Lisa Rygiel here.
As part of my required school reading, I have been enjoying an interesting book entitled The Mission Table by Stephen Bouman.
The author talks about the story of the paralytic man we read about in John 5:1-9. You probably remember the story. He was lying near the pool at Bethesda waiting for the time when the waters would be stirred up. When they were stirred, the first person entering the pool would be cured of his or her ailment. Bouman describes it as a kind of Darwinian system of health care — those who had help or were the quickest or healthiest got into the pool first and were healed. The poor paralytic had been lying there for 38 years but was always too late to the pool.
When Jesus saw him lying there, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Why do you think that Jesus asked the question? It almost sounds like a taunt. This man was chronically ill, lame, and unable to walk for 38 years! You can almost hear the man say to himself sarcastically, “Well, what do you think?” He does reply to Jesus, spitting out his anger and frustration: “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way someone steps down ahead of me.”
The question that Jesus asked is the only one that matters.
If the man didn’t want to be made well, he would continue to make a life for himself by the side of the pool lying on his mat. Bouman states that in some ways, all of us are lying on our own mats.
Do we want to be made well? It is the only question for a world sitting beside the pool, paralyzed in anger, division and derision. Do we really want to be made well or do we continue to clutch at our rationalizations, our fears, our addictions, our self-delusions and our self-absorption? Like the paralytic, do we have excuses as to why we never get into the pool, why we are never healed? Our individual lives and our life together are riddled with grieving anger between what was and what has become. Between what is and what we think ought to be.
When will we stop trying to drag ourselves to the pool long enough to notice the Healer standing in our midst?
Jesus’ question stirred the paralytic to grieving anger according to Bouman. And he states that we can never be healed until we get in touch with our anger and “shout it out in exorcising grief” to the Great Healer. This kind of anger can break our hearts wide open. God can work with that grief and anger.
Do you want to be made well? Instead of being depressed, or self-medicating, or taking your hurts out on others, or stuffing your anger down, go ahead and get angry! And take that anger to the one who can truly heal! He has big shoulders. He can handle it.
“So they cried out to the Lord in their distress, and God saved them from their desperate circumstances. God gave the order and healed them; he rescued them from their pit. Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love. and his wondrous works for all people.” Psalms 107:19-21
This week (other meetings/gatherings will be taking place as well but here are some things to note):
Sunday September 4, The 12th Sunday after Pentecost
8:30 a.m. Sunday morning Bible study
Bible study is in hiatus for now, will resume September 11.
10 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion
Worship leaders: Pastor Kate Schlechter; Lisa Rygiel
Assistant: Julie Wersal;
Organist: Connie Pallone;
Ushering: Mike McNeil and John Rygiel
Reading: Becky McNeil
Communion prep/cleanup: Dr. Kathy Broman/Doris Blalock
Flowers: Flowers are donated by Kathy Nicolai for the flower girls!
Other important stuff of note:
Save the dates! On Sept. 11, in celebration of our God’s Work Our Hands effort, we will have our annual worship and picnic at the Fairgrounds with the Huerfano Valley Singers. Bring your lawn chairs so you can sit on the lawn for worship and plan on bringing a dish for a potluck following service. This is always an awesome time of worship and community!
On Sept. 17 we will participate in our God’s Work Our Hands project. We will be cleaning up the sanctuary and the church grounds, inside and out. Julie will be coordinating the outdoor activities. Lisa will be coordinating the indoor activities. Please mark it on your calendars so we can have great participation and let Julie or Lisa know how you will participate.
Are you interested in being an Assisting Minister or an usher or serve in some other capacity, but you are a bit unsure as to what the responsibilities of that role are? If so, please reach out to Pastor Kate Schlechter, Becky McNeil, or Lisa Rygiel. We will train you!
We need members for the security committee! These volunteers would monitor the sanctuary door and check that doors in the fellowship hall are locked during services and after everyone has left. Please see Jeff Smith or any member of council if you would be interested.
Women’s Bible Study will begin a study on Galatians on Sept. 2, 9:30 - 11:00 am in the blue room, downstairs of the Fellowship Hall. You can also join by zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89559130517?pwd=NTh4YndtSklRbEErL2ZXRy9xQmFUZz09 Meeting ID: 895 5913 0517 Passcode: 486889 (or call 1-312-626- 6799). A couple books are still available. Questions can be directed to Carol Smith.
The sermon from last week is online on our webpage: https://zionslutheran.tithelysetup2.com/podcasts/media.
Effective as of now, we will not send out a Worship/Bulletin email each Saturday. That information (link and bulletin) will be available every Saturday on our webpage under the Sermon & Bulletin tab — https://zionslutheran.tithelysetup2.com/podcasts/media.
This coming Sunday we will hear about the ancient Israelites, St. Paul, a lost sheep, and a lost coin, all of which receive God’s merciful attention. Come to worship, asking for forgiveness, and celebrating the community of repentance.
The Readings in the Bible
We continue through Luke. We are the lost sheep and the lost coin, and the community has gathered to celebrate that we have been found in Christ.
We grumble at God’s welcome to the outsider, we are the flock who miss the one who is lost, we are the lost sheep, we are the woman searching for each other, we are the coin for which God searches, we are the rejoicing community. All are true.
The conclusion of the story of the golden calf fits well with Luke’s parables of the lost. Here, the lost ones are the entire assembly who want a more believable, available god. Yet God is reminded of the promise of mercy made to our forebears and so forgives us all.
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Today begins three weeks of proclamations from 1 Timothy, and the selection is most appropriate for this day. Here, it is Paul himself who was lost, acting ignorantly in unbelief, until God’s mercy brought him into the community of believers. The theme of divine patience (v. 16) recalls Moses’s reminder to God of divine forbearance (Exod. 32:12).
Zion's Lutheran Church