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Lenten Bible Study – Day 1

Ash Wednesday – February 17, 2021 – Day 1
Matthew 9: 16
16 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made.
Have you ever gone into a clothing store and seen “worn” jeans for sale? You know, the ones that are frayed and already have holes in them? Times have certainly changed. When I was a kid, the last thing you wanted was to get a hole in your jeans. Because if you did, your mother would go get one of those iron-on patches to cover the hole. Every kid I knew thought those patches looked ridiculous! Plus, they always pealed away. Putting these new patches on the old pants made things worse. Putting a new patch on an old pair of pants. It was better to get new pants. (Or just ignore the holes … or make them fashion statements.) This is what Jesus is talking about in this brief parable. Instead of trying to fix the old way with something that just won’t work, get something new altogether. Jesus was saying he was the “something new”. He was not here to mend the ancient rules of the old covenant. They were obsolete. Jesus was the new covenant. The one that said God so loved the world that he sent Jesus and that everyone who believed in Jesus would be reconciled with God In God’s kingdom. Jesus teaches us that we need to move on from the old covenant and move into the new. It is a new day, and a new way. And we acknowledge this new covenant during Lent. Lent is a time for preparation. Preparation for our celebration of the fact that Jesus reconciled us to our one and only God. What kind of preparation? The kind that keeps our thoughts on Jesus, who he was, what he taught, what he did, and the eternal impact he made. That is the purpose of these daily devotionals from Matt and me. To keep our minds on Jesus as we prepare to celebrate his great love for us.
Lord, it feels like we are embarking on a Lenten journey together, you and I. You talk about a new way, a new day and a new covenant between us. That feels like what I am looking for – and what you are looking for from me. I want to remember how much I need you in my life and how much my life needs redemption. I want to remember it clearly in the background of my day today and all through Lent. Amen.

JMPC Sunshine 12.16.2020

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is a Christmas song written by Andy Williams and Kathy Troccoli. It is a holiday favorite. Here are some of the lyrics:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle bell’ing
And everyone telling you, “Be of good cheer!”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
Caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistletoe’ing
And hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It took me a long time to understand why it included a reference to “scary ghost stories.” OK, I’m a bit slow on the uptake at times, but I think now that this Must be a reference to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Which makes sense when we think about this week’s part two of the Advent Sermon Series based on the four ghost stores in that great book. Another interesting tie into the book is the joyful nature of the rest of the song. There is a good deal of joy described in this book as well. This week we explore the Ghost of Christmas Past. What does this ghost and our scripture have to say this week? Join us Sunday at 10am for Pastor Jeff’s sermon on the Ghost of Christmas Past in the parking lot or on Facebook live or later on YouTube.

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