Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘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.

 

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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

Empty Promises 101012

Church Parking Lot

Church Parking Lot (Photo credit: michaelgoodin)

Empty Promises 101012

 

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 112 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20112&version=MSG

Jeremiah 3:6-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%203:6-14&version=MSG

Matthew 5:27-36 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:27-36&version=MSG

 

Empty Promises 101012

 

Preachers are the worst for this, and their ‘christians’ ‘with a small ‘c’. Saying we will do what Jesus said, but then ignoring the poor and hungry, not caring for orphans and widows, and not visiting those in jail, after we promised Jesus we would—this is outrageous! The church parking lot needs new asphalt, we think—new carpet in the sanctuary, and the paid preacher wants a raise! He/she should go get a real job and begin to understand how the flock suffers in the Great Recession!  Churches become like leeches, that suck blood only for themselves, but churches lead us to believe they will do something for Jesus’ flock.

 

But it’s like churches sell prayers to the poor. It’s not a perfectly clear contract or deal, but the church is supposed to be there for us when we need it, but I’ve heard more than one preacher say that they can be available only for their loyal members. How is loyalty mea$ured?

 

Think about it. We’re in a church together and some may get called to be preachers or music directors or on the committee of elders, and actually being a Sunday School teacher is the best job of all. But we do it because we love each other and we love Jesus, and it would take lots of money to pay us not to do what Jesus commanded.

 

Purify your church, and pray for peace,

Bill

 

 

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.

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

 

Psalm 112

Jeremiah 3:6-14

Matthew 5:27-36

 

 

 

Psalm 112

 

The Message (MSG)

 

112 1-10 Hallelujah!

Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God,

Who cherish and relish his commandments,

Their children robust on the earth,

And the homes of the upright—how blessed!

Their houses brim with wealth

And a generosity that never runs dry.

Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—

God’s grace and mercy and justice!

The good person is generous and lends lavishly;

No shuffling or stumbling around for this one,

But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation.

Unfazed by rumor and gossip,

Heart ready, trusting in God,

Spirit firm, unperturbed,

Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies,

They lavish gifts on the poor—

A generosity that goes on, and on, and on.

An honored life! A beautiful life!

Someone wicked takes one look and rages,

Blusters away but ends up speechless.

There’s nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.

Jeremiah 3:6-14

The Message (MSG)

Admit Your God-Defiance

6-10 God spoke to me during the reign of King Josiah: “You have noticed, haven’t you, how fickle Israel has visited every hill and grove of trees as a whore at large? I assumed that after she had gotten it out of her system, she’d come back, but she didn’t. Her flighty sister, Judah, saw what she did. She also saw that because of fickle Israel’s loose morals I threw her out, gave her her walking papers. But that didn’t faze flighty sister Judah. She went out, big as you please, and took up a whore’s life also. She took up cheap sex-and-religion as a sideline diversion, an indulgent recreation, and used anything and anyone, flouting sanity and sanctity alike, stinking up the country. And not once in all this did flighty sister Judah even give me a nod, although she made a show of it from time to time.” God’s Decree.

11-12 Then God told me, “Fickle Israel was a good sight better than flighty Judah. Go and preach this message. Face north toward Israel and say:

12-15 “‘Turn back, fickle Israel.
I’m not just hanging back to punish you.
I’m committed in love to you.
My anger doesn’t seethe nonstop.
Just admit your guilt.
Admit your God-defiance.
Admit to your promiscuous life with casual partners,
pulling strangers into the sex-and-religion groves
While turning a deaf ear to me.’”
God’s Decree.
“Come back, wandering children!”
God’s Decree.
“I, yes I, am your true husband.
I’ll pick you out one by one—
This one from the city, these two from the country—
and bring you to Zion.
I’ll give you good shepherd-rulers who rule my way,
who rule you with intelligence and wisdom.

Matthew 5:27-36

The Message (MSG)

Adultery and Divorce

27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.

31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.

Empty Promises

33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

 

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

As a Beginning 091312

As a Beginning 091312

08 - Zutat Senfkörner / Ingredient mustard seeds

08 – Zutat Senfkörner / Ingredient mustard seeds (Photo credit: JaBB)

 

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:

Isaiah 38:10-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2038:10-20&version=MSG

Judges 15:9-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%2015:9-20&version=MSG

Matthew 17:14-21 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2017:14-21&version=MSG

 

As a Beginning 091312

 

If someone asks you, or when someone asks you what does it mean to be a Christian, what do you?

If someone knew absolutely nothing about Jesus, or about God, what would you tell them?

In today’s gospel selection from Matthew 17:14-21 we may have our answer. Jesus says in this verse, answering the disciples question of why they can’t heal the sick like Jesus does ‘20 “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus.’

Is this the beginning of faith? Is this the beginning of our discipleship?

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.

Isaiah 38:10-20

Judges 15:9-20

Matthew 17:14-21

Isaiah 38:10-20

The Message (MSG)

9-15 This is what Hezekiah king of Judah wrote after he’d been sick and then recovered from his sickness:

In the very prime of life
I have to leave.
Whatever time I have left
is spent in death’s waiting room.
No more glimpses of God
in the land of the living,
No more meetings with my neighbors,
no more rubbing shoulders with friends.
This body I inhabit is taken down
and packed away like a camper’s tent.
Like a weaver, I’ve rolled up the carpet of my life
as God cuts me free of the loom
And at day’s end sweeps up the scraps and pieces.
I cry for help until morning.
Like a lion, God pummels and pounds me,
relentlessly finishing me off.
I squawk like a doomed hen,
moan like a dove.
My eyes ache from looking up for help:
“Master, I’m in trouble! Get me out of this!”
But what’s the use? God himself gave me the word.
He’s done it to me.
I can’t sleep—
I’m that upset, that troubled.

16-19 O Master, these are the conditions in which people live,
and yes, in these very conditions my spirit is still alive—
fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life!
It seems it was good for me
to go through all those troubles.
Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline.
You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing.
But my sins you let go of,
threw them over your shoulder—good riddance!
The dead don’t thank you,
and choirs don’t sing praises from the morgue.
Those buried six feet under
don’t witness to your faithful ways.
It’s the living—live men, live women—who thank you,
just as I’m doing right now.
Parents give their children
full reports on your faithful ways.

20 God saves and will save me.
As fiddles and mandolins strike up the tunes,
We’ll sing, oh we’ll sing, sing,
for the rest of our lives in the Sanctuary of God.

Judges 15:9-20

The Message (MSG)

9-10 The Philistines set out and made camp in Judah, preparing to attack Lehi (Jawbone). When the men of Judah asked, “Why have you come up against us?” they said, “We’re out to get Samson. We’re going after Samson to do to him what he did to us.”

11 Three companies of men from Judah went down to the cave at Etam Rock and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines already bully and lord it over us? So what’s going on with you, making things even worse?”

He said, “It was tit for tat. I only did to them what they did to me.”

12 They said, “Well, we’ve come down here to tie you up and turn you over to the Philistines.”

Samson said, “Just promise not to hurt me.”

13 “We promise,” they said. “We will tie you up and surrender you to them but, believe us, we won’t kill you.” They proceeded to tie him with new ropes and led him up from the Rock.

14-16 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him, shouting in triumph. And then the Spirit of God came on him with great power. The ropes on his arms fell apart like flax on fire; the thongs slipped off his hands. He spotted a fresh donkey jawbone, reached down and grabbed it, and with it killed the whole company. And Samson said,

With a donkey’s jawbone
I made heaps of donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I killed an entire company.

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone. He named that place Ramath Lehi (Jawbone Hill).

18-19 Now he was suddenly very thirsty. He called out to God, “You have given your servant this great victory. Are you going to abandon me to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” So God split open the rock basin in Lehi; water gushed out and Samson drank. His spirit revived—he was alive again! That’s why it’s called En Hakkore (Caller’s Spring). It’s still there at Lehi today.

20 Samson judged Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

Matthew 17:14-21

The Message (MSG)

With a Mere Kernel of Faith

14-16 At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, “Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river. I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him.”

17-18 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well.

19 When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?”

20 “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds (Photo credit: WordRidden)

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

The Nighttime Visitors 040712

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

The Nighttime Visitors 040712

Today, in historical time, is the day when Jesus body was laid in the new and unused tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph, though a prestigious and wealthy man, had become a disciple of Jesus and asked for the body of Jesus.

Nicodemus, another secretive disciple of Jesus, supplied herbs and perfumes for burial preparation.

Strangely, both these mean had been secretive and hidden followers of Jesus, and both came forward at his death to care for the body of Jesus. Perhaps Jesus’ death led then to finally feel ashamed of their prior silence, and to come forward in the time of death to care for Jesus’ body.

Will it take such catastrophe and death for us to stand up and confess our love for Jesus? Do we now just visit Jesus in the secrecy of the night, like Nicodemus?

But today is also a day of great expectation. Do you expect Jesus to rise tomorrow morning?

Pray for peace.

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/

 

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

 

Job 14:1-14

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

1 Peter 4:1-8

Matthew 27:57-66

John 19:38-42

 

Job 14:1-14

14“A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, 2comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last. 3Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgment with you? 4Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can. 5Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass, 6look away from them, and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days.

7“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. 8Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, 9yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. 10But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they? 11As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up, 12so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep. 13Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come.

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24

3I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath; 2he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; 3against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long. 4He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones; 5he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; 6he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago. 7He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 8though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; 9he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked. 19The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! 20My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.

21But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Psalm 31

1In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.

2Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.

3You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,

4take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

15My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

16Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.

1 Peter 4:1-8

4Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. 3You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.

4They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. 5But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.

7The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. 8Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Matthew 27:57-66

57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

John 19:38-42

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

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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