Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Readings for Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Well, August is here and the humidity is rising. I hope you are able to stay cool and comfortable.

This Sunday will be Week 4 in our Sermon Series "A Future With Hope". This week's theme is "The Nurturing". Here is the synopsis by Marcia McFee:

We cannot abandon what we have planted. We must attend to our hopes, nurture them with living water in order to sustain growth. To attend over time is to know the fruit of discipline. What spiritual disciplines nurture our faith and hope? We affirm the abundance of God's grace poured out for us and we ask God to let the waters of justice and righteousness flow freely.

The reading for "The Nurturing" is James 3:13-18. The book of James is almost a practical manual on what it means to live as a follower of Jesus. We know from the book of Acts that the disciple James was martyred early on. We also know from Acts that James, the brother of Jesus, rose to prominence and leadership in the Jerusalem Christian church. This is the James that may have written this book. However, there is some doubt about this James being the author or if someone wrote using his name, a common practice in those days.

In our section, James writes that there is two kinds of wisdom: earthly wisdom and the wisdom from above. As the author states, if you have "bitter envy" or "selfish ambition" in your hearts (being) then it comes from earthly wisdom and it will bring "disorder and wickedness". If your lives are filled with purity, peacefulness, gentleness, full of mercy, and bearing good fruits without partiality and hypocrisy, then that is the wisdom from above.

I am deviating a little from the assigned Lectionary Gospel of Luke 12:32-40. Backing up a little and using the first part of this text, we will be reading Luke 12:22-34. Jesus is continuing his teaching about being on guard against all kinds of greed that we read about this past Sunday. The first part of this passage is familiar and is about trusting in the goodness of God. Jesus uses a teaching technique of going from a lesser to a greater good. If God feeds the sparrows, will God not also feed us? If God adorns the lilies with splendor, will God not also give us the clothes we need? Therefore, there is no need to worry about our daily lives because God will provide. It is the world's nations that worry about all these things. Or, using James' language, worrying about these things is earthly wisdom. Not only does God give us what we need (not necessarily what we want) but God desires to give us God's Kingdom. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

What do we need to do, if anything, to nurture the seed of hope in our lives? Where is your treasure stored?

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

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