Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘Gospel of Matthew’

“No other foundation…”

February 23, 2014 –– Seventh Sunday after Epiphany

Lectionary Scriptures:

Leviticus 19:1-18

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. 3You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 4Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the LORD your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the LORD, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable on your behalf. 6It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the LORD; and any such person shall be cut off from the people.9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.
11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD. 13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. 15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. 17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Psalm 119:33-40

ה He (5th letter of the hebrew alphabet)

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.[a]
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
21So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Matthew 5:38-48
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Comments
In 1996 the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church (Old Mennonite) published a commemorative fraktur for the 500th anniversary of the birth of Menno Simons. At the bottom of the fraktur, printed on the sturdy stones, is the Bible verse from First Corinthians 3:11:
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ

This Bible verse was said to be Menno Simons’ favorite. The Mennonites were named after Menno Simons. He was one of the early Anabaptist leaders in Europe who survived persecution and lived long enough to have his name associated with the Anabaptist movement, sometimes referred to as the radical wing of the Great Reformation. Menno was born in 1496 and died peacefully in 1561. He became a Catholic priest in the Netherlands at the age of 28 and over the next dozen years or so he wrestled with the corruption of the church, the interpretation of the scriptures, and the social and nationalism movements of his day. His commitment to the reforms of the peaceful Anabaptist movement solidified when his brother, Peter Simons, was killed by authorities. Peter was part of a group who took over a monastery and attempted to hold it by force. Menno did not agree with using violence to bring about reform and changes but he sympathized with need to reform the church.
Author Phyllis Tickle believes the church is going through another period of upheaval similar to the Great Reformation of the 1500’s. In her book The Great Emergence (Baker, 2008) she notes that significant changes tend to come every five hundred or so years, including the coming of Christ in the first century, approximately 500 years after the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The temple was replaced by a different form of Judaism more centered in synagogue and scripture. The Jesus movement reinterpreted that understanding and the Christian church emerged. With the decline of the Roman Empire the church consolidated under Gregory the Great in the fifth and sixth centuries. Tickle argues that the pattern continues with the Great Schism of the 11th century which generated the Catholic and Orthodox streams, and the Reformation of the 16th century which generated many tributaries. From this historical trend, Tickle deduces that, here in the 2000s, we’re poised for another such seismic change. She calls it The Great Emergence.
What is at stake in these times of upheaval has been the question of authority. Where does the buck stop? Our denomination, the new Mennonite Church USA is engaged with that question with the latest round of discussions and actions related to how we deal with sexual minorities in the church. Some are convinced that the authority of the scripture says one thing. Some are convinced that the authority of scripture says something else. Some say the authority of the church documents are what we agree to follow. Others say, no, they are not those kind of documents. Where does the buck stop on this topic?
In some ways, the texts for this Sunday are foundational assertions. The Deuteronomy texts invoke the commandments given to Moses as authoritative. Psalm 119 affirms and celebrates the following of the law. The New Testament texts, of course, turn to Jesus the Christ as the foundation of faith.

The Apostle Paul declares to the church that they are the dwelling place of God. We have used this image in a more individualistic way to feel guilty about using our bodies in self-destructive ways – smoking, excessive eating, drinking, sexual excess and the variety of other ways we indulge our bodies in harmful ways. We have this idea that God’s temple should be a place of purity, holiness and moderation. Whether Paul is talking about our individual bodies or about the church, the community of Christ-followers, there is still a sense of intimacy with God’s Spirit that is conveyed. We are in union with God, a central truth of the Christian faith. This union leads to unconditional love and Paul’s words about that kind of love are expressed eloquently a few chapters later in his letter to the Corinthian church – “If I do not have love, I am nothing.”
The text from Matthew’s Gospel offers the teaching of Jesus on the everyday implications of living in union with God and expressing love for all, including enemies.
Walking in the way of Jesus, in union with God, led by God’s Spirit and driven by divine love, is a demanding standard for our individual lives and for the church. Is it the cornerstone of our faith?

Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113

Swine Laine

Swine Laine (Photo credit: AndyWilson)

Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113

 

 

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/

 

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203:1-13&version=MSG

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

Revelation 21:1-6ahttp://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2021:1-6a&version=MSG

Matthew 25:31-46 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025:31-46&version=MSG

 

Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113

 

Happy new year to each of you and yours. Our Bible verses for today are perfect verses with which to begin the new year.

 

But, for a moment I’ll speak of current, petty affairs.

 

In the New Testament, at Matthew 8:31 the story is told of Jesus driving demons into a herd of swine. The herd of swine then charge over a cliff and die. What I remember is that two witnesses to the place where this occurred in Galiliee either ‘see the cliff’ or ‘don’t see a cliff anywhere’.

 

My conference minister, Clarence Rempel, told me he had been to this spot and there was a remarkable cliff there, and that swine, hogs that it, would die if they charged over the cliff. But John Dominic Crossnan, a prominent historian and theologian claims there is no cliff there—that the story is a myth or a metaphor.

 

My point this new year’s morning is that there is sometimes not even a consensus whether there is a cliff, or not.

 

And in the news this morning is talk, as there has been for months of the United States’ fiscal cliff. Is there really a cliff at all? And do we have swine who may suddenly charge over this cliff to their death?

 

Many watching the news probably have already decided which politicians are the swine, or if all of them are! and I won’t express an opinion here, but this fiscal cliff is entirely of the making of the swine. The swine created the cliff, and are now toying with the idea of charging over it, to someone’s death but not their own.

 

The fiscal cliff however, refers to the economic chaos that results when massive amounts of federal spending, revenue, and safety nets all expired last evening at midnight. Rome was burning, one might add, while we reveled in the new year. (One version of a remedy did pass the Senate before midnight).

 

Indeed, one wonders why a government creates a massive problem, then captures the energy, hopes and fears of the world for three months, while a solution is promised or threatened. Do we have any other national and global problems upon which to focus?

 

From a Christian believer’s view, what happens if we go over the fiscal cliff? What happens if we don’t?

 

We have today’s Bible verses to read, and today’s prayers to be said. Ecclesiates says there is a time for everything, and I hear the words of the rock n’ roll song which uses its words in my head. Maybe I’ll hum that tune today, as it is a fit reminder of the timeliness of all that occurs in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Above all, pray for our peace with God this year.

 

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Psalm 8

Revelation 21:1-6a

Matthew 25:31-46

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

The Message (MSG)

There’s a Right Time for Everything

3 There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

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.

Revelation 21:1-8

The Message (MSG)

Everything New

21 I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.

I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband.

3-5 I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

6-8 Then he said, “It’s happened. I’m A to Z. I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it’s Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!”

 Matthew 25:31-46

The Message (MSG)

The Sheep and the Goats

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Aside

A Ministry for Crooks and Whores 091512

Perpetually pink

Perpetually pink (Photo credit: J. Star)

A Ministry for Crooks and Whores 091512

 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:

 

Psalm 116:1-9 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20116:1-9&version=MSG

Joshua 6:22-27 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%206:22-27&version=MSG

Matthew 21:23-32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2021:23-32&version=MSG

 

A Ministry for Crooks and Whores 091512

Today’s gospel from Matthew quotes Jesus teaching that ‘crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom.’ Sometimes we may wonder why we don’t have more churches in the poor part of town, and why don’t more Christians visit the prisons to find and serve these ‘crooks and whores’. Sometime between Jesus’ time on earth and now, Christians became special, famous, exalted people, in their own eyes, and became a religion of an upper class of people. We are often not the ‘crooks and whores’ Jesus seeks, and who will enter the kingdom first. And often we do not welcome such people into fancy and expensive cathedral churches.

Instead, we need to remember how to preach in alleys, in bars, in whorehouses, in prisons and in the most horrible and disgusting of human environments.

Will we find our Jesus already there, in the service of the outcasts?

Pray for us all, 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.

Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

Psalm 116:1-9

Joshua 6:22-27

Matthew 21:23-32

 

Psalm 116:1-9

The Message (MSG)

116 1-6 I love God because he listened to me,
listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
“Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
God has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”

Joshua 6:22-27

The Message (MSG)

22-24 Joshua ordered the two men who had spied out the land, “Enter the house of the harlot and rescue the woman and everyone connected with her, just as you promised her.” So the young spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, and brothers—everyone connected with her. They got the whole family out and gave them a place outside the camp of Israel. But they burned down the city and everything in it, except for the gold and silver and the bronze and iron vessels—all that they put in the treasury of God’s house.

25 But Joshua let Rahab the harlot live—Rahab and her father’s household and everyone connected to her. She is still alive and well in Israel because she hid the agents whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Joshua swore a solemn oath at that time:

Cursed before God is the man
who sets out to rebuild this city Jericho.
He’ll pay for the foundation with his firstborn son,
he’ll pay for the gates with his youngest son.

27 God was with Joshua. He became famous all over the land.

Matthew 21:23-32

The Message (MSG)

True Authority

23 Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?”

24-25 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”

25-27 They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they answered.

Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.

The Story of Two Sons

28 “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’

29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.

30 “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.

31-32 “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”

They said, “The first.”

Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Aside

Social Media is Not Very Social 090812

English: Jesus healing the sick by Gustave Dor...

English: Jesus healing the sick by Gustave Dore, 19th century Source: http://www.morethings.com/god_and_country/jesus/healing-jesus-240.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Mediais Not Very Social 090812

 

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:

 

Psalm 146 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20146&version=MSG

Isaiah 33:1-9 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2033:1-9&version=MSG

Matthew 15:21-31 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2015:21-31&version=MSG

 

Social Media is Not Very Social 090812

 

Those who know me would not be surprised to hear that I have a criticism of social media. They would not be surprised to hear this, because I usually have _some_ criticism of almost everything; this is part of the modern life—we must carefully and surgically think about everything that comes our way.

 

But there are serious flaws with social media, and perhaps serious flaws in thinking we can use social media, like Facebook, blogging and e-mail to stay in touch and that we can rely upon social media to make and do a church.

 

Let me explain. By means of this blog our (very) small church has been able to reach thousands of people. Most readers I never hear from or know about, although I do read the blogs of many of our regular subscribers. Over time I’ve come to feel that regular readers were sort of like people who regular attend our church, or regularly communicate with us.

 

As part of a church’s ministry the minister leads the congregation in creating a loving community of Christ. One way a minister does this is by regularly visiting one-to-one, face-to-face with each person or family in the church community. While social media does allow us to be in touch, it is not face-to-face, it is not one-on-one, it is not personal and it is just barely social. But with online, social media there are subscribers who have been here for a year or more, reading daily, but I don’t know them, they haven’t sent a prayer request, they have not been on contact with our ministers, etc.

 

In Matthew 15 (below) Jesus heals all who come to him, despite the disciples’ attempts to screen out the troublesome and high maintenance people. Does social media do this also? Are people reluctant to share the pain and doubt and loss of faith in their personal lives with any church, including one they know only by social media? Do we all attempt to present lovely, happy, one-sided pictures of ourselves on social media? I think so, and I don’t like it, but despite attempts for us all to be careful sharing information online, we still, with Jesus’ direction, need to find a way to be heal one another, to pray for one another, and create a community of Christ the best we can.

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.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

 

Psalm 146

Isaiah 33:1-9

Matthew 15:21-31

Psalm 146

The Message (MSG)

146 1-2 Hallelujah!
O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I’ll praise God,
singing songs to my God as long as I live.

3-9 Don’t put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don’t have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!
God made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
he defends the wronged,
he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
he gives sight to the blind,
he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.

10 God’s in charge—always.
Zion’s God is God for good!
Hallelujah!

Isaiah 33:1-9

The Message (MSG)

The Ground Under Our Feet Mourns

33 Doom to you, Destroyer,
not yet destroyed;
And doom to you, Betrayer,
not yet betrayed.
When you finish destroying,
your turn will come—destroyed!
When you quit betraying,
your turn will come—betrayed!

2-4 God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope.
First thing in the morning, be there for us!
When things go bad, help us out!
You spoke in thunder and everyone ran.
You showed up and nations scattered.
Your people, for a change, got in on the loot,
picking the field clean of the enemy spoils.

5-6 God is supremely esteemed. His center holds.
Zion brims over with all that is just and right.
God keeps your days stable and secure—
salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus,
and best of all, Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.

7-9 But look! Listen!
Tough men weep openly.
Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears.
The roads are empty—
not a soul out on the streets.
The peace treaty is broken,
its conditions violated,
its signers reviled.
The very ground under our feet mourns,
the Lebanon mountains hang their heads,
Flowering Sharon is a weed-choked gully,
and the forests of Bashan and Carmel? Bare branches.

Matthew 15:21-31

The Message (MSG)

Healing the People

21-22 From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”

23 Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”

24 Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”

26 He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”

27 She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”

28 Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.

29-31 After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute—all sorts of people in need—and more or less threw them down at Jesus’ feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them.

 

Aside

Selling The Jar Of Oil 021812

 

English: Egyptian alabaster unguent jar with t...

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

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Selling The Jar Of Oil 021812

Reading the jar of oil story in Matthew today, I’m always confused by why the oil wasn’t sold and the money given to the poor. Certainly it would be good to honor Jesus, if his body and flesh were here, but why didn’t Jesus request the oil be sold and the money given to the poor instead of just pouring it on his head?

If we apply this as a metaphor (which is our only choice—the woman with the alabaster jar is not here now) then this story might mean that Jesus is saying ‘you could have sold the oil at any time and helped the poor, but you choose to prepare me for death instead’. Jesus was also one of those poor, and maybe using the oil on his head was giving it to the poor.

I also _think_ we sometimes hear the absolutely clear voice of Jesus as a human being only, and not as the voice of God. Jesus remained human. And here Jesus speaks with compassion about the woman who loved him enough to use the precious oil on his head to prepare him for death. To know that an ordinary woman loved him and wished to bless him and prepare for his death moved him deeply, as it might any of us.

Some have said we should not be concerned so much by the poor, and that no matter what we do Jesus has ‘guaranteed’ they will be with us always. But I hope we are careful using Jesus’ words this way. It may be blasphemous to believe Jesus said we should not be so concerned with the poor because of this, when Jesus had spent his entire ministry caring for the poor, and he came from a religion that for thousands of years had spoken for the poor.

I’m left with only one alternative: to care for the poor as Jesus said, and to honor Jesus in his (human) death.

Pray for the poor and pray for peace,

(brother) Bill

 

 

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.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

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Psalm 30

Leviticus 14:21-32

Matthew 26:6-13

Psalm 30

1I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.

2O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

3O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

5For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

6As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”

7By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

8To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:

9“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

10Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”

11You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Leviticus 14:21-32

21But if he is poor and cannot afford so much, he shall take one male lamb for a guilt offering to be elevated, to make atonement on his behalf, and one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering and a log of oil; 22also two turtledoves or two pigeons, such as he can afford, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. 23On the eighth day he shall bring them for his cleansing to the priest, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, before the Lord; 24and the priest shall take the lamb of the guilt offering and the log of oil, and the priest shall raise them as an elevation offering before the Lord. 25The priest shall slaughter the lamb of the guilt offering and shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of the right hand, and on the big toe of the right foot. 26The priest shall pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand, 27and shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord. 28The priest shall put some of the oil that is in his hand on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot, where the blood of the guilt offering was placed. 29The rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement on his behalf before the Lord. 30And he shall offer, of the turtledoves or pigeons such as he can afford, 31one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, along with a grain offering; and the priest shall make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one being cleansed. 32This is the ritual for the one who has a leprous disease, who cannot afford the offerings for his cleansing.

Matthew 26:6-13

6Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? 9For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

Down with a Cold; Up with Jesus 020312

This blog comes to you from the people at

English: We three pigs Three pigs near to Narb...

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Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

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Psalm 111

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

Matthew 8:28—9:1

Down with a Cold; Up with Jesus 020312

No animals were harmed in this blog post!

I woke this morning with a bad cold, although that may be redundant. I don’t know what a good cold would be!

So after blowing my nose or emptying it, I began my daily routine, sort of. I drank coffee and I prayed, then I read today’s verses from Matthew 8. I wonder about today’s story from Matthew, since I used to raise hogs or pigs, and the Bible is right. Pigs are possessed by demoniacs and there have been several times I wished to drive them over a cliff. But pigs don’t drive well. They go where they please and it is always not where you are wanting them to go.

I began laughing at this, because I have been a demoniac and also pig-headed. Maybe this story is telling me that I have done better since Jesus made no room for the demoniac in me, and drove my pig-headedness over a cliff. Applying this metaphor to my own spiritual growth makes sense to me, at least it does now with a head and nose full of illness.

Pray for a peace and an end to pig=headedness especially when its ours.

(brother) Bill

Psalm 111

1Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

2Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.

3Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

4He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.

5He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.

6He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.

7The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.

8They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

9He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.

10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

13If prophets or those who divine by dreams appear among you and promise you omens or portents, 2and the omens or the portents declared by them take place, and they say, “Let us follow other gods” (whom you have not known) “and let us serve them,” 3you must not heed the words of those prophets or those who divine by dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. 4The Lord your God you shall follow, him alone you shall fear, his commandments you shall keep, his voice you shall obey, him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast. 5But those prophets or those who divine by dreams shall be put to death for having spoken treason against the Lord your God—who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery—to turn you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Matthew 8:28—9:1

28When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. 33The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 34Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

9And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related articles are presented without endorsement

Acquainted With All My Ways 012112

A man praying at a Japanese Shintō shrine.

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This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Subscribe to our blog. Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

1 Samuel 2:21-25

Matthew 25:1-13

 

Acquainted With All My Ways 012112

Over the years I’ve known just a handful of people, mainly relatives, who had no choice but to know me, and a couple of others that really were acquainted really with who I am.

But through the years I have spiritually been always in a state of change or a state of flux. This is not necessarily an advantage, because when one is experiencing change, disruption and chaos in one’s personal life, the end result may be sometimes that one is less spiritual, less with God, and just more and more dark. And one’s spiritual state may be something you share with family or friends, or with a close spiritual advisor, but, more likely spiritual affairs are something so deep, so personal that we often share not a word with anyone.

But through this all, I had never had the feeling that Jesus did not understand and accept who I really was inside, (even when I rejected Christianity for several decades). Jesus has been ‘acquainted with all my ways’ and still loves, I have discovered.

Read the above in Psalm 139 and rejoice!

Pray for peace,

(brother) Bill

Psalm 139

1O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

3You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

4Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.

5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

13For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

17How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

18I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.

1 Samuel 2:21-25

21And the Lord took note of Hannah; she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. 22Now Eli was very old. He heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23He said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25If one person sins against another, someone can intercede for the sinner with the Lord; but if someone sins against the Lord, who can make intercession?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father; for it was the will of the Lord to kill them.

Matthew 25:1-13

25“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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