Good morning friends! I don't know about you but I am feeling really inspired from this last message from Rev. Joyce. This past Sunday she talked about how God reforms us and how God has reformed the church time and time again to bring new life and new witnesses to God's love. It came at a good time, I think, as we reflect on the damage/oppurtunties that arose from the year long COVID lockdown and as many of you have commented the OT is starting to feel a little hopeless and a little too dark. Keep reading it with the lens of reform, reform, reform. What did the Israelites need to reform? What do you need to? Let's consider this as we read today.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this reveal to me about God?
What glimpses into the culture does this reading reveal? What struggles were the people dealing with?
What about this scripture feels relatable to our world today? To me? What does it speak to me?
- My Thoughts -
As mentioned at the top, I found Joyce's sermon to be really good yesterday and have been considering it's words since then. The central challenge behind her comfort (that God remakes us) is that we must be willing to be remade. To be remade means to let certain things "die" so that we can be born anew to what God is calling us to. That's a prophetic and a good word! I admit that I'm feeling the same way that many of you are about the prophets and the OT at this point. It feels like they are all saying the same depressing thing but each one sounds angrier. But maybe thats because God is getting frustrated that the potters wheel has been spinning for hundreds of years but the clay refuses to get wet! The people had issues with idolatry, and as Ezekiel (and later Paul) points out they also had issues with temple prostitution. The hebrew people could not continue their journey to the promised land until they were willing to reform and be made new again.
As we reflect on what COVID has done for our faith, our businesses, our schools, and everything else in between, the world has undeniably been reformed. Even with vaccines being a thing I don't see restaurant staff to return to not wearing a mask for years to come. I think this officially killed the 9-5 work schedule and the idea of a "central office" where all the employees work from. Remote working is the future. But with all the added convienence of a more mobile and remote work life - what does that mean for faith? When we proudly sing "On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand" how can that mesh with a society and schedule that embraces "sinking sand" so to speak. How can we as the church both embrace the remote/digital age while also holding on to the oh so valuable in personal connection and deep relationships that have defined God's people for thousands of years? What traditions at church must be killed off so we can move forward? What long held beliefs and traditions are you struggling to let go of in your personal life?
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 191 in our United Methodist Hymnal - Jesus Loves Me. It's such a simple tune but it's one of those hymns you can't help but smile as you think about the countless ministers and family members that sung that tune to you as a child.
1. Jesus loves me! This I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong;
they are weak, but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
2. Jesus loves me! This I know,
as he loved so long ago,
taking children on his knee,
saying, "Let them come to me."
3. Jesus loves me still today,
walking with me on my way,
wanting as a friend to give
light and love to all who live.