Saturday, June 27, 2009

July 5, 2009

Scriptures for the week of July 5th: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10, Psalm 48,
2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13

2 Corinthians
Paul seems to talk a lot about suffering lately. He never does really tell us what the “thorn in his side” is, but it causes him great pain. And he must overcome it each day. Suffering should not be a part of everyday life for us. But we can use Paul’s example of faith. He tells the story of someone being caught up into the third heaven – this is saying there are different consciousness of God available to us, but God is present to us wherever we may be in life – happy or sad.

Scholars believe that Jesus’ hometown was Nazareth. He had been around Israel doing amazing things, yet his hometown still had an image that there was nothing he could do. Is this not the son of Mary? Was Joseph dead by now? Jesus does make an impact on his disciples, telling them to go out and to give. And to live solely on the hospitality of others.
Questions How is Paul an example for you in your life? What are your struggles in life? Does faith help you go on with life in spite of them? Has your faith grown because of them? What do you think of your hometown? Is it supportive of you as an adult, or does it hold you down? As a Christian, how have you been lifted up by the support and love of others?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June 28, 2009

Scriptures for the week of June 28th: 2 Samuel 1:1,17-27, Psalm 130,
2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Mark 5:21-43

2 Samuel
Saul and his son Jonathan have both been killed in battle. One is David’s enemy and the other is his best friend. Yet in death, he treats them both the same. He leads the nation through a period of mourning for their leaders. This scripture is called the song of the bow – it reminds everyone of the contributions of these two great leaders. It is important for us to acknowledge the gifts of our leaders, even when we don’t like them as persons. They have given a major portion of their lives to us.

2 Corinthians
Chapters 8 and 9 outline a stewardship campaign. The churches of Jerusalem needed money, so Paul encourages every church that he goes to, to learn how to give. Helping others is a major part of our faith, that we can’t do without. When we help others, we actually help ourselves. We are not to give out of obligation, but out of thankfulness for what we have been given.
Questions How do you feel about some of the leaders in your life? How do you honor and respect the service they have given to the community? How do you repay evil for good? Who have you tried to help today? How has they helped you? What gifts has God given to pass on to others?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 21, 2009

Scriptures for the week of June 21st: 1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49; Psalm 9:9-20, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41

2 Corinthians
It is the American dream to pursue the good life. We are always looking for things to be easy. And yet one of the lessons of our times, is that life is not always easy. Nor is it intended to be easy. Paul was one of the most ardent followers of Christ that ever lived. Yet his authority and faith were constantly challenged. Paul asserts that the life of a Christian is not easy. It is our endurance in tough times, that makes us more faithful persons. Paul gives an account of his struggles and asks for us to open our ears to listen to him.

This is the first of Mark’s sea stories, when the disciples are in the midst of a storm with Jesus and are afraid. They ask Jesus if he even cares about them. Why would he have bought them out in the middle of a storm, knowing that could be killed. Jesus commands the storm to calm down. What kind of man has that kind of power over the natural elements. Does Jesus have that same power over our lives? Can he command us to calm down and be still, and we are able to drop everything to listen?

Questions What are the weapons of righteousness that we need to get through tough times? What are the virtues that you have, what are the virtues you would most like to develop in your Christian faith? When are you most likely to be afraid in your Christian journey? How does Jesus help you through those times?