I apologize for not getting this out yesterday. I stayed home to care for Cheryl who was quite ill.
Some news to pass on – The North Star District of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church has a new District Superintendent named Rev. Mark Miller. Yesterday his office sent out a schedule of church visits for the Fall. Peace United Church and Grey Eagle UMC are scheduled for Monday, November 25. Our Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) will meet at 6:15 PM with Rev. Miller which will be followed by an open meeting with him for everyone in both churches at 7:00 PM. These two meetings will be at Grey Eagle UMC. This meeting WILL NOT be our annual church meetings. We will schedule those separately.
This coming Sunday continues our “Month of Invitation” with an emphasis on inviting our next-door neighbors. Who are your next door neighbors? Do you know them? Do they attend a church regularly? Whether you know them or not, if they don’t attend another church, what is preventing you from inviting them. Invite them this week. If they say no, accept their answer then invited them again next week.
Last Sunday when I asked both church congregations to raise their hands if they made an actual invitation we had probably less then half respond. I hope we have more than half raise their hands this coming Sunday.
Our readings this week are:
Jeremiah 18:1-11 – God is like the potter. God chooses what and how to build up. If the vessel becomes misshapen God can rework it into the right vessel. God is able to do that with the people and nation of Judah.
Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18 – There seems to be four basic units each six verses long in Psalm 139. Our reading covers sections 1 and 3. Verses 1-6 are about God knowing us through and through. Verses 7-12 is the realization that we cannot hide or run from God. Verses 13-18 concern God’s creating and knowing us from our inception. Finally, verses 19-24 are about the psalmist wanting God to end all wicked people and asking God to know him and lead him.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 – Moses challenges the People of Israel to choose God and life and not their own ways that lead to death. Moses’ challenge is not to the individual people of Israel but to the entire congregation of Israel. Do we as churches in Todd County Minnesota choose the way of life or has the path we chosen lead to inevitable death?
Psalm 1 – This Psalm is in two parts. Verses 1-3 – Happy are those who choose God and God’s ways. Verses 4-6 – The wicked will not stand before the judgment of God.
Philemon – This is a short personal letter from Paul to his good friend Philemon (pronounced “Fy-lee'-man”). Did I forget the chapter and verses? No, this letter is so short that, unlike Paul’s other letters, has not been divided up into chapters. Later editors gave it 25 verses. The Lectionary calls for the reading of verses 1-21 so I figured we may as well read the entire letter. The occasion for the letter is that Paul is sending back Philemon’s slave Onesimus (Oh-nes'-i-mus) who ran away to be with Paul. As in many letters of the New Testament there is a tacit acceptance of the social norm of slavery. It is never condemned in the Bible which was the prime Biblical argument of Southern slave owners before the Civil War. Anyway, Paul asks Philemon to treat Onesimus as a welcomed brother in Christ.
Luke 14:25-33 – We who believe in and follow the Way of Jesus must ask ourselves some serious questions. What will it cost me to be a follower? Can I still have all my stuff and follow Jesus? What cross must I bear? (Which reminds me of a pun on an old hymn: “The Cross-Eyed Bear”.) What does it mean to hate father, mother, sister, brother, and life itself? Maybe we should all just throw up our hands and chuck it all in.
Have a blessed week in Christ from one who struggles daily with following Jesus.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor