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Worship Preview for 9.17.23

This Weekend: “Foundational Wisdom” - The Way of Christ and the Will of God series continues. Scriptures: We will read Matthew 7:24-29, Psalm 18, and Romans 3:19-31. Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.

Last week we talked about the narrow way, using the metaphor Jesus uses in the Sermon on the Mount. This week we read the last part of Matthew’s presentation of Jesus’ core teachings and hear another metaphor, that of the solid foundation. To explore this we will hear from Psalm 18, well known for its opening verses “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge” and we will hear from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans as he wrestles with themes of the Law, righteousness, and salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. He famously writes that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Last week we heard just a snippet from some of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. The Hebrew Scriptures, which were the Bible of Jesus’ time and which he refers to as “the Law and the Prophets” is often organized in 3 sections. I have in my office a wonderful translation and commentary by poet and theologian Robert Alter which reflects this. Book 1 is the Five Books of Moses or Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Book 2 is “The Prophets” Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 Minor Prophets – thus called not because they are any less important but because their books are relatively brief – think of Jonah’s 4 short chapters. Then there are “the Writings” These books reflect on the stories of Torah (Law) and the stories of the Prophets – they the great poetry and song of Psalms, Song of Songs and Lamentations, as well as the Wisdom literature: such as Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and the stories of Ruth, Esther, and Daniel. These books wrestle with meaning and application – and that’s just what Jesus is doing in the Sermon on the Mount. He is rooted in this tradition. Of course, as Christians, we believe Jesus comes first – that through him all things were made. He is the foundation on which we build – and the challenges of his stories and parables teach us that it’s not about being rigid and unchanging. A house built on sand will fall – we need to build on bedrock. And yet, as the Psalmist cries, sometimes “Then the earth reels and rocks” – a building that cannot absorb these shifts and changes also collapses. Sunday we will continue to explore these metaphors and seek to discern God’s Will through the lens of the Way of Christ. Blessings on your journey!

Upcoming Events: Wednesday, September 20, 5:30 pm Feeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. Note: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you.

Ways to Help: Would your group like to help prepare a meal or volunteer in other ways – contact Pastor Christopher or our coordinator Bonnie Milburn at the church (620) 223-1950. Donations to sustain this ministry are also deeply appreciated and can be directed to Feeding Families in His Name, c/o First UMC 301 S. National, Fort Scott, KS 66701.

New Support for Grieving Mothers: Cindy Valdez will be starting a group called Support for Grieving Mothers in and around the Bourbon County Area. The group will be meeting every Thursday from 6-7:30 in the Church Parlor at the First United Methodist Church at 301 South National. The meetings will run from 9/21/23-11/16/23. This is a group for mothers who’ve lost children no matter how they were when they passed. If you’d like to join, you’ll need to contact Cindy Valdez at 620-224-8515 or email me at freckles4624@zimbra to reserve your spot.

Mark Your Calendars – Sunday, October 8th at 6pm, Presley’s Branson and RFD TV performer Chuck Crain will be in concert at First UMC. This is another freewill donation show, so bring a friend and enjoy some great Gospel music here in Fort Scott!



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