Living, loving God, we give thanks and praise that the doors of our hearts can't keep you out, and the doors of our churches can't keep you in! May your breath blow anew through the world, may your spirit fill the lives of those who believed they were beyond your reach! May we who have been so blessed with the joy of this Easter redemption be generous in sharing all that we are and all that we have, so that the power of the Resurrection might reach all your children. In Christ's Holy name, we pray. Amen. (John 20:19-31)
Invitation to the Offering
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through the World Service Fund, a talented group of global communicators, lead by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee, directs messaging that reaches people who have never set foot in one of our churches. Through billboards, digital advertising, video spots, radio and more, they give people outside the church a glimpse of who we are and what matters to us as Christians. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.
Learn more about the work United Methodist Communications atwww.umcom.org and www.rethinkchurch.org.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
We need to be careful what we do with the truth in these passages. We need to use them to help us remember to make good choices, ones that comply with the wishes of God. What we need to refrain from doing is to use them to chastise people in dire circumstances. Neither the words of Matthew nor the Deuteronomist give us permission to say to them, "You should have known better."
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake lead me and guide me (Ps 31:3).
Friday, May 30, 2008
I am helped by reading the Deuteronomy text. Moses is preparing his people for life in the land given to them by God. "Remember what I have taught you. These teachings will enable you to enjoy life."
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge (Ps 46:11).
But, he's not saying that "anything goes," is he? Do Christians have some bedrock requirements for salvation? That is, how do we demonstrate faith? And, thinking about the Isaiah passage, how far are the ends of the earth? Who else might be included in this salvation intention? What do they have to do to demonstrate faith?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth (Ps 46:11).
In other words, Jews could become Christians, but Christians did not have to become Jews.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
She specifically gives thanks for the ministry of the Society of St. Andrew. here in Mississippi.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Now, about five months later, we commemorate the visit of the pregnant Mary to her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with the prophet we will know as John the Baptist.
Read their story in Luke 1:39-57. Note how Mary's song echoes Hannah's in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Psalm 113 reminds us that God is the helper of those who need help.
Tuesday, Genesis 7:24; 8:14-19; Ps 46:4-7
Wednesday, Romans 1:16-27; Ps 46:8-11
Thursday, Rom 3:22b-31
Friday, Deuteronomy 11:18-21; Mt 7:21-25
Saturday, Dt: 11:26-28; Mt 7:26-29
Sunday, May 31, Psalm 31:1-5
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I'm almost at the end of A Spiritual Field Guide, edited by Bernard Bray and mark Neuzil. This morning's reading included an excerpt from Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac. He cites these benefits from watching flocks of geese fly over: Perhaps one flock thrilled a score of schoolboys, awakening in them a sense of adventure. Another flock on a dark night may have awakened sleepers into memories and hopes. A third flock may have interrupted the drudgery of a plowman, bringing to him new thoughts of far lands and journeys.
I have always read Matthew's passage as warning us against obsessing about our futures. But, now I'm thinking that the command, "Do not worry about tomorrow," doesn't necessarily mean to be totally closed to thoughts of tomorrow.
Friday, May 23, 2008
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock,
my refuge is in God (Ps 62:7).
Thursday, May 22, 2008
"They (retirement communities) separate people from art, culture, politics, and any sense of responsibility."
I read this on a day that I am reflecting on the passage from Matthew. What am I concerned about? What should I be concerned about? I'm looking at this from two levels. First, how much of a sense of responsibility do I have? Have I arranged my life so as to separate myself from community responsibility as much as possible? Second, more to the purpose of the books that were reviewed, in what way do I care about the people who can no longer live in their own homes? Have I forgotten them?
God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be shaken (Ps 62:5)
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me (Ps 8:1b).
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will show compassion on his sufferings ones (Isa 49:13).
I have calmed and quited my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me (Ps 131:3).
Monday, May 19, 2008
Monday Isaiah 49:8-12
Tuesday Isaiah 49:13-16a
Wednesday 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Thursday Matthew 6:24-25
Friday Matthew 6:26-30
Saturday Matthew 6:31-33
Sunday Matthew 6:34
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore (Ps 131:3).
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted (Mt 28:17).
What are human beings that you are so mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? (Ps 8)
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Here's the first paragraph, "The earth seems to in great chaos -- shootings, wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes. As we follow story after story of heartbreaking disaster, I wonder: "How can I continue to see, to hear, to read about these tragedies of human life? How can the aid workers continue to do their tasks as they hear the stories, see the losses, attempt to respond to the incredible needs? How can the survivors reach out to others when they have lost so much? How do they do it? And how did Jesus continue to care for people, day after day after day?""
She points out how Jesus dealt with disaster: 1) He took action. 2) He prayed. 3) He took time apart.
My concern is that we skip step 1 and spend too much time on step 3.
O God, do not reject us. Repair the cracks in the earth. Rescue us. (from Ps 60:2).
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The UM New Handbook of the Christian Year (copyright 1992, so not so new now) suggests leaving out the anathemas; that is, the "perish eternally" clause and the last sentence. I agree.
3, O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me.
4, Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
7, O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me.
31, In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.
35, Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!
37, Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers.
43, Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
54, Save me, O God, by your name, and vindicate me by your might!
56, 69, 70, 71, 140, 142