“Holding fast to the gems”
Updated: Mar 7
Adams United Methodist Church
Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church
Pastor Missy McCarthy
Music: Sue& Craig Gamet, Mike To
February 28, 2021 2nd Sunday of Lent
Welcome to Adams and Sulphur Springs UMC, I am Pastor Missy. Thank you for joining us. If you would like to join Bible Study or a small group, please message us. Please comment with how many are watching if you are joining virtually. Light a candle to join the community wherever you are at.
Mike Tyo Original Work
God, we do delight in your ways and find refreshing in your sprit. Join us here today, guide us through the exclamation of your word, the singing of your praises and the joining of hearts and hands in mission. Nourish our faith so that we may bear fruit that witnesses to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture: (Psalm 1 Read by Craig Gammet)
Children’s Moment: (Colander, Sand and Gems)
Today we are talking about scripture as one of our ways of being a disciple. How are the stories in the Bible important to us following Jesus? In Psalm 1 we are reminded that people who spend time with the stories in the Bible and use them in their lives are like trees that are planted in just the right places to grow good fruit. Sometimes that feels really confusing. When we read a story, especially one from the Old Testament and it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to us now – how does that help us? But we are Christians, which means we are Christ followers.
When we read the Bible, we read everything looking at it through what Jesus teaches us. We understand the whole Bible through Jesus. It is kind of like the bag of stuff I have here being the Bible. The colander is like Jesus. Everything we read in the in Bible is everything in this bag, but when we read it through our understanding of Jesus some things are more important. See those diamonds and gems left behind. Those are the things that are the same in all of scripture…. the rest are grass seeds – they are useful, but not as important. Sometimes that is the stuff that has to do with the time period or the culture. The people or the places of the times and not necessarily the teachings Jesus was sent to remind us of. They can be useful but aren’t the true gems. The funny thing is we can read a story several times and it can look different depending on what is going on in our lives. It is like shining different lights on these diamonds and helping us to see different things going on in our lives. This is how scripture can help us. It helps us connect to Jesus and what Jesus’ messages for us are, even now, by the way different parts stick out for us as we read it. The only way to be able to test this though is to hear lots of stories from the Bible often.
This week try a different Bible story every night before bed and see if you can see if there are any nuggets or diamonds that you can see relating to your day in them. What seems important? What sticks out for you? Let’s pray.
Reflection: “Holding fast to the gems”
Have you ever heard a Bible story over again and suddenly it made sense to you in a new way or you understood it differently today than you have ever before? This happens to me all the time. It is why I have asked all of the leaders in the church to be in a Bible study or small group of some sort. Scripture has a way of doing that – it reaches out to us even when we are busy and overwhelmed. The Psalmist reminds us of that this morning. We hear that when we spend time in the stories, we are like the trees that are transplanted to the edges of the banks on the river and grow fruit. We are like the ones whose leaves don’t fade and who grow continually.
Why does it work that way? Why can we read parable of the prodigal over and over sometimes a year apart and each time there will be something else that is the thing that sticks out for us. Those are the gem I told the kids about. Those things to grab on to. I believe that is why it is the Living Word. Different things stand out for us at different times. When we spend time in scripture, we are open to God using it to talk to us. Sometimes we can hear our selves in the prodigal son who has squandered resources and life and does not deserve the welcome home and needs to repent, and other times we are the older resentful brother who is frustrated at always doing the right thing and watching others still get what you have when they don’t deserve it. We maybe we need to repent too when we realize perhaps we should celebrate a homecoming and life turned around? And other days we are the father who realizes it doesn’t matter, it is all just stuff, but a soul who has learned a lesson and repents that is something to celebrate that is something to get excited about. It depends on the day where God speaks to you in that story, or maybe you are the servant who is going to get the fatted calf and watching it all roll out. I have read the story more times than I can count and yet there is always a truth I need to hear in it for me on the day I reread it. Something that helps me, resonates with me or strengthens me. That is the way with the scriptures.
So many times, I see folks get tied up into knots trying to be so literal that they lose the entire meaning of story. They work themselves into a stew forgetting the love God has had for all of humanity throughout all of time to send us Jesus in the flesh to be love incarnate for us….to teach us to love and get caught up in the legalities - much like the Pharisees did once upon a time. It is almost like they have read the stories so often they have become blind to the mirror they have become of themselves. That is truly what the beauty of the Bible is though. It is the living word because it is a mirror for us to gaze into on humanity. To see the very worst and the very best of ourselves and recognize when we are not living up to the love that God has given us and hopes for us to be to one another and the world. We spend time in the scriptures so that we can hear God talk to us. So we can see ourselves more clearly and so we can hear God’s hope and love for us and humanity, so we can be co-creators in this Kingdom that Jesus came to bring into the world and we are to help with.