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Worship Preview Lent 3 "Tables, Temples, and Turning"

First United Methodist Church         


This Weekend: 10:30am – “Tables and Temples”


Scriptures –  Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, and John 2:13-22


Sunday the lectionary pulls in a story from the Gospel of John. The 3-year lectionary cycle has years that primarily focus on Mark (Year B, that we are currently in) as well as Matthew and Luke. John doesn’t have a focus year, but certain stories and passages get pulled in. Mark has a story of the cleansing of the temple, found in Mark 11:15-19, but it is rather tame compared to the drama in John’s telling. Mark’s telling focuses on Jesus’ quiet authority “And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. and he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?” whereas John’s account is dramatic with a “whip of cords” and “overturned…tables.” John’s telling also has Jesus proclaiming “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up!”  Jesus is certainly seems angry in John’s telling. There is also a key difference in timing – in John’s gospel, this event comes early in Jesus’ ministry, whereas Mark, Matthew and Luke all have their cleansing of the temple stories during Holy Week. In each case, Jesus is clearly disrupting things. Sunday we will ponder how and why these accounts differ and what that tells us about Scripture, about Jesus, and about our own journeys of faith.


The Lectionary pairs this story with the Exodus account of the giving of the 10 Commandments, Psalm 19, which celebrates God as Creator and giver of the Law, and specifically of the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible); as well as another snippet from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians that picks up last weeks’ focus on the Cross. Paul proclaims “Christ crucified” – a truth by which God is overturning the wisdom of the world with what those who do not believe see as foolishness.


The cross is challenging. The stories of Jesus cleansing the temple are challenging. Each of these texts speaks of upset expectations and of faithful, covenant discipline. We are asked to discern and to respond with repentance, which is not an act of beating ourselves up, but of accepting God's liberation for ourselves and for others. As we near the halfway point of this year’s Lenten journey, these texts invite us go deeper, let us be willing to consider our assumptions, our long held practices, our biases, and our ordinary – that our response to Jesus and the world might truly reflect God’s will.


We invite you to join our Lenten journey, bringing your questions, assurances, and hopes to worship this week. You can learn more about what to expect here at First United Methodist at our website: or our see our Facebook page for the latest updates.


Upcoming Events: 

Wednesday, March 6, 5:30–6:30pm: 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. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at

We are very appreciative to the Elks for the recent grant award and to everyone in Fort Scott and beyond who helps support this ministry.


United Women in Faith Potato Bar, Friday, March 17th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Baked potatoes with various toppings, along with homemade pie, will be on the menu. Free will donations are appreciated for this fundraiser.


Mark Your Calendars! Faith’s Journey Returns! Saturday, March 23rd at 6pm. Join us the Saturday before Holy Week for another great evening of Absolute Country, Definitely Gospel with Faith’s Journey! Branson’s 2021 Gospel Show and Group of the Year will be here for another freewill offering show! If you were here last year, you’ll want to hear them again, and if you missed it here is your chance to see them! Invite your friends and neighbors!


Easter Sunday is Sunday, March 31st and our service will be at our usual 10:30am time– during Holy Week prior to that we will celebrate Palm / Passion Sunday on March 24th at 10:30am and hold two special midweek services. Maundy Thursday celebrating the last supper and Good Friday/Tenebrae, a service of darkness reflecting on the crucifixion. These prepare us to truly celebrate the good news of Easter and we hope you’ll plan to join us at each of them!




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