This winter has been rough. It is with a heavy heart that we made the decision to cancel worship on Sunday, February 16. Our neighbors did an amazing job getting the church entrances and sidewalks clean and passable. Unfortunately, not everyone in our neighborhood did the same in front of their homes. The icy sidewalks, combined with a severe lack of parking due to the snow, forced us to cancel worship to keep folks safe. However, this does give us an opportunity to worship in our homes.
I invite you to gather with your home, maybe a neighbor or two, or just by yourself, and worship God at our regular worship time. I will be doing the same and praying for you. If you have new prayer requests or a pastoral need, please call me at home. We are working very hard to be sure that everyone knows we are closed tomorrow. Please spread the word. Most of us would rather hear it 2 or 3 times than not at all. If you live at 3838 or 3939, it will be announced over the speaker. However, please make sure your neighbors can hear the speaker.
Thank you for your understanding. May God bless you. Selected announcements are listed after the closing hymn.
One: Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!
Many: Blessed are those who keep God's testimonies, who seek God with their whole heart,
One: who also do no wrong, but walk in God's ways!
Many: You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
One: O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Many: Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments..
One: I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances.
Many: I will observe your statutes; O forsake me not utterly!
Opening Hymn: In Christ There Is No East or West
Response to Prayer: Gloria Patri
Children's Bulletin is below. You are welcome to print for one-time use at home.
Ponderings: Discuss with those gathered or ask yourself these questions:
1) What is the passage trying to say?
2) What about the passage sticks out to me (good or bad)? Why?
3) What is God trying to say to me through this passage?
Things to consider: In today's passage, we are not given a new list of rules or laws. Instead, we are given the intention of the laws. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament. Jesus is explaining the meaning of the laws (as he said in Matthew 5:17--he did not come to abolish the laws, but to fulfill them). Everything in this passage centers on how we should live in God's Kingdom.
These are some tough words to hear. Most of us have no trouble obeying the "thou shall not kill" law. But the divorce issue seems to grate against us. I warn you that Jesus was speaking to a particular group of people in a particular place in time. If you are EVER in an abusive relationship, that is not what God intends. Do NOT stay. God wants us to be healthy and happy. If you need to get out of an abusive situation and need help, please come see me. Help is available.
In this section though, Jesus' teachings on adultery and divorce see women as more than the property of men. He is reinforcing the dignity of women and warning against a culture of male privilege. At that time, women were not supposed to be alone. They were dependent on their fathers or husbands for survival. Jesus was telling us that to be used and discarded for another person's sexual pleasure has consequences. A woman who had been sexually active outside of her marriage would bring shame on her family. Unfortunately, then, as well as in some places today, women who were raped were considered "damaged goods." They would not be able to marry. I praise God that we are starting to move away from this attitude here and now; although we have a long way to go. At that time, women could be cast aside and divorced for stupid things, like burning bread (if that were the case today, my husband probably would have divorced me 2 weeks after marrying him!). Jesus' words and teachings in this section was rebuking these practices, and telling people that they needed to stay together; a woman is worth more than a piece of property to be discarded when you were through with her. Instead of treating a woman like property, Jesus was turning the world upside down by allowing women to become disciples.
Throughout the passage, Jesus talks about how we treat one another. He is giving us a glimpse of Kingdom Living--how the People of God should be living. Jesus wants us to be people of integrity, whose word can always be trusted. We should be known as truth-tellers. How should the people of God live? Like Jesus. What behaviors and practices do you need to change in your life to better resemble Christ?
Hymn of Response: Breathe on Me, Breath of God
Denise’s relative was released from the hospital!
Jason got straight As!
Sharon, Jeff, & Jason Weese, along with the entire family of Fran Woolwine, who passed away.
Continued prayers for Ernie who is in rehab at Keswick. Elaine needs prayers too.
Betty P. and family are sick.
Evelyn R.’s nieces, Brenda and Carol.
Delores’ daughter, Annie, has pneumonia.
Henry’s friend’s daughter is having colon cancer surgery.
Betty C’s son, David.
Sharon E.’s relatives, Linda & Ron, Dave & Julie.
Jay & Linda (Shirley H.).
Diane is in dialysis (Shirley S.).
The Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Closing Hymn: Forward Through the Ages
1) Acts Bible Study continues on Tuesdays at 2pm in the parlor. All are welcome to attend.
2) Shift Happens, a young adult conference, will be held Saturday, March 15, at Queens Chapel UMC in Beltsville. The guest preacher will be Tye Tribbett; Kurtis Parks will b the worship leader. The cost of this event, sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Conference, is $22 if you register before February 14. See Pastor Bonnie for information to register, or to set up a carpool.
3) A Basic Lay Servant class, which is the foundation for specialized ministry in the church, including lay speaking, will be held on Friday, March 14, 9am-5pm, in the parlor. (Snow date: Friday, March 21). Please bring a bag lunch. We will take several breaks. Pastor Bonnie and Linda Thompson will be co-teaching this course. The class is free, however, we do need to order books. Please sign up using our website or in the 38th Street narthex no later than Sunday, March 2. There will be pre-course work.
4) Newsletter Deadline is TODAY. Please submit all articles to Shirley M. as soon as possible. Thank you.