Worship at Gloria Dei Saturdays 5:00pm, Sundays 9:00am and 10:30am

Students of the Bible and Followers of Christ

Hello Gloria Dei,

I love learning. Particularly, I love learning about literature. I love learning the background of a particular author. I love learning about the context in which the author writes. And I love learning about the different layers of meaning going on in a particular novel or short story. As an English major in college, I was fascinated, and quite frankly, amazed at how much meaning and significance is to be found within literature.

I love all of that about the Bible too. The Bible has many different forms of literature. There is history. There is poetry. There is hymnody. There are wisdom writings. There are apocalyptic writings. There is story, allegory, metaphor, genealogy, and parable. And I could go on.

Of course, the Bible isn’t just literature. While the Bible has within it many forms of literature, it is also God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us the overarching story of humanity. It tells of God’s beautiful creation. It tells us that we are created in God’s very own image. It is honest about our fall into sin. And more than anything else, it tells the story of God’s saving action, centered in the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus. It is a story, a true story, about God’s unending love and commitment to us and to this world. And, as a result of God’s love for us, it gives each one of us the overarching purpose for our lives.

As we read and preach our way through the gospel of Luke, it’s fun to see some of the layers of meaning found within it.

This weekend in worship we will focus on Luke 8:40-56. In this passage Jesus heals two people. One is the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus. This young girl is sick and eventually dies. Jesus raises her from the dead. The other is a woman who has been bleeding internally for 12 years. She reaches out and touches Jesus. Jesus praises her for her faith, and she is healed.

What’s with the number 12? Is it just coincidence that the girl is 12, and the woman has been bleeding for 12 years? Why does the author, Luke, let us in on these details?

The number twelve represents the twelve tribes of Israel. In other words, it represents the people of God. Remember that in the Old Testament the way to get right with God was through the sacrifice of animals. It was through the flow of blood from the animal that the sins of the people of Israel, the twelve tribes of Israel, were forgiven.

What does Jesus do in this healing miracle with this woman? He stops the flow of blood. What Jesus is saying and demonstrating both for the people of his day and for us is that it is no longer through the law; it is no longer through the sacrifice of animals that we get right with God. Our standing before God as righteous is not dependent on us keeping the law or trying to climb a ladder to God by our goodness. We can’t. Try as we might, we mess up, just as the people of the Old Testament messed up.

New life, as represented by Jairus’ daughter being raised to new life, comes now through faith and trust in Jesus, not the law.

The good news here is that the New Covenant is a covenant of faith in the Son of God, whose blood flowed on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for all us. You and I are now part of God’s community. Jesus sets us free by grace through faith. Trust the good news!  Believe it!

I love learning. I know you do too. Dig into God’s word. It has ultimate meaning for your life. For this week, read Luke chapters 7 and 8.

Reminder:  The Annual Meeting of the congregation will take place on Sunday January 31, at 11:45 a.m. We will meet in the sanctuary. I encourage you to be here in person, but please know that we will have a Zoom option as well.

Immediately following the Annual Meeting we will convene a separate meeting, as required by our Church Constitution, to present and vote on a potential candidate for our Associate Pastor of Congregational Care Position. We anticipate both meetings combined lasting approximately 75 minutes.

We are asking that you RSVP for these meetings, letting us know if you will be here in person or via Zoom. Please note, an RSVP is not required for you to attend, but it is helpful for us to have an approximation of how many will attending in person and/or via Zoom. You can RSVP on our website or by using the following link – https://www.gloriadei-sd.org/annualmeeting.

Together in Christ,

Pastor Tim
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