Mark 10:45 “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Have you ever agreed to do something without really knowing how much work or how involved it was going to be? The first disciples of Jesus were a bit like that. They left everything to follow Jesus not really knowing or understanding how their lives would change and what was expected of them. As they travelled with Jesus, hearing him preach, seeing him perform miracles, and helping him share good news, they realized following Jesus was more than they thought it would it be. They realized that following Jesus meant serving others, not serving themselves.
During the pandemic, it became apparent how important the service industry is and how often we have taken it for granted. Something as simple as getting groceries became dependent on those who went to work while others stayed safe at home. It was not only necessary, but life-saving for some people to serve others by going above and beyond what they ever expected. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, let us appreciate all those who continue to serve us and others.
Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.” This line from the catchy song by Bob Marley is one of encouragement and hope. As we celebrate our second Thanksgiving during the pandemic, it has been hard at times to believe that everything will be alright again. And yet, even when we worry about the future, we can continue to give thanks for unexpected joys, small mercies, and acts of kindness that we’ve known over the last two years.
In the Bible, Jesus encouraged people to leave their worries behind and trust that God would know and provide them with what they really needed. Imagine if our worry was transformed into hope, trust, and gratitude so we could live each day in the fullness of life promised by Jesus. Imagine if our last thought every night was one of thanksgiving for the day that had passed and a firm belief that in the end, “every little thing gonna be all right.”
John 6: 33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Pita, Naan, Roti, Focaccia, and Chapati are all flatbreads from different places in the world. For centuries, bread has been a staple food for many people from a variety of cultures. It is no wonder that in the Bible, Jesus used the image of bread to help people understand his true identity as God’s Son. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” He went on to say that the bread he offered would fill and satisfy people more than any kind of bread one could eat.
Being filled with the bread of life means we fill our lives with Jesus. From Jesus we receive the nourishment and energy to live in the peace, hope, and grace that connects us with God and connects us with one another. On World Communion Sunday each year, churches across the globe gather (safely) around the Lord’s Table to remember and give thanks that Jesus is the bread of life who continues to fill and satisfy our hunger. Thanks be to God.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.….let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”
For many people, the pandemic meant isolating away at home alone without the usual visits of family and friends or social outings. For some, the pandemic meant being at home 24 hours a day with family or roommates, spending more time together than they may have wanted. At times, they might have felt their loved ones were a little too close for comfort. In reality, we need each other. We need connection with each other, especially in difficult times.
The Christians of the early church faced many challenges and they needed reassurance that they were not alone. The Bible describes a ‘great cloud of witnesses’ who had known God’s presence and promise and who have inspired and encouraged people of faith throughout the ages. It’s that kind of connection to the past that teaches us the importance of being connected with each other today. We learn from those who have gone before us as we turn to each other to help us through the challenges of life.
Come to worship this Sunday to sing, pray, and explore what connects us together as a community.
As the delayed 2020 Olympics get under way as safely as possible, we’ll spend the next couple weeks admiring the staying power of the athletes. Staying power is the ability to keep doing something even when it is really difficult, and you just want to give up. Elite athletes learn, train, and compete in their various sports over years and years with a staying power that overcomes all kinds of obstacles. While most of us are not elite athletes, I think we can all relate to what it means to persevere in hard times. We’ve all needed a little extra staying power this past year and a half as we’ve adjusted to new routines during the pandemic. As things open up again, we’ll continue to need staying power to keep following guidelines that will keep us all safe.
In the Bible Jesus uses the word abide to describe the relationship God has with human beings, a relationship that has staying power. Abide means to continue, remain, or stay with someone or something. When we abide in God and God abides in us, we trust that God’s promises of love, grace, peace, and hope remain. We believe that there is nothing that will separate us from God. We believe that even if our faith may falter, God’s staying power is big enough and strong enough to overcome anything.
Please join our ONLINE only worship service where we will abide in God as God abides in us. We will also lift our hearts in prayer and continue to learn about the hymns we sing.