First, please keep the people and communities of the East Coast who have been devastated by hurricane – tropical storm Sandy, especially families who had loved ones killed by the storm.
Second, I found this quote from John Wesley today. He wrote it in his journal on October 6, 1744, just before a Parliamentary election in Great Britain. It seems quite relevant today:
“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”
There is a great commentary around this quote by Josh Tinley titled “6 Ways You Can Prepare for Election Day”
Third, please keep me in your prayers as I begin a new ministry and/or worshipping community geared to young adults and young families.
Finally, this week at Grey Eagle UMC and Peace United Church we will be celebrating All Saints Sunday. At Grey Eagle UMC we will remember Evelyn Feierabend. At Peace United Church we will remember Wilma Speidel, Hazel Flanagan, and Isabelle Clasen. If there is anyone I have forgotten please let me know ASAP.
The readings for All Saints Day (November 1) are, without comment, Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, and John 11:32-44.
The readings for this Sunday are:
Ruth 1:1-18 – The story of Naomi and Ruth is a beautiful tale of redemption and salvation. Two people from the furthest margins of society – widows without sons living in a foreign land – who find a place within society through faithful care of those in need. The first 5 verses set up the story: a family moves to a foreign land due to a famine. The husband dies leaving his wife to raise two sons. They both marry but then die before any children are conceived. In the remaining verses of this reading, the mother, Naomi, decides to go home to Bethlehem. One daughter, Orpah, goes back to her family, but the other, Ruth, goes with Naomi. Ruth declares to Naomi that “where you go, I will go; etc. . . ” (verses 16-17). I always find it odd that many couples choose these verses for their weddings since it is a pledge from a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law and not between wife and husband.
Psalm 146 – This psalm celebrates God who helps those in need and those who put their trust in God. Verses 5-7a says that God is happy with those who are faithful, who give justice to the oppressed, and who feeds the hungry. Verses 7b-9 states that the Lord sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, lifts up the oppressed, loves the righteous, watches over strangers, and cares for orphans and widows.
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 – Moses tells the people that there is one primary commandment that they need to keep and need to teach their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Love God with everything you’ve got! Write it on your hand; stamp it on your forehead; post it on your doors. Don’t forget!
Psalm 119:1-8 – This is an acrostic Psalm. There are 22 stanzas of 8 verses each. Within the stanza, each line starts with a word beginning with the same letter. If this were written in English there would be 26 stanzas that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Verses 1-8 would begin with “A”. In this Psalm verses 1-8 begin with “Alef”, the first letter of the Hebrew language. This stanza celebrates the life of those who follow God’s laws.
Hebrews 9:11-14 – More on the role of Jesus Christ as the ultimate High Priest. Basically, if the sacrifice of goats and sheep were supposed to purify the flesh of people then Christ sacrifice of himself purifies our “conscience from dead work to worship the living God.”
Mark 12:28-34 – Our readings over the last three or four months have shown us the journey of Jesus that ends at Jerusalem. The story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is told on Palm Sunday. The story of Jesus’s last meal, prayer, arrest, trial, beatings, and crucifixion is told on Passion Sunday (same Sunday as Palm Sunday) and on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Jesus’ resurrection is told on Easter Sunday. However, what happens in Jerusalem between Jesus’ entry and his last meal is not told until now. For the next three Sunday’s we will hear Jesus’ teaching and healings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of his final week. On Monday Jesus comes back into Jerusalem, curses a fig tree, clears the temple of the buyers and sellers, teaches about the fig tree, and has his authority questioned by the chief priests, scribes, and elders. He tell a parable about a wicked tenant, dodges a question about paying taxes, and then dodges a question about a woman and her seven brother-husbands. This then brings us to our reading. A scribe challenges Jesus about the greatest commandment. This question is standard fare for the rabbis of Jesus day. When Jesus answers about the greatest commandment and the second greatest commandment the scribe is impressed and adds that these two are even greater then any and all sacrifices in the temple. Jesus says that he is not far from the kingdom. How far from the kingdom am I? How far are you? Do we love with all we are? Do we love neighbor like we say we love God?
Have a blessed and glorious week serving the Lord. If you are hunting this weekend, please hunt safely.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor