Worship Notes for July 21th

BIG QUESTIONS: Obedience & Disobedience in the Name of God

What is your earliest memory of standing for what you believed against the crowd? Even those of us who are shy have times when we just cannot keep silent? This week in worship, as we discuss obedience and disobedience in the name of God, we will hear two stories of people who could not remain silent, even though speaking out carried real risk.

The story of Esther in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament is a teaching story, a fictitious account to illustrate the dangers of xenophobia and the importance of leadership even when the risks are high. In The Book of Acts, the story of the early church, the apostles Peter and John refuse to keep silent when when commanded to do so by the Sanhedrin, the religious authority for Jews.

What they were teaching was in conflict with the stated position of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council. What they were teaching had been condemned by Rome, the political overlords of the country. What they had done was against the tradition of the Jews. What defense could they offer? They were obeying God, not human authority.

Can you think of times in your life when God's nudges lead you to speak out? Perhaps something racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive was said, and even at the risk of losing a friendship, you confronted that bias. Perhaps the group that you were a part of was going to do something that you considered to be wrong, and you had to speak, regardless of the cost. Perhaps the church that you considered to be your spiritual home was continuing a tradition or practice that you felt was no longer effective, and you felt the need to speak out questioning that tradition. There are times when we feel pushed into speaking regardless of the cost. If you have had this experience, you will relate to our biblical stories this week.

Come Sunday -- and invite anyone who needs to hear this word!

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash