Syracuse Calvary United Methodist
E-Navigator: March 30, 2020
“Ask the Pastor”
This week's "Ask the Pastor" question concerns the Parable recorded in Luke 16:1-13. You should read it to re-familiarize yourself with the story.
Please explain the parable of the Unjust Steward.
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. He's descended from the Mount of Transfiguration and as he moves toward his date with Pilate and others, he teaches and preaches and heals.
I maintain Jesus is doing these kinds of things to irritate the religious leaders in Jerusalem and that this irritation is purposeful. By breaking the Sabbath by healing and eating with sinners and consorting with tax collectors Jesus is leaving those Pharisees no choice but to arrest him and try him for blasphemy.
It's in Luke 15 where Jesus tells the Three Lost Parables; The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son. Each of them is grace-filled beyond what his listeners (and we) can imagine. Going after the one that has wandered away and searching relentlessly for a single lost coin and receiving back into the family the son who squandered his inheritance offers a new perspective on sin and the value of the one who has lost its way.
Jesus tells The Lost Son parable almost as a set up for the Parable of the Un-just Steward. The father of the Prodigal behaves offensively to all those who want the son to pay a price for his life of sin. But the father lets him off scot-free. He even welcomes him back with open arms declaring the son who was once dead is now alive and there's a feast prepared for a celebration like none other. The father could not be happier.
How does Jesus top this measure of love and grace? By telling the next parable: The Un-just Steward. Follow me, here.
I will not change the text one bit. And that will suit my interpretation of the parable very nicely. First, who are the principle characters in the parable? The Rich Man is God. The Steward is Jesus. Charges are brought by the Pharisees.
What does the Steward do? He reduces debt. He forgives it in such a way as to irritate the ones who bring the charge that he's been squandering the Master's goods. The Steward does what the Lost Son does: he squanders. That should be a red flag worth noticing. Jesus not only reduces our debt to God, he takes the debt on himself, and The Master (God) couldn't be happier because this is what the Master (God) intended from the get go. The Steward makes friends with all those now-debt-free sinners. Isn't that who we are? Debt-free sinners who are friends with Jesus? We are his friends even as we live and breathe on this side of the Kingdom.
This parable is about grace carried beyond any limitation. Too often God's grace is seen as offensive because every beneficiary of grace gets away with sin. It's gone, taken on by the Steward and that just doesn't seem fair. And it isn't.
Grace isn't about fairness. Hasn't been in the past; isn't now; never will be. Think of it this way. Take the grace of God in Jesus, put it on a scale and it out-weighs the sins of the world. You see, grace is a gift; not a goal. I repeat: GRACE IS A GIFT; NOT A GOAL! It cannot be earned, bought, or bartered for. In the end, it can't even be abused. The grace of God is resilient and the one reliable reality Jesus offers us in his Body and Blood.
“Ask the Pastor”
Our Calvary E-Navigator is now coming to you three times a week; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This arrangement is for this season of pandemic isolation. Our E-Navigators will be a forum for up-dates and prayer chains and other congregation news. It will be a way to stay connected in a more worshipful way. Monday's edition will include an "Ask the Pastor" segment. Readers will be invited to ask me questions on any appropriate subject. My response will be the Pastor's Memo for Monday. I will not promise to answer every question as there may not be enough room. You will be able to post your question by calling the Pastor or the church office or by replying to this e-mail.
Questions received by Friday will be considered for the following Monday’s segment.
THERE WILL BE:
NO SUNDAY SERVICES UNTIL AFTER EASTER
NO LADIES BIBLE STUDY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
NO WEDNESDAY EVENING BIBLE STUDY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
NO MARTHA CIRCLE UNTIL JUNE
NO ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
NO PURPLE HEARTS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
NO WEDNESDAY NIGHT EUCHRE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
NO LADIES NIGHT OUT IN APRIL
NO MAUNDY THURSDAY SERVICE ON APRIL 9
NO GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE ON APRIL 10
NO CALVARY NELSON’S BBQ ON APRIL 11
NO EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE OR BREAKFAST ON APRIL 12
Updates to the e-navigator will be made on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you have an update to report, please contact the church office at 574-457-3778. If you are not receiving the e-navigator and would like to, please contact the church office with your e-mail address.
· This Sunday, April 5, 2020 - Palm Sunday
Psalms 118:1-2, 19-29; Matthew 21:1-11
· Next Sunday, April 12, 2020 - Easter Sunday
Jeremiah 31:1-6; Matthew 28:1-10
· Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 2nd Sunday of Easter
Exodus 15:1-11; John 20:19-31
· Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 3rd Sunday of Easter
Isaiah 5:1-6; Luke 24:13-35
Please Note Individuals for Prayer in the email edition of E-Navigator
Without worship on Sundays, we are counting on everyone to let us know about your prayers requests. Please contact the church office (574-457-3778) with any information or updates. Our goal is to continue to supply everyone with the information needed to stay in touch during this pandemic. If you know of someone who would like to be added to either the e-navigator list or the e-mailed Prayer Chain list, please let the church office know. Thank You!
COMING APRIL EVENTS:
Apr. 10 - Church Office Closed
16 – Copy deadline for Navigator & May calendar (church office), 9 a.m.
JULIETs (Join Us Ladies in Eating Together), 11:30 a.m. at Peterson’s.
17 – Calvary Community Dinner, 5:30-7 p.m. (fellowship hall).
Come, join us in welcoming the community for a free dinner.
21 – U.M.W. Ruth Circle, (ar) 7 p.m.
22 – ROMEOs, (Retired Old [yet young at heart] Men Eating Out), 11:30 a.m., at Maria’s.
23 – Alzheimer’s Support Group (activities room), 2-3 p.m.
On Sunday, we gather in joy and celebration that the God of grace, mercy, and peace has invited us to His house. Worshiping with others, giving praise in song and word, our Father is present. Unlike our eternal home in heaven, the one on Earth needs our tender care to remain at its best. Weather and normal use can create problems that crop up without warning. As the leaked ceiling just outside the sanctuary by the restrooms reminds us, Calvary at its current location has served Him and the community for nearly 60 years. The leak has been stopped, but the next step is to restore heat to the portion of the upstairs opposite the end hosting the day care. The estimate to fix the problem is $5,828.75. Please join in giving toward the restoration while maintaining your current pledge level. Mark your envelope for this special cause as "Repair Heat" and it will be earmarked for the repair.
We are updating the prayer chain lists and all are welcomed to be included. You can be a part of the Phone Prayer Chain (day or night) or you can be included in the e-mailed prayer chain list that arrives on Mondays. WE are also beginning e-mailed updates for concerns throughout the week. Please contact the church office to be added to the list.
The Midwest Mission Distribution Center
In Chatham IL, is in desperate need of baby diapers and women’s feminine pads. Several ladies in the church have taken on these two projects. We are seeking monetary donations to help with the cost of fabric. Our current goal is to make 100 diapers and 100 feminine pads.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
2020 Summer Camps Catalog
is in the church office. Early bird pricing if you sign up before April 20.
Remember...Calvary pays 1/3 the cost for children and youth.
Camp fees are 100% refundable up to 1 week before camp.
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