Proverbs 31:10-31, James 3:13-4:3 and Mark 9:30-37
In Mark the disciples seem to be all about positioning for THEIR own greatness. Jesus’ response to this “earthly, unspiritual, devilish” attitude is to speak of “welcoming a child!” And both James 3 and Proverbs 31 give us examples of how we can be about following Jesus in such a way that people notice such…for the good! Both books, Proverbs and James, are all about wise living. And as we might figure, it’s wisdom “caught, not as much taught.” It’s what we see going on in the lives of others and we admire that! And admiration leads to imitation!
Not to make saints where there is as much sinner as saint, but to at least to be “drawn toward that noticeable servant like behavior and warm heart attitude” rather than toward the “dark side” ( catch the Star Wars reference?). We do spend 99.9% of our lives outside worship on Sunday, but we want to “catch something” on Sunday that lasts all week! In worship, faith opens our eyes and sees a way forward for all the rest of the week.
Look and listen for those who are kind to children and the wise woman going about doing for others. And pray to do likewise…..
Blessings as we approach worship and daily walking with the Lord!
Psalm 25:12-15, John 21:15-19 and Hebrews 11:1-12:2.
Homecoming implies a place to come to with people you care about and that care about you! In that sense homecoming is every Sunday and every time brothers and sisters in Christ gather. But, at least one Sunday a year, we look toward a gathering that includes family and friends arriving from either a distance or from an extended absence. For whatever reason! Plus all the “regulars!”
Our selected scriptures are very much about the people and personalities we have come to love and admire from the Bible. Hebrews 11 is that great “faith Hall of Fame.” When the names are called out we know the stories and personalities behind the name!
In similar fashion, we know the backstory to Jesus and Peter’s exchange at the end of John. Just as Peter once denied Christ three times, now Peter is forthright is saying he loves his Lord and will go about “feeding the sheep.”
On Sunday, we will recall and hear again our Kedron names, stories, and shared faith. A large and extended family of the usual suspects both Saint and sinner in each and everyone.
And as Jesus asked Peter to do, we as the sheep of the Lord’s flock will be fed and in turn feed others both spiritually and physically. Our paths cross in so many ways but our homeland is the same! Together with the saints before us we set our sights toward the Kingdom of God both here and forever!
See you at home!
Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23, James 2:1-17 and Mark 7:24-37
Faith alone. Faith and works. Trust and obedience. You can see where we are headed this Sunday in worship! Nothing less than trying, again, to get a grip on being a Christian day in and day out!
Jesus in Mark’s account is about healing in Gentile territory. What do THEY know about the faith of Israel or who Jesus really is?! James says faith without works is dead! But, we all know works won’t get you justified before God. No working your way into God’s grace, correct?
Well, we will sing and pray our faith this Sunday even if we still struggle as many before us have (Martin Luther and John Wesley) in connecting faith and good works. In my humble opinion, Wesley expressed it better than Luther, but Luther had a bigger challenge church-wise than did Wesley!
If this seems to be “splitting theological hairs” feel free to just come to celebrate Grandparents Day, Rosh Hashanah, Teddy Bear Day, or a birthday or anniversary amongst family and friends!
By faith, we will strive to teach, preach, and sing the Word and by faith, we will strive to be “doers of the Word not hearers only!”
Blessings and a good week ahead for you and the neighbor you minister to!
Song of Solomon 2:8-13, James 1:17-27 and Mark 7:1-23.
Your guess is as good as mine at this point as to why the Old Testament reading is this one from Solomon’s Song of Songs! A lot about love but, upon first reading, sure looks like the “romantic love” between a couple!
We will work to bring this together with Jesus’ stern address to the Pharisees about their “traditions of the elders” which tended to emphasize outward observance of cleanliness to the neglect of purity within. And James insists that “true and faultless religion” is that which cares outwardly for “widows and orphans.” And this will all come together on a Holy Communion Sunday! Pray for me as the preacher and for the scripture readers and for the music leaders!
At least as you read these scriptures you will see how interesting and challenging Bible reading can be! Love, cleanliness within, and practical religion are spelled out and show us the way the Beloved One would have us follow.
It’s a lot to take in but people should leave worship encouraged to faithfully “live into” the daily Christian’s walk. And know where we are to ask for forgiveness when we don’t!
Thanks for your prayerful help heading into Sunday morning!
I Kings 8:22-30, 41-43, Ephesians 6:10-20 and John 6:56-69
It’s always something! Maintenance and upkeep. Whether an apartment, house, or other dwelling, someone’s got to keep it up! Same for the human body. Some kind of “service agreement” comes with it! Medicines, exercise, nutrition, treatment for this and that.
In worship this Sunday we will hear of the Temple a site of worshipping and serving God. Turns out that Temple has two locations! Both a material structure made of stone and wood, while the other is…well….the human body (person).
The scriptures bring heaven and earth together in Jesus, the Church, and YOU as an individual with all your needs for care, maintenance, and expression. You need nourishment? Yes, bread and the Bread of Life. You need protection both physically and spiritually. John and Ephesians speak to these Creator designed needs.
Work is necessary and welcomed on the Temple. And God does the best work upon the crown of Creation the human being. Are we partners by faith in the work God is about doing within us and outwardly toward others? I renew that partnership and work agreement every time I come to worship!
Blessings on your “building” work!
See you Sunday!
I Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, Ephesians 5:15-20 and John 6:51-58
As young and inexperienced as Solomon thought himself to be, he still was wise enough to ask God the right kind of requests! Solomon says he is so “inexperienced” that he hardly knows “how to go out or come in (!)”. But, the son of David is a quick learner it appears!
There is “book learnin” and “learning by doing.” We need both. Methodists have long been known for valuing education and one’s own personal experiences of faith. These, with also “rightly discerning” the Bible while continually looking at faithful tradition, have empowered Methodists to have been faithful witnesses for over 200 years plus!
Thus, the scriptures for Sunday emphasize experience (Solomon), tradition (John and the striking images of Jesus as Bread of Life), and reason (we see the latter applied in all these scriptures).
We will listen in on young Solomon’s “conversation” with God and the experiences of Paul instructing the new Christians at Ephesus. We will hear much that applies to each of us as “learners in the faith” and how we go about “coming and going” in daily experiences in being Christian.
I hope to share a few “experiences” from a most recent road trip Westward which was a faith trip after all given a less than stellar bill of orthopedic health the last few weeks! Again thanks to LeNoir and Chip for filling in the pulpit in my absence. And for the people of Locks and Kedron for being faithful in their own “going out and coming in!”
Rev. Chip Hunter, our new DS, brings our message this Sunday while your pastor “rehabs” his knee out West! I am better and I missed being with the people of God last Sunday. Your former DS LeNoir was kind to fill in and reports have been positive! And laity step up every Sunday to lead in worship, education, fellowship, and service.
It is good when “whoever” steps up to help out in worship and church life. I imagine that Bro. Chip will address the scripture emphasis on “whoever.” The context has to do with each one believing Jesus as the bread of Life. And each of us can bear testimony to God calling us each as specific individuals with detailed unique personal histories. And then bringing the “called whoevers” together to do the mission of the church. Such a reality brings our fascinating personal faith stories into the combined Big Story, the Story of God and all Creation.
You are a “whoever” and you are part of the Body of Christ fed by He who is the Bread of Life.
Pray for the Body this week, this Sunday. We need each other and we miss each other when we are apart. And we also welcome more “whoevers” to the Body wherever they and we come together at worship, fellowship, work, play, community. Nourish yourselves and others in worship this Sunday.
Blessings from the Road~~!
It wasn’t uncommon in my childhood to be fed “comfort food” if I seemed to be sad or not feeling well. “How about a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup?” Mother might say. Or here would come a cake fresh out of the oven! And some comfort foods ARE nutritious, yes?! Some build up a growing body, yes?!
The scriptures for Sunday are both full of sorrow and trouble AND a source of comfort and “nutrition.” Few would not read about David’s sin and not recoil from the consequences. Few would not be drawn positively toward Paul’s grand affirmation of the people of God, the body of Christ “full of love.” Few would not welcome the bread of Jesus when hungry in both body and spirit.
As usual, we read and hear the Word in all its wide range of human/divine interaction. We hear and see about the “ancients” and yet learn much about ourselves today! The human condition is pretty awful, prone to misery, but full of potential to grow and mature with the “proper feeding” and sitting at table with “all the other students (disciples).”
Make it so this Sunday as we worship!
2 Samuel 11:1-18, Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 6:1-21
The Lectionary gives scripture to work with each Sunday. We should have reason to rejoice and smile when we read in John and Ephesians about hope, miracle food for body and soul, the power of God in us and over the threats which come at us, and finally being the beloved people of God. Those are great.
But the Samuel text is in glaring contrast since it’s about the sordid matters of adultery and murder committed by a “man of God.” It doesn’t take long to see we are caught between Sin and Salvation! I suppose that’s a big part of actually showing up for worship together and hearing all this together! We need reminding of our weakness and God’s power and knowing we all are in this together! And maybe we can help each other through the good and the bad times because we can be honest with other just as the Scriptures are honest with us!
King David gets it, but sadly after the fact of his horrid behavior. Still better to “get it” than to never pay attention at all.
Brace yourself for the contrast this Sunday! But, I still believe that before the hour (or so) is over…. Good News will win out!
2 Samuel 7:1-14, Ephesians 2:11-22 and Mark 6:30-34.
The passages in Samuel and Ephesians touch upon the images of “temple, house of God, buildings, foundations, and where God dwells.” Mark is about the ongoing picture of Jesus with his band of disciples on the move. Not much about where they would stay or rest or abide although the need for such is apparent! They are a “house on the move.”
The overarching question is “where does God dwell?!” David said that he himself as King had a good cedar house to live in but God only had a tent(!). David sets out to build a Temple for God. By the time we arrive in Ephesians, God clearly has a “different building to live in!”
God as Spirit is everywhere we affirm but there is just something about the human creature that is made for God to inhabit! Jesus and the church of Jesus fit the bill perfectly.
We will go exploring what the scriptures say about this Presence of God in us. We may take a side trip “up” into God’s universe since Friday July 20 is the anniversary of the moon landing and moon walk in 1969! 49 years ago! And we might go more family oriented as a special place for God since this Sunday is also recognized as Parents’ Day!
Before we are all said and done, God is going to be shown to be with us….wherever we are, wherever the Creation exists!
Be ready to set up a house and a home!
See you in “a” house of the Lord on Sunday!