Celebration of the Wesleyan Love Feast
“The Poop King”
Judges 3: 12-30
A left-handed assassin kills a king who has been oppressing God’s people. God’s people keep getting into trouble because they are tempted into following other gods by their neighbors. What idols tempt us?
Judges 6: 1-24b
Gideon frees God’s people from the Midianites but not before struggling with his call from God. We may not be comfortable in leading the way but we are the disciples Christ has to serve him.
“The Witch of Endor”
I Samuel 28: 3-25
King Saul, facing a huge Philistine army and unable to get God to speak to him, resorts to using a medium to hold a séance and call up the prophet Samuel from the dead! Samuel foretells Saul’s defeat and death for God has abandoned him due to his disobedience. This passage shows layers of religious history. It also shows how we often are righteous until it’s not convenient!
“Feet of Clay”
Daniel 2: 31-45
Daniel reveals and interprets King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and so foretells the future. This is apocalyptic literature, i.e. it is written as though in the past, looking to the future, in order to speak to the present. God’s people are being oppressed; this story is one of hope. The expression “feet of clay” has come down to us, meaning that someone is flawed or has a weakness. As those who choose our leaders by democratic election we have an obligation to vote but we also know that our leaders are human, not divine. They often have “feet of clay.” The handling of the pandemic and of racism in our nation show this. Ultimately, all human leaders are to be measured against God’s just and perfect reign.
Esther 4: 1-17
The Book of Esther has been controversial in Jewish and Christian circles – for what it includes and what it does not. Like apocalyptic literature it is written as though in the past for the purpose of speaking to the present. It is a story of hope for God’s people in times of persecution. In a sense it wrestles with the age-old question: What makes famous leaders? Is it character or circumstance? The Covid-19 Pandemic has created “forced innovation” among us much as Haman’s pogrom does so for Esther. So, like Esther, perhaps we are called “for just such a time as this.”
September 6 – Labor Sunday
We honor those who work to keep us alive, fed, safe and healthy; we remember those in need of work; we re-dedicate ourselves to justice in the workplace.
Celebration of the Wesleyan Love Feast
"In the Meantime..."
Luke 19: 11-27
In between Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus and triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Luke places the Parable of the Pounds. Compared to Matthew’s Parable of the Talents this version is violent – influenced, perhaps by the experience of the Early Church at the hands of Herod Archelaus and their increasing experience of persecution. This gives it an apocalyptic tone. Christ has not returned and may not for a long while yet. We still, however, have things to do to live out our faith in the present age. We are not to sit around and just wait! And God has invested in us and is willing to invest in us even more – is willing to invest in us greatly, in fact! So, this Labor Sunday it is good to ponder, what we are doing with God’s investment and our time?
September 13 – Christian Education Sunday
Re-Dedication of Teachers & Leaders
“What’s the Bible for Anyway?"
Genesis 2: 4b-9, 15-25
Genesis offers us to Creation stories – one that’s very lofty and one that’s kind of folksy. Neither one seems to match what science tells us about the origins of the universe or of life on Earth. Yet, as Christians we make a claim to absolute truth in God. So, we must choose Science or Faith, right? Or is there a difference between Truth and Fact? What’s the Bible for Anyway? What do we go to it to learn? In this age when so much is called into question by leaders as “Fake News” it is good for us to focus on the “Good News” of God’s generosity and love.
“Wrestling with God”
Genesis 32: 3-13; 20b-31
After cheating an astounding array of people in his own family, Jacob must face his brother, Esau, and their shared past. Jacob is frightened. At night he wrestles with a mysterious figure in the dark. Is this his conscience? An angel? God? Jacob comes away a changed man – permanently injured but with a new name and a new identity – “one who strives with God.” Healing happens and he now has a new relationship with God… and his brother.
“When Hard Times Come”
Daniel 3: 1-30
Daniel was written during a time of oppression for the Jews to encourage their faithfulness to God. Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego speak truth to power. This is not appreciated. They are thrown into a fiery furnace and a mysterious fourth figure appears with them. Ultimately, they are rescued by God. Theirs is a true faith, however, for it does not depend on their rescue at all! In our times of struggle, their example challenges and encourages us to trust in God’s love of us – even if the problems we face don’t get fixed!
For this service, we are invited to have musical instruments or noise-makers handy for the scripture reading. The lesson mentions the “lyre, trigon and harp” which are all stringed instruments. So, a guitar, if handy, would be good. The lesson also mentions “horn.” So, a trumpet, car horn or similar item would work. It mentions “pipe.” So, a flute, recorder, kazoo or paper towel roll would work. And it mentions the “drum.” So, drums, cowbell or wooden spoons on pots and pans would be good.