Two announcements this week.
1. Central Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge will be singing and sharing their stories of addiction and recovery at Grey Eagle UMC next Sunday during our 9:00 AM worship. All are invited to hear their testimonies and stay for a fellowship dinner afterward. Friends and members of GEUMC are asked to bring a side dish (potato dish, veggie dish) or a salad or a dessert to share. Grey Eagle UMC will be providing the main dish.
2. Cheryl's car will be in the shop for transmission and other work for the next three days and she will be using my truck as she begins a new school year. I will be working from home mostly and may come to the office tomorrow evening and Wednesday evening (and why I am sending this on Sunday afternoon).
Our Lectionary readings for this coming Sunday are:
Exodus 3:1-15 – Moses sees a (the) light, then hears God call to go back to Egypt to be God’s instrument to set the Israelites free. Moses, who throughout Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers is willing to argue with God, says God must have picked the wrong person. “No, it’s you I want.” “Well then, who should I say sent me?” “I AM, that’s who!” Moses will go on to argue three more times: they won’t believe me, I am a stutterer, and, simply, send someone else. God will have none of it. Moses is the man God wants. What about you? Do you ever argue with God? Do you offer objections when God calls you to do something? Remember, God is patient. It took me 25 years to answer God’s call to go into ministry. God will wait for you.
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c – This psalm recounts the mighty deeds of God for Israel. The first stanza, 1-6, is praise for God and the psalmist calls us to remember. The skipped verses, 7-22, recount what God did through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Verses 23-26 recount the people’s growth in Egypt and their enslavement necessitating God’s choice of Moses and Aaron to lead them. The remaining verses recount Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh, Israel’s exodus from Egypt, and God’s provisions for them as they traveled. Verse 45c: “Praise the Lord!”
Jeremiah 15:15-21 – Beginning in verse 10 of this chapter, Jeremiah complains to God about his troubles. Verses 15-18, Jeremiah recounts how he has been faithful but he also wonders why he is being persecuted. Verses 19-21 are God’s reply.
Psalm 26:1-8 – This is very similar to Jeremiah’s words in our reading above. The psalmist states that he has walked in the way of the Lord and not taken up company with the worthless, the hypocrites, the evildoers, and the wicked.
Romans 12:9-21 – What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? Read these verses to find out as I won’t repeat Paul’s wonderful list here. One note, however, about verse 19. The Greek does not have “of God” following the word “wrath”. In Romans, the only place Paul actually wrote “wrath of God” is at 1:18. At all other places Paul simply writes “wrath”. Here is a short study on the word “wrath” in Romans: “A Re-Formation of Faith”. What are we saved from with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? I would contend that we are saved not from God’s wrath but from human wrath.
Matthew 16:21-28 – Last week, while on retreat near Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon replied “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” This week’s reading is a continuation of that discussion. It is very unfortunate that the Lectionary Committee chose to split up the readings. What does it mean for Jesus to be the Messiah? Going to Jerusalem, suffering at the hands of the leaders, be killed, and rising on the third day. Peter (née Simon) objects saying that that must never happen. Jesus call him Satan and a scandal or stumbling block. (Last week Simon was Peter/Petros = Rock and this week he is Satan/scandal = Stumbling Block.) What does it mean to follow Jesus? Death. Death to self. Death to the world’s ways. Maybe even physical death. Pay close attention to verses 27-28. How will, or does, Jesus “repay everyone for what has been done”? Does this refer to some future coming of Jesus or to his resurrection? If it is a reference to his resurrection, what does Jesus do? He forgives us and he send us into the world to spread the Good News/Gospel.
Have a great week serving God while serving your neighbors.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor