Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Since I have designated September to be the “Month of Invitation” I will remind you of our focus for that week. This week you should be inviting family members who don’t come to church regularly to come with you this Sunday for Communion. If they are one of your children, you can exert your parental pressure.

Did you watch the VMA (Video Music Awards) on MTV this past Sunday evening. Neither did I. However, if you have been watching the news talk shows you have probably already heard about Miley Cyrus’ raunchy performance that night. Most commentators found it disgusting, to say the least. Today, I received a link to an excerpt from Adam Hamilton’s book Love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Commitment. The article was not sent in response to what Miley Cyrus did but it seemed appropriate to me. Check out the article: “The Trivialization of Sex” by Adam Hamilton.

Our reading for this coming Sunday are:

Jeremiah 2:4-13 – Starting with last week, we will have a total of nine weeks reading in Jeremiah (one of those weeks will be a reading from Lamentations which is ascribed to Jeremiah). In our passage this week the prophet Jeremiah relays the LORD’s message: What wrong has God done against Israel and why do they trade me in for other gods, gods that can do nothing? The last verse sums up God’s complaint using a metaphor: the people have turn away from the fountain of living, flowing water and built their own broken cisterns. In other words, the people have given up on God and made new gods.

Psalm 81:1, 10-16 – The first half of the Psalm celebrates the goodness and greatness of God, summed up in verse 1 and culminating in verse 10. The mood changes in verse 11 because the people won’t listen to God. Their punishment is simple, God gives them up to their own desires which lead to their ruin.

Sirach 10:12-18 – Good luck finding this in your Bibles unless you use a Catholic Bible. Sirach is not found in the Jewish Torah or the Protestant Old Testament. It is considered part of the Old Testament by Catholics and Orthodox. For Protestants, it is considered to be deuterocanonical (second canon) or Apocrypha. If you have a Bible with the books of the Apocrypha you will them between the Old and New Testaments and they will include: Tobit, Judith, Esther (the Greek version with extra chapters), The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, The Additions to Daniel (“The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews”, “Susanna”, and “Bel and the Dragon”), 1 and 2 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, The Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, 3 and 4 Maccabees, and 2 Esdras. Sirach reads like Proverbs. Our reading this week is all about the consequences of Human Pride. The proud will be brought down and the lowly elevated into their place.

Proverbs 25:6-7 – Was Jesus, in our verses below, quoting this verse?

Psalm 112 – The blessings that those who fear the Lord, are righteous, and follow the commandments are numerous: they are happy; their descendants will be mighty; they will be wealthy; they are a light for the upright; they are generous and just; their hearts are steady and firm; they give to the poor.

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 – The love mentioned in verse 1 is “brotherly” love (Greek: Philae) and our reading touches on all aspects of a Christian life: love and hospitality (verses 1-2); love and care (verse 3); love and fidelity (verse 4); love and contentment (verse 5-6); love and loyalty (verse 7); and love and worship (verse 15). Verse 8 seems a bit out of place: Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Verse 16 sums it all up: do good and share; these are pleasing to God.

Luke 14:1, 7-14 – You might just as well read verses 2-6, in which Jesus heals a man with dropsy while traveling to a Pharisee’s house for dinner on the Sabbath, and verses 15-24 in which Jesus tells the parable of the great feast while still at that dinner. In our passage, Jesus watches the guests arrive and how they vie for the places of honor at the table. His advise: sit at the lowest places so you may be moved up rather than sitting at the honored places and then asked to move down when someone with more honor arrives. Then some advise for the host: don’t invite those who can repay you but those who can’t repay. Repayment will come with the Kingdom of God. Is this simply good advise or is this something more about the Kingdom of God?

Have a great week loving and serving God by loving and serving others.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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