The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 12:28-34
11 mins 11 secs
Views: 8
Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31 This week, at the first service, we have the joy of a baptizing Raelene and two of her children Annie and Billy during the first service. It seems appropriate then that our readings for this Sunday are about how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. In Deuteronomy, God gives the Shema to Israel, and in Mark, Jesus gives the great commandment. If we hear and follow and live this commandment in our life it will go well for us, and we will praise God with an upright heart. But what happens when we can’t follow even one command? Then we turn to our epistle reading for the week: Hebrews 9:11-14.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 12:38-44
18 mins 38 secs
Views: 9
This week is Stewardship Sunday and our readings seem appropriate. Our Old Testament reading is about God’s miraculous provision for Elijah, a widow and her son the midst of a drought. She gives her last flour and oil for the prophet and her jar never runs out until the rains come again. Our Psalm is about putting our trust in God who watches over strangers and widows instead of in princes. In our Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples to beware of the scribes who enjoy the honor and respect they receive as men of God, but “devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.” They enjoy the attention of men, but their hearts and lives are not aligned with the priorities and concerns of God.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 13:1-8
14 mins 56 secs
Views: 13
Our lives are filled with transitions, endings, and changes, which we’d rather avoid. The news is filled with fires and impending disasters, and impending dooms of various sorts, and it can be exhausting, overwhelming and discouraging. But this week our readings all look to our hope and peace as “The Day” approaches: Daniel speaks of a time of anguish in the future of Israel, but that even then, those who are wise shall shine like the stars in the sky. The psalmist prays for protection, promises to choose only the Lord, and says “Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.” In our Gospel, Jesus speaks of the temple being destroyed and dismantled, but also says: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come.” Finally, the New Testament reading concludes with: Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
John 18:33-37
14 mins 44 secs
Views: 7
In the past several weeks, while our Gospel readings have been progressing through Mark, our epistle readings have been in Hebrews, focused on Jesus as our great high priest. This week, we turn instead to John, Revelation, and Daniel to look at Jesus as our King. Since we live in a secular democratic republic, where leadership is messy and temporary, it is hard for us to relate to “king.” At best, to our ears, “king” can sound like something from a storybook, or like a celebrity figurehead, and at worst, an usurping dictator, rather than a noble, rightful holder of power. As usual, Jesus’ view is deeper and not quite expected. He is king above all kings, but his kingdom is one of truth, not of geography. Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family and friends; enjoy the amazing and much needed rain - but don’t drink the rainwater, and please continue to pray for those who have lost their homes and are in need of shelter during this rain.