Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week we will be finishing our sermon series on “A Place at the Table”. Our topic will be “Extending the Table” and our readings will be:

Genesis 22:15-19 – This passage comes from the longer narrative of Genesis 22:1-19, the near sacrifice of Isaac. According to verse 1, God’s command is a test of Abraham’s faith. Behind the scenes, it might also be a test of Sarah’s faith. Another take on the story may be that since human, and child, sacrifice was common around the world, God’s “test” was in fact God letting Abraham, and later his descendants, know that child sacrifice was NOT OK. Notice how easily Abraham obeys remembering how he argued with God over the fate of Sodom. Notice too the name shift for God. In verses 1-10 the name is “God” (“Elohim” in Hebrew). In verses 11-19 it is “LORD” (“YHWH” or “Yahweh” in Hebrew). “Gods” demand human sacrifice. YHWH does not. In our reading the angel reaffirms the LORD’s promise to make Abraham’s descendants a blessing to all the nations.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 – Our theme verse for the sermon series. See commentary from 3 weeks ago.

Acts 1:1-11 – This will be our Gospel lesson. “The Acts of the Apostles”, otherwise known as “Acts”, is part 2 of “The Gospel According to Luke”. After the opening lines addressed to Theophilus (Greek for “God Lover”), Luke recounts the last day of Jesus on earth, overlapping what we read this past week in Luke 24 but adding more detail. Verse 8 is the verse for the sermon series: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” As disciples of the risen Christ, are we being witnesses in Long Prairie, Grey Eagle, in all Todd County and Minnesota, and to the ends of the earth?

If you are following the Lectionary Readings, which I will be returning to on September 1, the readings are:

Jeremiah 1:4-10 – This begins a nine week reading of the Prophet Jeremiah and Lamentations (usually associated with Jeremiah). The prophet lived at a time of great turmoil and witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem in about 586 BCE. This passage recounts Jeremiah’s call by the LORD to be a prophet when Jeremiah was still a boy.

Psalm 71:1-6 – The Psalmist, as victim, asks the LORD to protect him from the hands of the wicked. Both Jeremiah and the Psalmist acknowledge that the LORD has known them from their birth or before.

Isaiah 58:9b-14 – The LORD, speaking through Isaiah, says that if the people begin living the life God calls them to live, no gossip, feeding the hungry, meeting the need of the afflicted, observing Sabbath, etc., then they will be blessed in many ways.

Psalm 103:1-8 – The Psalmist remembers all the good the LORD does: forgiveness, healing, redeeming, etc. As I have stated many times in the past one enduring theme in the Old Testament is “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (verse 8).

Hebrews 12:18-29 – The book, more like a long sermon, of Hebrews can be somewhat dense. As I read this passage, I kept wondering, “What is he talking about?” According to the note in my Bible, verses 18-24 contrast the fear the Israelites and Moses had of the holy Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19) and the joyful freedom followers of Christ have when they come to Mt. Zion (Jerusalem). In verses 25-29, the author look forward to a time of God’s new kingdom which replaces the earthly kingdoms which can be shaken.

Luke 13:10-17 – Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath in a synagogue. Compassion trumps rules but the keepers of the rules don’t see it that way. Jesus argues that if donkeys can be untied from their manger to be led to water on the Sabbath then a woman can be set free from bondage also.

Have a great week serving the Lord by serving your neighbor!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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