As we all know, online purchasing is a large reality of our economy today. Each year more people are shopping online, especially for Christmas, then the previous year. If YOU shop online, I know I do, you can support your church by using UMCmarket.org. If you start your shopping at UMCmarket.org and then click through to your favorite retailers such as Amazon.com, Wal-mart.com, Walgreens.com, etc. (I even found Woodwind and Brasswind, www.wwbw.com) those sites will give a percentage of your purchase to your church without raising your purchase price. WWBW will give up to 4.5% of my purchases to one of the churches. Here’s how to do it.
1a. Go to www.umcmarket.com
1b. Click on the “how it works” tab and watch the youtube video.
2b. Click on the “My Page” tab and fill out the needed information. Click “Save”.
3. Choose your church. On the organization tab search for Grey Eagle or Long Prairie. After you click on the church click on “join organization”. You can have more than one church to donate to. I have Grey Eagle and Long Prairie.
4. Go shopping. Click on the tab for “stores” or “travel”, search for the store you wish to shop. Choose the store and make sure that your church appears in the “My Donations go to” box. If you have more than one church you wish to support then choose one of them. When you go to another store or come back to the same store later you can choose the other church. Then click on “go shop” in that same box.
When you buy at one of the sponsoring sites they will donate to your church. What a Deal!!!
In other announcements: Peace United will be having their annual “Hanging of the Greens” service this Sunday and Grey Eagle UMC will have the Sunday School performing their Christmas show this Sunday. I will not be preaching at either church but will let the service and the children speak God’s word for me.
OK. On to the true purpose of this email – our lectionary readings. As you read these passages imagine how they could fit into the sermon series “Awed and Odd: Love in the Midst of Hate”.
Isaiah 11:1-10 – Jesse was the father of King David, so the reference to him in this passage is about a new King David who will follow the will of God. There will be a peace throughout all of creation as natural enemies will coexist peacefully. The one sour note in this vision of an idyllic kingdom is verse 4b.
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 – This is one of the Psalms not attributed to David. This one is “Of Solomon”. Please read the entire Psalm. This is a prayer for the king of Israel to be wise, just, long lived and respected by all nations (verses 8-11). This king cares for the poor and needy (verse 4 and verses 12-14). Could this psalm be applied to any of our nation’s leaders?
Romans 15:4-13 – You should probably start at verse 1 as this passage picks up in a awkward spot. Paul says that what was written in the former days (the Old Testament) was for our hope so that we may live in harmony. Paul boldly proclaims that Christ came to save all people Jewish or non-Jewish. In verse 12 he quotes from our Isaiah 11 reading above. (Where Isaiah says “nations” Paul says “Gentiles”.)
Matthew 3:1-12 – We are not to the Christmas story yet. Starting this week and concluding next week we hear the story of John the Baptizer. This week: his ministry before Jesus. Next week: his questions about Jesus before his beheading. According to Luke, John is a distant cousin to Jesus and is about 6 months older. He starts his ministry out in the desert and calls the people of Judah (Israel) to repent and change their ways. There is some speculation that Jesus spent some time with John and may have been his disciples before striking out on his own with a new vision of God’s Kingdom.
Have a great week and a blessed Advent.