This Sunday we will be starting a five week sermon series titled “Deep Well” and will be focused on baptism. For our first week, “Approach” I have chosen three scripture lessons.
Isaiah 55:1-13 – Verse 1 starts with an invitation to come to the generous banquet that includes water, wine and milk. Verse 2 includes the rich food that truly satisfies. This chapter then speaks about a covenant that will draw all nations. Verse 7 speaks of God’s abundant pardon. Verses 8 and 9 are intriguing, to say the least. God’s way is not the way of humanity and God’s Word will accomplish God’s goals. Finally, there are mountains and hills that sing and trees that clap their hands. Imagine that!
Revelation 7:13-17 – In verses 9 and 10 John the Seer has a vision of all the nations and all the peoples worshiping God. (All? Really?) In verses 11 and 12 he sees the angels and other heavenly creatures worshiping God. (I get that!) Beginning in verse 13 there is another group of people that John sees: martyrs. The Greek word “martyr” means “witness”. They worship God night and day. The Lamb at the center of the throne (first identified in chapter 5 as not the “Lion of Judah” but the “Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered”, aka Jesus the Crucified Christ) will be their shepherd and will lead them to the springs of the water of life.
John 4:1-15 – Jesus leaves Judea and heads to Galilee through Samaria. In the noonday heat he stops a town well, identified as Jacob’s well, and meets a woman. Breaking all codes of propriety he asks her for a cup of water from the well. (Jews don’t talk to Samaritans and men don’t talk to women who are unrelated.) Jesus then moves the conversation to the notion that he is the Living Water that bring true Life to all who drink. She goes on to become his first witness in the Gospel of John.
If you are interested in following the lectionary lessons through this series I will list them with minimal comments.
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1- Jeremiah's lament over the condition of the poor in Jerusalem and surrounding Judah. This is the inspiration for the classic hymn “There Is a Balm in Gilead”.
Psalm 79:1-9 – Not all Psalm were written by King David or in David’s time. This one may have been written in the time of Jeremiah after Jerusalem and the Temple have been destroyed. This psalm encompasses many raw emotions: anger, sadness, horror, and a desire for retribution.
Amos 8:4-7 – The prophet Amos rails against the powerful and wealthy that do not help the poor and needy but cheat them out of their meager earnings.
Psalm 113 – This psalm is the opposite of the psalm above. It praises God for raising the poor from the dust, the needy from the ashes and barren women from shame as they become fertile.
1 Timothy 2:1-7 – Paul urges Timothy and the people of Tim’s church to pray for the kings and the powerful so that they may live a peaceful and undisturbed life. Paul then states that God desires the salvation of all through Jesus Christ who ransomed himself for us.
Luke 16:1-13 – The parable of the “unfaithful steward” or “dishonest manager”. This is one of the strangest parables in all of the Gospels. Is Jesus praising dishonesty? Hardly! It must have something to do with the last verse: “You cannot serve God and wealth (mammon).
Have a great week serving Christ by serving others.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor
Peace United Church, Long Prairie
Grey Eagle UMC, Grey Eagle