In our relationship with God, the Lord cares for our health and well-being.
The writer of Psalm 23, says that the Lord “makes me lie down” and “leads me besides still waters”.
How well do we follow the Lord’s invitation and take care of ourselves? Where are those times and places that our souls are restored?
Though writing from prison and facing an uncertain future, the Apostle Paul calls on the Christian community to rejoice and give thanks to God no matter what the circumstance.
Paul writes, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
What can we do to make it more likely God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ?
Jesus tells a story indicating that the blessings of God’s kingdom are available to all, but the invitation is not to be taken lightly.
Read this parable in Matthew 22: 1 – 14,
How do you react to the king’s treatment of the man without a wedding robe?
In the gospel reading, we hear Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. In our liturgy of worship God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.
Scripture readings: Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23; Philippians 4: 1-9; Matthew 22:1-14.
Prayer of the Day: “Lord of the feast, you have prepared a table before all peoples and poured out your life with abundance. Call us again to your banquet. Strengthen us by what is honorable, just, and pure, and transform us into a people of righteousness and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen”
Jesus said to the people, ” the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.” (Matthew 21:43)
What fruits of the kingdom do you think Jesus was referring to, and what do they look like today?
In the gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable of the vineyard, an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at the time of our baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread, that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.
Sunday’s lessons: Isaiah 5:1-7;Psalm 80:7-15, Philippians 3:4-14, Matthew 21:33-46.
“Beloved God, from you come all things that are good. Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right, and by your merciful guidance, help us to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen”
As part of a call for harmony rather than self-seeking, the Apostle Paul uses a very early Christian hymn that extols the selflessness of Christ in his obedient death on the cross.
Read Philippians 2: 1 – 13,
How does God’s love (inspire, motivate, shape, transform, touch, change, propel) you?
Lightning Bolt Sunday
500 years ago, when Martin Luther – our church’s namesake – was studying to be a lawyer, he had a near death experience when a lightning bolt struck nearby. This event changed his vocational direction. Instead of studying law, Luther entered a monastery to become a Priest.
Our faith can be like a lightning bolt that jolts us with the love of God in such a powerful way that we too are propelled to live our lives not for our self, but for God.
Faith testimonials will be shared. Special music will be provided by Making a Difference Ministry. Worship times are 8:30 am, 9:45 am (kid’s friendly worship), and 11:00 am. After the 11:00 am worship service persons will have an opportunity to “cool down” by making ice cream sundaes in our Fellowship Hall.
Whether God’s love hits you like a lightning bolt, as it did Martin Luther, or comes to you through quiet prayer and reflection, come join us as we celebrate how the power of God’s love changes our lives.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a story of the “laborers in the vineyard”. This story is a parable about God’s generosity. Jesus challenges a common assumption that God rewards people according to what they have earned or deserve.
Read Matthew 20: 1 – 16,
Do we take stock of what we think we deserve, OR do we take stock of all the things we’ve been blessed by that we don’t deserve?
Discomfort: Sign of Grace?
Our discomfort with God’s grace reveals itself in all sorts of ways. It can be discomforting for us to engage the poor and the outcast of our society. It can be discomforting for us to welcome immigrants into our communities. It can be discomforting to address the pervasive racism that still surrounds us. It can be discomforting when our sense of privilege in our society by being “male”, or “white” is questioned. And it can be very discomforting for us to open our lives to the transforming power of the cross of Christ, whereby “the last will be first, and first will be last”.
Could it be that the more uncomfortable we become with the reckless love of God, the closer we are to understanding the meaning of grace?
Sunday’s scripture lessons: Jonah 3:10 – 4:11, Psalm 145:1 – 8, Philippians 1: 21 – 30, Mathew 20: 1-16.
“Almighty and eternal God, you show perpetual lovingkindness to us your servants. Because we cannot rely on our own abilities, grant us your merciful judgment, and train us to embody the generosity of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen”