While Minnesota March FoodShare month is coming to an end we will continue to use the offering given on Wednesday Nights for the food shelves we are supporting: Long Prairie Food Pantry and Melrose Food Shelf. You can also give to the churches throughout the year to support them. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus praises those who feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, etc. Jesus also condemns those who do not. Let's be a people who lives the Gospel by helping our neighbors. Please give generously to support the food shelves.
Please join us tomorrow night, Wednesday, at 6:00 PM at Grey Eagle UMC and 7:15 PM at Peace United Church for contemplative worship that I have entitled "Psalms, Songs, and Passion".
Our Scripture Lessons for the Wednesday Lenten Services tomorrow night are:
Psalm 42 – When life gets you down, and everyone seems to be against you, do you long for the presence of God? Does it seem as if God has removed God-self from you? Does it feel like God has forgotten you? This Psalm speaks of what we know of as depression. However, there are enough hints in the Psalm to believe that the psalmists has many enemies.
Isaiah 52:13-53:6 (part 1) – Of the four “Suffering Servant Songs” in Isaiah, this is the longest and most obvious in the amount of suffering the servant endures. The full reading is 52:13-53:12. Next week we will overlap a bit by starting at 53:4. Questions to ponder: How badly beaten is the servant (52:14-15)? What did the people think of him (53:2-3)? The last half of 53:6 reads, “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (NRSV) An alternate translation from the Hebrew might be, “But the Lord permitted us to throw all our sins upon him.” How would that sound in your mind?
John 18:28-19:16a – We continue reading the Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Last week we read about Jesus’s arrest and his appearance before Caiaphas, the high priest of the temple. We also heard Peter deny Jesus three times. This week we hear the story of Jesus and Pilate. What would you have done if you were in Pilate’s place? The local temple authorities want you to get rid of their problem but you know he has done nothing wrong. The crowds outside want blood and they are on the verge of rioting? Do you have enough soldiers in the city to put down a mob like this one? What will you do?
On Sunday we continue our Worship Series "Did Jesus Have to Die?" This week our frame of reference is "Moving from Death to Life." Our Lessons are:
Ezekiel 37:1-14 – The valley is full of dry bones. Can they live again? God wants Ezekiel to know the answer. (All the while, we are singing "Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones")
Psalm 130 – What if God kept track of every wrong we ever did? What is the primary character of God and how will that trait impact our lives?
Romans 8:6-11 – If we are dead in our sins, how will God give us new life? Can these dead dry bones be put back together again. Can Humpty-Dumpty be put back together again? "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you."
John 11:1-53 – Lazarus is dying, Jesus. Come quickly! Lazarus is dead, Jesus. Come whenever! Lazarus stinks, Jesus. Don’t roll back the rock! Look! Jesus must love Lazarus because he cries. What? Lazarus is alive? Jesus must be killed! Lazarus is the reason, in the Gospel of John, that Jesus must be crucified.
Have a wonderful week serving God and serving neighbors.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor