Thoughts: When Richard Campbell Raines was appointed bishop of Indiana, he told his wife that now he was a bishop, he would conduct himself with utmost dignity, and he expected to be treated with great reverence and respect. The next morning his wife awakened him by hurling pillows at him and yelling, “Hi, Bish!”
Our families keep us humble. The youngest child arrives to find a cast of characters already on stage with well-defined rôles and scripts. This youngest child has only a bit part, and he needs to learn his lines quickly.
Although Jesus was Mary’s first born, his brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Juda and his unnamed sisters probably paid scant attention to his importance. “That’s my slingshot!” “Mom gave me this cookie!” Go get your own drink of water!”
A prophet is not without honor – except at home.
Discussion: Of what significance are the studies of birth orders in families?
Activity: Remember to honor our own prophets. Recently they cleaned and painted and installed new carpeting in our parsonage.
Thoughts: Jesus lived in a society which valued sons. Sons could carry on the family name; they could work in the family business or on the family farm. Bluntly, fathering sons was considered a measure of a man’s virility.
So it is endearing to hear Jairus speak lovingly of his little daughter. Our hearts hurt with his as he implores Jesus to come and heal his precious daughter.
We can picture Jairus guiding Jesus through the throngs of people, hurrying desperately to his daughter’s bedside. When Jesus stopped to acknowledge the touch of a poor, ill woman, Jairus must have wanted to scream, “Never mind her! We’re wasting time! We must hurry! Come on!”
We want attention, and we want it now – full and undivided attention.
Discussion: During an average day, what events and what people receive our full attention?
Activity: This Sunday, concentrate on the words of the congregational hymns.
Thoughts: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (v. 16)
The relatively new hymn “Help Us Accept Each Other” has these great lines:
“To learn to care for others –
For all, not just for some –
To love them as we find them,
Or as they may become.”
What happened to the young man with curly hair who brought roses to his wife for James Monroe’s birthday and praised her tuna fish casserole?
What happened to the slim young woman who put love notes and homemade cookies in her husband’s lunch?
They became older and grayer and heavier and – as the hymn says, “…cumbered with a load of care.” The money once used for roses pays for braces and college tuition. The love notes give way to helping a teen-ager through The Scarlett Letter. By tacit agreement, the tuna fish casseroles disappear.
Discussion: When you meet someone, what characteristic has you at hello?
Activity: Listen carefully to a friend’s answer to “How was your day?”
Thoughts: Twenty-seven hymns in our United Methodist hymnal begin with the word “come.” “Come” implies that we are welcome; we are wanted. Some of the most familiar hymns are “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Come, Thu Almighty King,” and “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”
Today’s scripture contains some words that appear almost verbatim in the hymn “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” which we sing almost exclusively at Thanksgiving time. The second verse is the best.
“All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield.
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.”
On Sunday morning, we see our precious little “blades” running down the aisle for the children’s time with Rev. Hal. The “ears” blessed us with their stories of the college mission trip. And we “full corns” must endeavor to be “wholesome grain and pure,” so that we may bring the harvest home.
Discussion: What nugget from a sermon, what Bible verse, what Sunday School lesson has lived in your mind and your heart?
Activity: Make one little blade your special friend. Smile and call him/her by name when you say good morning. Send your blade a birthday card.
Thoughts: Jesus chose his twelve disciples. Then he went home.
It was not to be a restful visit. Crowds surrounded his mother’s home, the local people questioning his sanity, and the Jerusalem scribes accusing him of working with Satan to perform his miracles. Jesus told the crowd that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
More titles have been taken from the Bible than from any other written source. House Divided is the title for a novel set during the Civil War. A wealthy white Southern family discovered from family records that they were related to President Lincoln, whom they detested. One of their ancestors had fathered a child by a kitchen maid. This child was Nancy Hanks, who became the mother of Abraham Lincoln.
The Bible was one of the few books available to Lincoln while he was growing up, and he knew it very well. Indeed, he could quote long sections of the Bible from memory.
When Lincoln was nominated for the Senate in 1858, the country was dangerously divided on the subject of slavery. In his acceptance speech, Lincoln quoted Mark 3:25: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This speech attracted national attention and helped elevate Lincoln to the Presidency.
Discussion: What unnecessary divisions arise in daily life?
Activity: Surprise someone with your sweet reasonableness when he/she disagrees with you.
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