Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Scripture Lessons for Sunday, May 1, 2016

This Sunday is the Sixth Sunday of Easter and we continue with our readings in Acts, Revelation, and the Gospel of John. At this point in time I believe I will be preaching on the Revelation text.

Our readings include:

Acts 16:9-15 – In the three preceding verses we read that Paul and his companions were “forbidden” by the Holy Spirit to go to any of the cities in Asia Minor (Turkey). What would it feel like to think you need to do something and then feel like God was forbidding you? In verse 9, Paul has a vision in the night of a man urging him to go to Macedonia for which he immediately sets out to do. (Of note here, the voice changes from third person “he, she, they” to first person plural “we, us”.) They eventually get to the city of Philippi and on the Sabbath they go to the gate of the city by the river where they talk to the women gathered there. One of the women, Lydia, heard their good news and was baptized by Paul along with her entire household. Has God ever prevented you from doing something so that God’s work could be done in another way, or place, or with someone else?

Psalm 67 – A Psalm of Praise to God for all God’s blessings. This psalm urges all peoples and nations to praise God singing for joy and gladness. As God continues to bless us, do we give our praise and revere God.

Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 – This reading should begin at verse 9 where an angel offers to show John the Bride of the Lamb. The angel takes John to a high mountain and shows him a city. The verses between 10 and 22 are a physical description of that city: length, width, height, jewels used in the architecture, and the number of gates. Beginning at 21:22, John describes the other aspects of the city: no temple for the temple is the Lord; no sun or moon for the Light of the Lord shines forever; the gates are never closed so all the peoples and nations may walk into it; the River of Life that runs through it with the Tree of Life and its twelve fruits; and, finally, the Throne of God and the Lamb will be there. This is a glorious vision of what life may be like when God’s Creation is set right. It is also the hope for which all Christians should be working for here on earth. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen.

John 14:23-29 – Jesus’ final discourse in the Gospel of John starts in chapter 13 and goes through chapter 16 (though there seems to be a conclusion at the end of chapter 14. In verse 23, Jesus is responding to a question from Judas (not the betrayer who has already left the scene), “How will you reveal yourself to us and not the world?” Jesus’ answer doesn’t seem to answer the question because Jesus talks about those who love him will keep his commands and the Father will come to them to make their home with them. Jesus then goes on to say that the Holy Spirit (literally the “Advocate”) will come and teach the disciples everything. Jesus promises to leave them his Peace which is not the same thing as the world’s peace (which always comes with the sword and the threat of violence). What does it mean that the Holy Spirit will teach us (the disciples) everything? What does it mean to live with and in the Peace of Christ? Was the teaching of the Holy Spirit closed out when the Bible was completed (or canonized)? Is the Peace of Christ negated when we use force or the threat of force to keep some semblance of peace?

OR John 5:1-9 – Jesus heals a man who had been crippled for 38 years. It was on the Sabbath. Uh-oh! He broke the rules! Is it OK to break the rules if it means life for another?

Have a great week serving God by serving your neighbors.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Scripture Readings for the next two Sundays

Hello Everyone,

Last week I tried an experiment with this weekly email. Rather than commenting on each of the scripture lessons I asked you to comment on one of the lessons according to your last name and send it back to me. Well, three people took me up on the challenge and sent back a response. Those responses were very thoughtful and insightful. Thank you. I will try that again in the near future and I hope more people will respond.

I will be taking a break from posting on this blog next week so this week I will list and give a brief statement of the subject of the lessons.

April 17, 2016 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:36-43 – Tabitha, a disciple devoted to good works and charity, and who was also a wonderful seamstress, got ill and died. Peter is summoned and when he arrived he said to her, “Tabitha, get up!”. She opened her eyes, sat up, and, with Peter’s assistance, she stood up.

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd (verses 1-4) and the host of grand feast (5-6). Some think these two themes may have been separate psalms that were merged into the one we know and love.

Revelation 7:9-17 – John’s vision of the uncounted multitude of people who have emerged from the great ordeal to worship the Lamb. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb who is also their shepherd.

John 10:22-30 – Jesus is in Jerusalem at the Festival of Dedication (Hanukah?) and has been challenged by the religious authorities. The sheep, his followers, hear his voice and follow. No one can take them from Jesus because his Father has given them to him. “I and the Father are one.” (To find out their reaction to that statement read verses 31-39.)

April 24, 2016 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 11:1-18 – So, what happens when Christians begin to work with “unacceptable/those” people? You get called before the church council, that’s what. And that is what happened to Peter following his baptizing Cornelius, a gentile and a Roman Centurion. “Who was I to hinder God?” he asked.

Psalm 148 – Let all of creation Praise the Lord! Angels, sun, moon, stars, waters from above, sea monsters, fire, hail, snow, frost, mountains, hills, fruit trees, cedars, wild animals, cattle, bugs, birds, kings, princes, rulers, young, old, and all people, praise the Lord.

Revelation 21:1-6 – John sees a vision of the great city of Jerusalem descending from the sky. God will dwell with God’s people. God will make all things new. The word translated as “dwell” is “tabernacle”. The Tabernacle was a great tent the Israelites carried with them in the desert. So . . . God will camp with God’s people.

John 13:31-35 – Jesus gives a the disciples (and us) a new commandment, “that you should love one another.” We love each other because Jesus loves us. How is that love lived out in your life.

Have a blessed week serving God by serving others in all that you do.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

Monday, April 4, 2016

Readings for Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Today my daughter and her boyfriend lost their son today. She gave birth to their son early this morning and he quickly died. Her and his due date was in the middle of August and the birth was too soon for him to be viable. A private memorial service is pending. Please keep us in your prayers.

This Sunday is Native American Ministries Sunday in the United Methodist Church. Grey Eagle UMC will be hosting Jim Allen, a lay person from the Leech Lake tribe who works with the Native American Ministries Action Team. He will be speaking about the mission work done by the team. In conjunction with Native American Ministries Sunday and Jim Allen, we will be honoring James Hammarsten, a member of GEUMC who died in January. Throughout his adult life, James Hammarsten supported the rights and equality of Native Americans, as does his daughter Linnea Ingold. Please join us in worship this Sunday at 9:00 am.

I am going to do something a little different this week. Instead of me commenting on the readings I ask you to read one passage and send me your comments on that passage answering these questions:

What do you think the passage meant to the original readers?
What does this passage mean to you?
Is there anything you can implement in your life from this passage?

If your last name begins with A, B, C, D, E, F, or G, please read and comment on: Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)

If your last name begins with H, I, J, K, L, or M, please read and comment on Psalm 30

If your last name begins with N, O, P, Q, R, S, or T, please read and comment on Revelation 5:11-14

If your last name begins with U, V, W, X, Y, or Z, please read and comment on John 21:1-19

I promise I will read all replies (There are 112 on this list).

I pray your week is filled with the Joy of the Resurrection.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Picture of the Cross


It's the picture of violence,
Yet the key to peace.

A picture of suffering,
Yet the key to healing.

A picture of sorrow,
Yet the key to joy.

A picture of death,
Yet the key to life.

A picture of utter weakness,
Yet the key to power.

A picture of capital punishment,
Yet the key to mercy and forgiveness.

A picture of vicious hatred,
Yet the key to love.

A picture of supreme shame,
Yet the Christian's supreme boast.

Author unknown