Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Readings for Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and start to your week. Don't forget that there is "Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation" at Peace United Church at 6:00 PM tonight and then at Grey Eagle UMC at 7:30 PM.

This Sunday we continue with our worship series "The Road to Light". Our emphasis will be "Road Through Darkness". Here is a synopsis:

"The world needs its victims to maintain a tentative, shaky peace. In the centuries before Jesus and even in the centuries after Jesus in many parts of the world, the victim was sacrificed to the gods who demand a price for injuries the gods receive from humans. Even when animals are substituted for people in the sacrificial system, humans, even children, were often sacrificed. Humanity was often ignorant (darkness) to the system, which is why it worked. To cover the collective guilt of humanity, lies - myths - were told of the guilt of the victim. Jewish scripture started the revelation of the truth which was completed and fulfilled in Jesus, son of God."

Our readings this week are:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 – This is one of the most famous quotes from the prophet Jeremiah. God says that God will pour his law into the hearts of the people of Israel and Judah (can we expand this to include all followers of Jesus or perhaps all people?). Once everyone knows (experiences) God’s law then we will no longer need to teach anyone about God and the laws. (No more Sunday School and Confirmation Classes?)

Psalm 51:1-12 – The psalmist asks God to wash away everything that makes him impure. He calls on God to give him a new, right, and clean spirit that he may experience the joy of God’s salvation. This is the Psalm we read on Ash Wednesday.

Hebrews 5:5-10 – This doesn’t seem to fit the idea that God is changing our hearts. However, in being obedient to God, even going to death on the cross, Jesus was (made) perfect in his love for God and humanity. This became the source of our salvation that changes our hearts and gives us the ability to obey him. BTW, the name in verse 10 is pronounced “Mel-keys-a-deck” 

John 12:20-33 (34-36a) – This opens with a request of some Greeks to speak to Jesus but Jesus turns the conversation to his upcoming death. He alludes that his death is like a grain of wheat planted in the ground that produces much fruit. He also says that he will not turn away from what must happen because it will bring glory to God, his Father. When he is “lifted up” (re: the snake on a pole in last week's reading) he brings judgment on all humanity, drives Satan out, and will draw all people to him. The only way to draw all people to him is for our hearts to be changed when we witness the horror of what is done (throughout history down to today).

Have a blessed week!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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