Our sermon series on “Ten Tough Topics” continues tomorrow night with “Jesus and Christianity” (How could that be tough?). Worship at 6:00 PM at Peace United Church and 7:30 PM at Grey Eagle UMC. On Sunday our topic will be “Resurrection”, which is appropriate as we will end the month with Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our Scripture Lessons for this Sunday are:
Joshua 5:9-12 – At this point in the story of Joshua, he has led his people, the Israelites, across the river Jordan into Canaan. At the beginning of chapter 5, God tells Joshua to have all the men circumcised because those who came out of Egypt 40 years earlier had died and the males born during their wanderings had not been circumcised. With the circumcision complete and all the men had time to heal, we pick up the story. God declares to Joshua that the disgrace of being slaves in Egypt is now behind them. Literally, God rolled away their disgrace. Therefore, that place where the circumcision happened was to be called “Gilgal” which is related to the Hebrew word for “rolling”. After that the Israelites celebrated Passover. The day after they ate from the produce of the Canaan land and on that day the manna stopped.
Psalm 32 – The psalmist celebrates God who forgives those who confess their sin to God. The psalmist says that the wicked are tormented while those who trust in the Lord are surrounded by love.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – This is a very powerful passage. I almost feel like I should try to explain every verse but I will resist that urge. What I think his is saying is that since we have been changed by God’s knowledge of us through Christ, we can no longer view people as “them” or “other”. Since Christ is in us, we are a new creation and have been reconciled to God through Christ. Therefore, we should seek and work for the reconciliation of all people and creation. No longer are trespasses/debt/sins counted against humanity and we can be reconciled to God and our neighbors.
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 – This reading is one of five parables in Luke 15 and 16 and is the most famous. The five parables are “The Lost Sheep”, “The Lost Coin”, “The Lost Son”, “The Dishonest Manager” and “Lazarus and the Rich Man”. Our reading is the introduction to the first four parables and the parable of the “Lost Son”, aka “The Prodigal Son and his Brother”. In the introduction, Luke says that Pharisees and Scribes were coming to listen to Jesus but they were grumbling about the fact that Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.” These parable are in response to their grumbling. Here is what I said about this familiar parable in 2013:
The son who demands his share of the estate and then blows it all on wine, women, song, and partying. After being reduced to slopping the pigs he plans to go home to work as a servant for Dad. Of course, Dad will have none of it and the Welcome Home Party is on. However, Big Brother is upset. Dad gives him a choice – come in and enjoy the celebration or stew in your own anger. End of story. Where do you fit in the story? I think most of us, me especially, might very well be the big brother.
I pray your week is lived in service of God in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit by serving your neighbors.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor