II Samuel 11:26-12:13a, Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 and John 6:24-35
As good and great and anointed as he was, King David made a mess of relationships. He found a way to commit adultery, kill the husband, and see a baby die as a result! It’s a horrific Bible story but just as current as the latest celebrity crime news.
It’s amazing God puts up with our sin. It’s a good thing God’s love for us is never-ending. It certainly brings home to us the deep meaning of the hymn “Amazing Grace!”
Both in Exodus and in John, the message is highlighted that even when we sin and are empty of really doing good, our Creator will deal with us mercifully. The consequences of our bad choices and awful decisions are present but the emptiness our behavior brings upon us is overcome by the Bread of Life.
We are reminded of this unmerited favor from God every time we receive the Bread and Cup at Holy Communion. And even when we sit down for breakfast, lunch, and supper! We are fed and sustained by the Gifts of God. Even when we have had terrible “manners” toward God and neighbor before we have the Bread of life, we are meant for something better!
Think upon these things as you enter into worship this week. And also whenever you sit down for a meal!!
Thanks be to God!
Pastor Barry †
Psalm 145:10-18, Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 6:16-21
Paul the Apostle certainly uses a lot of words to describe “the riches of God” in Christ. Of course, throughout scripture God is deemed worthy of all the best words and descriptions human language has at its disposal!
Psalm 145 tells of the greatness and goodness of God. The Gospel of John passage amazes us with the compassion and power of God demonstrated in Jesus! So it’s no wonder that we are left with “unpacking” all these descriptions as best we can. And perhaps we are once again “lost in wonder and praise” at the majesty of God.
Sunday we will key in on Paul’s use of earthly “dimensions” in Ephesians 3 to help us grasp the impact of Jesus upon us, our world, and all Creation.
Buckle up for a ride into the “spaces” in which God is ever present. If you were impressed with the recent private entrepreneurs Branson and Bezos and their rocket rides into space, you should be even more impressed with the God who makes all things possible!
All glory to God!
See you in worship!
Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ephesians 2:11-22 and Mark 6: 30-34; 53-56
Once upon a time, Sundays, the Lord’s day, the Sabbath was much less busy, much more likely to really find people resting. Even in the small town I grew up in, during the summer, businesses closed on Wednesday afternoons! Rest, leisure. Not so today. All sorts of work continues and activities are available for everyone everyday 24/7.
So, when do people really get away from work, requirements, demands, busy days? One has to be very intentional now it seems about claiming some rest and recuperation for oneself.
Our Mark 6 passage is all about the work and ministry of the new community of disciples Jesus has started up. And here it declares Jesus compels them to rest awhile. Whether shepherds or the flock, there is great spiritual value in “getting away,” time alone, and physical rest.
Each ones needs are unique. One observes a day of rest different from others, but still……the call from Jesus remains: “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31 KJV.
And remember the words of the Psalmist here: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me besides still waters. He restoreth my soul.” (Psalm 23). As you can, make some time for Sabbath! And encourage others to do likewise.
Pastor Barry †
Philippians 4:1-9 and Mark 13
The coming of Christ gives those who follow the Lord a glimpse of the fullness of the Kingdom of God which shall be, and he gives us an invitation to live life now as though it has already come.
A “glimpse” is not full panoramic vision and an “invitation” requires a response. There is clearly an element of faith involved when we don’t see the Ending of the story, but only hear it proclaimed, announced, hoped for. But those steps of faith surprise us when amazingly great and good things appear which, sure enough, look like the way “things should be.”
Healings, forgiveness, mercy, justice, transformation of individuals and communities, genuine care for each other and even for strangers and enemies. Jesus said it, “Behold! The Kingdom of God is in your midst!”
Sometimes dramatic and sudden; sometimes gradual and often in a quiet way. The thing is to be attentive and inquisitive: “what IS God up to? What should I be about if a follower of the One who proclaimed God is at work!?”
On to Sunday worship and on to the week of discipleship!
Pastor Barry †
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12
Most of us desire to be compassionate people, don’t we? But do we know what compassion really is?
Henri Nouwen once wrote:
“Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick fix for it. As busy, active, relevant. . . [people] we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution. This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference. And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer.”
Showing compassion goes against our daily grind and our drive to achieve. It’s selfless, time-consuming, and often not pleasant. But it’s one of those double blessing things, you’ll bless another with your act of compassion, and you’ll be blessed in the process. As leaders, and followers having compassion for others is paramount to living your best life. I hope and pray that you will find time this week to practice compassion and understanding with the people that you meet.
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. – Albert Schweitzer
2 Samuel 5:1-5 and Mark 6:2-13
July 4th falls on a Sunday this year. And the Bible texts seem most fitting! The 2 Samuel reading is about the beginning of good King David’s attempt at nation building. What will Israel/Judah be all about?!
Mark tells us of Jesus’ ministry being all about “people building” in the Kingdom of God! Nations (and the people therein)and their relationship with God should always be shaped by Jesus’ teaching, healing, and saving presence. We will look at this idea of “two Kingdoms” and how they compare and contrast.
For sure, it is an ongoing challenge to be “in the world but not of the world.” Just ask any Christian who is elected to serve in public office!! Ask any Christian simply in their daily walk with the Lord!
Jesus knows us! He knew that his task would be for the “long haul” since he was dealing with weak, limited human beings in a Fallen World. The Mark passage emphasizes Jesus was “amazed at their lack of faith!” We are a work in progress where the old saying, “God’s not finished with me yet,” is very realistic. Just ask King David!
Happy July 4th and happier still that God saves and gives us freedom!