Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Reading for Wednesday, March 8, and Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hello Everyone,

I tried sending this from Kononia Retreat Center where I was at my final “Soul Leaders” retreat. This is the last of five retreats that started in January of 2016. I have gotten to better know 13 colleagues from the Minnesota Annual Conference.

Wednesday night Lenten Worship is at 6:00 PM at Grey Eagle UMC and 7:15 at Peace United. I invite you all to join us. There is a description of our services below.

Please keep Mike and Brad Meagher in your prayers following the death of their mother Erma. She was a lifelong member of the Grey Eagle UMC. Visitation is at the church on Sunday from 6 to 8 PM and at 10 AM on Monday. Service of Death and Resurrection will begin at 11:00 AM. Interment will be at Lakeview Cemetery. Lunch will follow the service.

What follow is slightly modified commentary that I wrote on March 11, 2014.

Our Lenten Worship Services are a modified Taizé Worship experience. It will consist of three readings, one each from the Psalms, Isaiah, and the Gospel of John, Taizé hymns, and silent prayer. I will not be preaching but will allow the texts to permeate our thoughts in silent prayer. Our texts this week are:Psalm 10 – Not all voices in the Bible are the voice of God or a prophet. Some are the voice of a victim of the crowd. Perhaps 1/3 of the Psalms are spoken by a victim seeking relief from God. This is one of them and I will read a different one each week. Most of these Psalms also reflect hope that God will act to save.

Isaiah 41:1-9 – This is the first of the four so called “Suffering Servant” songs in Isaiah. We will be reading all four on each of our Wednesday night services. Who is the Suffering Servant? More than likely it is the Nation of Israel (see Isaiah 49:3) but for centuries Christians have identified him as Jesus. What do you think?

John 13 – We will be reading the Passion of Jesus as presented in John without the chapters where Jesus is teaching the disciples about what will happen, that is chapters 14 to 16. This week we start with the dinner and the foot washing. What would your reaction be if Jesus wanted you to kick off your shoes and socks so he could wash your feet? Wouldn’t we all be a bit like Peter?

This Sunday our texts are:

Genesis 12:1-4a – God calls 90 year old Abram to pick up and move hundreds of miles away with the promise that he will be blessed and that his offspring will be a blessing to all people. Remember, at 90 Abram walked or rode on a donkey or camel those hundreds of miles. How far is God calling you to go?

Psalm 121 – A song of Assents – a song chanted or sung as the Israelites ascended the hills into Jerusalem and again as they walked up the hill to the Temple. I quote the first two verses when we have an interment following a funeral.

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 – Paul cites Abraham (Abram) as an example of being made righteous (right with God) through his faith in God’s promises and quotes Genesis 15:6. He also compares wages received through work with a gift given with no attachments. It all depends on faith in the promise of grace.

John 3:1-21 – Nicodemus is a man moving toward faith. He appears in John three times, here, in 7:45-52, and in 19:38-42. Taken together, I believe it shows Nicodemus as questioning, then defending, and then following. His story would have wonderful to know, but these short passages are all we know about him. What does it mean to be “born again”? The Greek words of John could also be translated “born from above”. Nicodemus hears it as “physically born again” but does Jesus mean “born from above”? You decide.
May the Spirit of the Lord and Jesus Christ bless you in your daily ministry (and everything you do should be a ministry).

Pastor Gary

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