By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32
This morning’s message will be a bit different. I’d like to begin this morning by asking you to close your eyes as I proclaim the gospel parable. You’re going to hear it twice. As best you can, try to hear the parable from two different points of view. The first time, try to hear it from the perspective of the younger son. The second time, try to hear it from the perspective of the elder son. As each of those characters, notice how you feel at the end of the parable.
[Please read the Scripture: Luke 15:11-32]
Although most of us have grown us listening to this parable, there are some elements within the parable that we need to understand in order to under the parable itself. I want to share those with you before we look at how the parable can be applied to our lives today.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Matthew 22:1-14
Someone crashed my wedding reception. Strange as it may sound, it is true. Now, according to my husband, he was an acquaintance of one of Britt’s childhood friends, Lee Ann. Lee Ann was actually a member of our bridal party. Britt tells me that Lee Ann introduced him to this young man – although Britt can’t remember his name and Britt had never seen him before either. Still to this day, if we glance through our wedding album, we can view photos of this nameless stranger – this stranger who traveled more than 300 miles across a state line to attend our wedding reception. To eat our food, to dance to the tunes of the DJ, and to enjoy the sacred day without ever so much as saying a word to me – and, obviously, devoid of a wedding gift. Now, perhaps I’m hard-hearted, but that seems a little nervy to me, a little presumptuous. Now, it’s really not the lack of a gift that makes it so bad – there were others who attended who didn’t really have the resources to buy us anything. Their presence was their present. Nor was it about eating the food. After all, my parents got to “foot the bill” for that. And it wasn't about him "getting down" on the dance floor. It was the lack of relationship that made it presumptuous – he did not come to honor Britt and me; to celebrate the blessing of the love God had given us for one another. He merely hitched a ride to someone’s party.
By Pastor Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Luke 13:10-17
Our scripture for today tells us that the miracle that Jesus performed in healing the woman whose back was bent over for 18 years occurred on the Sabbath while he was preaching in the synagogue. Here was a woman, likely a faithful member of her community who could be found in church on any given Sabbath, suddenly and miraculously transformed in a way that was going to bless her for the rest of her life. I’m guessing that she was not expecting the events of that day to happen to her. In my imagination, she was probably toward the middle or back of the crowd, simply watching from a reasonable spot that didn’t call attention to herself. Unlike the person healed in other miracle stories in the Bible, she was not calling out to Jesus for mercy or reaching out to try to touch him. She didn’t have friends or family there trying to get Jesus’s attention on her behalf. She wasn’t trying to position herself to be seen; she may even have been like some of us who are uncomfortable when we get called out in a crowd. I don’t believe this woman was expecting to be on the receiving end of Jesus’s compassion in a way that was going to change the trajectory of her life. But that is exactly what happened.
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