Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday message

The lectionary we follow for worship walks us through an amazing amount of the Bible in a 3-year cycle. For each Sunday there is a 1st reading, usually from the Old Testament; a 2nd reading, often from one of Paul's letters, a Psalm and a reading from one of the Gospels (1st year selected mostly from Matthew, 2nd year from Mark, 3rd year from Luke). The Gospel of John is featured on particular occasions, church holidays and during significant seasons such as Lent and Easter, as is the reading for this coming Sunday.

Actually John is featured twice in this Sunday's appointed readings. Occasionally there is an "alternate" reading listed. This week our Gospel reading is a short section from one of the last teaching conversations Jesus had with his followers who are concerned about how they will recognize him in the Holy Spirit. Jesus reminds them that as his followers, they will know him.

The alternate reading is the story of a man who had waited by a pool for healing. The Spirit was recognized in the movement of the water: when it stirred, those who could get in the pool in time might be healed. This man's condition had, for 38 years, made it impossible for him to get in the water while it was stirring; he would be caught and cast aside in the stampede. There was no one willing to help him get into the water. Jesus restored the man to health and he was able to walk.

Most of my 30+ years of serving as a pastor have been marked by faith conversations about who has the "right" answers. Fundamentalism suggests a God unable to be those who haven't yet invited God in the "right" way to be with them. Literalism holds that there is one "right" way to understand the bible, usually the way of the loudest voice at the moment. Debates raged within our tradition questioning God's call of women into public ministry or the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the worshiping community.

Rarely do faith communities acknowledge boldly how much people of faith need one another. The man at the pool needed to be recognized as one of God's beloved and assisted in his quest. The disciples needed one another to discern the presence of the risen Jesus in the Spirit. Paul needed partners like Timothy and Lydia to make real the gospel in his life and message. And each of us needs others to know the presence of God.

Like Paul, we need companionship in which God's love becomes real.

Like the disciples, we need the community to point out Christ's presence in life.

Like the man at the pool we need partnership that affirms.

We, too, need to be carried at times. When there is loss, change, fear and doubt, we need others to speak the presence of God and to remember for us who God is; we, in turn, will remember faith for them when they are in need.

An early theologian of Christianity suggested that faith was like wandering in a wilderness filled with thick cloud. Once in a while the fog parts, the sun is bright, we see clearly and adjust our courses before the clouds close in around us again. Good thing we're not alone in our wanderings,

along the way.

PD

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday  7:00 am Coffee group at Bethany Starbucks

Friday     5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday  9:30 am  Choir rehearsal
                 12:00 - 1:30 pm Walk in the Park at SOV

Sunday    10:00 am One Worship Service
                 1:30 pm OEC

This Saturday, May 25th
Walk in the Park at SOV

Transport 5 in Concert and Spaghetti Dinner
June 8th
Dinner at 5:30 pm
Concert at 7:00 pm
Please RSVP/Sign up so that we can be sure to have enough Spaghetti

June 2nd, One worship service at 10:00 followed by Congregational Annual Meeting

June 9th One worship service at 10:00 Day of Pentecost (wear Red Sunday) Confirmation Sunday