Lectionary (Year B): Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39
Theme: Witness in and to the World
Message: “If Paul boasted about anything in this passage, it was that he had been able to adapt to different kinds of people in order to communicate the gospel effectively. He understood the needs and questions of those who had been under Judaism; and he understood, at least in part, some of the needs of those who had never been bound by Jewish law.
Paul writes that he ‘can’t not’ share the gospel, and so has no basis for boasting about his commitment to his ministry. He also describes his strategy of ‘identification’ with others, of coming alongside them and seeking to connect with them as they are. Paul was exceptionally flexible in ministering the gospel to others. He was comfortable with approaching either Jews or Gentiles on their own terms. Whether people considered themselves under Jewish law or outside the law was inconsequential to the message of the gospel, het Paul did not consider himself a ‘free agent;’ he was bound by the law of Christ.” Sofiya Fosua, (United Methodist Church Worship staff)
Do we believe our way into belonging or belong our way into believing? The answer is yes, both, I believe. It depends on the context though the goal is the same, to win the hearts and minds of those to whom we are called to love regardless of the response.
But one thing that we must never exhibit to others in our “friendly persuasion” is a self-righteous arrogance that is always a “turn-off” for the recipients.
“Evangelism is one beggar telling another where to get bread.” D.T. NIles
Film, other visual aids
“Slip-Slidin’ Away,” Paul Simon
“Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak”
“There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy”
Prayer of Confession
“Pardon us, Lord, if in any way our testimony has been weak—
If we have not backed up our words with deeds;
If we have not spoken with conviction or enthusiasm;
If we have relied only on our own strength;
If we have witnessed only to like-minded people who we consider safe.”
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“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)