March 15, 2015 – Whoever?

Lent 4   March 15, 2015 Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-21   Whoever? **************************************************** John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life. This one verse has been called the summary of the whole gospel. It’s probably the most popular bible verse in America. We’ve gotten used to seeing football fans dressed in strange outfits, wearing rainbow wigs, lifting up signs at games saying nothing more than “John 3:16.” And people actually seem to know what this means. Kind-of. At least people recognize this John 3:16 verse, thanks to prolonged popular exposure, and some high-profile believers, like quarterback Tim Tebow – who, in his college days, would write John 3:16 under his eyes in eye-blacking (till that was prohibited by the NCAA). Then three years ago as a pro, Tebow led his team, the Broncos, on a weird series of come-from-behind-late-in-the-game victories, famously throwing for exactly 316 yards in one game. The next day John 3:16 was the most googled phrase in the world. (Tim Tebow was second.) Saturday Night Live did a skit the next week, in which Jesus himself walks into the Broncos locker room, saying Ok, I’ve been winning all these games for you guys, pulling it out for you late in the fourth quarter. Seems like some may be taking my help for granted. So I’m giving notice – you’re on your own with the Patriots next week – I’ll be busy elsewhere… It was the week before Christmas. And sometimes life imitates Saturday Night Live – and the Patriots beat the Broncos that next week. And if this seems like a strange way to begin reflecting on our gospel reading…(Well– ?) Consider again our gospel story, which we’ve joined in progress. Just before we’ve tuned-in, Nicodemus, a leading teacher of Israel, has come to visit Jesus by night, looking to see who Jesus is. And Jesus tells him “you must be born-again (born-from-above)” – thoroughly mystifying Nicodemus. Then, as we pick up in the story today, Jesus refers to a certifiably peculiar episode from the book of Numbers – saying ‘just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up – (so) that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’ Back in the book of Numbers, where we’ve read a few minutes ago, remember, Moses lifts up a bronze statue of the serpents that are biting Israel – and those who look to the serpent on a pole are saved from death. God sends these serpents as punishment for Israel, when they won’t quit whining and complaining. Numbers is a country and western kind of book – ‘Heartaches by the number, troubles by the score’ is the theme song for the whole book – it’s one long sad country song, with faithful God singing to unfaithful Israel, “each day you love me less, each day I love you more…” Now Israel’s walking on the fighting side of God – saying they’ve got nothing to eat, while grumbling about what they actually do have to eat (thanks to God.) And now God, having delivered these guys out of one-too-many disasters of their own making, has had enough. God...

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Week of March 15, 2015- Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, March 15th: 11:00 AM Worship & Church School 12:30 PM Book Group (see below) Monday, March 16th: 6:00 PM Finance Committee 7:00 PM Church Council 7:00 PM Saints and Singers Chorus Thursday, March 19th: 1:00 PM Bible Study at Bourne UMC Sunday, March 22nd: 11:00 AM Worship & Church School Soup Sunday 12:30 PM Book Group (see below) 3:00 PM Saints and Singers Concert Practicing the Presence of God — We’ll practice and share our notes in a small group, meeting after church in the Perry Room (BUMC), Sundays March 15, March 22, March 29. We’ll discuss the very short book, The Practice of The Presence of God and our own practice. For a free copy of the book please speak with Tim. (Or call 508 563 9215) ALTAR FLOWERS ARE NEEDED for March 22nd. Please sign up! SOUP SUNDAY – 3/22: We hope that people will be able to contribute their wonderful homemade soups. Please sign up on the list in Crain Hall. The Bourne Contra Dance restarts on March 28, from 8-11pm. in Crain Hall. Tony Parkes will lead dances, Amy Larkin and friend will play music, Tom Goux will provide sound system. All are invited. Admission $8 adults, $5 youth 10-17. More details to follow. OUTREACH ANNOUNCEMENT: We are continuing with our collection of items for the Cataumet Shelter. This includes gently used clean sheets and blankets (twin and full size), brand new pillows, household goods – dishes, pots & pans, silverware and children’s activity books and crayons. Upper Cape Chaplaincy (UCC) invites us to designate one of our members to serve on their Board. They are looking people with a heart for hospital and nursing home chaplaincy who will pray for UCC’s mission and flourishing. Board meets second Tuesday of month at Falmouth Congregational Church at 5:15 pm, usually till 6:30 or 7pm. We have several fundraisers a year. Please speak with Tim if interested. FALMOUTH CHORALE: Life, Death & Victory: Handel’s Messiah Parts II & III. (Passion, Resurrection and Final Judgment) John Yankee, Artistic Director. Concerts Saturday March 21 at 4 PM. Sunday, March 21 at 3 PM. Falmouth Academy, Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students online at www.falmouthchorale.org. At door/$25. More info at 774.392.2383  ...

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