Worship through August and September

 

Hospitality

Beginning July 31, we start preparing ourselves to welcome back college students and others, with a three-week series on Hospitality.

 

July 31: Prepare (Mark 6:30-44)

Jesus put his followers on the spot when he told them to get dinner for a crowd of thousands. They had the usual complaints: we’re not prepared; we can’t afford it; can’t they just go home? Churches use the same sorts of complaints when people arrive looking for either spiritual or physical sustenance. But if we’re not prepared, maybe we should change that, and change the whole conversation with Jesus.

August 7: Welcome (Matthew 25:31-40)

Jesus paints a picture of a final judgment, and in the middle of the story is perhaps the most difficult demand: welcome the stranger. This is harder than we think precisely because we have a hard time putting ourselves in the head and heart of a person who’s not just like us. The demand to welcome is a requirement to stretch our imagination. Ready?

August 14: Walking Together (Luke 14:12-24)

OK, so you’re pretty good and walking up to a stranger and making conversation–maybe. Well, how are you at inviting that person into a longer faith relationship? Where are people going to find the invitation to walk in a shared path of discipleship, if not from you? Are you ready to change a life, and be changed in the process?

 

Arguments in the Bible

The Bible is not simply a group of texts that share the same truths and points of view. The Bible is intentionally a collection of disagreements and arguments about the very foundations of faith, life, and community. Beginning August 21, Jeremy begins a six-week series on some of the most profound arguments that the Bible has handed on to us. We’re invited to join the conversation–and maybe take sides!

August 21: North and South

From Jacob (Genesis 35:1-10) to Jesus and the Samaritans (John 4:9-11, 21-24), the history of people in Palestine was divided between two group of people, who were usually two nations, and sometimes despised each other. The roots of the story (2 Kings 17:4-6; 17-24) shape a thousand sensitivities and perceptions over the years, including our own.

August 28:Prophet and Priest

This one never goes away: it’s the struggle between maintaining order and purity (a priest’s job) and crying for justice (a prophet’s job). Readings from Amos 4 and 5, Isaiah 56:10-12, Jeremiah 7 and 26. Is there a way to keep these two things in tension?

September 4: Purity and Power

When it came time to restore the Temple and Jerusalem, the question was whether we should start including everyone in worship, or only some people. As usual, it depends who you ask, and what their motives are. Readings from Ezra 10, Nehemiah 10, and Jesus’ hard saying about religious teachers in Matthew 23:28.

September 11: Jew and Greek

Right at the beginning, Christians were arguing about who can be included, and what they have to do to fit in. Breaking down boundaries is the story of Acts. But can’t these Christians get along? Acts 7:51-53; 13:44-52.

September 18: Law and Grace

The other great big early Christian argument was this one: how do I get to heaven? Is it what I do, or what I believe? Oh, and is heaven the big goal? Readings from James 1:22-27, Mark 10:17-27, and John 3:14-18.

September 25: Knowledge and Wisdom

Jesus had a lot to say about wisdom, and he wasn’t the only one. Some people think of Jesus mostly as a teacher of wisdom, but others say that we are supposed to be innocent and foolish. How does this work exactly? Readings from Luke 11-12, Philippians 3, Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 1-2.

 

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