Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Please note that there will be a Thanksgiving Eve Worship Service at both churches on Wednesday, November 21, 2012. Worship at Peace United Church will be at 6:00 PM and worship at Grey Eagle UMC will be at 7:30 PM. We will gather to give thanks to God for all the blessing that God has given us and to pray that we will know God’s will in using those blessings to be a blessing to our communities.
Our readings this coming Sunday are:
1 Samuel 1:4-20 – As we near the end of the Season after Pentecost we read the story of the birth of the Prophet and last Judge Samuel. The current Judge is Eli who expects his two sons to follow in his profession but they are corrupt. Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children but Hannah did not. The family travelled yearly to the Tent of the Ark of the Covenant and Hannah prayed for children. Eli observes her silent prayers and after he inquires about them he tells Hannah that the Lord has heard her. The family heads home and one thing leads to another and Hannah becomes pregnant and has a son, Samuel.
1 Samuel 2:1-10 – This is Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving after she give birth and the prayer of Mary in Luke 1 is very similar. This prayer is read as a psalm response to the first reading.
Daniel 12:1-3 – The promise of the resurrection of the dead. Note here that it is Michael (the angel?) arises and SOME of the dead will be brought back to life. Note also that some arise to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. This doesn’t quite fit with the common conception of what the resurrection will be like.
Psalm 16 – The Psalmist understands the choice he can make of God or the gods. The choice of God brings counsel, instruction, gladness, and security. Those who choose other gods have sorrow in multiples. In verse 10, Sheol and the Pit are simply the grave, not hell or eternal damnation. In verse 11, the choice of following God’s way, or path, brings the fullness of joy and boundless pleasure.
Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25 – This is the final reading in Hebrews and once again the writer emphasizes the perfect and perfecting work of Jesus in dying on the cross. Jesus, in giving himself to death on the cross, the single sacrifice that makes null and void all other sacrifice, washes away our sins and cleans our “evil conscience”. This leads the writer to several conclusions: we have an assurance of faith; we confess our hope; and we meet together so we can encourage each other in love to good deeds and love.
Mark 13:1-8 – This is also the last reading we will have in the Gospel According to Mark. Our lectionary readings are spread out over 3 years with Mark being the highlight of the second year, Year B. Chapter 13, as a whole, is Jesus’ warnings about the destruction of the temple, the persecutions, the sacrilege that will happen in Jerusalem, and the coming of the Son of Man. If Mark was written in the late 60’s as many scholars believe, then it was written at the time of the Jewish uprising. The words of Jesus about the persecutions and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple would have rung true to Mark. The Jewish Revolt started in 66 CE and the Roman army, after have been driven out of Judea, invaded from the north in 67 CE and besieged Jerusalem finally destroying it and the Temple in 70 CE. The need for watchfulness (vs. 32-37) was real for the Christians living in Judea at the time.
Next week is “The Reign of Christ” or “Christ the King” Sunday. The following Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of Year C in which we will be reading the Gospel According to Luke.
Have a great week reading the Word of the Lord!
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor