As we read through the prophets this summer we will see that they are always involved in conflict, always caught up in tensions. The Word of God can speak to us through these stories of tension because the world is pretty intense today. Our political parties haven’t been able to cooperate in Congress, Congress can’t or won’t cooperate with the President. The most popular Republican candidate is someone party leaders intensely dislikes. Democratic voters are still divided even after all the primaries. We are having heated debates about who can use which public bathrooms, whether or not we should put in a new gas pipe-line through Massachusetts, and whether it’s time for Walpole High School to pick a new team name given the association many people have with Rebels. The wars in Iraq and Syria (the same region of much of the conflict in the Bible) are creating new refugees fleeing to Europe – and the pressure of immigration is causing the European Union to crack. The tension is even infecting the church – developments at General Conference and subsequent responses are threatening to “untie” the United Methodist Church. My Facebook feed is just full of people telling us who to vote for, who to despise, and snide comments. How about yours?
Each week this summer we will turn to scripture to look for God in the midst of human tensions, to see how God’s grace and mercy set us free, and what we might learn about ourselves along the way. Sins have a way of exacerbating tensions. But through the grace of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us we can learn to give up our bad habits, and grow into the virtues that sustain the people of God as we move toward the Kingdom of heaven.
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
July 3 2 Kings 5:1-14 What do you expect?
July 10 Amos 7:7-11 Judge Not?
July 17 Amos 8:1-12 Social Holiness or Personal Holiness
July 24 Hosea 1:2-10 Redemptive Love
July 31 Hosea 11:1-11 The tension between autonomy and interdependence
August 7 Worship at Union UCC
August 14 Isaiah 5:1-7 When our vineyard produces sour grapes
August 21 Jeremiah 1:4-10 Tension in the garden
August 28 Guest Preacher TBA