Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Readings for Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for all at Grey Eagle UMC who helped host Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Choir and who helped with the potluck dinner that followed worship.

Thank you, Peace United Church, for hosting the baptism of my granddaughter, Teagan.

We are on week 10 of our sermon series "A Future with Hope". This week's theme will be "The Releasing". Marcia McFee writes:

"We are getting closer to fall, the time when the leaves will fall off of the trees. This is a Sunday of honoring the role of "letting go" in order to allow new beginnings. As we approach the beginning of the school year and begin to plan for new schedules, what rhythm of life will we embrace and what letting go needs to happen to help us stay focused on the important things of life and faith?"

The theme verse for this week is Psalm 55:22. It comes near the end of a psalm of persecution. In Psalm 55, the writer complains to God that his enemies gather against him, a friend has turned against him and joined with the enemy, and his desire that God would destroy those who align against him. There is some very raw and heartfelt pleas that many of us have felt at some time or other. There is a change of tone when we read verse 22. The psalmist reminds himself that he should cast (release) his burdens on the Lord and the Lord will sustain him through his trials.

Our Gospel lesson is Luke 16:1-13 and is the fourth of four parables that started with the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15. Our reading is often labeled "The Parable of the Dishonest Manager. The first three parables, Lost Sheep, Coin, and Son, were addressed to the scribes and Pharisees and crowds. This parable is addressed to the disciples. This is a strange tale, indeed. A rich man has a hired manager who is discovered to be embezzling from him. The rich man tells him to make an accounting of the money. Not wanting to be thrown out, the embezzler cuts deals with people who owe the rich man much money. The rich man praises the embezzler for being shrewd. Huh? Strange indeed and difficult to understand. Jesus goes on to say that those who are faithful in a little will be faithful in much, while those who are dishonest will be dishonest in all things. Finally, Jesus says we cannot serve two masters: God and wealth. As you read verses 1-8 ask yourself "Is Jesus talking about the human way of doing things or God's Kingdom?" The hardest statement of Jesus' may very well be verse 9, "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes." Once again, "Huh?"

May the Lord bless you as you serve your neighbors this week. Pray for me as I wrestle with Psalm 55 and Luke 16.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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