June 26, 2016

Pentecost 6   June 26, 2016   Psalm 87, Acts 8:4-40 (4-13, 14-25, 26-40) ************************************************* Acts is a spiritual travelogue. A journey for Jesus and his kingdom… Jesus has told us we will be his witnesses, starting in Jerusalem, then out into nearby Judea and neighboring Samaria, then to the ends of the earth… Now persecution sets in and most of the church leaves Jerusalem, taking the gospel with them on the road. In today’s episode we’re traveling with Philip, one of the seven commissioned to provide care for the church’s first ethnic minority, Greek-speaking-Jewish-Christians. Now we’re out into Samaria, where the gospel is suddenly spreading like wildfire. Signs and wonders are happening big time through Philip’s ministries.The sick and lame are wondrously healed. Many are coming to saving faith in Jesus. There’s great joy in he city of Samaria. But at the very height of the revival, strangely enough, St Luke (the gospel writer) zooms in on a mercenary magician named Simon, who has been proclaiming his own greatness – so loudly that he’s become known locally as (quote) “the power of God that is called great.” And here’s an almost stereotypical biblical badman – a wannabe ‘great man’ aggressively calling himself ‘great’ till others start to believe it… Yet now even Simon when he hears about Jesus, and sees signs and wonders, is baptized and follows Philip, now, wherever he goes… Meanwhile back in Jerusalem, the apostles hear about the revival in Samaria and send Peter and John down to help. Up to now somehow the newby church in Samaria hasn’t received the Holy Spirit… (at least not visibly…) Which now happens dramatically as Peter and John lay hands on the church and pray and the Spirit falls afresh… Simon the magician sees the powerful changes coming over people as they receive the Spirit. He wants a piece of the action. He says to Peter and John, ‘Give me this power too, so anyone I lay hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.’ Peter says ‘May your money perish with you for thinking you can buy God’s gift! Repent of all your wickedness…So if possible your heart’s intent may be forgiven.’ “Pray for me…” Simon replies. And we don’t know if he’s sincerely repenting, or what happens to him after this… But we do know the gospel shines  its high-beam headlights on Simon long enough to make his fee-for-service-attempt into a biblical case-study on the temptation so often facing the church… To be seduced by power and let worldly values like love of money corrupt the life of faith. (The church eventually named buying or selling power and influence in the church “Simony” in remembrance of Simon the magician. Unfortunately we still too-often hear faith proclaimed as if it were magic– with worldly prosperity promised, if we contribute to the right ministries. And…) The plot thickens now, as an angel of God interrupts the revival narrative, telling Philip to head south on a back road out into the wilderness… And… How weird is this? Here’s the new church, busting at the seams with growth, all Samaria on fire for the gospel…And the angel of the Lord says “get up and go” – not over to the next town, that’s waiting for revival – but go out into the wilderness,...

read more

Week of June 26th, 2016 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, June 26th: 11:00 AM Worship Tuesday, June 28th: 12:00 PM Reserved for Library Rain Date 7:00 PM SPRC Meeting Thursday, June 30th: 1:00 PM Bible Study at Bourne UMC Sunday, July 3rd: 11:00 AM Worship   ALL PARISH MEETING AND LUNCHEON TODAY following the service. We will be hearing reports from the annual conference. Pizza and salad will be provided. Please join us! CHURCH OFFICE: Brittany is on vacation this week, so Sarah Bach will be filling in for her in the office. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 1pm. LOOKING AHEAD: Sunday, July 10th – Pool Party at the Jensen’s after church. All are welcome! Dessert and beverage will be provided. Please bring a cold dish to share, as well as a bathing suit and chair. There is a sign up sheet in Crain Hall – name, phone number and please specify food if possible, so there will be less duplicates. Rain date will be July 17th.  ...

read more