Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Readings for Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hello Everyone,

THANK YOU to all who helped with the Grey Eagle UMC Annual Hog Roast on Saturday and the Community Friendship Dinner hosted by Peace United Church on Sunday. Your efforts make these event successful. Thank you.

This Sunday is World Communion Sunday and is celebrated by many churches and denominations around the world including the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Monies given to WCS for the United Methodist Church (Grey Eagle and 1/2 the donations at Peace United) “support scholarships for graduate national and international students, Ethnic Scholarships for national and international undergraduates studying within the United States and ethnic in-service training.” The other 1/2 of the money given at PUC goes to the UCC’s “Neighbors in Need” that “supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States with one-third [supporting] the Council for American Indian Ministries and two thirds is for the Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects.”

We will continue with our sermon series “On the Mend” with the topic this week of “Healing Pride”. I will be using Mark 9:30-37. Here is what I wrote two weeks ago:

Mark 9:30-37 – Jesus is teaching his disciples and ducking the crowds. He gives his second prediction of his Death and Resurrection. When they get to their base of operations, Capernaum, he asks the disciples what they were arguing about. Chagrinned, they admit they were arguing about who would be the greatest disciples. Jesus responds with “the first will be last and the last will be first”. He then places a child in their midst and says that those who welcome a child will welcome him and when they welcome him they welcome the One who sent Jesus. As followers of Christ we are to give up our ambitions of power and riches and humble ourselves to serve and welcome the most vulnerable.

The assigned Lectionary readings this week are:

Job 1:1, 2:1-10 – You should probably read the entire introduction to Job from 1:1 to 2:10. The setup to the Book of Job is that he is a “upright and blameless” man who loses everything: cattle, sheep, camels, servants, sons, daughters, and his health. The only thing he didn’t lose was his land and his wife, who doesn’t come off too well in our reading. The reason for this loss? God takes pride in Job and Satan challenges God to allow Job to be tested. Satan believes that Job will curse God for what has happened. Please don’t read too much into this story. It is simply the setup to the rest of the book.

Psalm 26 – The psalmist pleads with God for justice and vindication because of lies that are being told about him (verses 4, 5, 9, and 10).

OR Genesis 2:18-24 – God, who has created a man (generic and not necessarily male), decides that the man needs a companion. So God creates all the animals for the man to name but none are good partners. So God puts the man to sleep, extracts a rib, and creates woman. Why did the lectionary leave off verse 25, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Too racy for Sunday?

Psalm 8 – God has created humanity and made us a little lower than angels, the psalmist declares. God gives us “dominion” over the Earth and all the animals. Yet we need to also remember that we were created out of dust back in Genesis 2:7. Which is it? Are we next to angels, dust of the earth, or a little of both?

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 – This begins a seven week reading of the Letter to the Hebrews. However, it is less like a letter and more like a long sermon about Christ and our relation to Him. In the first four verses the writer of Hebrews declares that God has spoken to us through his Son who is a reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s being. When you see and know Jesus you see and know God. In the second part the writer wants us to know that it is through Jesus’ suffering of death that we have found salvation. Hebrews is a difficult book to read but it is ultimately rewarding.

Mark 10:2-16 – This is the difficult reading about divorce. The reason the alternate Old Testament reading from Genesis 2 was chosen was that Jesus quotes a line from it. Many people use this quote by Jesus along with the reading from Genesis 2 to argue that marriage is only for opposite sex couples, heterosexuals. However, the issue before Jesus in this reading is not same-sex marriage but the easy availability of divorce in which women were easily cast aside by the men of Jesus’ day. Note, Jewish law allowed only the man to divorce his wife but Roman law also allowed a woman to divorce her husband. These two divorces and remarriage by King Herod and his wife Herodias was what John the Baptist railed against and probably what led to him being beheaded (Mark 6:17-29).

Have a blessed week serving the Lord and your neighbors.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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