Monday, October 18, 2010

MMC: Humbling Oneself

Good Morning everyone!

I hope that you had a restful yet productive weekend and you are looking forward to a good week.  For me personally, I'm headed to Bishop's Convocation in Massachusetts in a few hours and will be coming back on Wednesday.  If you need me for any reason I will have my cell phone on me and access to my email, though it will not be as frequently checked as normal.  

A few other announcements before I move onto the text for this week.  

October 31st is Reformation Day and Confirmation.  Worship will be a festive experience as we give thanks to God for our reforming faith and as Ryan Hawley and Tori Muniz affirm their baptism.  Please wear red, the color of the church, and sign up to bring finger foods for the reception that will follow.  

The following Sunday, November 7, is All Saints Sunday.  If you would like to include a name of a loved one, especially someone who has died within the past year, in the prayers for that day, please give myself or Ellen Grunsell the name on or before that day.  

The people of Bethlehem have been invited to join other Lutheran churches in Fairfield county on a intergenerational mission trip to southwestern Virgina.  The group will be repairing homes while learning about the Appalachian region.  The dates are tentatively set for July 23-30 and will cost approximatively $300.  Please let me know if you are interested in attending or would like more information.

The Book of Faith Puzzler for this week is a multiple choice question: What type of tree was the tree that Adam and Eve ate from: apple, fig, pear or we don’t know?

Now onto the text:

The first lesson is from Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22.  This section is a prayer, a lament, from the people with God's response in between (verses 7-9 prayer, verse 10 God, verses 19-22 prayer).  The people are pleading to God that God will not forget them.  God responses that they will not be accepted.  And yet the people continue to plead that they will not be forsaken due to their ancestors' iniquities.  When have you been told no, and yet you continued to ask for something?  Have you ever felt like you were being punished because of something your parents did?  Have you ever been helped because of who your parents are?

The second lesson is 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18.  Paul talks about how he has fought the good fight, has finished the race and has kept the faith, yet he is still under attack.  However it is the Lord who will rescue him for all these attacks and who allows him to continue to keep the faith.  What is something that you have only been able to do because of the grace of God?  When others praise you for your ability, do you give credit to God?

The gospel is Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  The Pharisee goes into the temple and loudly and boastfully prays thanking God that he is not like those thieves, rogues, adulterers or even tax collectors.  We all have at times given thanks that we are not like other people; who are those other people in your lives?  Do you give thanks because you do not like their lifestyle or because you are grateful for what you have been given?  Meanwhile the tax collector in the parable, the tax collector hides in a corner, ashamed to pray, yet he asks God for mercy knowing that he is a sinner.  When have you been humble?  How does it feel to be humble yourself?

As always I look forward to hearing any responses you might have to the text or my questions.  And all women are invited to the Wednesday night bible study at the parsonage when these text will be discussed in a little more depth.  

Hope you all have a great week!

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