Please don’t forget our Lenten Wednesday Worship Services. Peace United Church at 6:00 PM and Grey Eagle UMC at 7:30 PM. Our sermon series topic for Wednesday is “Evangelism and Tolerance”
Here are the readings for this coming Sunday, February 28, 2016:
Isaiah 55:1-9 – God invites all people to share in the feast that God has prepared. This feast is without cost, we only need to come. Why do we give our lives over to consumerism when our souls can fed by God and not things. We are invited to also seek the Lord for God will pardon us abundantly. However, to seek God is to learn that God’s way of doing things and God’s way of thinking (understanding, knowing?) are not the way humans do and think about things. So why do we persist in trying to make God into “mini-me’s”? Is God’s justice like our justice? Is God’s forgiveness like our forms of forgiveness? Difficult questions, right?
Psalm 63:1-8 – This psalm is 11 verses long yet the Lectionary Committee cuts the reading off at 8 verses. Why, you may ask? As happens so often in the Psalms often include a darker side: praising God on one hand and cursing enemies on the other. Usually the praises outweigh the cursing as here in Psalm 63. Our reading is the psalmist praising God for the provisions God give when the psalmist hungering and thirsting for the spiritual refreshment. Verses 9 and 10 the psalmist states that his enemies will meet their doom in the dust of the earth. The final verse then returns to praising God. We learn from the Psalms that it is okay to not only sing praises to God but to also give over our anger, hurt feeling, and frustrations to the One who can bear it all, even on a cross.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 – This passage will be useful for this Sunday’s installment of our Sermon Series “Ten Tough Topics”. Our topic will be “The God of the Old Testament”. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was a letter to a church divided. They argued over communion and the right way to worship. Sin was creeping into the fellowship of believers. In our passage, Paul is using examples from the Old Testament to warn the Corinthians away from immorality and false worship. In the examples he cites the Israelites’ sins that led many of them to die. Verse 5 states (or strongly implies) that many died because God was not happy with them. From the NET Bible: “But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness.” However, Paul comes back to the idea that God is loving: “And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear.” How are we to understand God in the Old Testament exacts fierce judgment as opposed to the God who is Love in the New Testament? I will share my thought about this on Sunday.
Luke 13:1-9 – Ooh, I love this passage. Verses 1-5: Did you hear about the shooting in Michigan this weekend? Were the six people who died any worse sinners (and thus deserving to die) than the shooter who is alive and in custody now? Hopefully, all of you will be shocked that I am asking these questions. Hopefully you will all agree with me that no one who died deserved it. More thoughts about this on Sunday. Verses 6-9: My wife and I plant a one year old apple tree (standard size) we bought from a nursery. I dig a hole, place the tree in it, and backfill the dirt. Then each year I go to see if there are apples. None three years in a row. I grow frustrated and tell my wife that I am going to pull out the tree. She begs me to wait one more year and she will fertilize it with good manure and I can check in another year. Then, if there is no fruit I can pull it out. So, why do we expect new believers to be perfect fruit bearers right from the start? God is working on us that we may bear God’s kingdom fruit. Maybe not today, but some day. (In Methodist speak: the sanctifying and perfecting Grace of God is working on our spiritual growth.)
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor