Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Church of St Paul - Leicester Street, Leamingt...

Church of St Paul – Leicester Street, Leamington Spa – church door (Photo credit: ell brown)

Who Comes To Your Church? 100412

 This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Psalm 8 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%208%20&version=MSG

Genesis 20:1-18 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2020:1-18&version=MSG

Galatians 3:23-29 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%203:23-29&version=MSG

Who Comes To Your Church? 100412

 When we read today’s selection from Galatians 3, and read Paul’s familiar statement about Jew and non-Jew being equal, and slaves and masters being equal, and male and female being equal, I have to ask—who comes to your church? Does everyone look somewhat alike, have about the same income and wealth, and all too often also have the same political beliefs? And it goes further until most of the world’s challenges and conflicts are screened out, and kept away from the church’s front doors.

Do we end up loving humanity, but forget to love much of humanity (especially the parts of humanity that are not like us or do not challenge us?

But avoidance of humanity is not the same as equality, unless we’re talking about equally avoiding humanity. Can we challenge ourselves to really love equally humanity? Can we challenge ourselves to include all people as being part of the community of Christian disciples?

We realize that some churches are struggling with whom Christ meant to include. Churches are being asked to include or excluded certain groups of people. It is an important idea to consider, but I want us also to include all of God’s creatures and living things? Should flowers and vegetables be included in our ideas of who, or what should be included in Christ’s community (the church)? Should all animals and living things be included in this community (including spiders, mosquitos and cockroaches), or is our idea still limited to ‘what we like and prefer’.

And while we’re at it, what about stars, galaxiesm comets and universes without end? God’s love and Jesus’ community are without limit—it is our minds and sometimes our hearts that close it in, to be a small, and maybe empty building. Throw open the doors!

And pray for peace,

Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

 

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

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Psalm 8

Genesis 20:1-18

Galatians 3:23-29

Psalm 8

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

8 God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.

3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?

5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.

God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.

Genesis 20:1-18

The Message (MSG)

20 1-2 Abraham traveled from there south to the Negev and settled down between Kadesh and Shur. While he was camping in Gerar, Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.”

2-3 So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her. But God came to Abimelech in a dream that night and told him, “You’re as good as dead—that woman you took, she’s a married woman.”

4-5 Now Abimelech had not yet slept with her, hadn’t so much as touched her. He said, “Master, would you kill an innocent man? Didn’t he tell me, ‘She’s my sister’? And didn’t she herself say, ‘He’s my brother’? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong when I did this.”

6-7 God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know your intentions were pure, that’s why I kept you from sinning against me; I was the one who kept you from going to bed with her. So now give the man’s wife back to him. He’s a prophet and will pray for you—pray for your life. If you don’t give her back, know that it’s certain death both for you and everyone in your family.”

8-9 Abimelech was up first thing in the morning. He called all his house servants together and told them the whole story. They were shocked. Then Abimelech called in Abraham and said, “What have you done to us? What have I ever done to you that you would bring on me and my kingdom this huge offense? What you’ve done to me ought never to have been done.”

10 Abimelech went on to Abraham, “Whatever were you thinking of when you did this thing?”

11-13 Abraham said, “I just assumed that there was no fear of God in this place and that they’d kill me to get my wife. Besides, the truth is that she is my half sister; she’s my father’s daughter but not my mother’s. When God sent me out as a wanderer from my father’s home, I told her, ‘Do me a favor; wherever we go, tell people that I’m your brother.’”

14-15 Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and along with her sent sheep and cattle and servants, both male and female. He said, “My land is open to you; live wherever you wish.”

16 And to Sarah he said, “I’ve given your brother a thousand pieces of silver—that clears you of even a shadow of suspicion before the eyes of the world. You’re vindicated.”

17-18 Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his maidservants, and they started having babies again. For God had shut down every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Galatians 3:23-29

The Message (MSG)

23-24 Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for.

25-27 But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.

In Christ’s Family

28-29 In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

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