Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Readings for July 6, 2014, and Other Thoughts

Hello Everyone,

Well, I am back from vacation. The last two weeks of the three week vacation was spent traveling to and from Meridian, Idaho, which is a bedroom community to Boise. I traveled with Cheryl, my daughters Megan and Jennifer, and my granddaughter Leighana to visit my mother Virginia, my sister Leslie, and my aunt Dorothy. Our ages from oldest to youngest are 76, 75, 56, 55, 55, 26, 25, and 9 month. Four generations.

I was thinking about this recently as I watched a video of a young UMC pastor, Karen Hernandez, talk about the small church she serves in Kuna, ID. Her church is not far from the Meridian UMC that Mom attends and in fact, this pastor makes a reference to Mom’s church. She talks about how her aging church caught a vision from God about how they can be “the church that feeds people.”

As you watch this video ask your self these questions:
1. What is God calling my church to do?
2. What is God calling me to do?
3. How can we serve our community, because to love others is to love God?

Here is the video. It is a bit long but she is very engaging.

Karen Hernandez :: Focus! (how Kuna UMC discerned our mission and restructured everything else revolve around it) from Relevance Ministries on Vimeo.

Note: during the Season after Pentecost the Lectionary offers two options for Old Testament readings, a continuous reading with an appropriate Psalm, or a reading tied to the Gospel lesson with a Psalm. Our readings for this Sunday are:

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67: This is week 3 of 18 in Genesis and Exodus. This week’s story is about Abraham sending his trusted service back to the land of Ur to get a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The story actually starts at verse 1 of chapter 24 so I encourage you to read the entire chapter. Now you would think Isaac would have a greater role in the story than he does but, truth be told, after last week’s story of the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, he seems to be a generational place holder between Abraham and Jacob, Isaac’s son, whose birth we will read next week. The story moves from the older to the younger and then to the younger once again. How can we pass the church down to the younger generation? Do we sacrifice them on the alter of “that’s the way we have always done it” or do we graciously allow the younger generation to take control even if it means everything will change?

Psalm 45:10-17 – A Psalm for a Royal Wedding. Verses 2-9 focus on the groom. Verses 10-15 focus on the bride.

OR Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 2:8-13 – One of the few times the lectionary has a reading from this very sensual book. In our reading it is spring and love is in the air. These verses are spoken by the woman but she quotes the man in verses 10-13. One of the difficulties of translating this book from Hebrew is figuring out who is speaking, the man, the woman, or a handmaiden.

OR Zechariah 9:9-12 – The prophet predicts that God will put an end to all war, prisoners will be set free, and what has been taken will be restored double.

Psalm 145:8-14 – This might be a THE Old Testament creed on who God is: gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, good to all, compassion over all, faithful to his words, gracious in deeds, upholding the fallen, and raising up the bowed. Amen!

Romans 7:15-25a – This is the 3rd of 13 readings in Romans. Because Easter was so late we missed three readings that come before the Romans reading two weeks ago. The first three chapters of Romans sets up the problem: humanity has gone astray from God worshiping the created and not the Creator. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (3:23). Beginning in chapter four, Paul begins to explain how God remedies the situation through history and through Jesus Christ. In our reading, Paul says that despite knowing what is right he continues to do what is wrong. Who can fix that situation? Jesus Christ, that’s who.

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 – These verses were spoken by Jesus in response to a visit by John the Baptizer’s disciples which starts in verse 2 and includes the skipped verses. In our verses, Jesus complains about two opposite people, Jesus and John, are rejected. When people are made uncomfortable by the messenger then they will find anything to discredit them. It happened then and it happens now. What are the things that are hidden from the “wise and intelligent”? Why are they revealed to infants? Could it be our violence soaked culture? Infants (probably an euphemism for the weak and innocent) have not been sucked into that which enslaves us and can perceive it. Jesus offers a different way. Yoke ourselves to Jesus’s Way and we will find rest. It's like the blue or red pill in “The Matrix”:

Have a great 4th of July Celebration and I will see you on Sunday.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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