January 31, 2021 – 4th 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
The Epistle reading for today (1 Corinthans 8:1-13) is one of the most powerful but misunderstood teachings in all the bible, and it is picked up in the Augsburg Confession Article 26. Part of the misunderstanding is not getting the situation. The local pagan temple was likely also the local butcher shop. When offerings were brought to the temple the animal would be ritually killed. Depending upon which pagan god or area what happened next could change, but largely the entrails might be studied for “signs” – the Romans called this augury – and the fat burned as the offering. The meat would be kept by the priests. The laws for Jewish sacrifice are also close (read Leviticus 1, Lev 17 & 22 also spell out what happens to portions). In a busy temple there would be more meat than could be eaten by the priests. Israel was forbidden from selling it to non-priests (Lev 22), but in the pagan world the priests had a business that brought in money and other goods, selling meat.
Now the problem that Paul is addressing is that this meat was “offered to idols”. The larger question becomes: is what I am eating blasphemous or profaning God or just irreligious? And if you think we are beyond such thoughts, just start asking questions about why someone is a vegetarian or a paleo. Ask how getting the stamp “organic” or “non-GMO” is important. If you think all the pseudo-medical lines of Leviticus about different rashes are superstition, ask about how we medicalize everything we eat and drink. And about how the bleeding edge of the “life extension movement” has more rules about supplements and what you can ingest than any Kosher Jewish house. Our religious quests – life, health, wellness, superior knowledge – almost always fixate upon food. In the Reformation time that the Augsburg addresses fasting in the correct way or avoiding certain types of meats (the forerunner to fish on Friday) was the religious quest. And we are almost always on a religious quest.
The first thing Paul says is that there is nothing to any of these religious quests – “an idol has no real existence.” If somebody’s religious quest – their attempt to justify themselves and their existence – spins off some good cheap eats, dig in. The Christian is not being blasphemous or irreligious in any way. Our existence and our justification come not from anything we do, but from Christ alone. “For us there is one God…and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” But Paul adds a second thing to this general license. “Not all possess this knowledge.” We live in this world not for ourselves, but for our brothers. I may have the freedom to scoff at the mystical medicalization of much of life these days, but I don’t have to exercise that freedom. If exercising that freedom would cause someone who believes to doubt the gospel, then Paul would say use that freedom to abstain.
Stealing a bit from the Pagans, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” There may be a time when the Christian is called to “here I stand, I can do no other.” When the religious quest of the world demands we say something untrue about the gospel. Then we must teach those who “do not possess this knowledge” and bear the consequence of such teaching. But if a tradition does not interfere with the gospel, our care is with our brother or sister. What we pray for is good eyes to discern when is the time for confession and teaching, and when is the time to walk alongside in humility.
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Feb 1st – Feb 7th
Mon. – Fri. ……….….… 9:00amPreschool
Tuesday: ………………. 7:00pm Board of Elders Meeting
Wednesday: …………… 9:00amConfirmation (Cancelled, 1 Week break)
Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
- Thurs 10am: Ezekiel Chapter 20-21
- Confirmation: We are off this week, next 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.