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July 2020
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Cheating at Changing (and Chocolate)

Year A – Proper 9 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:18-19 New Living Translation (NLT) 18 For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

Have you ever met someone who says

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A Higher Love

Year A – Proper 7 – Matthew 10:24-39

“Father and Son” by Shai Yossef – Click link to purchase art

You might think that today’s Gospel lesson is a bit strange to be the reading for the Sunday that happens to be Father’s Day. Today we honor fathers and we remember that the Bible often refers to God as our Father. In the Lord’s Prayer, we say “Our Father, who art in heaven,” or “Dear Father in heaven, may your name be holy.” And

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Baabara and the Language of Love

It’s Pentecost, and she’s wearing her red scarf in honor of the day, but Baabara the Sheep is gloomy. She cannot talk about God’s love in many languages. She wishes that she could speak fluent Japanese to the kids in the orphanages in Japan where she teaches English. She wants them to know how much she loves them. But isn’t she already fluent in the “Language of Love?”

(Permission granted to include this video children’s message in online Sunday services.)

See JOEE.jp for more information

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Shepherd and Door

Did you know that in Bible times, a couple thousand years ago, being a door was part of a shepherd’s job? The sheep pen was usually a stone wall built in a circle with only one opening. So after the shepherd had gathered all the sheep into the pen for the night, he would have to lie down across the opening to guard the sheep. The only way a wolf could get in was through that door, so the wolf would have to deal with the shepherd first. Do you think a good shepherd would let a wolf through that door? No sir! The shepherd would drive the wolf away!

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Nativity Rat at the Manger

RAT: So compared to the Creator of the Universe and all things good and amazing, humans and rats are almost on the same level. But God loves us anyway. God loves the ratty and the tattered. God loves us even though we are small and mean. God loves even the rat.

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Leap for Joy

Fourth Sunday of Advent From “Scolding the Snakes” Scripture Reference: Luke 1:39-55

Preparation: You may have a song queued up to play at the end of the children’s time.

Today, how many candles are lit on the Advent wreath? (Children may respond.) It’s the fourth Sunday in Advent, isn’t it? It’s almost – almost – time for Christmas! We want to be ready for Christmas and we want to be ready when Jesus comes to earth again.

Is everyone ready? The Gospel lesson for

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Swatting vs. Sympathy

Sympathizing is better than swatting. Jesus sympathized. He did not swat. Jesus listened and loved and shared the Good News of God’s love.

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From Abraham to Jesus

God can see our whole family of faith, connected by birth and connected by our love for Jesus. Even though we can’t see the whole picture of God’s plan for our lives and for our family, God can see it.

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Cheating in the Temple

The temple, or the place where people came to worship God, should have been the one place where everyone knew they would be loved and accepted and treated fairly. Our churches should be the same way, shouldn’t they? But when Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem, he found that a lot of cheating was going on.

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King and Shepherd

Ezekiel 34 tells us what kind of shepherd our Lord is: “I myself will search for my sheep. . . . I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak” (Ez. 34:11, 16 NRSV). Even when the sheep are scattered all over the place, the shepherd will gather them up and bring them back. God always looks for us when we’ve turned away from him and have taken the wrong and dangerous path. Our Lord never gives us up for lost.

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