July 28, 2019

Pentecost 7 July 28, 2019 Ps 85, Genesis 18:20-32, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-25 Luke 11:1-13        Lord, teach us to pray ************************************************************ Disciples ask Jesus – Lord, teach us to pray…. We’ve heard the saying – “be careful what you pray for.’ You may get more than you expect…. So if we’re cynical we might say: Be careful when you ask Jesus: Lord, teach us to pray. Because yes, for sure – we will always get more than we expect. No matter how much we expect… Jesus will give more… I have been learning over the years – to keep asking Jesus – to keep teaching me and all of us to pray. Because there’s always more to learn about prayer. And I’ve learned – ready or not, whether I understand, appreciate or not – whatever Jesus teaches – is always good – very good – and good beyond words… *** But before we get deeper into the specifics of what Jesus teaches today about prayer – let’s consider what may be the first prayer in the bible. Born of devout Jewish parents, Jesus undoubtedly grew up hearing biblical stories like the story we’ve read today from Genesis of Abraham talking with God – asking God to spare the city of Sodom from the destruction it deserves if God can find even a few righteous people there. Many bible commentaries note the parallels between Abraham’s questions to God and ancient Near Eastern traditions of bartering and bargaining. Professor Bill Arnold says when Abraham asks God to spare the city if 50 righteous persons can be found in it – he expects God to counter with something like “well, Abe, if I could find 100 righteous people, maybe I might spare the city. But you can’t really expect me to pardon a city that wicked for only 50 righteous people.” But here’s God, blowing Abraham’s expectations out of the water – by immediately accepting Abraham’s request. Abe now has to re-figure his strategy. He first over-cautiously asks ‘what if there’s only 45?’ God again immediately says ‘Fine. If there’s 45 I’ll spare the city.’ Now Abe begins to realize he isn’t asking enough. He starts asking in increments of ten, going lower and lower with each ask… Stopping finally at ten. And at each increment, God says ‘Alright. I will spare the city if even ten are found righteous.’ (Abraham could have gone all the way down to one righteous person – it wouldn’t change the outcome. The lesson is in the conversation with God. Not the specifics of the outcome. But that’s another teaching… for another day…) Today, the main take-away from Abraham’s prayer for me is Abraham’s holy chutzpah (sanctified boldness) – as he reminds God of God’s job description – ignoring all the conventional expectations of what’s acceptable to say to God. Abraham prays humbly and reverentially… But he boldly asks God for far more than he can reasonably expect. Yet God says ‘yes’ – again and again. First Testament bible scholar John Goldingay points out this story is also about God choosing to communicate on our human level – as God appears here as one of three angels in the story – speaking face-to-face with God’s people. Abraham’s deeply prayerful conversation with God is a model example...

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July, 28, 2019 -Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, June 28th:                        11:00 AM   Worship Service Sunday, August 4th:                      11:00 AM   Worship Service OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS BAY COMMUNITY ALLIANCE CHURCH will be hosting Vickie Truett in Concert today at 2pm. Please go to vickietruett.com for more information. THE AUGUST NEWSLETTER DEADLINE is July 30th. BIBLE STUDY will be on recess for July and August. PRAYER GROUP meets the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ...

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July 14, 2019

Pentecost 5  July 14, 2019  Psalm 82, Deuteronomy 30;11-16, Leviticus 19:17-18,33-37; Luke 10:25-37   How to inherit eternal life ***************************************************************** An expert in the religious law asks “What do I need to do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus asks back –“What’s written in the law? What do you read there?” (Like – ‘How do you hear the law speak to your question?’) The man says immediately “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” – giving the short version of a passage from Deuteronomy (6) that observant Jews say several times a day every day – adding from Leviticus (19:18) “and love your neighbor as yourself.” Rabbis and teachers of Israel were used to combining the commandments to love God and neighbor. The lawyer’s answer was pretty much conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom isn’t always a bad thing. Even Jesus starts off with conventional counsel – as he tells the man “Good answer – do this and you will live.” A condensed version of our reading from Deuteronomy 30 today where we’ve heard, “If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God… loving the Lord your God… walking in his ways… then you shall live…” Love the Lord your God – love your neighbor – you will live… is pretty much the theme of the whole book of Deuteronomy. (The part about living forever might be implied…I don’t know. But the lawyer who asked doesn’t have a follow up question about eternal life…) Both the lawyer and Jesus quote familiar scripture. We’re told, first, that the lawyer is testing Jesus, then that he wants to justify himself. But we never hear the lawyer or Jesus disagree with the other. If there’s a dispute, it’s unspoken. But we have been told the religious leader is testing Jesus. So we often assume he’s trying to out-debate or find fault with Jesus. But – what if the lawyer just wants to test and see– is this Jesus guy as good as people say? Or – what if something in his life is making him question what he’s doing or what he believes – and he’s testing to see if Jesus might be able to help him find a better way. What if this lawyer, who, yes, is testing Jesus – actually wants to learn from Jesus? So, remembering the advice of Rabbis of old who said – always give the other person the benefit of the doubt – and considering the advice of some contemporary scholars – who remind us the students of the Rabbis of old were expected to test their teachers with hard questions, and be tested back – I’m wondering if when we also hear that this lawyer testing Jesus wants to justify himself – maybe we should consider the possibility that he wants to justify his now slightly shaky faith against his own doubts and fears. What if he’s asking Jesus “who is my neighbor?” because he used to know – but now he’s not so  sure? So – I’ve been trying this week to see our lawyer friend in the story as an honest seeker –someone who’s heard people say Jesus is a prophet from God –  and also heard people...

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July 21, 2019 – Cataumet

ANNOUNCEMENTS 250th Anniversary Celebration and Cataumet Village Day: We are getting ready to join with many Cataumet Village and Bourne-wide organizations to celebrate our church and the village on the weekend of August 9-11. We will need help setting up the church history display on Tuesday, July 23 at 10 am and Thursday, July 25, at 6:30 pm. Please let Donna Mark know if you can help. There is also a sign-up sheet in Handy Hall for volunteers to help with the Friday night set-up and refreshments and Saturday daytime set-up and lunch, tours, etc. Bay Community Alliance Church in Buzzards Bay presents Vickie Truett in concert Sunday, July 28th at 2:00pm. There will be a free cookout at 12:30pm prior to the concert. A love offering for Vickie will be taken during the concert.   EVENTS EVERY WEEK Sunday                         7:45 am                        Choir practice Sunday                         9:00 am                        Worship Sunday                           7:30 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                     NA Meeting Saturday                       9:00 am                        Osteo Exercise...

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Upcoming Event – July 21, 2019

Celebrating  225 years in  Bourne Village! The Bourne United Methodist Church invites you to join in the celebration.  Sunday, July 21st 11 am on the Briggs-McDermott House lawn there will be an historical commemorative service.  Meet Jesse Lee, John Perry, Ellis Swift, Amelda Perry, Betsey Keene and others as they share their remembrances of life in Monument/Bourne Village.  The BriggsMcDermott House is directly across the street from the church on Sandwich Road in Bourne Village. There will be a Family Picnic immediately following the service.  Bring a picnic lunch for your family and share news and fellowship with others, just as it was done years ago.  Dessert and beverages will be provided.   In case of rain, there is a contingency plan. Everyone is...

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