple that is at Jerusalem. The ancient Israelites knew that God did not exist only in at city or a temple but that the city and temple became a locus for their worship of God. Much like the idea that Jesus cannot be contained in a church, worshipped on Sunday, and then left behind and forgotten the rest of the week. The church is the locus of our communal worship that is then extended into our everyday lives.

Ezekiel 2:1-5 – God calls to Ezekiel and gives him his mission: Go to the people (rebellious, hard-hearted, and hard-headed) and proclaim God’s word. It matters not whether they listen, they will know that you have become my prophet. When have we heard God’s word and been not willing to listen?

Psalm 123 – This is a psalm of confession and contrition seeking God’s mercy.

2 Corinthians 12:2-10 – Paul talks about himself in this passage. He uses a third-person perspective to mention the vision he has seen but cannot talk about. He also admits that he is not sure if this vision was “in the body” or “out of the body”. He then talks, in the first person, about his “thorn in the side” that he struggles with. He has pleaded with God to remove it but was told that God’s grace is sufficient. What “thorns in the side” do we endure? Is it physical? Emotional? Relational? How has God’s grace been sufficient in your life?

Mark 6:1-13 – There are two vignettes in this short passage: Jesus’s reception in Nazareth and the sending out of the disciples. When Jesus gets back to Nazareth he naturally goes to worship at the local synagogue and he preaches. People are astounded at the authority of his teaching. This is the main scripture that we learn that Jesus had brothers and sisters (typically, the brothers are named and the sisters are not). Mark tells us that Jesus could do no deeds of power except for the laying on of hands to heal people. The next story is about Jesus sending out the disciples to neighboring towns and villages. He gives them instructions and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons. When was the last time you or I healed the sick and cast out demons?

May God bless you in your readings this week. Read, pray, love, and serve the Lord.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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