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/
Who’s Counting? 111212
Whenever we talk to folks from the larger church—the church beyond our community—the first question we are asked is—how many people are attending your church now? Or even worse, what are your tithes amounting to?
I argue, and some think I am making excuses, when I explain that what we all do as a church is uncountable and should always be uncounted and uncountable. I argue that what we do as a church ‘doesn’t count’ and doesn’t add up.
A young man we knew is an example. He had been the victim of severe child abuse and child neglect, as the child of an alcoholic family, and found himself always resorting to violence to protect a younger, mentally disabled brother. But he tried to seetle down, tried to express his present love for his wife and 4 small children in a Christian way.
Whenever we talked he was deeply touched. He was deeply hurt by his past hurts, but absolutely determined that the violence and pain of his childhood would not reach his children and home.
But his demons pursued him, and the drugs he took for peace did not work, and his life often erupted in violence, often in situations very similar to the protection he had needed as a child, and never got. He protected a nephew, a niece, a neighbor child and so on, but he protected them sometimes with his fists, or once, with a baseball bat, and his rage was a mental illness.
But he saw himself as a peaceful Mennonite, and saw himself as a disciple, even though he only came to church once, and limited his ‘churchiness’ to conversations and prayers with the ministers and others.
Last Friday, he took a gun and shot himself in the head. The rage finally has ended.
Should we count him as part of our church? Should we count him as one in need of the peace of Jesus Christ?
Pray for peace.
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
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The Message (MSG)
5-7 They walk all over your people, God,
exploit and abuse your precious people.
They take out anyone who gets in their way;
if they can’t use them, they kill them.
They think, “God isn’t looking,
Jacob’s God is out to lunch.”
8-11 Well, think again, you idiots,
fools—how long before you get smart?
Do you think Ear-Maker doesn’t hear,
Eye-Shaper doesn’t see?
Do you think the trainer of nations doesn’t correct,
the teacher of Adam doesn’t know?
God knows, all right—
knows your stupidity,
sees your shallowness.
12-15 How blessed the man you train, God,
the woman you instruct in your Word,
Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,
while a jail is being built for the wicked.
God will never walk away from his people,
never desert his precious people.
Rest assured that justice is on its way
and every good heart put right.
16-19 Who stood up for me against the wicked?
Who took my side against evil workers?
If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
you calmed me down and cheered me up.
20-23 Can Misrule have anything in common with you?
Can Troublemaker pretend to be on your side?
They ganged up on good people,
plotted behind the backs of the innocent.
But God became my hideout,
God was my high mountain retreat,
Then boomeranged their evil back on them:
for their evil ways he wiped them out,
our God cleaned them out for good.
The Message (MSG)
36 The heads of the ancestral clan of Gilead son of Makir, the son of Manasseh—they were from the clans of the descendants of Joseph—approached Moses and the leaders who were heads of the families in the People of Israel.
2-4 They said, “When God commanded my master to hand over the inheritance-lands by lot to the People of Israel, my master was also commanded by God to hand over the inheritance-land of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. But what happens if they marry into another tribe in the People of Israel? Their inheritance-land will be taken out of our ancestral tribe and get added into the tribe into which they married. And then when the year of Jubilee comes for the People of Israel their inheritance will be lumped in with the inheritance of the tribe into which they married—their land will be removed from our ancestors’ inheritance!”
5-9 Moses, at God’s command, issued this order to the People of Israel: “What the tribe of the sons of Joseph says is right. This is God’s command to Zelophehad’s daughters: They are free to marry anyone they choose as long as they marry within their ancestral clan. The inheritance-land of the People of Israel must not get passed around from tribe to tribe. No, keep the tribal inheritance-land in the family. Every daughter who inherits land, regardless of the tribe she is in, must marry a man from within her father’s tribal clan. Every Israelite is responsible for making sure the inheritance stays within the ancestral tribe. No inheritance-land may be passed from tribe to tribe; each tribe of the People of Israel must hold tight to its own land.”
10-12 Zelophehad’s daughters did just as God commanded Moses. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, Zelophehad’s daughters, all married their cousins on their father’s side. They married within the families of Manasseh son of Joseph and their inheritance-lands stayed in their father’s family.
1 Timothy 5:1-8
The Message (MSG)
5 1-2 Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.
3-8 Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks—well, there’s nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
- Defining Neighbor 110312 (mennonitepreacher.wordpress.com)
- Where did this all go wrong? 102912 (mennonitepreacher.wordpress.com)
- What’s New, Part Two 110212 (mennonitepreacher.wordpress.com)
- Pell calls for facts not fiction on abuse (news.com.au)
- Group takes a stand against child abuse (minbcnews.com)
- Australia to hold child abuse inquiry (stuff.co.nz)
- Royal commission to probe child abuse (bigpondnews.com)
- Church’s secret compensation deals (theage.com.au)
- Precedent for PNG ‘dumping ground’ for abusive priests (asopa.typepad.com)
- Pell calls for facts not fiction on abuse (news.smh.com.au)