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June 2023 Tidings from Bethlehem

Dear Friends in Christ,

I pray you are having a wonderful start to the summer season! This month I wanted to give you some insight into just one of the themes you may hear throughout the next few months in this time after Pentecost. It’s the theme of discipleship. We’ll be gifted with gospel lessons from Matthew to dive into this and other themes. I found this quote below helpful and exciting as we’ll consider discipleship together. (Just a note- Year A used below refers to the first year of the first year Revised Common Lectionary). The dates listed are for when you can hear this theme echoed clearly in the gospel though we can always be on the lookout for ways to be disciples.) As God in Christ acts in and among us, how do we become and remain disciples? Year A gospel texts in these early months after Pentecost invite us to examine discipleship because Jesus himself centers the life of discipleship.

We also learn that discipleship has a cost: it sometimes results in unexpected conflict andnews may not have been considered “good” for all who heard! Jesus teaches us much about discipleship by how he responds to questions about who he spends time with (June 10-11). Jesus calls, claims, and sends. This sending is ongoing: discipleship ultimately necessitates a continual and arduous sending, accompanied by success, failure, and the need to innovate (June 17-18 and August 5-6).

We also learn that discipleship has a cost: it sometimes results in unexpected conflict and

division (June 17-18 and 24-25). We learn the sheer weight of what it means to “accept” the

work of a disciple. This work is a serious matter, both for the disciple and for those to whom the disciple is sent (July 1-2). Discipleship is service to the least (July 1-2), and the banner of

Christ’s discipleship is taken up by the least likely candidates (June 10-11, August 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 ). When God calls us to innovate in the ordinary, we do so as exemplified in these texts.” From Sundays and Seasons, Preparing for Summer (2023 Year A)

Wow, sounds like a summer full of great things to consider. Don’t forget, if you are traveling, on vacation or staycation, our YouTube livestream is a great way to stay connected to worship and preaching!


Pastor Ellen

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