Monday, April 20, 2015

Readings for April 26, May 3, and May 10

Hello Everyone,

Two announcements, one for each church.

1. Grey Eagle UMC – Missional journey workshop, “Radical Hospitality” is this Saturday at Minnetonka UMC, Minnetonka, MN. I could still use 2 or 3 more people to join me, Sue Roe, and Delaine Sawyer. Please let me know if you can go. All costs, except for your time, has been paid for.

2. Peace United – “Church on the Move: Re-traditioning our Church” at Pilgrim Point Camp near Alexandria on Saturday, May 9. “Re-traditioning is to take those fundamental ways we do ministry, pay attention to their core intent and make them work in new contexts and new ways for today’s church.” (from MnUCC website). If you wish to join me, Marilyn Gibson, and Karen Peterson, please let me know. All registration fees will be paid by the church. The only cost to you is your time.

I will be on vacation starting next Monday, therefore today’s email will have the readings for the next three Sundays with limited comments by me.

April 26, 2015 – The Fourth Sunday of Easter; also know as “Good Shepherd Sunday”.
Acts 4:5-12 – Peter and John defend their healing of the crippled beggar before the temple court.

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd.

1 John 3:16-24 – “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action”. Life in God’s family is all about love.

John 10:11-18 – “I AM the good shepherd!” says Jesus.

May 3, 2015 – The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:26-40 – Phillip discusses Jesus with an Ethiopian eunuch. Baptized him in a pond.

Psalm 22:25-31 – The Lord will save and all peoples of all time will praise him.

1 John 4:7-21 – “God is love” and “if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” What more can I say?

John 15:1-8 – “I AM the true vine and my Father is the vine grower,” says Jesus.

May 10, 2015 – The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 10:44-48 – The Holy Spirit comes to Cornelius’ family after Peter preaches to them. Read ALL of chapter 10 for the full story.

Psalm 98 – Sing to God; make joyful noises with musical instruments, for God victory is revealed.

1 John 5:1-6 – Those who believe and follow Jesus have the love of God which will conquer the world.

John 15:9-17 – “This is my commandment, that you love one another,” says Jesus.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

Monday, April 13, 2015

Readings for Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hello Everyone,

What a awesome Sunday we had yesterday at Grey Eagle. Confirming 10 students and welcoming 7 adults into membership brought a lot of guests to church. We had to open up the wall into the fellowship hall to be able to seat all 184 people. That is the largest Sunday worship we have ever had including, I think, our Island Services of the past. The only other times we have a larger congregation were at a couple of funerals. Thanks to all who made the day successful. And thank you Zach, Makayla, Jordan, Shelby, Erica, Jayden, Chloe, Seth, Cody, and Mackinze for being wonderful confirmation students. May God bless you throughout your lives.

This Sunday we will be celebrating another baptism at Grey Eagle UMC. Abbigail Johnson, daughter of Valerie and Mitch Johnson, granddaughter of Cindy and Art Johnson, great-granddaughter of Virginia and Jim Johnson and great-great-granddaughter of Nona Walker (whew) will become a member of the family God through Holy Baptism.

Our readings this week, the Third Sunday of Easter, are:

Acts 3:12-19 – Peter and John go to the temple and heal a man who was lame from birth (3:1-10). The people are amazed so Peter takes the opportunity to tell them who actually did the healing – Jesus Christ. A point to consider: Peter places the blame for the killing of Jesus on his audience but he was as complicit as they were when he denied Jesus. Would his testimony be more effective if he said “We killed Jesus, but God raised him from death”?

Psalm 4 – The psalmist addresses God in verses 1, 7, and 8 and he addresses his enemies in verses 2-6. He pleads for God to help him and chastises the people for not being faithful to God. At the end of the psalm and in the knowledge that God will keep him safe, he has peace.

1 John 3:1-7 – I am not so sure that the Lectionary Committee who chose this passage gave us enough of it. I may expand it to 2:29-3:11. To abide in Jesus is to be a child of God. If we are children of God then we have no sin. (Except see 1:8.) The Elder goes so far as to say that everyone who does right is righteous like Jesus is righteous (verse 7). The true message to the followers of Jesus is that we should love each other (verse 11).

Luke 24:36b-48 – The “Walk to Emmaus” occurs on Easter Day and you can find it at 24:13-35. Our reading picks up immediately after the two disciples run back to Jerusalem and tell the other disciples what they have experienced. Verse 36a says, “While they were talking about this . . .” and that is where we pick it up. Jesus appears and says . . . wait for it . . . “Peace be with you.” Jesus invites the startled disciples to look and him and touch his wounds. He then eats a piece of fish. Jesus then proceeds to teach them about how his death and resurrection was a fulfillment of their scriptures (our Old Testament). If you keep reading to the end of Luke you will encounter a conundrum. All of chapter 24 reads like it all happened on the same day. In Acts 1:3 Luke says that Jesus appeared for 40 days. Did Luke forget what he said in the Gospel when he wrote Acts? Or did he leave out a seemingly important detail at the end of Luke?

Have a great week serving and loving God by serving and loving others.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Readings for Sunday, April 12, 2015

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!

I see that I forgot to post last weeks readings. With readings everyday of Holy Week and multiple readings for the Easter Vigil, there were 44 total readings.

Thank you so much for a wonderful Easter Weekend! Believe it or not but Easter continues. This coming Sunday and the five following are all Sunday in the Easter Season which is defined on the church calendar as 50 days including Easter Sunday leading up to Pentecost Sunday. Another way of understanding Easter is that it never ends. Every Sunday is a mini-Easter. The reason Christians worship on Sunday instead of Saturday (our Jewish heritage) is that Christ arose on that day.

A note on this week’s worship services. At Grey Eagle UMC we will confirm 10 students in their faith and they will join the church as full members. We will also receive into membership 6 adults who are transferring in. Both churches will also be celebrating Holy Communion and all are welcome to join in this sacrament.

The next six Sundays we will be reading from “The Acts of the Apostles”, “The First Letter of John”, and the “Gospel According to John”.

Our readings are:
Acts 4:32-35 – The community of believers sharing everything so that none are in need. Is this possible in the 21st century? Why Not?

Psalm 133 – Three verses! “How good it is when kindred live together in unity!” Community united in the love of God which is life everlasting.

1 John 1:1-2:2 – We know Jesus therefore we know God. In Jesus we see that God is light and that there is no darkness in God at all. One of the passages in the New Testament that seems to advance the idea of universal redemption is verse 2:2. “[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” Wow! What do you think?

John 20:19-31 – Jesus appears to 10 of the 11 remaining disciples on the day of his resurrection and gives them the Spirit. The missing disciple, Thomas, will not believe without proof (oh how I am so like Thomas). Jesus appears again on the following Sunday and shows Thomas his wounds. Notice that Jesus bears the marks of a victim yet twice declares, “Peace be with you.” It seems to me that too many 21st century American Christians want to claim the marks of victimhood (“We are being persecuted by society/government/advocacy groups!”) yet seem to not want to make or bring peace.

Have a great week serving God by serving others. See you in church!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor