Worship Preview for March 12th, 2023.
This Weekend: Sunday at 10:30am “By Water and Spirit: History and Her Story”
Scriptures: Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11 and John 4:5-42– with Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.
Our theme, this Lent is “Leaning Towards the Light” and “Soaking in the Presence” – this week’s stories take us deeper into both of these images. The woman at the well is one of the best-known stories in Scripture. Over the centuries, certain assumptions have developed about the woman and sometimes I think those assumptions, those layers - added to what the text specifically says - have overshadowed the powerful story. So, we wind up talking more about what we presume about her than about what she actually does. This Sunday we will look at what happens “after” Jesus and the unnamed woman have their conversation, focusing on verses 27-42 – and doing so in light of the other lectionary passages as well as last week’s story of Nicodemus from John 3.
In that text, a teacher of the law and very much an “insider”, came to Jesus in darkness with questions. He is told that we must be born “from above” and “by water and the Spirit.” He doesn’t seem to understand – although as we mentioned last week, he does seem to respond – showing up twice more in John’s Gospel acting with what most commentators suggest is evidence of a growing faith. He's given the benefit of the doubt. Here, the unnamed Samaritan woman, very much an outsider (although, again, let us be clear about what the text says verses assumptions and embellishments we bring to it) encounters Jesus in the daylight of noon at a well steeped in Biblical history and tradition. Where Jesus and Nicodemus talk about being born again / born from above, story is shows what happens when one deeply encounters the living water and the movement of the Holy Spirit. The woman leaves her water jug and becomes an evangelist – sharing truly good news with her fellow Samaritans, who then come and experience Jesus’ presence for themselves! What might our churches, not to mention Christian history, be like if we spent less time debating this woman's supposed shortcomings and more time celebrating her witness?
In addition, we will hold our “Scout Sunday” this week to celebrate and share what the growing local pack has been up to this year as well as present a special emblem to one. Don’t forget to Spring Forward and set your clocks ahead an hour so you don’t miss the fun!
No matter where you are on your own journey of faith, you are invited to join in worship and celebration at 10:30am at 301 S. National, coming just as you are, with your questions, doubts and hopes - and to experience the transformative, healing love and grace of Christ - which makes us whole. Visitwww.firstumcfsks.org/newvisitors for more information on what to expect.
Wednesday, March 15, 5:30pm Feeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. We are thankful for all the volunteers from other area churches and community groups that make this meal possible each week.
Friday, March 17th, United Women in Faith Potato Bar fundraiser. Join us in Fellowship Hall 11:30am to 1:30pm for a Baked Potato bar for lunch and pie for dessert. Freewill offerings accepted to help fund the work of UWF (formerly UMW).
Rev. Christopher Eshelman
Pastor, Fort Scott First UMC
Know, Grow, Serve, Share
Cell Phone (316) 833-4974