Posted by: Pauline | February 19, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday February 26

Luke 9:28-45

When reading this passage, we tend to focus on the Transfiguration of Jesus. After all, it has such theological significance. As for the healing that follows, the Gospel has lots of stories of healing. Besides, when we read the others we don’t have to think about whether we are like the disciples who were asked to heal the boy and could not.

Unlike Matthew and Mark, Luke does not address the issue of why the disciples had failed in their attempt. But he does sandwich the stories of the Transfiguration and this healing between two times when Jesus foretold his death, then talked about God’s reversal of the typical values of the world (gaining things of the world, being great).

The events on the mount of transfiguration confirmed Jesus in his journey toward suffering and death, so that he might bring life to the world. But the disciples still tended to think in terms of worldly values. Only after his death and resurrection were they transformed and began to share that new life with others.

Psalm 36:5-10

These verses from Psalm 36 stand in stark contrast to those at the beginning of the psalm. Interpreters have pondered the reason for the abrupt change at verse 5. Earlier, the psalmist reflects on the attitude of the person who does not fear God, who has abandoned wisdom and chosen evil over good. Then the psalmist switches to praising God for His righteousness and steadfast love, before ending with a prayer against evil and evildoers.

It has been suggested that these contrasting verses help us remember that praising God and focusing on His goodness is a good way to keep us turned toward Him and away from evil. Or it is a reminder that no matter how bad the world seems sometimes, the steadfast love of God is just as true as ever, and we can take shelter in Him. In any case, the verses of praise, while they certainly could stand alone, here serve to focus our minds on God in the midst of a world that is so often opposed to Him.

Posted by: Pauline | February 19, 2017

Upcoming events: week of February 20

This Week

Tuesday, February 21

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Guided Learning Club

Wednesday, February 22

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Thursday, February 23

7 p.m. Handchimes practice

Sunday, February 26

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service
Shrove Tuesday soup luncheon after the worship service
6:30 p.m. Movie Night: Woodlawn

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, March 1

7 p.m. Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service at United Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | February 13, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday February 19

Luke 7:36-50

This is one of several meal-time scenes in Luke’s Gospel, and one of three in which Jesus dines with a Pharisee. Such dinners were not so private as dinner parties today, and it was acceptable for poor people to be present nearby to get some scraps of food.

So it was not the woman’s mere presence that upset Simon the Pharisee, but the intimate act of touching his feet, not only with her hands but with her hair and her lips. Whatever sins she was known for, she was unclean and her touch would make Jesus unclean.

Jesus does not minimize the magnitude of the woman’s sins, but points out that, having sinned so much, she is especially grateful for being forgiven.

Psalm 130

This psalm is one of the fifteen “songs of ascents,” thought to have been used by pilgrims on their ascent up to Jerusalem. Knowing that in order to approach God they needed to be in a right relationship with Him, they would find the words of this psalm helping them to ask God’s forgiveness, individually, for their sins. Then it encourages them to wait and hope in God. Finally they are joined in praise to God, knowing that He cares not only for them as individuals but as the people of God.

Posted by: Pauline | February 12, 2017

Upcoming events: week of February 13

This Week

Tuesday, February 14

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Guided Learning Club

Wednesday, February 15

6:30 p.m. Youth Group
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
6:30 p.m. Session Meeting

Saturday, February 18

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, February 19

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service

Looking Ahead

Thursday, February 23

7 p.m. Handchime practice

Sunday, February 26

Shrove Tuesday Luncheon after the worship service
Movie Night: Woodlawn

Wednesday, March 1

7 p.m. Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service at United Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | February 6, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday February 12

Luke 7:18-35

Interpreters of this passage generally see John the Baptist’s question as reflecting inward doubts, as John wonders if he had been wrong when he identified Jesus as the Messiah. Some, however, see his question more as a public challenge to Jesus, demanding that he acknowledge that he is the Messiah (and start acting more like they expected the Messiah to act). Otherwise, these interpreters hear John warning, “we’ll go find someone else to follow!” People were sure they knew what Jesus was supposed to be doing, and some of them were willing to push him to get moving on that agenda.

Whatever the motivation for John’s questioning, Jesus neither rebukes him for the question nor answers the way John probably wished for. Instead, Jesus points to his works of healing and compassion to speak for him. He has indeed begun his Kingdom building, but it takes a rather different form from what most of his countrymen were expecting and hoping for.

Psalm 34:1-9

According to the superscription for this psalm, it relates to an incident in David’s life while he was on the run from King Saul. Fearing for his life, he had left Israel and fled into enemy territory. He was recognized as a notable Israelite warrior however, who had killed many men of the country where he was now trying to hide. Again fearing for his life, he pretended to be insane, so that he was not considered a threat and was able to flee again to another country.

This was not the first time he had used deception to aid him in escape from life-threatening circumstances. What the stories of those escapes do not mention is praying to God for deliverance. So it is not immediately clear how his words in this psalm “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles” relate to his experiences in those circumstances.

But he also speaks of God delivering him from all his fears. It may make more sense to think that this psalm is not about his deliverance from danger in enemy territory, but his deliverance from his own fears that had driven him to rely on deception rather than on God. Reflecting later on all that had happened, he came to a place of greater trust in God, and exhorted others to place their trust in God also.

Posted by: Pauline | February 5, 2017

Upcoming events: week of February 6

This Week

Tuesday, February 7

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
1:30 Women’s Guild
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Guided Learning Club

Wednesday, February 8

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Thursday, February 9

7 p.m. Choir practice

Sunday, February 12

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service
Youth Luncheon after the worship service
4:30 p.m. Bible Study at Morning Sun

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, February 15

6:30 p.m. Youth Group
6:30 p.m. Session Meeting

Saturday, February 18

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, February 26

Shrove Tuesday Luncheon after the worship service
Movie Night: Woodlawn

Wednesday, March 1

7 p.m. Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service at United Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | January 29, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday February 5

Luke 7:1-17

Often Jesus heals people because he has been asked to, either by the sick person or by friends or family. Such is the case with the healing of the centurion’s servant, where Jewish elders asked Jesus on behalf of the centurion, who asked on behalf of his servant.

But other occasionally Jesus brings healing to someone who hadn’t even asked. In the case of the son of a widow in the village of Nain, it probably never occurred to her to ask. For one thing, she had no idea Jesus was nearby. And even if she knew he was near, and had heard of his power to heal, she would not have asked, because it was too late. Her son was dead.

But Jesus amazed everyone by raising the dead man to life. This was the kind of miracle people had heard of in the stories of great prophets of long ago, but never expected to witness themselves. They were filled not just with amazement but with fear, perhaps because the great prophets had not only showed the power of God in their actions but also frequently proclaimed God’s judgment on His people.

Psalm 119:105-112

Some people today think of God only in the context of religious rituals, often limited to special times and places. But the psalmist clearly thinks of God in connection with all of his life. When he suffers, he prays to God. When he reflects on blessings in his life, he praises God. When he considers his future actions, it is always with regard to what God has commanded. He does not know what future God has planned for him, but he knows God’s word provides the guidance he needs, day by day.

Posted by: Pauline | January 29, 2017

Upcoming events: week of January 30

This Week

Tuesday, January 31

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Guided Learning Club

Wednesday, February 1

6:30 p.m. Youth Group

Saturday, February 4

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, February 5

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service including Communion for all ages
Souper Bowl Sunday: bring cans of soup for the local food pantry

Looking Ahead

Sunday February 12

Youth Luncheon following the worship service

Wednesday, February 15

6:30 p.m. Youth Group
6:30 p.m. Session Meeting

Saturday, February 18

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, February 26

Shrove Tuesday Luncheon after the worship service
Movie Night: Woodlawn

Wednesday, March 1

7 p.m. Ecumenical Ash Wednesday service at United Methodist Church

Posted by: Pauline | January 22, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday January 29

Luke 6:1-16

The Pharisees began as a group dedicated to preserving their Jewish identity in the face of great pressure to conform to the Greek culture around them. They also believed that Israel’s subjection to foreign nations was God’s punishment for not keeping the Law faithfully, so they were determined to do all in their power to earn God’s favor by their zealous adherence to God’s law.

So as to be sure of not violating the Sabbath, the Pharisees had developed a list of activities prohibited on the Sabbath. By the time of Jesus, this had been expanded into a lengthy catalog of just what was and was not allowed down to the tiniest detail. The Pharisees themselves were divided among the more hard-line conservatives who made adherence to these rules the highest priority, and those who gave priority to meeting human needs.

Jesus would have been seen more positively by the latter group, and we do see some situations in the gospels where he seems to be on good terms with some Pharisees. But even these may have been offended by Jesus’ claim of authority over the Sabbath. Previously his healings on the Sabbath had aroused no opposition, but once the Pharisees saw their authority threatened by Jesus, anything he did or said was seen as a potential threat not only to them but to the entire nation (since God’s blessing depended on their obedience to His law).

Psalm 92

Like many psalms, Psalm 92 draws a clear distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. Other psalms speak more of the differences in their behavior, while this psalm focuses on the differences in their futures – blessing for the righteous and doom for the unrighteous.

But this is not really the primary focus of the psalm. It is praise to God for His goodness, shown in His steadfast love to His people. The psalm was chosen for Sabbath worship, a time when the people would particularly take time to reflect on God’s goodness to them.

Posted by: Pauline | January 22, 2017

Upcoming events: week of January 23

This Week

Tuesday, January 24

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Guided Learning Club

Wednesday, January 25

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Sunday, January 29

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service
Congregational meeting following the worship service

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, February 1

6:30 p.m. Youth Group

Sunday, February 5

Souper Bowl Sunday: bring cans of soup for the local food pantry

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