Sermon Topic: Life
Bible Study 101 teaches us that when we read scripture, we are reading over the shoulders of the audience who first read these texts. In the ancient world, that would mean people hearing stories and teaching from Genesis would be hearing through a tribal filter and as tribal people they lived, worked, worshiped, and played together. For them, community was essential. In other words, there was no "you do you" in an ancient culture. And for us, this is great news. Our core value is embedded in the first chapters of Genesis! I can't wait to open the Word again on Sunday and discover what Genesis has for us today.
Jesus was always telling stories, always using everyday illustrations to span the gap between the reality of most humans and the "more real" of the Kingdom of God. This week, we look at Mark's take on those stories in chapter 4, and through them we'll learn what it means to walk in faith ... even in the storms.
This week, we finish a month of talking together about how loss affects us and how this long season of uncertainty has contributed to our sense of loss and longing. We've talked about the loss of life, of meaning, of dreams, and we've used Ecclesiastes to help us explore the hope and purpose that can be found even in the most difficult of circumstances. This week, we conclude our series with a look at how God can redeem even the loss of our health by calling us into new ways to appreciate God's good gift
Last week we spent time in Ecclesiastes 1. On the surface, the chapter seems a bit harsh. But we learned that in order to find meaning in the midst of difficult times we must look for life beyond our everyday passions and pursuits. Because life is not God. God is Life. This week we'll spent time answering questions like: how can we be sure to live a life with lasting meaning? Is life ultimately meaningless or is there a way of being so rooted in the Kingdom of God that it takes on greater meaning than we can conceive?
We've all lost through the pandemic. We've lost routines, rhythms, hopes, relationships, jobs. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have felt the pain of prior losses more acutely. When we are struggling to cope with a complicated life, we feel our feelings deeply. We may struggle with loneliness, struggle to remember our purpose in the world, struggle with memories and derailed dreams. Beginning this week, we'll take some time to talk about how we can redeem our losses, using the wisdom of Ecclesiastes as our guide. We'll explore the hope and purpose that can be found -- maybe not in our circumstances -- but certainly in a good, loving, all-seeing God. I look forward to jumping into this study with you! ~Carolyn