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