Season of Pentecost 2018

May 20            Day of Pentecost       Theme:            The Power of the Spirit

Scriptures:  Acts 2:1-21    Psalm 104:24-34    Romans 8: 22-27

Thoughts:       The Holy Spirit has always seemed to be a mystery, and really should not be.  The Holy Spirit by our own theology is not a mystery but the very presence and power of God/Christ in real time in the people of God, the followers of Christ.  From the creation when God blew into the nostrils of a clay statue God’s own Spirit, to the appearance of the risen Christ in the upper room and blew the Spirit into the disciples, to Pentecost where the Spirit blew onto the scene to empower the Church, God’s Spirit has transformed and empowered all who are touched by the Spirit.  Pentecost is our story.  We, the Church, are created by the Spirit at Pentecost.  Everything we do as the Church is empowered by, driven by, and gifted by the Spirit.  When we worship we are inspired by the Spirit.  When we pray, we are helped by the Spirit.  When we learn about God and Christ, we are taught by the Spirit.  When we serve, we are called by the Spirit.  Confusing? Naw.

 

May 27            1st Sunday after Pentecost;  Trinity Sunday             Theme:    The Trinity

Scriptures: Romans 8:22-27    Psalm 29    John 3:1-17

Thoughts:       Let’s get real about this 3 in 1 stuff.  You think the Holy Spirit is a bit confusing at times?  Try taking on the concept of Trinity.  Trinity is more than a main street in Los Alamos, NM.  Most of the non-Christian world thinks we are ridiculous when we claim monotheism and proclaim One God in Three Persons.  Here is the easy explanation, God is God Creator of all things, eternal, all powerful and all knowing.  Jesus the Christ is God revealed, the redeemer of all humanity who would believe in him, the way God chose to get personal with us and save us from ourselves (sin).  The Holy Spirit – see May 20.

 

June 3             2nd Sunday after Pentecost; Communion      Theme:            Freedom & the Law

Scriptures: 2 Cor. 4:5-12  Mark 2:23-3:6

Thoughts:      Jesus did not come to destroy the Law but to set us free to follow the Law of Love.  In these stories Jesus confronts the Sabbath Laws about work.  Is plucking grain when people are hungry against the Law.  Is healing someone in distress on the Sabbath against the Law.  Jesus has a different take than the religious experts of the day.  Jesus says that the Law was made for people not people for the Law.  We will examine whether there are ways that our religious practices stand in the way of loving others.

 

June 10     3rd Sunday After Pentecost

Scriptures:  Mark 3:20-35  &  2 Cor. 4:13-5:1             Theme: Don’t Confuse God with the Church

Thoughts: These two Scriptures are rich with meaning and interest for the Church right now.  We are currently embroiled in controversy over which ‘sin’ eliminates one from full participation in the rights and ministry of the Church.  Schism is the possible result.  Christ is not divided (1 Corinthians 1:10-13); we are.  Division is ruin, only one sin is eternal, anyone who follows Christ is his brother or sister, and this life and its inconsistencies are temporary.  God knows what to do with us.  The Church is human and often confused.  We must not see the Church as God.  God will work it out.

 

June 17            The 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Father’s Day

Scriptures:  *Mark 4:21-34  & 2 Cor. 5:6-17               Theme: The Mystery of the Kingdom of God

Thoughts: In order to solve a mystery you have to think creatively.  Jesus is not speaking in parables to hide the Kingdom but to reveal it creatively.  The Kingdom of God is beyond our comprehension, therefore, Jesus uses many parables to reveal its many facets.  The Kingdom grows without our input; we just plant the seed and wait.  The Kingdom is something small until it grows to protect all who come under its canopy.  And in the Kingdom we are a new creation in Christ.  The Kingdom is more than we can imagine.  What a glorious mystery.

 

June 24            The 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Scriptures:  *Mark 4:35-41 &  2 Cor. 6:1-13               Theme: It Is Well With My Soul

Thoughts: At the end of the story Jesus says, “Have you still no faith?”  The disciples do not know what power they have at their disposal in Jesus.  The same is true for today’s disciples.  We have no idea of the power at our disposal.  Storms happen, life happens, and we get so worked up and worried about the swirl of the storm.  We cry, “Lord, don’t you care that we are perishing?” In the arms of Jesus, we have peace in the midst of the storm.  Where is our faith?

July 01  The 6th Sunday of Pentecost; Communion

Scriptures: Mark 5:21-43    Guest Preacher> Rev. Randall Partin    Theme> A Tale of Two Daughters

 

July 8th:  7th Sunday of Pentecost     Guest Speaker > Lisa Jo Bezner

Scripture: Mark 6:1-13    Theme: The Journey

July 15            The 8th Sunday after Pentecost

Scriptures:  Mark 5:21-43                    Theme: Breaking Taboos 2

Thoughts: By this time the College of Bishops will have released their recommendation to the called session of the General Conference. We may use this as the basis for the sermon today.  Jesus continues his march through the taboos of his time.  A holy man was not to touch the dead, nor allow a ‘bleeding’ woman to touch him.  He steps through the barriers of men to show the compassion of God for all God’s children.  The healings in this message are the result of his power triggered by the faith of a distraught father and of a desperate woman.  Jesus broke taboos to be there of the one in need.

July 22           The 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Scriptures:  Mark 6:1-13              Theme: Disciples and the Power of Jesus

Thoughts: Up to this point Jesus has shown the disciples his power. From this point on he will hand it over to them. They don’t always know what to do with it, but Jesus is persistent in giving them the power to proclaim the Gospel of love, confront evil, and bring wholeness.  As present day disciples we are continuing the legacy of the twelve.  We are given the power to proclaim, confront and heal.  What are we going to do with it?

July 29        The 10th Sunday after Pentecost    5th Sunday One Worship

Our missionary speaker Jose’ DeDios.

August 5         The 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Communion

Scripture> Mark 6:30-44                 Theme: You Give Them Something to Eat

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Thoughts: After Jesus gives the 12 the power to proclaim, confront and heal, they are excited and tell him all about it.  He takes them away to rest and recharge.  It is not to happen.  Instead the crowds follow.  They are hungry in many ways.  The disciples what to send them out to fend for themselves, but Jesus tells them, “You give them something to eat.”  We hear the story and think that Jesus feeds 5,000+, but look closely.  Where is the meal multiplied?  In the hands of the disciples.  We live in a desperately hungry world; hungry for hope, healing, meaning, moral structure, forgiveness, food.  Jesus is still telling his disciples/followers, “You give them something to eat!!!”

August 12       The 12th Sunday of Pentecost

Guest Speaker Lisa Jo Bezner       Scripture: Psalm 130              Theme: My Soul Waits

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August 19       The 13th Sunday of Pentecost

Scriptures: Mark 6:45-56                 Theme: The Power to Comprehend

Thoughts: The phrase is almost lost in the story of Jesus walking on the water, but Mark make the statement, “And they were astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves.” What does that mean?  I believe, one, that they did not fully comprehend the power Christ possessed to do the humanly impossible; and, two, that they did not comprehend that Jesus had given them the same power.  The bread had multiplied in their hand, and they now had the power of peace in the storm (and in Matthew’s telling of the story, to even walk on the water).  Do we fully comprehend the breadth, the length, the height and the depth of God’s love and power, and that it is ours as the Children of God?

August 26       The 14th Sunday of Pentecost

Scriptures: Mark 7:1-8, 14-23               Theme: From the Inside Out

Thoughts: We seem to be obsessed with labels and pretentions. We tend to believe sayings like, “The clothes make the man” and “Blondes have more fun.”  Jesus would laugh and say, “You don’t get it do you?”  The outside can really look good and the inside can be totally rotten.  Both Jesus and James tell us to look at what comes out of a person’s life not what goes in, or on.  Look at what a person does, not what they say.  We can say, “I believe with my whole heart,” and quote the Apostle’s Creed and chapter and verse of Scriptures, but if our lives do not reflect our beliefs, what good is that?  As Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying, “Proclaim the Gospel daily, and if you must, use words.”

September 2    15th Sunday of Pentecost, Communion

Scriptures: John 6:56-69             Theme: The Body of Christ for the Body of Christ

Thoughts: Jesus is misunderstood even by his own disciples about eating his body and drinking his blood. It is a matter of the spirit not of the flesh.  As UM’s we do not believe that the bread and wine (juice) are transfigured into real flesh and blood, bet that the bread and wine are the real presence of Christ in the faith of the community.  Even in the time of Paul, just 20-30 years after the death of Christ, the Church is already struggling with what to do with communion.  In the Corinthian Church, the Lord’s Supper is reflecting the divisions in the Church.  It had become a ‘pot luck’ supper with the rich feasting and the poor arriving with and receiving nothing.  This practice is disrupting the fragile unity of the Body of Christ.  Paul reprimands them to taking Communion unworthily.  It is not about sin in one’s life disqualifying them from partaking but about the unity of the Church.

September 9    The 16th Sunday of Pentecost

Scriptures:  Mark 7:24-37                        Theme: The Tired Jesus

Thoughts: We see a different side of Jesus in these two short stories.  Jesus seems down right irritable in the first story.  In Matthew, we see the same irritability, but after the healing he turns to the disciples and says, “I have not seen such faith in all of Israel.”  Jesus is tired.  This is why he has gone to a gentile region.  He wants to get away and rest, but the crowds find him.  The same tiredness shows up in the next story.  The deaf man is brought to him and he took him aside, looked to heaven ‘and sighed’.  Why did he sigh, and why did he spit?  I think he was tired.  So, why bring all this up?  Do you ever have to push through irritability and tiredness to do what has to be done?  So did Jesus; so does the Church.  As the Body of Christ we are called upon to do so much, conduct services every week without fail, serve the poor, feed the hungry, care for the sick and dying and grieving, teach the children, prepare and send the servants.  But even when we get tired and sometimes irritable we do the work.  We may sigh, but it gets done.  Good job, tired servants.  “come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”

September 16  The 17th Sunday of Pentecost

Scriptures: Mark 8:27-38                        Theme:  The Faith of the Disciple

Thoughts: What does it mean to have the faith of a disciple.  In another place Jesus tells the disciples that with faith the size of a mustard seed disciples will be able to move mountains.  Throughout the Gospel of Mark Jesus is trying to give the disciples the power he has to proclaim the Gospel, confront evil, and heal the broken.  They cannot do with little faith.  They/we can only do with BIG faith.  If we are going to do the works of Jesus, we have to have the faith of Jesus.  Jesus talks of taking up our cross and following him.  The cross is not a hardship or a malady.  The cross was the destiny of Jesus.  The destiny of the Church, the gathering of the disciples of Christ, is to do the work of Jesus, and works and faith go hand in hand.

 

September 23  The 18th Sunday of Pentecost

Scriptures: Mark 9:14-29             Theme: I Believe; Help My Unbelief!

Thoughts: Alright, we’ve heard it many times now, we are to do the work of Christ: proclaim, confront, heal.  We’ve also heard that it takes faith; we can’t do the work without it.  So, why is it so hard?  We are not unlike the disciples in this story.  We pray, we believe, we work and yet we can’t seem to do what Jesus asks us to do.  I know it’s frustrating; I’m frustrated.  But here it is, we are useless without the presence of Jesus.  Without him we cannot do the work.  The Holy Spirit is the power and presence of Christ.  This is why Jesus breathed on the disciples in John 20 to give them the Spirit, and why Jesus told us he would be with us always in Matthew 28.  It is not about us; it is all about the power of Christ in us.  And that presence comes only through prayer.

 

September 30  The 19th Sunday of Pentecost, 5th Sunday One Worship

Scriptures:  Mark 9:33-48                          Theme: What’s in for Me?

Thoughts: Christianity is only 10% about saving your soul for heaven, the other 90% is about living life for others here on earth until heaven.  Oh, how I wish we could get that one thing.  Jesus wants us, his disciples, to know that if want to save our keesters from hell we need to live our lives for others.  This is not ‘works righteousness’ it is the assurance that when we give our lives to Christ the deal is done, we have inherited the Kingdom.  Now we need to be about the work of the kingdom. In the above story Jesus is telling his disciples that even eliminating sin from our lives is for the children.  We are forgiven, but if we lead another astray it is we who are in jeopardy.  We are saved; Halleluiah! Now, live as if the Spirit lives in you and works through you.