Friday, October 20, 2006

Blessed are the Broken

The worship service on Sunday, October 22 focusses on the teaching ministy of Jesus, particularly the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. Who's blessed and who's cursed? Who's excited and who's ashamed? Who wins and who loses? How do we know who is ahead in life?
Martha inherited a dining room set with some wonderful, old, hand-painted chairs from Pennsylvania. We guess they are over 150 years old. Recently one chair was broken. It was initially devastating to Martha. It was a family heirloom and she dreaded the thought of telling her mother. When she called and told her, her mother laughed and said that that same chair had been broken when she was a girl (her mom is now 83) by a pastor visiting the family. Not only that, the same pastor after breaking the chair went on to drop an expensive serving bowl. "It was broken long ago and was fixed then and can be fixed again." Martha never heard that story before. It's just a chair and it is fixable...again.
Jesus called broken people blessed, because they are fixable by his forgiving and powerful love.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jesus the Healer

The story of Jesus would be radically incomplete if we omitted his ministry of healing. Matthew and Luke both record 20 healings, Mark 18 and John only 7. That's a lot of sick people being made whole again. The six jars of olive oil speak of Jesus healing power and touch. He did not heal with oil as much as with his touch, word, even mud. There was no magical ingredient that made sick people well, no secret potion. But Jesus' word and people's receptive faith were the ingredients that came together to restore broken ones.
It was not until the later book of James (5:14) that oil was used. "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, annointing him with oil in the naem of the Lord." From Israel's earliest days, oil, especially olive oil, was used medicinally for salving wounds, ceremonially for announcing (annointing) new kings and leaders, clearly for cooking, and sacramentally for praying for healing.
At the end of the services, an invitation will be given for those desiring prayers for healing to come to the kneelers, either in the front of the sanctuary or in the prayer room.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Confirmation: where the tough theology is!

Confirmation is where all the really tough questions are asked. Each Tuesday from 4:30-6:00 ten 7th and 8th graders meet in the Fireside Room and explore the meaning behind the stories in the Old Testament. What does it mean to be a created person? How am I really different from animals? Do animals sin and get saved? Will there be animals in heaven? What about my pet? Was there really one man named Adam and a woman named Eve? If they would not have sinned, what would life be like now? Would Jesus still come? Where did Cain find a wife? Was his wife his sister? Since Abel's death was the first death, was Cain really guilty of something he knew nothing about? What's the difference between ignorance and innocence?