Peace United Church and Grey Eagle UMC will continue with the sermon series “On the Mend”. This week’s topic is “Healing Trust.” Has anyone in your life broken your trust? Perhaps a spouse, or a child, or a friend? Perhaps it was the church or a pastor that broke your trust. How hard was it to reestablish that trust? We will be using Mark 10:2-16 as our starting point. Here is what I said about this passage 2 weeks ago:
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. The 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).
I must add that in the last four verses children are again seen as vulnerable. The disciples want to keep them away but Jesus say otherwise. We also should receive the Kingdom of God like a little child. They are vulnerable and trusting. Is this where we begin in “Healing Trust”?
Our appointed lectionary readings for October 18 are:
Job 38:1-7 (34-41) – After 36 chapters of listening to his, so called, friends and defending his innocence Job finally hears from God. What does Job hear from the whirlwind? Well, not the answer he was looking for. Job wanted to question God for the misery he was suffering but here God sounds a bit indignant (“Gird up your loins like a man”). God asks Job “Where were you?” at the creation of all that exists. This is deep stuff but it is not an answer to Job’s suffering and it goes on through 41:34 (with a short interjection by Job at 40:3-5). I don’t know about you but this sounds like God is grilling Job. The result: Job withers under the questioning. Next week: Job’s final response and God’s restoration of Job.
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c – With one small exception (at verse 35a), the Psalmist praises God for God’s good creation and provision throughout the entire Psalm.
Isaiah 53:4-12 – This is the last 2/3s of the Fourth Servant Song of Isaiah (52:13-53:12). You might as well read the entire Song. How does this line up with what you know of Jesus’ last week of life before his crucifixion?
Psalm 91:9-16 – This Psalm is the bases of a very popular Christian song “On Eagle’s Wings”. How does the promise in verse 9 and 10 that for those who love the Lord God no evil or scourge will happen to them fit with Job’s experience or the suffering servant? Or is this a Psalm of hope in which God will be present with us through times of “evil and scourge”? “Those who love me, I will deliver (through the difficult times?)” and “I will be with them in trouble”.
Hebrews 5:1-10 – First off, who is this guy Melchizedek? He was a king and a high priest of Salem (Jerusalem) in the days of Abram (Abraham). You can read a little about him in Genesis 14:17-20. He is also referenced in Psalm 110:4. In the days of the Temple, the High Priests made atonement for the people at Yom Kippur. Prior to that he had to make an atoning sacrifice for himself. This atoning process had to happen every year. The author of Hebrews argues that since Jesus was without sin there was no need for a sacrifice for himself. He then became the one-time sacrifice for everyone’s sin, “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
Mark 10:35-45 – OK, someone needs to slap the disciples, especially James and John, up side the head to knock a little sense into them. (Special Agent Leroy Gibbs on NCIS always did that to Agents DiNozzo and McGee when they were being a bit dense.) James and John approach Jesus to secure the seats of honor in God’s coming Kingdom. Jesus wants to know if they can “drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I will be baptized with?” Without really understanding, they of course reply, “Sure!” Whey the others hear what they have requested they get angry. Wouldn’t you? Once again Jesus tells them that they must become servants to be great and a slave if they want to be first. Jesus will be the ransom for many. With those last three verses in mind, go back and reread Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
Have a blessed week serving God as you serve your neighbor.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor