Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
The next message in our sermon series about Half-Truths is about a phrase I haven’t heard recently, but I used to hear fairly often: God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It. The Scripture readings will be Deuteronomy 23:12-14 and 2 Timothy 3:14-17. We’ll use these two passages, and others, to help us think about how we read and interpret the Bible, especially the passages that are confusing to us and hard for us to understand and apply to our 21stcentury lives. If you’ve ever had questions about things you’ve read in the Bible, this week’s sermon might help you grow in your faith. I hope you’ll plan to join us.
As I’ve been preparing for Sunday’s message, I’ve been thinking about both the importance-and the challenge-of reading the Bible. Last Sunday, we gave Bibles to our 3rdgraders; this week, we’re giving Bibles to our 8thgrade Confirmation Class. We believe that reading the Bible is so central to our relationship with God that we give Bibles to children and youth at critical times in their lives. If nothing else, we hope to plant the seed of God’s Word and nurture their faith so that they will be lifelong learners and Bible-readers.
One of the reasons I think reading and studying the Bible is so important is that, in the pages of the Scripture, we meet Jesus and have life-changing encounters with God’s love and grace. Even though we often describe the Bible as the Word of God, we should remember that the first chapter of John’s Gospel says that in Jesus, “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) John’s Gospel also teaches us that: “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5).
We need Jesus. The world needs Jesus. We need the love and grace, and possibility for new life, that Jesus’ offers us. We need his teaching and his example, even when he challenges us (especially because he challenges us!) The world needs us to be his hands and feet, continuing his ministry, being the Body of Christ, reflecting the light of Christ into the darkness of the world in which we live. There are many meaningful spiritual disciplines and means of God’s grace, but none are more important, or more life-changing, than reading, studying, meditating on, praying through, living out what we find in the book we call, The Holy Bible.
Come on Sunday and find out more.
Fall Service Day – Sunday Afternoon
On Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m, we will gather at George Mason University’s Hub Ballroom and partner with the Arise Campus Ministry and the GMU community to package 40,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. It’s not too late to sign-up and plan to participate. You will find more information about parking and detailed maps of the campus at the Mission Committee table in the Commons on Sunday morning. I am aware that having this event at GMU is not as easy for us as gathering in our own fellowship hall, but I firmly believe that the benefits outweigh the challenges. In our fellowship hall, we are limited to about 30,000 meals. At GMU, we can help provide 10,000 more meals for hungry people (primarily kids) around the world. Going to the campus makes it easier for GMU students to participate and our presence is witness to the campus community. Your service on Sunday will bless the students you work alongside and the recipients of the meals you pack.
I want to thank everyone who made a financial contribution for Rise Against Hunger. I’m struck by the fact that we can prepare nutritious meals (that can be shipped around the world) for only $.33 per meal. That is amazing! Thanks to the money you contributed, the support of St. Georges UMC (another congregation that partners with the Arise Campus Ministry), and a generous benefactor, we raised the $13,260 we needed. Your generosity is a blessing.
Community Event at Bethlehem Lutheran Church
I recently told you about the interfaith community event that was scheduled for this week at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. It turns out that there was a last-minute change in plans and the event was rescheduled for Wednesday, October 3, at 7:00pm. This event is a response to the vandalism and hate-full messages that were painted on walls in the chancel area of Bethlehem Lutheran’s sanctuary earlier this year.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.