Just a reminder: Peace United Church's Annual Bazaar is this coming Saturday, November 4) from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. There are coffee and rolls early and lunch later in the morning. There are Crafts, Baked goods, White Elephant goods (Granny's Attic), and Christmas wreathes being sold. Eleven Exhibitors will be showing their wares and offering them for sale. Check it out this Saturday!
On Sunday, both church will remember the Saints of our church who have died since All Saints Sunday in 2016. Grey Eagle UMC will celebrate the life of Erma Meagher who died on March 6, 2017. Peace United Church will celebrate the lives of Jay Bodle (December 19, 2016), Violet Ostendorf (March 28, 2017), and Irma Lunceford (September 16, 2017).
We are continuing our sermon series "Difficult Scriptures". This week the sermon is titled "Love, Marriage, Divorce and Idolatry". Our reading are:
1 Samuel 20:16-23 - Jonathan loves David and David loves Jonathan. Is this about a deep friendship or something more? The traditional reading is it is a friendship and they are hiding their friendship from Jonathan's father, King Saul, who has grown to hate David. However, some claim that there was something more, but I not convinced by their argument.
Romans 1:16-2:1 - Paul ramps up the list of sins that humanity is guilty of: not honoring God, idolatry, worshiping the created not the Creator, unnatural intercourse, wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, gossiping, slandering, insolent, haughty, boastful, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. As you read the list, don't focus only on one sin. What about all twenty-three? Paul starts with the sins the Roman Christians see in the culture around them, but then catches us all in our sins. Therefore, Paul says, don't judge anyone for we then pass judgment on ourselves (2:1), ". . . since all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" (3:23).
Mark 10:1-12 - Jesus is questioned about divorce. Jesus says God, through Moses, allowed divorce because of the hardness of men's hearts. Jesus then says to the disciples that those who divorce and then marries another commits adultery against the first spouse. This is the harder reading than the ones in Matthew 5 and 19 where Jesus offers an exception for sexual immorality.
I will attempt to connect these three readings to the issue of Same-Gendered or Same-Sex attraction and marriage that has divided some denominations (Episcopal Church USA, Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the United Church of Christ to a lesser extent) and is threatening the future of the United Methodist Church. What is God's will for our intimate relationships? How does divorce-and-remarriage relate to same-sex marriage? These are complicated issues with no easy answers.
Please keep in mind that there have always been multiple ways of understanding Scripture. How God speaks to me when I engage the Holy Scripture may be different than how God speaks to you. I acknowledge that I may be wrong and I try to keep an open mind to where God may take me. Also, just because we may differ on this or other issues that face the church doesn't mean that we can't be friends.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor