May 26, 2019 – Sermon

Easter 6    May 26, 2019    Psalm 67, Revelation 21:10,22-22:5; John 14:23-29, Acts 16:6-15          Where to? ***************************************************************** A rabbi’s walking down the street one morning in the Russian village where he lives. A soldier asks “where are you going?” “I don’t know,” the rabbi replies. “What do you mean you don’t know,” the soldier says. “Every day for 25 years I’ve seen you leave your house and walk down the street to the synagogue to pray. What do you mean you don’t know where you’re going? You’re going to jail now, for not answering my question properly.” And the soldier takes the rabbi to the jail – and the rabbi says – “As I said… I didn’t know… where I was going.” Pastor Sandra shared this story with our prayer group last week. She found it in a book on prayer, The Breath of the Soul, by Benedictine monastic Joan Chittister. And this darkly humorous and all-too-serious story makes a pretty good point of entry for our story from Acts today… Where the apostle Paul and traveling companions have set out on a mission trip, heading for the Roman province of Asia (in what’s now the northwest part of Turkey – Asia Minor – not the much larger Asian continent). But the Holy Spirit has other plans – and blocks the missionaries from going where they thought they were going… So – re-calibrate – re-calibrate – we can almost hear the spiritual GPS re-calibrating their route… As the travelers try now to go Northeasterly to the region of Bithynia… But the Holy Spirit again blocks them from going where they thought they were going… Again it’s recalibrating time  – and not knowing where to go now, the travelers pause in the port city of Troas… Where, in the night, Paul receives a vision, in which a man of Macedonia pleads – “come, help us over in Macedonia…” And without delay they sail across a corner of the Mediterranean Sea quickly to Philippi – a major city of the province of Macedonia – and a Roman colony. (A reminder the  Roman Empire is in the business of colonizing all political, economic, and cultural life throughout the Mediterranean world.) And the travelers, to their credit, listen well to the Spirit – and adjust their travel plans accordingly… And a deeper, less obvious kind of re-routing of the journey is also happening, we notice. As now, after a few days, in which they’ve probably been praying and observing – the mission group makes its way to the riverside outside the city gates, where they find a group of women at prayer. They speak the gospel message to the women, and one them, Lydia, listens especially intently – decides to be baptized – and all her household’s baptized with her. She insists now on hosting the missionaries in her home. And we notice… In Paul’s vision it was a man of Macedonia who pleads with him and his companions to come and help… But now here in Macedonia, there’s no  Macedonian men waiting to hear the gospel. Instead it’s the women of Macedonia who listen and accept the gospel – outside the gates of the city, by the riverside – not in a temple, church, or civic center. Signaling we’re in less-charted spiritual territory...

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May 6, 2019 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday,  May 26th:                          11:00 AM     Worship Service Wednesday, May 29th:                  10:00 AM     BWC Thursday, May 30th:                         1:00 PM     Bible Study Saturday, June 1st:                          10:00 AM     Children’s Clothing   Exchange Sunday, June 2nd:                           11:00 AM    Worship Service BOOK GROUP will meet Monday, June 3rd at 6PM at the Parsons. THE JUNE NEWSLETTER DEADLINE is May 28th. SAVE THE DATE! The all Church Potluck is Monday,  June 10th, more information in Newsletter! PLEASE FIND HEALTH KIT shopping lists on the table in Crain Hall. PRAYER GROUP meets the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. BIBLE STUDY meets Thursday at 1pm. THE CHURCH DIRECTORY will be updated within the next month, if you have any information you would like to change, please contact the Church Secretary.          ...

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May 26, 2019 – Cataumet

ANNOUNCEMENTS The Church Council will meet on Wednesday, June 5. The Health Kit Project is asking for donations of toiletries for the kits. Please see the insert in your bulletin for a list of needed items. OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS Bible study continues to meet every Thursday at 1:00 pm. The group discussion of the Book of Joy will meet again after Memorial Day. 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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Easter 5, May 19, 2019

Easter 5, May 19, 2019 (Ps 148, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35) Acts 11:1-11 ************************************************************* The church in Jerusalem hears the news – a whole bunch of new believers have just come to God! – So we’re all singing alleluia – right? Well, not exactly. Actually, the first thing we hear from the church council is a rebuke of the apostle Peter – (Like–) “What were you thinking? Visiting uncircumcised men – and eating with them?” Which should certainly have us asking – what’s going on? Why is the church not enthusiastically unanimously welcoming newcomers to the faith and the table of fellowship? Of course we weren’t there at the time… so we’re listening close, now, as Peter re-tells the story, step-by-step – recounting events that take up the whole previous chapter in the book of Acts… As Peter tells a condensed version of the story – starting with his vision of a blanket full of kosher and unkosher animals all mixed together – and a voice from heaven saying “Get up Peter, kill and eat.” Peter replies “no way, Lord, I never eat unkosher food.” But the voice says “Don’t call profane anything God has made clean.” And the vision repeats three times in all. (And we see yet-another happening-in-triplicate-thing-with-Peter – who famously said he didn’t know Jesus three times in one night –  then at breakfast on the beach told the risen Jesus “yes, Lord I love you” –  three times…) And as Peter now retells the story for the church, he says “as soon as I got this vision, here comes three men (– yes, three again – ) sent to fetch me to share the gospel. And the Spirit told me to go with them and not make distinctions between us and them.” So what’s with this strange vision of foods on a blanket? And what’s this got to do with making distinctions between people?  A biblical background note may be in order: The ancient food laws described in Scripture in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 list foods that Jews can and cannot eat. Fish with fins can be eaten. Shell fish, shrimp and lobster cannot. Animals with a cloven hoof that also chew their cud you may eat. Animals that don’t chew their cud, like pigs and camels – you may not eat. Chickens and ducks you may eat – but eagles, buzzards, osprey, cormorants, hawks or any bird of prey you may not eat. No eating of reptiles of any kind – nor insects – except for the locust and the grasshopper – you may eat them if you choose. But – What’s the purpose of all these food rules? Many theories have been elaborated over the centuries. Some teachers of the Law have said foods like pork and camel are bad for our health and-or subject to contamination, that’s why we don’t eat them. Others have pointed out pigs were often worshiped by local pagans, so we don’t eat them, partly to show we’re not pagans. Some rabbis of old said the food rules are either arbitrary or so mysterious that only God knows what they’re for – but either way, they’re given by God – so we keep them – even when we don’t understand why. The explanation I like best –...

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May 19, 2019 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday,  May 19th:                      11:00 AM    Worship Service Monday, May 20th:                        6:00 PM    Finance Committee                                                            7:00 PM    Church Council      Wednesday, May 22nd:              10:00 AM     Prayer Group Thursday, May 23rd:                     1:00 PM     Bible Study                                                           5:30 PM     Brookside Sunday, May 26h:                       11:00 AM     Worship Service THE JUNE NEWSLETTER DEADLINE is June  28th. THE BACKPACK LIST has been updated please, see new list in Crain Hall or May Newsletter. PLEASE FIND HEALTH KIT shopping lists on the table in Crain Hall. PRAYER GROUP meets the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. BIBLE STUDY meets Thursday at 1pm. THE CHURCH DIRECTORY will be updated within the next month, if you have any information you would like to change, please contact the Church Secretary.          ...

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