Called By God: To Learn, To Befriend, and to Send Forth

I recognize that many of you who follow me here on WordPress have not heard from me in quite a while. I offer my apologies and hope to offer my thoughts about life and scripture more often again. I feel as though I do need to share with you a very important change of events in my life and the life of congregation I serve. Over this past summer, actually since about the time I have written my last post about Ash Wednesday, Red Valley has been praying, reflecting, and processing a new mission statement and strategy for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. That process is that we as a faith community Called by God: to Learn, to Befriend, and to Send Forth.  This mission strategy has and continues to reform and shape the life of the faith community of Red Valley UMC. Beginning this morning in worship, I began a sermon series that will focus on each one of these steps and its role in developing mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Today we looked at Called by God. If you are interested, and would like to hear the sermon, please click here.
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The scripture texts we used for today are from Galatians 3 and Matthew 22. Both of these were read from the NRSV.

Epistle Lesson: Galatians 3:23-29

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 22:1-14

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

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