Coronavirus updates

Hello Town Line members and friends,

Due to the governor’s orders, we will only have office hours at church by appointment.  We are asking that you please send in your offering via the mail or if you bank has bill pay you can use that too.  Thank you to those who have already sent in your offering, we are grateful. 

 Pastor Serena is available via email: pastorserena@gmail.com or her phone: 716-510-2939.  Please feel free to reach out if you need anything. 

 At 10am (or later) on Sunday you can click this link for worship.  You may also find this on the church Facebook page.

 https://youtu.be/iemXJ_5JcKk

 Devotions are below that you can do at home on Sunday as well.  

 God’s peace in these challenging days be with you. 

 

 

Devotions for Sunday, March 22, 2020

“Asking the wrong question”

Opening words:

Holy God, holy and mighty,

holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

 

Lord’s prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

forever and ever. Amen

 

Apostle’s creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

          creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

          He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

                     and born of the virgin Mary.

          He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

                     was crucified, died, and was buried.

          He descended into hell.*

          On the third day he rose again.

          He ascended into heaven,

                     and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

          He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

          the holy catholic Church,

          the communion of saints,

          the forgiveness of sins,

          the resurrection of the body,

          and the life everlasting. Amen

 

Prayer:

Bend your ear to our prayers, Lord Christ, and come among us. By your gracious life and death for us, bring light into the darkness of our hearts, and anoint us with your Spirit, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

Gospel reading: John 9:1-41(The Message translation)

1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

6-7 He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.

Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, “Why, isn’t this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?”

Others said, “It’s him all right!”

But others objected, “It’s not the same man at all. It just looks like him.”

He said, “It’s me, the very one.”

10 They said, “How did your eyes get opened?”

11 “A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ I did what he said. When I washed, I saw.”

12 “So where is he?”

“I don’t know.”

13-15 They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath. The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, “He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “Obviously, this man can’t be from God. He doesn’t keep the Sabbath.”

Others countered, “How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?” There was a split in their ranks.

17 They came back at the blind man, “You’re the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

18-19 The Jews didn’t believe it, didn’t believe the man was blind to begin with. So they called the parents of the man now bright-eyed with sight. They asked them, “Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? So how is it that he now sees?”

20-23 His parents said, “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we don’t know how he came to see—haven’t a clue about who opened his eyes. Why don’t you ask him? He’s a grown man and can speak for himself.” (His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. That’s why his parents said, “Ask him. He’s a grown man.”)

24 They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind—and told him, “Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.”

25 He replied, “I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.”

26 They said, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 “I’ve told you over and over and you haven’t listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?”

28-29 With that they jumped all over him. “You might be a disciple of that man, but we’re disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.”

30-33 The man replied, “This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of—ever. If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”

34 They said, “You’re nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!” Then they threw him out in the street.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”

38 “Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

39 Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

40 Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”

 

Some background on the Gospel:

 The common belief in Jesus’ day was that illness was punishment for sin.  Many believed that if a baby was born blind or deaf that it was the parents or baby’s fault for being a sinner. 

We don’t still think that today, do we? Maybe we can felt tempted to feel that way, and wonder why bad things happen sometimes.  Today Jesus reminds us that when we fall into that trap we are asking the wrong question.

Jesus does this amazing thing, healing a man who was born blind, and some of the religious leaders are offending by what he is done.  Notice how quick they are to “turn a blind eye” to what Jesus has done. 

 

Questions to discuss/ponder:

1.    What do you think the main message of this story is?  What do you think Jesus showing us/calling us to do?