Lent 3 March 15, 2020 – Sermon

Lent 3 March 15, 2020 Psalm 63, Genesis 29:1-2,9b-13; John 4:3-42 We who are thirsty… ************************************************************** We’ve just read together through the longest recorded conversation Jesus has with anybody anywhere in the bible. Reminding us – last week we were listening as Jesus spoke with a religious leader named Nicodemus who came to visit him by night. And at the end of their conversation Nicodemus, the scholarly religious authority figure was still in the dark… Not understanding Jesus… Today a woman of Samaria (and now we’re reminded Jews and Samaritans avoided each other’s company and would not normally share hospitality with each other) – but today a Samaritan woman meets Jesus in broad daylight and remains in lively conversation with him… Gradually coming to see more and more of who Jesus truly is… This is a longer conversation today by comparison with last week. And at the same time, a relatively brief conversation within the larger story of the love of God that begins even before the first book of the bible… And in this larger story, we now find ourselves in a story within the story… in the biblical narrative of a man and woman meeting at a well that begins in Genesis (24)…. as… Abraham, patriarch of Israel, sends his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac back in the country he and his wife Sarah left when God said go…And the servant goes back to Haran, and comes to a well, where he prays for success…And as he prays, here comes Rebekah, tending her family’s sheep. And behold, Rebekah becomes the wife of Isaac – and later the mother of Jacob – who we’ve seen today returning to that same well in his grandparent’s home town – where he meets Rachel, shepherding the sheep. And Rachel becomes his wife. Their son Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt… And 400 years later, their great-great-great grand-nephew Moses flees Egypt after killing an Egyptian slave driver. And arrives in Midian, where he sits at a well and meets a group of shepherd women watering sheep – drives away some other shepherds harassing them – and marries one of them, Zipporah. Long story abbreviated – up to now anytime a man and woman meet at a well in the bible, marriage happens. So we have expectations… though – Of course we know Jesus is not like other men. (Mild understatement.) So – we listen closely… As Jesus engages with this woman in a different kind of courtship… Wooing her with words of mystery and wisdom… Coaching her to know him as Messiah… Never forcing the conversation… Just offering the gift of Who He is and what He has to offer… (and…) As with Nicodemus last week, there’s some word-play at work here… as Jesus asks for water – and the woman asks “what’s a Jewish guy like you doing talking with a Samaritan woman like me?” And Jesus replies “if you knew the gift of God and who you’re talking with, you would ask and he would give you living water.” (And…) We can hear her skepticism… but also a hint of interest… in her response… as she says, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket, and this well is deep. Where do you get this living...

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March 15. 2020 – Cataumet

ANNOUNCEMENTS UMCOR Sunday will be March 22, when our designated gifts benefit the ministry of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, offering the balm of Christ’s love to those impacted by crisis or chronic need. A SMALL GROUP discussion of Methodist beliefs, history and what membership means group meets Sundays from about 12:30-1:15 in the Perry Room at Bourne UMC. All Welcome. Talk with Tim for more info. LENTEN STUDY will continue, with two day/time options available. Please see the March Newsletter for more details. The New England Annual Conference/RISEM District Listening Session on the future of the Methodist church scheduled for April 4 in Rhode Island has been canceled. A video and other materials are being prepared which can be shared in our churches. ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS PRAYER GROUP meets second and fourth Wednesdays at Bourne UMC at 10 am. BIBLE STUDY  continues on Thursdays, at 1pm in the Perry Room at the Bourne church. EVENTS EVERY WEEK Sunday 7:45 am Choir practice Sunday 9:00 am Worship Sunday 7:30 pm AA Meeting Monday 7:30 pm NA Meeting Tuesday 7:00 pm AA Meeting Thursday 7:00 pm NA Meeting Saturday 9:00 am Osteo...

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March 15, 2020 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, March 15th: 11:00 AM Worship Service Monday, March 16th: 6:30 PM Lenten Study (Tracy’s) Tuesday, March 17th: 1:00 PM Lenten Study (BUMC Sanctuary) Thursday, March 19th: 1:00 PM Bible Study 1:30 PM Craft Group Sunday, March 22nd: 11:00 AM Worship Service WE WILL OBSERVE UMCOR SUNDAY next Sunday. March 22, our designated gifts benefit the ministry of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, offering the balm of Christ’s love to those impacted by crisis or chronic need. OUR SMALL GROUP discussion of Methodist beliefs, history and what membership means group meets Sundays from about 12:30-1:15. All Welcome. THE NEW ENGLAND ANNUAL CONFERENCE/RISEM DIRECT LISTENING SESSION on the future of the Methodist church scheduled for April 4 in Rhode Island has been canceled. A video and other materials are being prepared which can be shared in our...

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Lent 2 March 8, 2020

Lent 2 March 8, 2020 Psalm 121, Genesis 12:1-4, Romans 4:1-5,13-17; John 3:1-17 For God so loved the world… ********************************************************** If we’ve ever been confused by something Jesus says… Today we’re in good company… As Nicodemus, a member of the ruling council of the faith community, who has been hearing about the amazing signs Jesus has been doing in Jerusalem, comes to visit one night, hoping to learn more about who Jesus is… and what his teaching is all about. We don’t know exactly why Nicodemus has chosen to visit by night – an unusual time to visit someone who you don’t know. Perhaps night time is the only time he has open in his busy schedule. Perhaps he figures Jesus is so busy all day teaching that night time might the only right time… to drop by this teacher from out of town… for a visit. Or perhaps Nicodemus might be a little nervous about being seen in public with Jesus – who has been identified already by the religious establishment that Nick is part of… as a potential threat to the good order of the community – having recently driven merchants and money-changers out of the Jerusalem temple courtyard… We’re not told the exact mix of his motivations. What we know is just that as the scene today ends, with Jesus still talking… Nicodemus is still… in the dark… And Jesus doesn’t seem to be trying to make it any easier for Nick to understand what he’s saying… as he speaks deliberately in words that carry multiple meanings. The word Nicodemus hears as “you must be born again” can equally well mean “you must be born from above” or “born anew.” All three ways of hearing the word are correct. But – Jesus means mostly “born from above” and “born anew”… While Nicodemus can only hear “born again” – which makes no sense to him… Jesus also uses a word several times that means wind – breath – and spirit… But by talking about the wind blowing wherever it blows, and we can hear it but not see it… Jesus has Nicodemus thinking about watching the weather vane to see which way the wind blows… While Jesus is actually talking about the Holy Spirit who makes new life – new creation – without which we can’t enter the kingdom of God. Poor Nicodemus gets lost in the word play – unable to make sense of what Jesus says… And it can feel like Jesus is playing with him… As Nicodemous asks ‘how can anyone be born (again) when they are old?’ And Jesus says ‘What’s your problem?’ Aren’t you a teacher of Israel?’ *** And I can identify with Nicodemus…. I enjoy the peculiar language of John’s gospel, even though it’s difficult…As Jesus keeps using words with double and even triple meanings… which does tend to bend our minds… and make us either think differently… or give up trying to understand… Still, I can enjoy John’s gospel, mostly because I’ve got access to a lot of help with interpreting Jesus… So I sympathize with Nicodemus, who doesn’t have as much help with knowing who Jesus is. He doesn’t have any commentaries (as we do now) on the gospel to help him figure it out. (The gospel of...

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March 8, 2020 – Cataumet

ANNOUNCEMENTS A small group discussion of Methodist beliefs, history and what membership means group meets Sundays from about 12:30-1:15 in the Perry Room at Bourne UMC. All Welcome. Talk with Tim for more info. Lenten Study will continue, with two day/time options available. Please see the March Newsletter for more details. New England Annual Conference/RISEM District Listening Session will be on April 4, please speak with Pastor Tim if you are interested in carpooling. ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS THE BACKPACK PROJECT has an urgent need for some items and an ongoing need for others. The list is posted above the donation bin in the office. PRAYER GROUP meets second and fourth Wednesdays at Bourne UMC at 10 am. BIBLE STUDY continues on Thursdays, at 1pm in the Perry Room at the Bourne church. EVENTS EVERY WEEK Sunday 7:45 am Choir practice Sunday 9:00 am Worship Sunday 7:30 pm AA Meeting Monday 7:30 pm NA Meeting Tuesday 7:00 pm AA Meeting Thursday 7:00 pm NA Meeting Saturday 9:00 am Osteo...

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