Saturday, March 31, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018
Thursday, March 29, 2018
17-18 Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 96
Children, Joshua 3-4
Message, John 19.28-42
· The Last Word on Reconciliation, Feb 10/11
· The Last Word on Hope, Feb 17/18
· The Last Word on Family, Feb 24/25
· The Last Word on Pain, Mar 3/4
· The Last Word on Need, Mar 10/11
· The Last Word on Endurance, Mar 17/18
· The Last Word on Trust, Mar 24/25
It is finished (John 19:30).
Why do you call it GOOD Friday? (in TEFL class, from Muslim student)
“Yet this is the narrative that has made Good Friday good.” (Raymond Brown, cited in Bruner, 1114)
“As through a conquered man our race went down to death, so through a conqueror we ascend to life.” Irenaeus, 72
More victorious in tone (than “forsaken”), but no loss of the pain in John’s gospel: “I thirst”
Granddad singing, “Jesus Loves Me”
The Single Moment that Determines All History
It is finished. Perfect tense, “past act with continuingly present-tense force” (Bruner, 1114)
Jesse, “baby all done now” – but that baby was definitely NOT finished!
Genesis 2.1, heavens and earth completed
Joshua 4.1, whole nation completed crossing the Jordan
“’It is finished.’ But it is not over.” (Richard Neuhaus, cited in Hauerwas, 88).
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Monday, March 26, 2018
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Wesley Forest Camp & Retreat Center
Registration at 10 am
Walk/Run at 11:00-12:00
Free Picnic Lunch to Follow
More info, resources & Sponsor forms: tinyurl.com/BishopsPIM
Saturday, May 12, 2018
9am -12 pm
Kirby Park, 160 Market Street Wilkes-Barre
More info, resources & Sponsor forms at: swbdistrict.org
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018
By Les and Debbie Dornon*
Living in Nepal means that prayer is a bit like breathing. Without the connection to God throughout the day, life can overwhelm us. Prayer is the way we get started each day—and we strive to end with thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness. We have seen many instances where prayer alone has made a difference—prayers for rain in a dry season followed by an unlikely storm to fill the hospital water tanks…prayers for a patient with no money and a difficult medical condition who was able to leave here healed and without a crippling debt…prayers for Les when he had a brain bleed and had to be helicoptered to the capital city for treatment and found himself to be the only conscious patient in the ICU overnight….the list could go on. We depend on prayers for our lives here, for our work, for the witness of the hospital and the church, and for our family living far from us. Knowing there are those who pray for us consistently keeps us moving forward in the difficult times. Prayers help us continue to say with assurance, Our God is faithful and good.
The rest of the story ...
Friday, March 23, 2018
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
10-11 Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 69.1-21, 29
Children, Exodus 17.1-7
Message, John 19.23-30
Water sketch in elementary school – for combing hair!
I am thirsty (John 19:28).
“We may suppose that Jesus really is thirsty; but he is thirsty only by his volition, because of his awareness that there is a prophecy to be realized” (Loisy, cited by Brown, 928).
Thirsty because he chooses to be thirsty? Simply to fulfill Scripture?
Have you ever been around a dying person? Put a sponge to their chapped lips, wiped down the inside of their mouth?
Jesus was thirsty because he was dying. When humans die, they get thirsty – even if they are not executed in a particularly painful way.
And yet, John’s gospel is clearly full of metaphor and much very interesting language around thirst, water, and drink – all of which should properly inform our reading of this section.
“The work of the Son, the thirst of the Son through the Spirit, is nothing less than the Father’s thirst for us. God desires us to desire God” (Hauerwas, 77).
But we cannot separate the human from the divine. Jesus is not 50/50. He is 100% God and 100% human. At the very same time.
Incarnation a name for a mystery, not an explanation of the mystery (Hauerwas, 75)
Monday, March 19, 2018
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Friday, March 16, 2018
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
3-4 Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 22.1-18(22)
Message, Mark 15.22-41
Lost in Vientiane
Not abandoned, not forsaken
But … alone and lost
For a child who always had dad and mom nearby, this was a crushing experience. Among my deepest pains. Others have been my losses, my griefs. In this one, I myself was lost.
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46)
The fourth word
Only word in Mark (first gospel account) and Matthew, the other 6 are in Luke (3) and John (3)
Primacy (either by being first or being central)
Jürgen Moltmann: What sets Jesus’ death apart from deaths of martyrs of all faiths and philosophies … rather than hope or defiance – God-forsaken (146-152).
Moltmann: the cross is the beginning of the trinitarian history of God (uncertain page #). In the cross, “God is dead and yet not dead” (203). Jesus, the Son of God, dies. The Father forsakes the Son. The Spirit, I assume, grieves. I assume that because the Scripture itself does not speak to that dimension of the mystery of the cross. The Scripture is clear that Jesus dies. And Jesus is clear that he is abandoned, forsaken, by his Father.
I have no idea what that would feel like. The Scripture doesn’t tell us either, doesn’t offer us a psychological analysis of Jesus. We do know that Jesus spoke in unique ways of the nearness of God’s kingdom (Mark 1.15). And Jesus spoke of God as “my Father” in a way that was exclusive to him, unique and personal (Moltmann 147). To be abandoned, to be forsaken, by one you love who is at the same time near and intimate is exquisitely painful.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Friday, March 9, 2018
Thursday, March 8, 2018
The most urgent needs are for food and firewood. Semi-trucks filled with long pine logs are delivered which volunteers then cut, split and deliver to homes in remote locations on the Blackfeet Nation. Photo courtesy of Whitefish United Methodist Church.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
24-25 Feb 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 22.23-31
Children, Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16
Message, John 19.16-27
Two introductory matters:
1. Family and Faith
Jesus provides for his mother’s future needs …
“honor your father and your mother” Exodus 20
Jesus’ relationship with his family was complicated (like ours!) and he also had a new view of what family was all about.
Matthew 12:48-50 – "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Luke 14:26 Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
JOHN’s mother, Salome, was present at the foot of the cross, according to Mark’s passion account. So, she hears this too! (Mark 15.40, Scroggie, in section on 7 last words)
2. Who is Mary?
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Monday, March 5, 2018
EAST DARFUR STATE, Sudan (UMCOR) – In December 2013, fighting broke out between the Maalya and Rizaigat tribes in East Darfur state, Sudan. When another tribe warned of imminent danger, Mona and Ahmed and their six children fled Um Rahouba village.
“We left everything behind—our home, our livelihood, the crops, and the land,” Mona recalled. “We thought about nothing but to flee. It was too difficult to take anything; the situation was terrifying. We ran even without water or food, carrying the little ones. We were very tired and frustrated. Luckily, we managed to contact our family in Adilla who sent a lorry [motor truck] for us.”
Finding temporary refuge, the family crowded into their relatives’ small house.
“UMCOR relieved our hardship,” a grateful Mona said. “It was really hard to believe that we’ll continue our normal life back again. Though it was a bitter experience, it gave us the strength and faith that God always graces us with his mercy.”
The rest of the story...
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Friday, March 2, 2018
Thursday, March 1, 2018
By Bella DiFilippo*
KITWE, Zambia—Miriam was three months pregnant when she was diagnosed with HIV. A local health clinic directed her to Bwafwano Care Providers to receive consistent counseling, nutritional support, and antiretroviral medication. Community health workers from Bwafwano Care Providers visited Miriam and through consistent follow-up, she gave birth to a healthy baby. Today, Miriam’s two children, ages three and four, are both HIV-free.
Grateful for Bwafwano Care Providers, Miriam now serves as a community health worker, sharing her story with other HIV-positive pregnant mothers as an advocate for health.