Grace and Peace to you from Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday Cheryl and I travelled to Woodbury UMC for the installation of the Minnesota Annual Conference’s newest bishop, Bishop Bruce Ough (pronounced “Oh”). For those who have met and/or heard Bishop Sally Dyck, you will be struck by the contrast between the two. If you would like to meet Bishop Ough there will be an opportunity on the evening of October 2 at Alexandria UMC. More details of the event will follow.
Our readings for the week, including an extra one, are:
Proverbs 1:20-33 – Wisdom as personified by a woman seeking people who want to know more. Do we actively seek wisdom or do we just hope that as we age wisdom will come with experience?
Psalm 19 – How do we know there is God? In verses 1-6 the Psalmist says all of creation is telling us. How do we know how to live rightly? In verses 7-13 the Psalmist says that it is the law of the Lord that guides us in righteousness and keeps us from making wrong choices. MEMORY VERSE: Psalm 19:14.
Isaiah 50:4-9a – The Lectionary stops short of the full reading. This passage, through verse 11, is the Third Servant Song of four (42:1-9, 49:1-7, and 52:13-53:12 are the other three). You may want to read all of them to get the flavor. In these songs the servant suffers because of his/her devotion to God. Many, including me, see Jesus’s passion in these passages especially the fourth one.
Psalm 116:1-9 – There are quite a few Psalms that reflect the suffering Psalmist at the hands of the wicked and look to God for protection and vindication.
OR Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8:1 – Look as much as you want, or just check the table of contents, but you probably won’t find this book in your Bible, unless you have a Catholic or Orthodox Bible. This is one of the Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical (Deuter = Second, Canon = Accepted) Books of the Bible. This book is similar to Proverbs but focuses more on wisdom. This passage is a part of a long passage on the nature of wisdom and, like our Proverbs reading above, is described as a woman.
James 3:1-12 – What are the ways we hurt each other the most? Through the things we say. James exhorts us to tame our tongues and watch what we say. Reminds me of the Mark passage two weeks ago about what come out of a person is what defiles.
Mark 8:27-38 – We skip over the feeding of the 4,000 (probably Gentiles), an argument with the Pharisees, and the healing of a blind man. With the healing of a deaf man last week and the skipped reading of the healing of a blind man, Mark is calling us, his readers to hear and see what God has in store for us. Are we wearing earmuffs and blinders when it comes to God? This week’s reading has three related parts: Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus’ telling the disciples about his impending death (and Peter’s refusal to HEAR), and Jesus telling the crowds that to follow him means taking up a cross and suffering.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor