The Apostle Paul wrote fourteen letters that have been received by the church as Holy Scripture. Four of these letters were correspondence to individuals; two to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon. The other ten were written to churches or, in the case of the letters to the Galatians and the Hebrews, a larger nonspecific group - Christians. This summer we will study each of the letters in turn to see what issues Christians were facing in Paul's day that could be applicable to modern faith.
Title:"Keep Your Tradition"
Scripture: Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9 & Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Thought for Reflection: As members of a local congregation we claim to be the Body of Christ. It's such a common (and scriptural) description that I wonder how often we pause and reflect on what that means. The issue that Jesus confronted the Pharisees with was where, exactly, their loyalty lay, with God or with institutions.
Title:"Don't Let's Go to the Dogs"
Scripture: Psalm 125 & Mark 7:24-37
Thought for Reflection: Jesus' visit to the coastal town of Tyre is a geographical lesson that his mission and ministry is not going to be, strictly, local. He's widening his spheres of influence and ministering to those who aren't connected to the Jewish People. Truly he is the Messiah for all persons.
Title:"At What Price?"
Scripture: Psalm 19 & Mark 8:27-38
Thought for Reflection: Even if he weren't the Son of God, Jesus can read the minds of his disciples; their wants are basic human wants and needs. They want security and comfort. Jesus is playing for much higher stakes - the fate of the world. He is willing to sacrifice everything for us.
September 23rd Officer Installation Sunday
Title:"The Servant of All"
Scripture: Psalm 1 & Mark 9:30-37
Thought for Reflection: In the topsy-turvy logic of God's Kingdom those who exhibit a child-like faith will be drawn near to Christ. Those who take up the mantle of service will be glorified. Those who make sacrifice will be rewarded.
Title:"Be at Peace"
Scripture: Psalm 124 & Mark 9:38-50
Thought for Reflection: An interesting argument arose among the disciples - they had seen someone from outside their inner circle using Jesus' name. Rather than admonishing this stranger Jesus said, "Do not stop him." We are saddled with an inclination to stop those we don't deem orthodox to our faith but God's Kingdom can and will be built by all sorts of different disciples.