Offertory Prayer

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, your church supports a great tradition of United Methodist support for Higher Education. Providing scholarships and loans, a network of college chaplains, and an ongoing relationship with 113 colleges, universities and seminaries that are part of our connection – together we open doors to education for many deserving students. 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 of our General Board of Higher Education & Ministry at www.gbhem.org

September 14, 2014 -- Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Merciful God, you have filled our lives with a deluge of love and grace. Yet we are too often stingy with forgiveness for others. While Christ’s sacrifice on the cross removed the weight of our sin, we continue to blend in with a world that is intent on keeping score and settling debts. May the gifts we give this morning, small in comparison with all we’ve received, help strengthen the church’s ministry of love and compassion. In our giving, may we make a witness as those who have been forgiven much and who seek to have Christlike grace shine through our lives. We pray this in his name. Amen. (Matthew 18:21-35)
"Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Even Scholars Don't Always Get It Right Away, a Reflection on John 3:1-9

Repeat from earlier year:
Jesus has been upsetting the insiders. One of them, Nicodemus, comes by night. I am told by Bible commentators that "night" implies more "not understanding" than a time. I had always taken "night" as literal and read that Nicodemus was hoping not to be seen by anyone important when he approached this trouble maker. After thinking about it for a moment, I've decided to keep both meanings.

Nicodemus asserts that the miracles they have seen Jesus perform have been persuasive. Yet apparently not completely so. It's night after all.

After being asked about how anybody can have a second birth, Jesus answers him by asserting the necessity of the Spirit.

"What is born of the Spirit is spirit....The wind blows where it chooses..." Remember that the Greek word translated as wind also means breath or spirit. God breathes on us; a force moves us like the wind moves us and that force is as invisible as the wind as it is as potent as the wind.

"So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Who is this "everyone"? Who has been born of the Spirit? Am I reassured? insulted? puzzled? grateful?
.... "

2 comments:

Unlikely said...

John 3 is really a great story when taken either as a whole or even as parts. Reading your post I think you've been hooked by the story (This is a very good thing). The story of Nicodemus and Jesus is easy to pass by because John 3:16 seems so important. But the questions you ask and that Nicodemus asked are important. We live with people who haven't heard the full promise of God's love for the world. We live with people who have questions like Nicodemus about new birth that humans can't easily answer but that the Holy Spirit can answer.

RobynHerself said...

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” If we are born of the Spirit, people might consider us unpredictable because they'll never understand where we are "coming from" or "where we are going," because, we will be led, not by tradition or popular opinion, but by the Spirit!