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MARCH 1, 2014.

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David and Pat Hedelman, and your friends who are The United Church of Christ/Congregational 2154 Garden Ave. Klamath Falls, OR 97601

The Message for 3-1 -2015

God Speaks Do We Hear, Do We Listen?

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous." Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,

"As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

"I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."

God said to Abraham, "As for Sarah your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her."

Psalm 22:23-31

You who fear God,
praise God!
All you offspring of Jacob,
glorify God;
stand in awe of God,
all you offspring of Israel!

For God did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
God did not hide God's face from me,
but heard when I cried to God.

From you comes my praise
in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay
before those who fear God.

The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek God shall praise God.
May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to God;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before God.

For dominion belongs to God,
and God rules over the nations.

To God, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth
bow down;
before God shall bow all
who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for God.

Posterity will serve God;
future generations will be told about God,
and proclaim God's deliverance
to a people yet unborn,
saying that God has done it.

Romans 4:13-25

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations") — in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become "the father of many nations," according to what was said, "So numerous shall your descendants be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness."

Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.


Mark 8:31-38

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."


Perhaps one thing to take from the readings from today, as well as from last week when we we reminded for the covenant of the rainbow after the waters of the flood had stopped, is that God speaks to us and is always in the process of commuicating with us how it is we can become ever closer to him. This week God speaks to us through the patriarch Abraham. He changes his name, an important sign of Grace and promises him that his offspring will become great nations and as numerous as the stars.

I beleive it is of the utmost importance to remember the covenant promises that Abraham will be the ancestor of a multiple of nations. The two that should perhaps most come to mind are those that decend from both Issac and Ishamel, both from Sara and Hagar.

The great commandment is to love one another. The great commandment is to love our neighobor. The question the becomes and who is my neighbor. The answer usually givenis that all are our neighbors. I would suggest that this passage suggest and even more intimate relationship in this loving tha tis at the heart of our covenant with God. I would suggest that all people everywhere, as numerous as the stars in the sky are our brothers and sisters in a multitude of expressions of faith that can make us the one and unity God has expected of us.

I will also suggested today, that as the United Church of Christ expresses in its beliefs. God is still Speaking. He is still calling us to love one another "That They May All Be One".

This leads to the questions: What is it that God is calling you to do? What is it that God is callingyou to become? What song is God calling you to sing? What harmonies is God whispering into your ears late at night when there is no one there but you to listen?

Then comes the question: Have you asked him lately? God is still speaking, God is still asking us to do what is needed that they all maybe one. God is still entering into personal covenant with eahc and everyone of us that the good news may touch all an be felt and heard by all.

Just as each of us is our own Gospel, each of us has his or her own covenant with God. What is it that God is calling you to do?

Here are lyrics to a new song/psalm written in response to this week's scriptures and message:

Do you know Do you know Do you know Do you know
What it is the Lord is asking for you to do? What it is the Lord is asking for you to do?
Have you asked him lately? Have you asked him lately?
Do you know what song the Lord wants you to sing?
Have you asked him lately? Have you asked him lately?
What is my covenant with you Lord? What is my covenant with you Lord?
Have you asked him lately? Have you asked him lately?
Love your neighbor as yourself-- Love your neighbor as yourself
Have you asked him lately who is my neighbor? Have you asked him lately who is my brother? Have you asked him lately who is my sister? Have you asked him lately what is required?
Love kindness Do justice Walk humbly before the Lord.
Do you know Do you know Do you know Do you know
What it is the Lord is asking for you to do?
Love kindness Do justice Walk humbly before the Lord.