February 7, 2021 – 5th Sunday after Epiphany
WORSHIP & Bible Study
Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.
This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here
Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles
Bible Study after service or 11:15ish. I’ll keep the zoom line on.
Devotion & Prayer Thought
I have an extreme love-hate relationship with the lectionary, the assigned readings that we are supposed to be reading together with other congregations. My love is that idea of unity and the broad section of scripture that we read. My hate is often how the compilers have mutilated or encouraged an out of context reading of a passage.
Paul’s argument’s in this section of Corinthians builds up to 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Last week, Paul’s argument was to be self-controlled for the sake of our brothers and sisters. There are many things that Christian Freedom allows that might be stumbling blocks. Chapter 9, moving out of meats sacrificed to idols, is a specifically Pauline example. And it depends upon both Jewish and Greek cultural expressions. The part that our lectionary cuts out is the trouble that Paul has run into with a section of the Corinthians. Unlike most of Paul’s churches, the Corinthians have an upper-crusty element. And that upper-crusty element was often ashamed of Paul. They wanted the guru-philosopher they were following to be every inch the intellectual, dedicated to the life of the mind. They would pay for his physical needs. But Paul insisted on two things. He absolutely had a right to receive a living from preaching the gospel. Taking such a living from the Corinthians would get in the way of his preaching the gospel.
That is where our text picks up. If Paul took the Corinthian’s money he would still be preaching the gospel because he had to – “I am still entrusted with a stewardship.” But doing so among them would limit Paul’s reach. He would become respectable to the upper-crusty philosopher craving group, but respectability is not what they needed. They needed to be confronted with Christ crucified, a foolishness to such pretensions. Likewise the much greater part of even Corinth needed to hear the free gospel. And Paul, the apostle, for the sake of the gospel, would not assert his right in that gospel. Paul was going to run this race, and he was going to run it to win. He was not running aimlessly, but self-controlled, with a purpose. He was not shadow boxing, but punching at specific targets – like the Corinthians’ need for worldly acclaim by having a respectable guru. He was being self-controlled for the sake of his brothers and sisters in Corinth.
Paul’s specific example is not a law to us, thank goodness because I need the paycheck. But Paul’s larger example is what he would have us imitate. If we are to love our neighbor, love is costly. Jesus paid the full price, dying for those who hated him. Paul? He would imitate Christ where it was possible for him to proclaim the gospel freely. “He would become all things to all people in order to save some.” It was costly to him in terms of prestige and time, but allowed for greater acceptance of the gospel. How have we exercised our Christian freedom for the sake of our neighbors? Not to squelch that gospel, but make it stand out? May we clearly discern how we are called to live the gospel.
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Feb 8th – Feb 14th
Mon. – Fri. ……….….… 9:00amPreschool
Wednesday: …………… 9:00amConfirmation
Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
A couple of general thoughts. LAF is all online right now. For the Thursday or the Sunday morning studies it is possible to zoom in, but it does take some setup. Everyone is invited, but if you would like to join through zoom, please drop me a note prior. I’ve fallen into assuming we won’t have anyone that way, but I don’t want to exclude just because I’m making an assumption because the set up to allow true participation is not trivial. The second thought is in regard to this weekly missive and the Catechism moment. I do my best to keep everyone’s emails, but if you would like to receive these and aren’t, or if you have changed an email, please send it to me and I’ll make sure the system is updated. Thanks.
- Thurs 10am: Ezekiel Chapter 21 – “Swords”
- Confirmation: Back on this week – Communion 4
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): Feb 10th. See you on the Zoom line.
- Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary and on the zoom line.
- Catechism Moment: We have completed our first cycle through the catechism. We will be starting anew with the 1st Commandment. Good time to jump on. If you aren’t getting them, please send me your email. You can also forward them through the link at the very top of the email to others and then I get the email address and can send future ones!
RHAFT: Collections for RHAFT are ongoing. If you would like to contribute to the Rush-Henrietta Food Pantry, a box is located under the round table in the Narthex for non-perishable items. These could include cereals, canned goods (protein items are always in need), flour, and sugar, cooking oil, hygiene products (i.e. soaps, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste & toothbrushes, feminine products) pet and cleaning products. RHAFT can only accept food items that have not passed the expiration date.
SPRING DRIVE-THRU BEEF on WECK … save the date … Saturday, April 24th.
ASH WEDNESDAY: Service at 7pm on February 17th.
A LENTEN CHALLENGE: The season of Lent is almost upon us and is traditionally a penitential time of prayer, repentance of sins, and self-denial. It was also traditionally a period of alms-giving – an act of charity in sharing with those less fortunate. We have a special challenge of giving to our local food pantry, RHAFT, for the six weeks of Lent. For each Sunday of Lent we have chosen a particular category of items needed by RHAFT as the focus of our donations. We hope you will join us in this challenge to help RHAFT fill its pantry shelves