July 10, 2016

Pentecost 8   July 10, 2016   Acts 11:1-18; 19-26; 27-30, 13:1-3 ***************************************** As we pick up again in the book of Acts today we’re visiting a new church-start… in pretty strange territory for our parent church back in Jerusalem. Syria was a powerful enemy empire in days of old, one of the many empires that conquered Israel… Now Syrian Antioch’s the third largest city in the Roman Empire, the contemporary evil empire…Yet ironically this church has been planted by Jesus-followers who’ve found refuge in Syria… from persecution in Jerusalem. We’re revisiting our faith family history. Friday night we had calling hours for one of the saints (of this church/of the Cataumet church), and there were family pictures on display everywhere, poster boards with hundreds of pictures of Jean Parker, her family and church… Reading the book of Acts is a bit like this… Here we are, looking through old family pictures. Remembering the infant church, barely beginning to walk – but looking already like a chip-off-the-block of of Jesus. Who, remember, picked twelve apostles from across the spectrum of political persuasions – choosing St Simon the zealot, part of the radical opposition to the empire – and also St Matthew, a tax collector, who worked for the empire. Now here’s First United Church of Antioch, the next generation,with even greater diversity… All five prophets and teachers mentioned in our last reading are from outside Israel. At least four are probably also from somewhere other than Antioch. (Barnabas, we’ve been told, is a native of Cyprus. Simeon, called Niger, which means Black, is likely from Africa. Lucius of Cyrene, is from a city in what’s now Libya in North Africa. And Saul is from Tarsus.) Here, as with the twelve called by Jesus, we also have real cultural diversity. Manaen being part of the court of one of the several Herods in the bible, all of whom are hostile to the Christian movement. Yet Manaen, probably at serious risk to his professional future, has become a leader among disciples of Jesus. And here again is Saul, whom we met a few weeks ago, soon to be re-named Paul – till recently, the foremost persecutor of the church. Yet now since meeting Jesus, risking his life for the church… Here in Antioch, where disciples are first called Christians, the young church is diverse and growing… Taking risks and making sacrifices for the gospel. As, responding to what they’ve heard from the Spirit, believers lay on hands, pray, and send forth Barnabas and Saul to serve as missionaries…Giving up two of their most gifted leaders… to help others get to know Jesus… A little bit like we’ve just done a few weeks ago (here/in Bourne), with Isaac (Ryong Jae) Jung, his wife Irene (Eunsook), and their daughter Eveline Yewon –  sending them off to serve a United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, Kansas. Laying on hands – praying – sending them forth to serve… As we’ve also just done for Rebecca Hewett – sending her to serve as pastor in South Middleboro. Again, laying on hands – praying – and sending forth to serve… It hurts to see them go… Yet we feel deep satisfaction in having done our small parts to help them prepare for ministry. Helping them share their gifts and graces...

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Week of July 10, 2016 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, July 10th: 11:00 AM Worship   All-Church Pool Party Thursday, July 14th: 9:00 AM UMC Meetings (until 1:30pm) Sunday, July 17th: 11:00 AM Outdoor Worship Service ALL-CHURCH POOL PARTY: Pool Party at the Jensen’s after church today! All are welcome! Dessert and beverage will be provided. Please bring a cold dish to share, as well as a bathing suit and chair.  Rain date will be July 17th. THE DEADLINE FOR THE JULY/AUGUST NEWSLETTER is this Tuesday, July 12th. Please have any articles or information you’d like included into the church office by 9:00am that day. Thank you! WORSHIP NEXT SUNDAY: July 17th at 11:00am will be an outdoor worship service. Please dress accordingly and join us for this wonderful opportunity to worship in our beautiful yard by the gazebo. Rain date will be July 24th. ALTAR FLOWERS ARE NEEDED for July 24th and 31st, as well as August 21st. Please sign up!  ...

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