Grace and Peace to You,
This coming Sunday is "World Communion Sunday", the one Sunday each year when we will be celebrating Communion with Christians around the world. This is an excellent time to invite a family member or friend who hasn't been to church in a while to come with you to worship. Imagine if everyone had one guest with them this Sunday. Now, let's try to make that happen.
We are back to following the Lectionary readings until we begin a new Sermon Series at Advent titled "God Bless Us Every One: The Redemption of Scrooge". As you may imagine, we will be using Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol".
Our Readings this week are:
Lamentations 1:1-16 - Lamentations is the cry of the heart by one, Jeremiah, or more people following the utter destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This poem begins with the voice of a narrator but then shifts to the voice of Jerusalem in verse 12.
Lamentations 3:19-26 - This is the "Psalm" that is paired with the Old Testament reading above. After the painful cry in the first reading there is hope, love, and faithfulness with this reading.
OR Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 - I have always thought this prophet's name was pronounced Ha-ba-COOK, but I guess it is Ha-BACK-cook. In the first part, this prophet's cry might be ours in the time: Why the violence and when will it cease? The second part contains the answer Jeremiah gave the exiles in Babylon: There is still a vision for the right time.
Psalm 37:1-9 - The psalmist call us to trust the Lord and wait for God to act. "But those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land."
2 Timothy 1:1-14 - According to the commentary in my edition of the Bible, this letter to Timothy may be more about me as a pastor than about you as the congregation. Paul gives thanks for the ministry of a young pastor and remembers his faithful grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice. He encourages Timothy to stay strong in God's work (a holy calling) by remembering that it is God's grace that strengthens. In one of the more amazing statements is "This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began." What does that statement mean to you?
Luke 17:5-10 - This is a section of Luke that most Bible editors don't know what to do with. My NRSV Bible labels this section "Some Saying of Jesus". What? There are three "sayings" and we have two of them. The first, which we don't have, is about not being a stumbling block and wearing a millstone around our neck and then being thrown into the sea. We get two: having faith the size of a mustard seed (pretty small) that can uproot a tree and not thanking a servant (slave) for doing what was ordered. This is strange stuff. I might throw in the millstone saying (verses 1-5) this week.
May God bless you in your work, in your play, in your waking, and in your sleep.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor