Church in Bethesda Blog
Recap of Weekly Exercises In July So Far...
In July as we began our study of Matthew's Gospel we also shifted a little in worship from having a "Weekly Grace" time to including an exercise for the week presented in the message time and supported by the Table Time. Here's a refresher on what we've had as exercises so far, including the meditation walk from last Sunday...
July 1... Shaped By Family & Generations
This week's exercise was a reflection on the genealogy of Jesus as presented by Matthew. He was very specific in tracing Jesus in the Jewish line and narrative beginning with Abraham. Matthew places Jesus firmly that Jewish family and narrative, and even outlines the numbers of generations between formative people and events... check it out in Matthew 1:1-17 in the TNIV Bible. Our exercise for the week was to reflect on and answer a few questions about our own selves and narratives...
1. Who in my family was formative in my growth and development as a person, and how did that forming affect and change me?
2. Who in my family or friends in life have been most formative in my faith and faith journey, and how has their influence shaped my spiritual life?
3. What have been major, fomative events in my life and faith journey that have contributed to making me who I am today?
July 8... God's not in a box! (Neither are you!)
Even though Jesus is so firmly rooted in the Jewish story, this is not to be only a Jewish story or even a story that works along the normal and expected plots! Right away, Joseph is confronted with a young wife who is unexpectedly pregnant, and Magi journey from the East to see the new King of Jews. In Matthew 1:18-2:12 we are inspired by Joseph's good heart and righteousness, impressed by God angels working behind the scenes to make sure everyone is following God's designs, and left a little in wonder at what comes next in a story that seems to be composed of twists and turns. Our meditation in worship was seeing and discovering different messages in empty boxes where God wouldn't be kept or constrained, and we were invited to process our own boxes and messages...
1. How have I tried get God in a more manageable box in my life?
2. How have I ended up in boxes and hoping for an escape for myself?
3. What can I dream of in my life with God if we're both freed from boxes?
July 15... Exiled Jesus & Murderous Evil
As we read Matthew 2:13- 23 we saw some amazing stuff, and some horrific stuff. Again the angels are directing people: 1) the magi are sent home without reporting to Herod, and 2) Jospeh, Mary and Jesus are directed to Egypt to flee Herod's murderous wrath. It's really kinda cool how God seems to use Egypt to protect or incubate at differrent times in history. It's very cool how the story of Jesus immediately reflects the movement of exile and return that is so central to the story of the Jewish nation. But then we're horrified at the muderous actions of a power-mad, jealous old king. It's nothing new... the innocent die in the wars and conflicts of the powerful across our globe today. Evil still lives and works in our world. It's a comfort to know that God's story, God's plan, and all that God is working to accomplish rolls on and is never stopped. Our meditation on Sunday was to walk around the Sanctuary reflecting on three powerful ideas: 1) evil, greed and murderous rage is still lose in the world, and we are a people who pray and stand againt that evil, 2) at Church in Bethesda we have worked hard to make a "safe place" for people, and such a safety is both a gift we receive and a gift we give, and finally 3) we can be intentional about seeking God's heart and will in this world and being a part of the solution, better tuned to God's work and action. There were cards with scripture passages scattered throughout the walk and we were encouraged to choose one or two as spring boards for our prayer and devotional times this week:
July rolls on this coming weekend when Luke brings us Matthew 3, John the Baptizer!
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