SUNDAY, February 17– 10:00AM
This message comes to you on February 14, Valentines Day… a day when you take the trouble to remind somebody that they are loved. This is normally a great gift that is received with deep appreciation. There is a deep sense of blessing and warmth. You feel really good.
Sunday’s bible reading is from the Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s gospel. The words are strikingly similar to the words of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus has just come down a mountain and encounters a large crowd of people -some are already his followers; others are curious onlookers from the region nearby, which includes the great city of Jerusalem. A third group is non-Jewish people from the coastal port towns of Tyre and Sidon. Many of them are sick and disabled. Jesus makes no distinction between them when he tells them that they are happy. The word is often translated as blessed. They are invited to feel really good.
Jesus is calling his audience, and calling you and me to turn upside down the negative experiences of life and find God’s blessing in responding to them.
At the moment at which you feel the most powerless… take hold of the initiative and insist on God’s way of love. God extends and invitation to take the initiative of blessing and hope.
Luke 6:17-26 (Common English Bible)
Jesus came down from the mountain with them and stood on a large area of level ground. A great company of his disciples and a huge crowd of people from all around Judea and Jerusalem and the area around Tyre and Sidon joined him there. They came to hear him and to be healed from their diseases, and those bothered by unclean spirits were healed. The whole crowd wanted to touch him, because power was going out from him and he was healing everyone.
Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:
“Happy are you who are poor,
because God’s kingdom is yours.
Happy are you who hunger now,
because you will be satisfied.
Happy are you who weep now,
because you will laugh.
Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and condemn your name as evil because of the Human One. Rejoice when that happens! Leap for joy because you have a great reward in heaven. Their ancestors did the same things to the prophets.
But how terrible for you who are rich,
because you have already received your comfort.
How terrible for you who have plenty now,
because you will be hungry.
How terrible for you who laugh now,
because you will mourn and weep.
How terrible for you when all speak well of you.
Their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets.
How does this arrangement work for you? Does it make you feel guilty or inadequate? I’m sure that Jesus didn’t intend to immobilize his hearers. He was speaking to a generally low-income crowd and emphasizing the dangers of materialistic values, and, instead looking for deeper spiritual values that celebrate every human life. Jesus was healing people’s lives in a variety of ways, and it is healing that Jesus seeks for you and everyone. Your call and mine is to take the initiative in letting people know how precious and blessed they are.
Prayers please for:
Peggy & Paul Blankenship
Jim & Johanna Brownell
Pat & Gordon Close
Please also keep our grieving families close in prayer.
The family of Van deBelen A memorial service for Van will be held on February 23 at 11:00 am
The family of Dorothy Snook.
Alvin Vopata and the family of Ligaya Vopata
Karen Humphrey and the family of Ken Clarke