Bulletin

 

Lectionary Reflection August 9, 2020

 

For previous bulletins go here.

 

Through Faith, we walk on the path Jesus set for us.
The People of St. Paul’s Belong… Believe…Love ..Listen… Lead

 

At Home Lectionary Reflection for August 9th, 2020

Call to Worship
            One:   Let us give thanks and praise to our God!
            All:      Tell the wonderful things God has done!
            One:   Trust in God, whose power is awesome!
            All:      Tell the wonderful things God has done!
            One:   Remember the things God has done, and how God is always fair!
            All:      Tell the wonderful things God has done!

Jesus Put This Song Into Our Hearts

Opening Prayer
            Be with us, O God, as we embark on this journey of faith.
            When we need to step out into the unknown, give us courage.
            If it gets stormy, help us stay calm.
            And when things don’t work out as planned,
            help us know that you are there to catch us. Amen.

Children’s Theme Conversation – What does it mean to have faith?

(Gather the children around you and put on your adventurer’s hat.) Today we are going to be explorers without even leaving this sanctuary. We are not going to be the kind of explorers who explore uncharted lands. We are going to be explorers who explore faith. Maybe we will even “boldly go where we have never gone before!” (Ask for 4 or 6 volunteers. Include at least one adult. Now put the volunteers in pairs and blindfold 1 person in each pair and send them on a trust walk around the front of the sanctuary. Explain that the blindfolded person is to be guided carefully and safely by the partner as they walk along. After a while, switch, so both may have a turn being led and leading. Then gather everyone back into a single group.) How did it feel to be guided? How did it feel to be the trusted guide? Did you find it hard to trust?

Trust is a lot like faith in God. God gives us minds and expects us to use them to make decisions ourselves and choose directions to go that will be in tune with God’s will for our lives. But ultimately we must have faith that God is with us wherever we go in life – whether we are doing what God wants or whether we make poor choices and stray away from God’s loving will – we have to have faith that God is with us. In our Bible reading today, the disciples were out by themselves in a boat when a dangerous storm came up. They were frightened. It was very hard for them to trust that God was with them. It was a situation where it was very difficult to have faith. You’ll be finding out what happened to them in your classes today.

 Prayer of Confession and Words of Assurance
Voice One:   There are times when we feel adrift, lost at sea.
Voice Two:   Come to us, God, when we are afraid,
All:                  And open our hearts to your love.
Voice One     There are times when we are overwhelmed by fear,
                        and we cannot do anything.
Voice Two:   Come to us, God, when we are afraid,
All:                  And open our hearts to your love.
Voice One     There are times when our fear of others makes us judge them,
                        ignore them, or even mistreat them.
Voice Two:   Come to us, God, when we are afraid,
All:                  And open our hearts to your love.
Voice One     In silence, let us confess our fears to God. (pause)
Voice Two:   In our times of fear, it is comforting to know
                        that God does not abandon us, but comes to be with us,
                        offering love and reassurance.
All:                  Thanks be to God! Amen.

Lectionary Scripture passages for today   (read online)

 Genesis 37:1–4, 12–28                 Joseph is sent into Egypt
Psalm 105:1–6, 16–22, 45b        God be praised!
Romans 10:5–15                            Salvation is for all
Matthew 14:22–33                       Peter doubts and believes – sinks and swims

Scripture Sharing Matthew 14:22-23 (based on The Voice translation)
Narrator:      Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on to the other side of the
                        sea. Jesus went up to a mountaintop alone, as he had intended from the
                        start. As evening descended, he stood alone on the mountaintop, praying.
                        The boat was in the water, some distance from land. It was being buffeted
                        and pushed around by waves and wind. Deep in the night, when Jesus had
                        concluded his prayers, he walked out on the water to his disciples in their
                        boat. The disciples saw a figure moving toward them and were terrified.
All:                  It is a ghost! What should we do?
Jesus:             Be still. It is I. You have nothing to fear.
All:                  If it is you, then command me to meet you on the water.
Jesus:             Indeed, come.
Narrator:      Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and began walking toward
                        Jesus. But when he remembered how strong the wind was his courage
                        caught in his throat and he began to sink.
All:                  Save me!
Narrator:      Immediately Jesus reached for Peter and caught him.
Jesus:             Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between following me
                        and listening to fear?
Narrator:      Then Jesus and Peter climbed in the boat together,
                        and the wind became still. And the disciples worshipped Jesus.


Biblical Background

OUTLINE OF THE THEME Today’s readings remind us that God journeys with us through the ups and downs of life. God is with Joseph as he is sold into slavery in Egypt. Paul calls on believers who know the good news of God’s presence through Jesus to share it with others. Jesus comes to comfort the disciples on a stormy sea.

 Genesis 37:1–4, 12–28  The story of Joseph being sold into slavery tells how the people of Israel came to be living in Egypt. Once again we have a story of favoritism and jealous siblings. In this case it is Jacob, once favored over his brother Esau, who has a special affection for his young son Joseph. Joseph and Benjamin were sons of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife, and they were the sons of his old age. Rachel had died giving birth to Benjamin and so her two sons were especially precious to Jacob. As evidence of the privileged position Joseph held in the family, his father gave him a special robe to wear. Scholars agree that the word once translated “coat of many colours” really should be translated “long-sleeved coat.” It’s certainly less theatrical, but indicates that the person wearing such a garment stands above the necessity of manual labor. Laborers wore short garments to free their arms and legs. It seems that his main job is to check up on his brothers and he often brings bad reports to his father about what his brothers are doing. We imagine Joseph showing off, flaunting his good fortune and superior position. It is not surprising then that, when Joseph is sent by his father to see “if it is well” with his brothers, they seize the opportunity to be rid of this nuisance of a brother. The first suggestion is to kill him, but the oldest brother, Reuben, intervenes and suggests that instead they leave him in a dry abandoned well. The robe, symbol of his status, is joyfully removed by the brothers. Then when Reuben is away attending to something, some Midianite traders pass by and Joseph is removed from the pit and sold to them for 20 pieces of silver. The traders take him to sell in Egypt. On the surface this story might easily be titled “Joseph is sold into slavery” but when the story is taken in its total context it is clear that the writer is confident that all this is God’s doing. This is really the hidden call of God. Joseph is sent by God into Egypt to answer a future need.

Psalm 105:1–6, 16–22, 45b This psalm calls on us to proclaim God’s greatness and to celebrate God’s saving power as shown in the history of the Israelite people. Today’s verses recount the experience of Joseph, and are very clear that it was God who caused the famine. But it was also God who sent Joseph into Egypt (not his brothers) in order that they and the Egyptians might be saved. The song describes Joseph’s imprisonment until his gift of interpreting dreams bought his freedom. It was the king of Egypt who released him but the “ruler of nations” that set him free. Verse 45 declares that the purpose of God’s historic acts was to create a people obedient to God’s will – a people confident in God’s saving power.

Romans 10:5–15 Paul declares the message of salvation: “If you believe… and confess… you will be saved.” He reminds the church how important it is that this message of hope be made available to everyone, because God’s mercy is for all. Our humanly created distinctions, such as Jew and Gentile, are irrelevant. Paul confidently states that “those who believe will not be disappointed.” Whereas in the past that confidence came through obedience to the Law, now our confidence comes from Christ’s death and resurrection. Paul calls us to proclaim to others the base of our confidence, the foundation of our hope. And Paul believes that the world is desperately needing such hope and confidence – that people will say “how wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news.”

Matthew 14:22–33 Jesus has tried to show the disciples the power of God’s love. Now he sends them on ahead of him, across the lake while he goes up the mountain to pray. A storm arises in the middle of the night and Jesus comes to the disciples, walking on the water, and they are terrified. Jesus calls out “Courage! Don’t be afraid!” In the hour of the disciples’ need, Jesus has come to them. When the wind was difficult and life was a struggle, Jesus was there to help. Peter is typically Peter. He impulsively states that he would like to experience what Jesus is experiencing without reflecting on the cost involved. He begins to walk on the water, and then sinks in fear. Again Jesus is present to help and save him. Matthew is writing for a struggling storm-tossed church. Peter stands (and sinks) as a representative follower of Jesus.

 

Jesus comes to the storm-tossed infant church just as Jesus came to the disciples in the boat. They will be safe from the storm. They will also be safe in the midst of the daily persecution they will suffer as Christ’s followers. In the darkest part of the night, Jesus is there. Jesus doesn’t abandon them here or after the resurrection. Through this experience, the disciples came to know God’s saving presence in Christ and responded with awe and worship of God.

 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

 Prayers of the People
One:               Holy One, you call us to trust in you.
                        With that trust, we offer our prayers to you.
                        We pray for this community:
                        build us up to be able to withstand the storms that may come.
                        In your mercy,
All:                  Hear our prayers.
One:               We pray for those who are called to serve the community –
                        health care providers, first responders, government officials, teachers,
                        sanitation workers, city workers, farmers.
                        May they be strengthened in their service.
                        In your mercy,
All:                  Hear our prayers.
One:               We pray for those who live on the margins of society –
                        the homeless, those with addictions, those with mental health struggles.
                        May we be moved to reach out and advocate for them, that they might know your love.
                        In your mercy,
All:                  Hear our prayers.
One:               We pray for the earth, under stress from human activity and greed.
                        May we be responsible stewards of this remarkable gift that you have created.
                        In your mercy,
All:                  Hear our prayers.
One:               We pray for the leaders of the nations,
                        that they may turn from destructive ways of governing
                        to help build a world where all are respected and all have enough.
                        In your mercy,
All:                  Hear our prayers.
One:               Let us now name our other concerns…. In your mercy,
All:                  Hear our prayers. Amen.

 Prayer of Dedication
            We offer these gifts, O God, as a sign of our gratitude.
            Bless the work of this community as we reach out to the world around us.
            Amen.

Benediction
            May the peace of God rest upon our busy lives,
            so that we may be quieted into prayer.
            May Christ’s presence and example give us courage
            to step out of our fears or complacency.
            And may the wind of the Spirit awaken us
            to new possibilities for our lives. Amen

Day by Day

HAVE A GREAT WEEK – STAY SAFE

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Previous Bulletins
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May
Bulletin for May 3rd, 2020
Bulletin for May 10th, 2020
Bulletin for May 17th, 2020
Bulletin for May 31st, 2020

June
Bulletin June 7th, 2020, Church Union Sunday, Pride Sunday
Bulletin June 14th, 2020
Bulletin June 21st, 2020 National Indigenous Day
Bulletin June 28th, 2020

July
Bulletin for July 5th, 2020
Lectionary Reflection July 12th
Lectionary Reflection July 19th
Lectionary Reflection July 26th

August
Lectionary Reflection August 2nd
Lectionary Reflection August 9th