A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day. The pastor was standing at the door as he always did to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside. The pastor said to him, “You need to join the Army of the Lord!” My friend replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor.” The pastor questions, “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter then?” My friend whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”
LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Lord, we know your church is all over the globe, fill your children with wisdom and strength in Nicaragua, Uganda, Spain, Madagascar, and Taiwan. Lord guide our local leaders here in the Shenango Valley and Father, we ask for grace and compassion for a vision of how we as a church can serve during this time of upheaval. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen
MEDITATION “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) Two weeks ago, in the online worship service, Mike used a Bible Project video on justice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A14THPoc4-4) to lay groundwork for our study of the prophet Amos. I find the Bible Project material helpful and I was particularly taken with this video, since I felt it did a good job explaining how justice and love go hand in hand. We revisited the content of this video last Thursday during Worship-Pa-Looza at the park. We listened to the video and began a discussion but of course when you begin to delve into big Biblical concepts there is never enough time. This week I wanted to take some time to look a few of the key ideas about justice raised by the video. As one of the participants on Thursday said, “It just goes by too fast and they put SO much in, I can’t take it all in in 5 minutes.” So let’s slow things down a bit. The video begins with a brief look at how many ”normal” animal behaviors would be wrong and immoral if a person did them (like eating your mate, which praying mantises do). Then we look at the account of creation in Genesis. We see that God made man unique. Unlike all other creatures, we are made in God’s image. As a result, all humans are equally valuable before God. Our behavior is meant to reflect God’s definition of good and evil. Unfortunately in chapter 3 of Genesis, humans reject God’s definition of good and evil and try to figure it out for themselves. This explains how things have gotten so off track in the world. While God is a God of love, justice, and goodness, we humans have “redefined good and evil to our own advantage and at the expense of others, prioritizing self-preservation and exploiting other’s weakness.”* Watch one season of “Survivor”, read the comments below an internet article, or listen to middle schoolers on the playground and you’ll know; people are not very nice. These unjust behaviors happen at all levels of interaction; personal, family, community and national and always the injustice is directed towards the vulnerable. Consider how you see injustice happening; the strong bully the weak, those that are different are picked on, older people are scammed out of the savings; humanity needs help…we need help. Tomorrow we will look at God’s response to the problem of injustice.
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-2-chronicles/ for an overview of Chronicles and https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-corinthians/ for an overview of the letter that Paul sent to the church in Corinth. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. 1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30 David talks about wanting to build a house for what exactly? (28:2-3) He’s talking about the temple, and yet the language here is that it’s not actually a dwelling place for God. Where does God dwell then? (Read Acts 7:48-49, and Isaiah 66:1-2) There is a huge “IF” in verse 7. What does this mean? First Chronicles will end with the end of David’s life. The way it is recorded, what is David’s final task? 2 Chronicles 1:1-17 In Genesis 15:5 God will make a promise to Abraham. “He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” How do we see this promise being fulfilled in verse 9 of Second Chronicles? Second Chronicles begins with who? What does he ask for, and for what purpose? (10) 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Paul is pretty worked up. Why? (5:1,6) It’s not just the sexual immorality but it is the boasting that we find to be the problem. It is calling “sin,” good! I find verses 9-13 intriguing. What should be our expectation of the behaviors of those in this world? Should we have different expectations for those within the church and for those outside of the church? Consequently, if someone is calling what is sinful, good, what are we supposed to do? 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 Chapter 5 ended with the idea of “judging.” This idea is picked up again in chapter 6, but with a little bit of a different angle to it. What is Paul talking about in chapter 6? Verses 7-8 are challenging verses. What is Paul saying here? Paul will go on to say, “and that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” What is Paul’s point? Psalm 93:1-5 Psalm 93 is a psalm of praise. Who is the psalm focused on? Do you find it encouraging? Psalm 94:1-11 Psalm 94 is not a psalm of praise. Who is this psalm focused on, and what is the psalmist asking? Notice verses 5-6. Who is being unjustly treated? How does this relate to what we are studying in Amos?