Thank you to all who made a donation to World Communion Sunday during worship. In the United Methodist Church 50% of your donation goes to scholarships for women and men around the world administered by General Board of Global Ministries and the other half goes to Ethnic Scholarship and Ethnic In-Service Training Programs administered by General Board of Higher Education and ministry. You can still give to WCS by going here: World Communion Sunday.
In the United Church of Christ donations on World Communion Sunday go to fund Neighbors in Need. 33% of your donation goes to the Council for American Indian Ministry and the balance goes to Justice and Witness Ministries. You can still give to Neighbors in Need by going here: Neighbors in Need Offering.
Our Readings for this Sunday are:
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 - We read this passage back on July 17 when we began the Sermon Series "A Future with Hope". We hear in this passage that while God has a plan for us that plan may take a long time. In the mean time we are to make the best of what we have where we are.
Psalm 66:1-12 - The psalmist sings praises to God for all that God has done. In verses 10-12a, the psalmist ascribes all the hardships the people have gone through as being the work of God but affirms, in verse 12b, that God has seen them through to a "spacious place". Does God give us hardships and burdens? Always an interesting theological debate.
OR 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c - Elisha, the prophet who succeeded Elijah, heals a foreign general named Naaman from leprosy. In those days anyone who has any kind of skin disease was thought to have leprosy, technically Hanson's Disease. The full story of the healing of Naaman, including a sub story of one of Elisha helpers, is whole chapter, 2 Kings 5. Note the cluelessness of this general, two kings, and the prophet's helper. Also note that important role of a Jewish slave girl and the general's servants.
Psalm 111 - Once again, the psalmist praises God for all that God has done. God's attributes are many in this psalm: honor, majesty, righteousness, renown, wonderful deeds, gracious, merciful, providing food, remembering the covenant, powerful, faithful, just, uprightness, sending redemption, Holy, awesome, enduring forever.
2 Timothy 2:8-15 - Paul continues to encourage the young church leader Timothy. Paul says his gospel is Jesus Christ, raised from the dead. And because of that Gospel he suffers hardship. He reminds Tim that the Word of God is not "chained" or stopped. Paul tells Tim to remind the members of his church to "avoid wrangling over words" for this will destroy the church. Do we often "wrangle over words"?
Luke 17:11-19 - What do you do when you are approached by 10 lepers? Well, if you are Jesus, you heal them and then instruct them to go to the Temple Priests to get certified clean. Actually, what happens is the opposite: Jesus sends them and on the way they discover that they are healed. One of the ten returns to Jesus while praising God. It is then that we learn he is a Samaritan. Jesus asks where the other nine are? Where do you think they went? Note that Jesus says that the man's faith healed him (some versions) or made him well (other versions). Where is the man's faith demonstrated in this story? Was it the act of praising God?
May your week be filled with faith, praise, and action for God.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor