Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Readings for Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hello Everyone,

Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen, Indeed!

There are two happenings on Thursday, April 12, that you may be interested.

1. "Developing Stewardship and Generosity Leaders". This workshop (9 am to 3 pm) is being held at Advent UMC in Eagan, MN, and is simultaneously being streamed to Alexandria UMC. Dr. Clayton Smith, Executive Pastor of Generosity at the Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas will teach us "about how it is essential for church leaders to use faith-based programs to enable their churches to grow in love of God and neighbor and to reach new people." If you would like to attend, let me know ASAP (today, Tuesday) so I can let Alexandria UMC know. I will be attending.

2. "Second Harvest Conversation". This short gathering, maybe 1 1/2 hours, is about providing the people of Todd County who need food with fresh produce. Here is their description: "We are exploring a partnership with Second Harvest Heartland to facilitate a Produce Distribution that would occur in our community once a month. One time a month Second Harvest would deliver around 5,000+ pounds of fresh produce to be distributed to residents in need of food. There is no cost and no prerequisites to “qualify” to receive the food. We ask for no personal information or identification. We welcome any and all to participate to come and take what they need to feed themselves and their families.  It is with community involvement and collaboration that makes this initiative successful and sustainable, and faith based communities are very important partners to have as we embark on this endeavor!" The meeting is Thursday at 9 am in the boardroom at the old hospital and clinic in Long Prairie. It would be especially good if several people from Peace United Church could attend. Let me know if you can go and I will let the coordinator know.

Our readings this week, the Third Sunday of Easter, are:

Acts 3:12-19 – Peter and John go to the temple and heal a man who was lame from birth (3:1-10). The people are amazed so Peter takes the opportunity to tell them who actually did the healing – Jesus Christ. A point to consider: Peter places the blame for the killing of Jesus on his audience but he was as complicit as they were when he denied Jesus. Would his testimony be more effective if he said “We killed Jesus, but God raised him from death”?

Psalm 4 – The psalmist addresses God in verses 1, 7, and 8 and he addresses his enemies in verses 2-6. He pleads for God to help him and chastises the people for not being faithful to God. At the end of the psalm and in the knowledge that God will keep him safe, he has peace.

1 John 3:1-7 – I am not so sure that the Lectionary Committee who chose this passage gave us enough of it. I may expand it to 2:29-3:11. To abide in Jesus is to be a child of God. If we are children of God then we have no sin. (Except see 1:8.) The Elder goes so far as to say that everyone who does right is righteous like Jesus is righteous (verse 7). The true message to the followers of Jesus is that we should love each other (verse 11).

Luke 24:36b-48 – The “Walk to Emmaus” occurs on Easter Day and you can find it at 24:13-35. Our reading picks up immediately after the two disciples run back to Jerusalem and tell the other disciples what they have experienced. Verse 36a says, “While they were talking about this . . .” and that is where we pick it up. Jesus appears and says . . . wait for it . . . “Peace be with you.” Jesus invites the startled disciples to look and him and touch his wounds. He then eats a piece of fish. Jesus then proceeds to teach them about how his death and resurrection was a fulfillment of their scriptures (our Old Testament). If you keep reading to the end of Luke you will encounter a conundrum. All of chapter 24 reads like it all happened on the same day. In Acts 1:3 Luke says that Jesus appeared for 40 days. Did Luke forget what he said in the Gospel when he wrote Acts? Or did he leave out a seemingly important detail at the end of Luke?

Have a blessed week telling and showing others the Good News of the Resurrected Christ,

Pastor Gary

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