July 16, 2017: “United We Stand….”

Posted on : Jul 13th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Genesis tells us of two sons, born of the same parents and carried together in the same womb, but separated by what we might call in today’s time “instant gratification.”

The reading from Matthew always reminds me of how often I tried to get California poppy seeds to grow and replenish themselves in our home that we lived in as a family for 38 years. Apparently the soil was too clay like.  Perhaps it suffocated the seeds so that they could not grow.  However, whenever I am out and about, I notice poppies growing out of small cracks in pavements and sidewalks.

Somehow, this will be part of my meditative pondering as I prepare to be with all of you on July 16, with the theme, “United we stand . . .” which comes from the well-known theme “United We stand, Divided We fall,” which, although quoted by many famous people, was first credited as part of Aesop’s fables.

Look forward to being with you on July 16.


Marcia Hoffman


~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Genesis 25: 19-34

From The Message, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible.

This is the family tree of Isaac son of Abraham: Abraham had Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah.

Isaac prayed hard to God for his wife because she was barren. God answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children tumbled and kicked inside her so much that she said, “If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?” She went to God to find out what was going on. God told her,

Two nations are in your womb,
    two peoples butting heads while still in your body.
One people will overpower the other,
    and the older will serve the younger.

When her time to give birth came, sure enough, there were twins in her womb. The first came out reddish, as if snugly wrapped in a hairy blanket; they named him Esau (Hairy). His brother followed, his fist clutched tight to Esau’s heel; they named him Jacob (Heel). Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents. Isaac loved Esau because he loved his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew—I’m starved!” That’s how he came to be called Edom (Red).

Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.”

Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?”

Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson



Mathew 13: 1-9; 18-23

From The Message, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible.

At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories.

“What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

“Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.

“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.

“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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