June 3, 2018

Pentecost 2  June 3, 2018 (Mark 2:23-3:6, 2 Corinthians 4:5-10) Psalm 139:1-18 ***************************************************************** Perhaps it was seeing so many rabbits, Friday evening, as I walked the bike path in West Falmouth that got me thinking of the children’s book, The Runaway Bunny. There was a time when I could tell the whole story from memory – we read it so many times when Rohi was younger. Yesterday she and I had to search hard to find our copy, buried down deep on a book-shelf full of old Rohi books. I’m glad we kept looking till we found it – because Runaway Bunny turns out to be a profound young person’s parable version of our Psalm 139… A young bunny tells his mother he’s going to run away – and his mother replies “If you run away I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.” “If you run after me I will become a fish in a stream and swim away,” the bunny says. “Then I’ll be a fisherman, and fish for you,” his mother says. “Then I’ll be a bird, and fly away…” “Then I’ll be the tree that you come to rest in.” The dialogue continues, back-and-forth like this, through many more run-away threats and maternal responses. And Runaway Bunny turns out to be a fine all-ages commentary on Psalm 139 – As the psalmist, like a little rabbit, speaks to God, saying – Lord, you have searched me and known me… You know my every thought… My every breath… From before my birth till after death… You’re with me in the darkest night… With me in the morning light… You formed me in my mother’s womb – You’ll raise me up out of the tomb… You’re with me in the raging storm… You’re with me in the spring-time-warm… And the implied runaway theme – comes on stage, as we say with the psalmist – Lord, where can I go – that you are not already there? If I grow wings like an angel and fly up to the farthest heavens – you are there… If I dive down to the deepest depths of the ocean, and swim with the bottom fish – you are there… Even if I go down to Sheol – the Hebrew word for the first-stop-after-death – where other scriptures imply God won’t go – still our psalm assures us –  even if I go down to Sheol you are there… There’s nowhere in heaven or earth – in the afterlife – or anywhere – I can ever go – where You, Lord are not there, already, before me…. God’s gracious promise of God’s gracious presence. So why is it sometimes hard for me to hear this… as good news? Well, maybe it’s partly because I’m not spending enough time with the psalms… The psalms can be scary. Some psalms can still shake me up, no matter how often I’ve read them. The psalms can hot-wire us into virtually every emotion – which can be unsettling – when psalms speak of suffering – loss – lament – then jump into wondrous recollection of our best of times with family, friends, community rejoicing together… Then a psalm or two later – jealousy – anger – dismay –  remembrance of some our worst...

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May 27, 2018

Pentecost 1  May 27, 2018    Psalm 29, Isaiah 61:1-4, Acts 2:14a, 22-28, 36-47 Pentecost, continued… *************************************************************** Disciples of Jesus are all together in one place on the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit fills the room, and all speak languages they didn’t know they knew – as we pick up where we left off last week in the book of Acts – our earliest account of the growth and spread of the faith – as we go from 120 disciples huddled together in an upper room – into a movement spreading to the far ends of the earth in what feels like just a few minutes… (though several decades actually pass by the time Acts ends… as if in the middle of a sentence…To be continued…) Now, still on the day of Pentecost where we left off, the apostle Peter continues the teaching sermon we began last week… And the same Spirit that entered the room as a roaring-rushing-wind blows and breathes now through Peter – who, like a jazz musician takes the old melody of Psalm 16 and weaves it into a new song of Jesus, whose death and resurrection fulfills the psalm and all the scriptures of Israel – fulfilling especially the biblical year of Jubilee, in which all debts are forgiven, all slaves released, workers and the land alike get rest, and all creation gets a new start in the Jubilee, which, fulfilled now in Christ, is no longer time-bound, but for all who come to Jesus, anytime – as Peter with the Spirit’s guidance, preaches Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah of Israel to the city that executed Jesus just 50 days ago. The first appearance of the Spirit here in Acts is equal parts awesome – scary – mysterious – and – wow… As Peter, who famously denied three times in one night that he even knew Jesus, now not only proclaims Jesus boldly, but also lays responsibility for his death at the feet of all the Jerusalemites gathered around him. (Talk about born-again holy chutzpah.) Preaching an indictment that could get him killed on the spot – but under the Spirit’s power, with the Spirit’s influence, his preaching instead brings thousands into the arms of Jesus. When we paused last week, Peter was quoting the prophet Joel, ending with the phrase –  “then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…” Now Peter sketches how to get there, saying – “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins” – then –  “you will receive the Holy Spirit” – then ‘salvation and new life in Christ is for you and your children – and for all whom God is calling.’ (Jesus says ‘when I’m lifted up I will draw all people to myself’ in John’s gospel, and the letter to the Romans tells us ‘God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that God may show mercy to all.’ God’s all means all. God calls all of us everywhere without exception to Jesus and salvation…) *** Some members of the global church celebrate today formally as Trinity Sunday. We too are  celebrating the Blessed Trinity… just a little less formally. Noticing God in three persons, blessed Trinity is still a...

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Pentecost Sunday May 20, 2018

Pentecost Sunday May 20, 2018 (Psalm 104, Acts 1:12-15a, Romans 8:22-27) Acts 2:1-21   A conversation on Pentecost themes – Dottie Cotter, Susan Goux, Ann Marie Seitzinger, Tim Atwater ******************************************************** On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit goes into over-drive – manifesting as a rushing violently-stormy-wind – and as flaming-tongues-of-fire dancing on gathered disciples – who catch fire with the Spirit, and speak in foreign languages they didn’t know they knew, praising God – and people from all over understand what they’re saying in their own native languages. Many come to listen, drawn by the Spirit to learn what God’s doing… Others are skeptical, suggesting believers have been drinking…. Yesterday I watched a video of Presiding Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry passionately preaching biblical love at the royal wedding. Quoting Rev Martin Luther King Jr who said – when we learn to love as God loves this will be like mankind discovering fire again – as if for the first time. The royal bride and groom (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) wiped joy tears from their eyes. In spite of the formal setting, many seemed to be feeling the Spirit. Some, however, appeared bored or cynical, like those in Jerusalem who accused disciples of being drunk… But the Spirit gets the last word… as… By the end of the day of Pentecost three thousand have come to Jesus, baptized, giving lives now to serving Jesus as disciples… That first Pentecost is a tough act to follow. We have very few reports of the Spirit appearing as fire and stormy wind, and very few examples of the Spirit gifting people to speak in foreign languages in all the years since… But Holy Spirit-led communication across all kinds of cultural and linguistic barriers has continued… Usually in quieter, less obvious ways… but… Anytime we live together in love and harmony this is perhaps still certifiably miraculous. And yes, the first Pentecost is still a tough act to follow… Yet ever since – all of us who believe in Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in us, Scripture tells us. So as we look back at our Pentecost family pictures, let’s remember – as our Thought for the Week says – “When it is a question of God’s almighty power, never say, ‘I can’t.’” This morning we’re blessed to have three of our Certified Lay Servants – members who have taken at least two two-day Methodist Lay Leadership classes – speaking with us on themes arising from our Pentecost readings and traditions. Thank you very much – Susan Goux, Anne Marie Seitzinger, Dottie Cotter. And thanks God, I get to be here with you, in a helping role. Let’s welcome Susan as our first speaker. **** [concluding–] All the spiritual gifts are given through the one Holy Spirit… Under the Spirit’s guidance all the spiritual gifts work together in harmony… And the greatest – and by far most necessary – of all the gifts – is love… Whenever we love God– neighbor – and one another – the Holy Spirit is living in us and working with us…(So…) Like the early church of old – may we do as Jesus says – and continue to gather together – waiting – prayerfully, expectantly – for the Spirit’s leading… Ready to be amazed and blessed...

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May 27, 2018 – Cataumet

ANNOUNCEMENTS Prayer group meets second and fourth Wednesdays, 10 am, at the Bourne church. All are welcome. The group to discuss The Book of Joy will continue Monday, June 4 at 6:30. The Bible Study Group meets on Thursdays at 1 PM in Bourne. OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS The Outreach committee will be doing health kits as our UMCOR service project this year. We will be collecting items in the appropriately marked bucket in Handy Hall during the month of May. Bourne Food Pantry Please remember to bring in your food items. They are much needed! Backpack Program Kids are still in school and we are collecting items of food and supplies to fill the backpacks that go home with the kids on weekends. EVENTS EVERY WEEK Sunday                         8:00 am                        Choir practice Sunday                         9:00 am                        Worship Sunday                           7:00 pm                      AA Meeting Monday                          7:30 pm                       N/A Meeting Tuesday                         9:00am                        Exercise Tuesday                        7:00 pm                        AA Meeting Thursday                       9:00 am                         Exercise Thursday                        7:00 pm                       N/A Meeting Saturday                       9:00 am                        Osteo Exercise...

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May 27, 2018 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, May 27th:                               11:00 AM         Worship Service                                                                 Wednesday, May 30th:                       10:00 AM         BWC Thursday,  June 1st:                               1:00 PM         Bible Study Saturday, June 2nd:                             10:00 AM         Children’s Clothing Exchange Sunday, June 3rd:                                 11:00 AM         Worship Service THE JUNE NEWSLETTER DEADLINE is Tuesday the 29th. THE  UMW ALL CHURCH POTLUCK DINNER will be on Monday the 4th at 6PM, more information will be provided in the Newsletter. CHILDREN’S SUNDAY will be Sunday June 10th. THE SUMMER PIANO RECITAL is June 17th at 3PM. BIBLE STUDY continues to meet Thursdays at 1:00PM. LITURGISTS ARE NEEDED for 6/10 & 6/17, please sign up in Crain Hall. FREE CHILDREN’S CLOTHING EXCHANGE: We continue to accept gently used children’s clothes, sizes 0-14, which may be dropped off at the Thrift Shop. The exchange is open the first Saturday of each month at 10am.    ...

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