Monday, December 16, 2013

Readings for Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hello Everyone,

First, this past Sunday Grey Eagle UMC began using video projection during our worship services. I have heard a number of good comments about the service but I have not heard any negatives. (Our offering was sharply down on Sunday. Was that the negative comment?) I know that some may have had some contrary views so please don’t be shy; let me know. Our intent is to improve worship in meaningful and heartfelt ways.

Secondly, Grey Eagle UMC is in the process of setting up a Facebook pager. We need 25 “likes” to be able to set a few changes. Please visit Grey Eagle UMC Facebook and “like” us. Once I get this figured out (kudos to Amy Hinman and John Young for helping) I will set up a Peace United Church page.

Third, our sermon series continues with “Awed & Odd: Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness”. I am again looking for photos to be used during worship, this week focusing on “Hope” and “Hopelessness”. If you have any pictures that you are willing to share, please email them to me. You don’t have to be a professional photographer, just someone who takes photos. Just remember the guidelines from last week.

We are nearing the end of Advent and it will soon be Christmas. Our readings for this coming Sunday are:

Isaiah 7:10-16 – King Ahaz of Judah is fearful of two rival nations, Israel and Aram. Isaiah asks Ahaz to trust God and to ask God for a sign. Ahaz refuses to put God to the test. Isaiah persists and say that there will be a sign: a young woman will give birth to a son named Immanuel and that before he is weaned the two rival nations will be gone and replaced by a bigger, badder nation, Assyria (verse 17). What does Immanuel mean? Who was the young woman? Why do you think Matthew (below) used “virgin” instead of “young woman”?

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 – The Psalmist pray for the restoration of Israel that they may be redeemed from their enemies.

Romans 1:1-7 – This is Paul’s opening to his letter to the church in Rome. Here Paul sets his “bona fide” or why the Roman Christian Church should believe him. He is:
1. A Servant of Christ
2. Called to be an apostle
3. Set apart for the gospel of God to be delivered to the Gentiles
What does it mean to be a servant? Or to be an apostle? Or to be “set apart”.

Matthew 1:18-25 – The very short story of Jesus’ birth and a longer story of Joseph’s willingness to do the right thing. It was not all that unusual in those days as these days for an engaged couple to participate in a little “hanky panky” and for the woman to get pregnant. They would just get married a little sooner then the families originally planned. If the woman got pregnant and the father was not her fiancĂ© then he could publically denounce her and have her stoned. The fact that Joseph was willing to quietly walk away shows his care for her. It also show us that he was not the father of the child. Fortunately, God has a different plan and sends the angel to him. Joseph is to do two things: go through with the wedding and name the boy Jesus. Matthew then quotes Isaiah from our passage above. The Hebrew word meaning “young woman” gets changed into the Greek word meaning “virgin”. Don’t get too hung up on that fact. The most important fact of this passage is “Emmanuel”. God became human. And God as human will save God’s people and all humanity.

Have a great week serving God by serving others.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor
Peace United Church, Long Prairie
Grey Eagle UMC, Grey Eagle

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