July 27, 2017
1 Kings 3:5-12
for Sunday, Aug.6
1 Kings 3:5-12
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
This Week's REFLECTION Comes from
Rev. David Cleaver-Bartholomew
Ecumenical Partner serving
Zion, New Hartford
While the NRSV has Solomon asking for an "understanding mind", and the NIV, a "discerning heart", a more literal translation would be a "listening heart." In this regard, it is important to know that in ancient Israel, the heart was not only the seat of feelings and emotions, but also the place of thinking, and where judgment, understanding, and discernment were located. Basically, the heart performed many of the same rational functions we attribute to our mind in addition to the non-rational ones we normally associate with the heart.
While I get the NRSV's translation of "mind" for "heart", I somewhat regret its translation of "understanding", or the NIV's "discerning", for the Hebrew text's "listening", because the phrase "listening heart" raises questions for me that "understanding mind" or "discerning heart" do not.
For example, the phrase "listening heart" begs the question: for whom does Solomon pray to have a listening heart? Does Solomon pray to have a listening heart for the people? Is he asking to be attentive to the needs and desires of those he rules over? Such a request would be completely understandable as any ruler, or pastor, who is worth their salt and wants to be effective needs to be able to listen and comprehend the needs and desires of their people.
Or, does Solomon pray to have a listening heart for God? Is he praying to be attentive to the words and instructions of God? This, too, would be completely understandable as Solomon knows that: 1) God is the one who has made him king and could easily remove him, and 2) he is not able to successfully rule over this people without divine help and guidance.
Or, does Solomon pray for both; does he pray to have a listening heart for the words and instructions of God and to have a listening heart for the needs and desires of his people. I'll take this third alternative, thank you very much.
One of the great, albeit challenging, aspects about being part of old-line/mainline Protestantism is that we don't claim to have all the answers. I, and I suspect most of us, would probably say we live in a world that is much more gray than black and white. I also suspect we would probably agree with Aristotle who once profoundly said, "Life is difficult." J
In these difficult, unclear times, we try to live faithful lives. We try to be good disciples of Jesus, and to live according to both the words of God contained in our Scriptures and the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. In our efforts to do so, we try to listen to the living God who continues to speak through the Holy Spirit words of grace, justice, compassion, guidance, wisdom, and love.
For me, Solomon can in a way be seen as representing those of us who are unsure of ourselves, are in need of help and guidance when we are overwhelmed by the tasks before us and feel inadequate, and who ask God for help in discerning between good and evil and in providing pastoral leadership in these challenging times. For me, Solomon's prayer, asking God for a "listening heart", is my/our prayer, as it comes just as easily from my/our lips as it did from his.
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5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”
10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.”
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
· For our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.
· For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.
· For victims of violence and their families in all places
· For Pastor Ivy Gauvin, Zachary Stewart, Deacon Gregg Davis, Rita Evans, Roy Pihl, Faye Stebbins, Gloria Gardner, Bob & Audrey Markwart, Al Lamb, Eleanor Burgeson Orman, Arden Johnson, Ralph Prieur, Todd Reel, Helen Cogliano, Joanne Aron, JoLynn Stearns, Scott Stearns, Zachary Frazier, Matt Isaacson, and Thom Shagla
· For people serving in the military and their families, those caught up in war who have no safe home in which to live.
· For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.
These past two weeks as the new Executive Director have been amazing! Seeing God at work is so exciting and yet seeing the needs are heart breaking at the same time. As a means of trying to assist those in need at a faster pace, we are hoping you and your congregation will join our team in yet another way.
I know I have stuff that I don't need that sits until I get motivated to move it. As we are praying to meet the needs of our clients, we are also praying that God is inspiring others to fulfill those needs. I have enclosed a list of our current client needs.
As I continue to learn and grow in my new position, I am praying that you will help me in that process. Please contact me in regards to any questions and any way that we at Love, INC can better serve you. I look forward to having the opportunity to sit and talk with you each face-to-face about Love INC and how we can better partner in serving those in need.
Thank you for your help, support and your prayers.
Walking His Way,
Susan L. Justham
Love INC needs 7/21/17
3-Twin beds complete
1-full size bed complete
I AM LOVED LAUNDROMAT SERVICE OPPORTUNITY
I AM LOVED (IAL) will spend the day on August 19th, 2017 from 10am-4pm greeting people, paying for all laundry service, providing detergent, and fabric softener. Additionally, refreshments, including the presence of the IAL Food Truck, and children’s activities will be on site. The event will take place at Papa Joe’s Laundromat at 824 E. 2nd St. Jamestown, NY 14701
This event is being primarily organized by the congregation of Conduit North, and organized by people who are living in the community in which the event is taking place. We believe this to be vitally important to the longevity of the relationships that are built through the serve, as well as the ongoing vision of mission to the Northside communities.
No specific church banner will be flown at this event. Our goal is to create a kingdom movement of like-minded people that go out on mission for Jesus Christ. All people, from all churches are welcomed and encouraged to attend, serve, give, and participate.
This is a “no-strings-attached” event. There will be no qualifications or requirements of those who utilize the Laundromat.
The heart of the event is to receive, treat, and bless every person who comes that day with the heart of Jesus—with love, compassion, and mercy—and then to send them away with a sense and affirmation of God’s love for them.
Serving opportunities will be available for that day based on 2-hour shifts, and will include opportunities to help do laundry, make and serve snow cones, and interact with those who come that day.
Laundry detergent is relatively inexpensive, but the event requires a LOT of quarters! Please use the empty detergent bottle as a collection jug!
If you have any questions about the event, you can contact:
Pastor Cameron Lienhart, Conduit North Lead Pastor
Katie Castro, IAL Director
OFFICE NOTE: A bottle has been placed in St. Timothy’s narthex for collection from now until August 15th...so bring in those quarters!
2017 Bishop's Appeal Reminder
The 2017 Bishop's Appeal continues our 2016 focus on fundraising for the synod's seminary debt reduction fund. This two-year effort has a minimum goal of $25,000 by January 31, 2018. Your contribution coupled with the proceeds of both years' Bishop's Golf Tournament can help us reach the goal. The first distributions from this fund will be made in 2018.
Eighty percent of the 2015 Master of Divinity graduates in the ELCA carried some form of educational debt. Nearly half of those graduates brought undergraduate debt with them into seminary and 77% of graduates incurred theological education debt while in seminary. Some of these debt amounts exceed $100,000. Please prayerfully consider a contribution to the 2017 Bishop's Appeal.