Friday, March 29, 2013

April 2013 Messenger

Hello Everyone

Grace and Peace in our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The April 2013 edition is now available; just click the following link.

The Messenger

Have a Blessed Easter!

Pastor Gary

Monday, March 25, 2013

Readings for Holy Week

Hello Everyone,

The week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is generally known as Holy Week. We often focus attention to just three days of this week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. There is good reason for this because the Last Supper was on Thursday, the crucifixion was on Friday, and the return of resurrected Jesus happened on Sunday. But let’s not forget the other days. The churches have assigned readings for all of the days of this important week. So, without comment, I offer you all of the readings and pray that you will take some time each day to read from your Bibles.

Holy Monday
Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 36:5-11
Hebrews 9:11-15
John 12:1-11

Holy Tuesday
Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 71:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
John 12:20-36

Holy Wednesday
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 70
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32

Maundy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42

Holy Saturday
Job 14:1-14
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
1 Peter 4:1-8
Matthew 27:57-66

Easter Eve Vigil (The time between sunset on Saturday and sunrise on Sunday)
Old Testament Readings and Psalms
Genesis 1:1–2:4a; Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26 or Psalm 33
Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13; Psalm 46
Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 16
Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21; Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18
Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12:2-6
Ezekiel 36:24-28; Psalm 42
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 143

New Testament Reading and Psalm
Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114

Gospel Reading
Luke 24:1-12

Easter Sunday
Acts 10:34-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12

I pray that we all may take the time to reflect on the importance of this special week. I pray that the Holy Spirit may blessed this Holy Week for you.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Readings for Palm/Passion Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Well, another Monday and another 6 inches of snow to shovel. It is definitely getting old but the one positive thing for me personally is that shoveling is about the only good exercise I get this winter. Celebrate Spring tomorrow by going outside in a t-shirt and shorts and then quickly run back inside to warm up by the fire.

Please make note of the following Holy Week Services:
*Thursday, March 28 at 5:30 PM – Maundy Thursday Agape Supper at Grey Eagle UMC
*Friday, March 29 at 7:00 PM – Good Friday Tenebrae Service at Peace United Church South (8th St. SE and Hwy 287)
*Sunday, March 31 at 7:00 AM – Easter Sunrise Service at Grey Eagle UMC
*8:15 AM – Easter Breakfast at Grey Eagle UMC
*10:30 AM – Easter Celebration Worship and Closure and Discontinuance of our Building at Peace United Church South. This will be our final worship here.

Tomorrow night will be our last Wednesday night Lenten Worship Service. Even if you have not come in the past four weeks we would love to have you. Worship is at 6:00 PM at Peace United Church North and 7:30 PM at Grey Eagle UMC. Our text will be the raising of Lazarus in John 11:17-44.

Since Sunday is both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday there are two sets of readings.

Liturgy of the Palms:
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
– The first two verses are part of the opening invocation. The last verses are about entering through the gates of righteousness. The most quoted psalm verse in the New Testament is part of our reading: 118:22. Verse 118:26 is quoted in our next lesson. The last verse is an oft repeated theme in the Old Testament: the Lord is good and his steadfast love endures forever.

Luke 19:28-40 – Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives while riding on a colt. Some have speculated that the Roman Governor Pilate entered Jerusalem on the other side of the city on a chariot or in an ornate wagon pulled by magnificent stallions, perhaps even on the same day. How is Jesus’ reign different than any earthly queen, king, emperor, or president?

Liturgy of the Passion:
Isaiah 50:4-9a
– The third of four “Servant Songs” (see also Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-7; and 52:13-53:12). Who or what is the Suffering Servant? It could be the Exiled Israelites in Babylon. It could be one of the prophets named Isaiah. Christians have seen Christ in the figure of the Suffering Servant, especially in the last song.

Psalm 31:9-16 – This section is representative of the entire Psalm: the psalmist is in trouble as the community is against him, yet he will trust in the Lord.

Philippians 2:5-11 – This is Paul’s famous description of Jesus Christ as someone who had it all but gave it up for humanity and in his death God lifts him up that we may all one day confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. And it all starts with “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus . . .” How can we have the same mind as Jesus according to this passage?

Luke 22:14-23:56 – The Passion of Christ beginning with the Last Supper and ending with Jesus’ burial in the tomb and the Sabbath rest.

OR Luke 23:1-49 – The short version of the Passion of Christ.

Do we walk and die with Christ (like Paul wants) during Holy Week or do run away like the disciples when following Jesus gets difficult.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Readings for March 17, 2013

Hello Everyone,
Grace and Peace through Jesus Christ,

In just 12 days we will celebrate Palm Sunday and begin observance of Jesus’ week leading up to his betrayal, arrest, trial, conviction, and crucifixion. Lent has been and is a time of reflecting on our own lives and how we can understand God’s call to us and maybe just what Jesus means to each of us. During our Wednesday Night Lenten Worship we have been focusing on some of the “I AM” statements of Jesus. We have heard the story of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (John 3 – water of life), with the crowds and Pharisees about bread (John 6 – the Bread of Life), and with the scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem about seeing (John 8 – the Light of the World). Tomorrow we will hear another of Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees as he declares himself to be the Good Shepherd (which also includes his declaration to be the Gatekeeper and the Gate for the sheep) when we read John 10:1-21.

Our readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, the week before Palm Sunday, are:

Isaiah 43:16-21 – In my Bible Chapter 43 of Isaiah is titled “Restoration and Protection Promised” which is a good summary. In our six verses plucked from the middle of the chapter, God declares that the people will perceive a new “thing” from God. Much as God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt (16 & 17) God will now provide the people with at way home through the desert that will now have plenty of water. Does God still do “new things” for God’s people? Does God do something new for you?

Psalm 126 – The last line of this Psalm may be the foundation for the Gospel Hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves”. The first half recalls God’s work of restoration for the people of Israel, perhaps after their exile in Babylon. The second half calls on God for a harvest of joy following the sowing of tears. Have your tears of sorrow turned to shouts of joy?

Philippians 3:4b-14 – How much do we prize our possessions and accomplishments? For Paul, who had great accomplishments as a Jewish Pharisee and was making a name for himself as a prosecutor of Christ followers, all those accomplishment were nothing more than a pile of manure (supply whatever vulgar word you want). Knowing Christ and Christ’s faith is all he wants now. Paul knows what it means to be truly alive because Christ has made him his own and knows him. As a result, Paul continues to strive for the goal (to be made perfect). Is God’s Spirit still working in you to help you grow in Christ’s love and faithfulness?

John 12:1-8 – This story is also told in Mark 14:3-9 (and Matthew 26:6-13 parallel) but John might have known a different version from Mark. The town is the same, Bethany. It was six days before Passover in John’s version but only two days in Marks. John has the dinner at Lazarus’ house with his sisters Martha and Mary while Mark has Jesus eating with Simon the Leper. The woman who uses the nard is unnamed in Mark but it is Mary in John’s version. She pours the nard on Jesus’ head in Mark but on his feet in John. In Mark the person who complains about the cost of the nard is unnamed but John says it was Judas Iscariot. The most famous line from Jesus, “You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me” is consistent in all three (Mark does add another phrase in the middle, “and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish” that Matthew takes out.) This is a great little story about the anointing of Jesus as both King and dead man. Did Mary (or the unnamed woman) know of his impending death? Was Jesus a “Dead Man Walking” (to mention a great movie by director Tim Robbins and starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon)? Why do you think the same basic story diverges in the two accounts? Does it make a difference?

May God bless you this week in all that you do.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Readings for Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hello Everyone – Grace and Peace to you through Jesus Christ,

Do you every wonder how you can support me, or the pastor at your church (not everyone this goes out to comes to Peace United or Grey Eagle UMC) on Sunday morning? Here is an article that tells us seven way we can support her or him: Ministry Matters.

Once you are done reading the article, explore the site. You can sign up for a weekly email that usually contains at least one article that I find interesting. It was from this email that I saw the article I mentioned. The articles range from general interest, current issues, worship design, and more. Some are United Methodist specific and some can, like the above article, apply to all church flavors.

Our readings for this week are:

Joshua 5:9-12 – Moses has turned over the leadership of the Israelites to Joshua and gone off to die. Joshua has sent spies into Jericho to check out the first enemy. Then Joshua, through the power of God, led the people across the Jordan River where they set up a monument of thanks. God then instructs Joshua to have all the Israelite men to be circumcised with the reason given in 5:5. Verse 8 states that not much happened until the men healed. In our first verse, verse 9, God declares that on the day of circumcision, the disgrace of Egypt has been rolled away. While there, the Israelites observed Passover and on the day after Passover they began eating the produce of the land and the manna stopped. If you think about this a little while you will realize that, even before they began conquering the Canaanites, they took the crops the Canaanites had grown. What commandments have been broken? Why do you think this was OK?

Psalm 32 – Have you ever had a time of great regret or remorse or guilt or deep grieving? It feels like a weight upon your soul; like the hand of God pressing down. The psalmist rejoices that in confession (deep prayer?) that weight is lifted and a time of gladness and rejoicing begins.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – Here is a YouTube video about verse 17, “New Creation” that we watched in Confirmation Class on Sunday: New Creation. Listen closely because it is a Christian rap with a sing-able refrain. I can almost hear it now. Paul mentions a lot of ideas in these six verses: we don’t see others from a human point of view; new creation in Christ; the old is gone and the new is here; reconciliation to God through Christ; ministry of reconciliation; no trespasses (debts, sins) held against us; we are ambassadors for Christ; and Christ became sin so that we might become righteous (the righteousness of God). Everyone of those ideas could be a sermon.

Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32 – This parable is so familiar I’ve probably heard or preached all possible variations on it. The son who demands his share of the estate and then blows it all on wine, women, song, and partying. After being reduced to slopping the pigs he plans to go home to work as a servant for Dad. Of course, Dad will have none of it and the Welcome Home Party is on. However, Big Brother is upset. Dad gives him a choice – come in and enjoy the celebration or stew in your own anger. End of story. Where do you fit in the story? I think most of us, me especially, might very well be the big brother.

May God grace you with our texts this week!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor