Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Hardest Question. Readings for Sunday, September 4, 2016.

Hello Everyone,

This coming weekend is Labor Day Weekend. If you regularly attend either Peace United Church in Long Prairie or Grey Eagle United Methodist Church and you will be out of town this weekend, I encourage you and your family to find a nearby church and worship with with them on Sunday. Your presence will be a blessing to that church, especially if it is a small church.

If you are a regular reader of this weekly email and do not live in the Long Prairie and Grey Eagle area but will be in the area this weekend, I invite you to worship with us. Grey Eagle UMC worships at 9:00 AM and Peace United worships at 10:30 AM. Both churches will be celebrating Communion on Sunday and all are welcomed at the Table of the Lord.

Finally, if you live in our area but do not regularly attend, why not make this coming Sunday the beginning of you and your family being a regular part of our worship together. We miss you and we pray for you. Worship with us and let God's Spirit show you a new way, a new truth, and a new life.

This Sunday will be the eighth of eleven lessons in our sermon series "A Future with Hope". Sunday's lesson will be "The Sustaining". Marcia McFee, author of "A Future with Hope", keys in on Isaiah 50:4a, "The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word."

Isaiah 50:4-11 is the third of four so called "Servant Songs" in Isaiah. The others are 42:1-4 (5-9); 49:1-7; and 52:13-53:12. For our Jewish sisters and brothers this "servant" may be Israel itself (49:3) but Christians see Jesus as the Servant who suffers. In our reading, the servant not only suffers at the hands of the enemy but understands that it is God who will help him/her through the hardship. In suffering, the servant also knows how to help others who suffer; he will sustain other sufferers with a word. Finally, the servant knows that those who inflict suffering on others ("kindlers of fire") will also suffer.

Our Gospel lesson is Luke 14:25-33. Using a couple of analogies, Jesus warns his disciples and others that there will be a cost to them if they choose to follow him. The cost to follow Jesus will be family, friends, and even life itself. The analogies that Jesus uses is calculating the cost to build a tower and winning a war. If you can't afford all the materials you don't start building and if your army isn't strong enough to win you make peace with your enemy. And if losing family, friends, and life isn't bad enough, Jesus says that to follow him we must give up all our possessions. WHAT? Really? All. Our. Stuff.? You read it right. How does that speak to me? How does it speak to you? The hardest question.

Hope to see all of you on Sunday. God Bless.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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