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Resources for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

St. Thomas Day - St. Thomas, the Doubter
"The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath."  Mark 2:27

Call To Worship:

L: God is near us, always ready to listen and to speak
P:  Let us draw near to the Lord.
L: God is the Light of the World, always ready to illuminate.
P:  Early in the morning, let us seek the Lord's face.
L: God is the Ruler of the universe, always ready to create.
P: Let us worship the Lord our Maker.

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Children's Messages


Sermon Excerpt #1:

For Your Own Good Mark 2:23-30     (see excerpt below)
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Could it be true? Jesus and his disciples were caught breaking the Mosaic Law. What they did sounds harmless enough, they plucked grains on the Sabbath. Iíll ask it again: was Jesus really guilty of breaking the law? Or did the Pharisees misinterpret the law?

It is true that the fourth commandment says to keep the Sabbath holy. A Sabbath Day is a Day of rest and God wants us to take a break just as God rested on the 7th day after creating the world. There are indeed many passages in Leviticus that address what you can and cannot do on the Sabbath.

And the punishment was actually pretty severe. In Numbers 15:32-36, we read: ďa man gathering firewood on Sabbath is put to deathĒ The potential punishment for desecrating Sabbath (stoning) is the most severe in Jewish law.

The Pharisees are quick to accuse Jesus. Now, they probably think, ďfinally, we have something concrete against him.Ē

 As I pondered this passage, I couldnít help thinking how this accusation would have fared in a 21st century court trial. Letís imagine shall we?...

The prosecuting attorney calls Jesus to the witness stand. Jesus is sworn in and counsel starts questioning him: Your disciples are accused of a serious violation of the Mosaic sabbath law; remember youíre under oath now. Did your disciples pluck wheat from the field on the sabbath? Yes.

Did you know that it was the sabbath day? Yes

Did you know that your disciples were plucking the wheat? Yes

And as disciples, they are under your care, are they not? Yes.

Did you say anything to stop your disciples from plucking the wheat? No

No further questions, your honor.

Judge: Would the defense like to question the witness?

The defense attorney walks up to the witness box: ďNow, some would argue that plucking wheat was not  necessarily on Mosesí mind as an unlawful deed when he gave us the sabbath law...

Prosecution: Objection, counsel is Arguing the law.

Judge: sustained.

Defense: OK, let me restate: Jesus, do you think that plucking wheat on the sabbath is unlawful?
Jesus: yes.

Defense: Do you think that your disciples broke the sabbath law?
Jesus: No.

Defense: Wait. What? Did you not just state that you believe that plucking wheat on the sabbath is unlawful?

Jesus: Yes, but there are circumstances in which this law shouldnít be applied.

Prosecution: Objection, your honor: Calls for a conclusion

Defense: Your honor, I am merely trying to establish whether there are special circumstances that the court needs to consider. There is precedent.

Prosecutor: What precedent is this? ....
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Excerpt #2

Giving a Fig
1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20], John 1:43-51
by Rev. Karen Goltz

The reading from first Samuel, while also a product of its culture and environment, begins on a note we can relate to: The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

I think itís safe to say that the word of the Lord is rare in these days, too, and visions are definitely not widespread. At least, most people who have visions learn pretty quick not to tell other people about them, because our society doesnít react too kindly to people who see and hear things that others canít see and hear. Apparently it was the same in Samuelís day.

I like this story about Samuel. Not only was the word of the Lord rare, but Samuel himself did not yet know the Lord. He was ministering to the Lord under Eli, yet he did not know him!

I have to wonder if Samuel knew that he didnít know the Lord. Heíd been given to Eli as an offering to the Lord by his mother when he was still a toddler, and had been ministering to the Lord under Eliís tutelage ever since. But you know how it is when youíre raised to something since early childhood: you donít think too much about it or question why you do what you do; you just do it because thatís the way you were raised. Many of us begin to question later in life, but Samuelís not at that point yet; heís still a boy. And heís ministering to the Lord, though he doesnít yet know the Lord.

To be perfectly honest, I think that description is accurate for a lot of us....


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