Isaiah 35:1-10

The extravagance of the blessings promised in these verses suggests the severity of the troubles probably endured by those to whom the promises first came. They longed for God to come and make things right, punishing the oppressors, and showering abundant blessings on God’s people. It would be a time of great joy, and only God could bring it about.

Matthew 11:2-11

John the Baptist knew his Scriptures. He knew the prophecies which proclaimed the Day of the Lord, when God would come and save His people and punish their enemies.

Jesus has come, the one John said was the promised Messiah, but the prophecies don’t seem to be being fulfilled. The people still suffer under oppressive governments (John himself is in prison), and there is still a lot more sorrow and sighing than joy.

Jesus points out how the prophecies are being fulfilled. Every blind person given sight, every lame person now able to walk, every leper restored to wholeness and to the community, every deaf person now able to hear, and the families who lost loved ones to death and then received back those loved ones restore to life – all these are evidence of the promised Kingdom becoming a reality. Those with faith trust in this, though so much in the world still is not yet made right.

Posted by: Pauline | December 4, 2016

Upcoming events: week of December 5

This Week

Tuesday, December 6

10:15 a.m. Bible Study
11:30 a.m. Women’s Guild at the Corner Market
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Guided Learning Club

Wednesday, December 7

6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Thursday, December 8

7 p.m. Handchimes Practice

Sunday, December 11

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service (Third Sunday in Advent)

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, December 14

4:30 – 6: p.m. Clothes Depot
6:30 p.m. Youth: Practice for Christmas Program

Saturday, December 17

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Posted by: Pauline | December 4, 2016

Scriptures for Sunday December 4

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

In ancient Israel, this psalm was most likely sung at the king’s coronation, and perhaps yearly at the anniversary of his coronation. It expressed people’s belief that God ruled them through the king as His representative on earth, and their ideals of what the reign of a godly king would be like.

No earthly king ever fulfilled perfectly these ideals of justice, prosperity, and peace. Most of the kings of Judah and Israel failed miserably, and the prophets frequently pronounced judgment on God’s people for their failure – and especially the failure of their leaders – to exercise justice so that the neediest people in society were provided for.

As Christians, we see the ultimate fulfillment of these ideals in Christ the King. His rule, inaugurated but not yet fully realized on earth, is perfect, and one day He will bring about the perfect justice and peace people have longed for. In the meantime, He uses His people to do His work and reflect the right ordering of human relationships under His rule.

Matthew 3:1-12

Like the prophets of the Old Testament, John boldly rebuked those who were supposed to be Israel’s leaders but who used their power to their own advantage rather than for the good of the people. He preached repentance, but made it clear that repentance required not just words acknowledging sin but also a change in behavior. John also announced the coming of the one who would finally fulfill the people’s messianic hopes.

Posted by: Pauline | November 27, 2016

Upcoming events: week of November 28

This Week

Tuesday, November 29

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

Wednesday, November 30

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

Saturday, December 3

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Sunday, December 4

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service (Second Sunday in Advent) including Communion for all ages

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, December 6

11:30 a.m. Women’s Guild at the Corner Market

Thursday, December 8

7 p.m. Handchimes Practice

Posted by: Pauline | November 22, 2016

Scriptures for Sunday November 27

Matthew 24:36-44

The word Jesus uses to talk about his (second) “coming” in this passage is one that was used to announce the coming of a king. Normally, people make careful and often elaborate preparations for a ruler’s coming. To fail to make preparations indicates either ignorance of the ruler’s coming or disregard for the ruler’s exalted position.

Jesus does not specify in this passage what kind of preparations his followers should be making, but he makes it clear that he expects them to be ready. All the rest of his teachings guide us in the path of discipleship, and following these will show our desire and our readiness for our King’s return.

Isaiah 2:1-5

The image of turning swords into plowshares has great appeal to many people, and can be found in songs, speeches, and even a sculpture at the United Nations Headquarters. People long for a world where nations will focus on peace rather than on war as the best means to promote their people’s well-being.

This passage in Isaiah, however, does not depict this peaceful ideal as something that can be achieved by human efforts apart from God. Rather, it is the result of the nations turning to God, learning His ways, and accepting His judgments.

Posted by: Pauline | November 22, 2016

Upcoming events: week of November 21

This Week

Tuesday, November 22

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

Wednesday, November 23

No Bible Study

Saturday, November 26

6 p.m. Greening of the Church

Sunday, November 27

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service (First Sunday in Advent) and Youth Sunday School
4 p.m. Bible Study in Morning Sun

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, November 30

6:30 p.m. Youth Group

Saturday, December 3

10 a.m. – Noon Clothes Depot

Posted by: Pauline | November 18, 2016

Scriptures for Sunday November 20

Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-28

Those who speak the word of God sometimes have the satisfaction of seeing people respond in faith and obedience. It does not seem that Jeremiah saw much of that response to his prophecies. He painstakingly wrote down God’s words to His people, and his servant Baruch read the words to the people, but soon the scroll wound up burnt to ashes in the king’s fire pot.

The king may have thought that would put an end to Jeremiah’s dire warnings. But God just had Jeremiah write down His words all over again. The king did not last very long on his throne. But we are still reading God’s words, written down by Jeremiah, today.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The people of Jeremiah’s time may have known God’s law, at least if they paid any attention to Jeremiah or other prophets or teachers of the Scriptures. But knowing it often did not result in obedience. God promised that He would establish a new covenant, where His law would be not just written on scrolls but in people’s hearts.

John 18:33-38

Jesus did not act much like the kings that people were used to. He spoke with authority, but he did not compel anyone to obey him. He had many followers, but he spoke of serving rather than being served. He had the power to multiply food and still storms, but he never used the power to secure a comfortable life, let alone the luxury kings often enjoyed. When faced with possible execution, he used neither power nor pleading to avert a horrible death. He knew himself to be a king, but only after his death and resurrection would people come to understand the nature of his kingship.

Posted by: Pauline | November 13, 2016

Upcoming events: week of November 14

This Week

Tuesday, November 15

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

Wednesday, November 16

11:30 a.m. Journey
6:30 p.m. Bible Study
7 p.m. Session

Sunday, November 20

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

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, November 22

7 p.m. Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Posted by: Pauline | November 6, 2016

Scriptures for Sunday November 13

Isaiah 6:1-8

The opening phrase of this chapter appears at first sight to be nothing more than an indication of when these things took place. In ancient times, people counted years in terms of how long the current king had been reigning. Isaiah’s vision took place during the year that Uzziah died, though whether before or after the king’s death is not clear. (Probably before, otherwise it would have made more sense to say the first year of Jotham’s reign.)

Many people think there is a deeper significance linking Isaiah’s vision to Uzziah’s death, however. The death of a monarch, especially one who had ruled well, was likely a time of national mourning, and probably of much uncertainty as people wondered what sort of king his son would turn out to be. There was always a tendency to put too much trust in the king and his power, rather than in the invisible God who was Lord over all.

Isaiah’s vision was a strong reminder that regardless of who was seated on the throne in the royal palace, God was seated on His throne in heaven. He would reign in His sovereign power and majesty and holiness, as He always had and always would. The only question was, who on earth would faithfully carry out His commands.

Posted by: Pauline | November 6, 2016

Upcoming events: week of November 7

This Week

Tuesday, November 8

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

Wednesday, November 9

4:30 – 6 p.m. Clothes Depot
6:30 p.m. Bible Study

Thursday, November 10

9 a.m. – Noon Journey Stitchers
7 p.m. Choir practice

Sunday, November 13

9:45 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:45 a.m. Worship Service
4 p.m. Bible Study in Morning Sun
6 p.m. Movie Night

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, November 16

11:30 a.m. Journey
7 p.m. Session

Saturday, November 19

10 a.m. – Clothes Depot

Older Posts »

Categories