Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reading for Wednesday, March 19 and Sunday, March 23

Hello Everyone,

First, I invite everyone to our Wednesday Lenten Worship services. Services begin at 6:00 PM at Peace United Church and 7:30 PM at Grey Eagle UMC. This year we are using a modified Taize Worship focusing on Psalms of Lament, Isaiah Servant Songs, and the passion story in the Gospel of John. The service is designed for the worshiper to hear the texts and then spend some time in contemplative prayer.

Secondly, you may sign up to have your portrait taken by Life Touch for a new church photo directory by going to our websites and clicking on the provided link. If you wish to get yours taken on April 14 to 16 go to Peace United Church website. These portraits will be taken at Peace United Church. If you wish to sign up for the June 20 and 21 dates at Grey Eagle UMC, go to Grey Eagle UMC website. It doesn’t matter which church you belong to or when or where you have the portraits taken.

Our Lessons for tomorrow night are:

Psalm 31:1-5, 9-13, 21-24 – Questions for contemplation: Who is speaking? What problems is the speaker having? What solutions has the speaker experienced from God?

Isaiah 49:1-7 – More Questions: Who is the servant? Who are the witnesses the servant calls upon? How has God made the servant? What purpose has God given the servant? What is the servant’s ultimate purpose?

John 17 – More Questions: Jesus prays for himself in verses 1-5. What does Jesus ask? Jesus prays for the disciples in verses 6-19. What does Jesus want for the disciples? (3 possible answers) Who is the final group Jesus prays for and what does he ask for?

Readings for this coming Sunday are:

Exodus 17:1-7 – The Israelites are moving through the dessert but running out of potable water. They complain to Moses. Why does Moses equate the complaints against him as being complaints against the Lord? How exasperated does Moses get? Do the people have a right to complain? What does Moses say to the Lord? What is the Lord’s response? How does this solution transform the meaning of the Psalmist’s phrase “rock of salvation”? Have you ever been like the Israelites and not trusted in God’s future? I think we can honestly answer that “Yes, most of the time.”

Psalm 95 – Who is speaking in verses 1-7? Who is speaking in verses 8-11? Why is there a change in the emotions of this Psalm (joy in 1-7 and spite in 8-11)?

Romans 5:1-11 – What do we receive when we are justified by faith? What do we share with Christ? When was the right time for Christ to die? What are we saved from? Most English translations of verse 9 say that we are saved from the wrath of God. However, Paul only says we are saved from wrath in the Greek. So, why do translators add “of God?” In the letter to the Romans, Paul only once uses the phrase “wrath of God” at 1:18. All other times he simply uses the word “wrath”. Some commentators, not many, feel that Paul is trying to move us away from the idea that wrath comes from God to the idea that wrath is of our own making. That is what Christ saves us from: human wrath. Also note that Paul does not have any problem attaching God to other attributes. Verse 2 says that we share in “the glory of God”. Why do you think translators feel they need to add words to what Paul writes? A need to blame God for wrath? And thus ends my little rant of the day.

John 4:5-42 – Where is Jesus and the disciples? What does Jesus send the disciples to do? What is the time of day? Who is sitting at the well and what does Jesus ask? What is the life story of the person at the well? Is this person bad, as has been so often depicted or is he/she simply caught up in circumstances beyond control? (Look again, if need be.) How does this person at the well contrast with Nicodemus in chapter 3? What is the end result in the engagement Jesus had with this person at the well? How would you have reacted if you were that person?

Have a great day serving the Lord as you serve others!

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

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