Greeting all on this glorious Monday afternoon. I am sitting on my deck, listening to the wind going through the leaves and making my wind chimes sing as the sun glistens on the water. Simply beautiful and I am appreciating every minute because I know soon the temperatures will drop and the deck furniture will be put away for the winter.
First of all, I have to say something. This past week, I had two council meetings and I want to thank each and every council member at both Trinity and Bethany for your hard work and dedication to our congregations. Our meetings are very productive and pleasant and everyone is very supportive of one another and willing to do whatever is needed for the mission and well-being of the church. I am so grateful. Please know that you are greatly appreciated by me and the congregations you serve.
The Trinity Monday morning quilters gathered together this morning and fun was had by all. We were blessed to share some of the desserts from Donna Dawson's funeral luncheon and Eleanor Weycker's 80th birthday celebration cake. We were all filled with extra energy from all the sugar we consumed. It sure is a beautiful ministry that these ladies work diligently to create beautiful quilts for those in need. We will NOT be gathering together next Monday, September 3rd because of Labor Day.
Check out our new, updated website: www.Stoningtonchurch.org. Thank you to Barbara Bryan for all your hard work in creating and maintaining the site. I think the website looks fabulous.
On Friday, August 24th our conference six clergy families gathered together at Bishop Dale and Jo Skogman's home to bid farewell and God's blessings to Pastor Christ Johnson and his family. Please keep the Johnson family in your prayers during this exciting transition to Zion Lutheran Church in Wausau, Wisconsin. Please keep Christ the King and Immanuel Lutheran, Escanaba in your prayers as they go through the call process.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 11th from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. (EST) at Immanuel in Escanaba for our Walking Together Conference Meeting. Bishop Katherine would like at least 10 people from each congregation to attend. There is a sign up sheet on the bulletin boards at both congregations.
Here's this week's "Daily Discipleship" What's your choice?
Sunday, August 21-27 (B) – John 6:56-69
The Choices of Discipleship: Focused or Uncertain?
Focus Question: To whom do we go for life and eternal life?
word of life
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’” John 6:68-69 (NRSV)
Read John 6:56-69
Once more, this passage overlaps last week’s lectionary text and continues the bread theme. Jesus claims to be the bread of life, sent by God from heaven. In an escalating controversy between Jesus and the Jews, Jesus asserts that any who wants eternal life needs to believe in him, eat his flesh and drink his blood. His words are challenged by many in the crowd.
Even the disciples admit the difficulty of his teaching. Jesus has dealt with the complaints of the crowd, but now he has to deal with the complaints of his own disciples.
1. Is Jesus expecting too much from his followers?
2. Is Jesus going too fast for his students? Why or why not?
Jesus realizes some of his own group does not believe. At this point, the followers include more than the twelve disciples. Jesus is even aware of one among his followers who will betray him, but that does not deter him from keeping the course. Jesus realizes his teaching is too much for some of the disciples. They choose not to follow him and turn back.
3. Does it surprise you to learn about some of the disciples turning back?
4. If they could explain their actions, what might they say?
5. What makes the teaching of Jesus so difficult?
Jesus directly asks the disciples, who have remained and not deserted him, “Do you also wish to go away?” What a question! It is decision time. Following Jesus is not easy.
6. What would it mean to stay with Jesus?
7. What would it mean to decide to leave him?
8. What if someone could not decide? Is that a decision?
It is Simon Peter who responds, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 NRSV) Thankfully, Simon Peter is focused and clear. He is committed to staying with Jesus. And so he stays, at least for a while. When Jesus is arrested and crucified, Peter is not around; but at least on this day, Peter is focused on Jesus. He has his eyes and heart clearly set on following Jesus. Thanks be to God.
9. Where else could people go to seek eternal life?
10.Where else is eternal life found?
11.What do you want to remember from this story?
word among us
Jesus concludes his discourse on bread with a challenging question. He knows his teaching has been difficult. Many have turned away from him. He gives a chance for the disciples to choose an easier path. And so Jesus asks his disciples of every age, “Do you wish to go away?”
Think about that question, “Do you wish to go away?” Consider it wisely.
1. What is your response?
2. Do you wish to go away from Christ?
3. What would that mean for your life?
4. Can you imagine it?
This series of Daily Discipleship has focused on choices. The choice given to the disciples by Jesus is a significant one. There is not room for a middle ground. He asks directly, “Are you with me? Are you willing to walk the difficult walk ahead?”
It is refreshing to hear Simon’s Peter’s response. He is focused and clear. Although Jesus gives him an option, Peter replies that there is no option. To leave Jesus would be to choose death. And so Simon Peter responds, “Lord, to whom you can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68 NRSV)
In most Lutheran churches, we stand and sing Peter’s response as we anticipate the reading of the Gospel: Lord to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
As we stand to sing, we join Simon Peter in his own words and other disciples of each age as we declare our confession of faith. Although we have a choice to follow, we realize there is only one option for true life. We like Simon Peter acknowledge that there is no where else to turn for life and salvation. It is Jesus who provides the words of eternal life. It is Jesus who is the bread of life and from heaven. To whom can we go?
5. What does it mean to you to sing those words?
6. Where else have you searched for peace and eternal life?
Discipleship is a choice of each day of life.
7. What do you hope you can remember about being a disciple of Jesus?
8. How can you invite others to be disciples?
Gracious God, thank you for calling me to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Send your Spirit to inspire and guide me. Help me to invite others to follow you. Amen.
Make a commitment
to be intentional about
your choices to
blessings on your week,