Castile United Church of Christ

4 Washington Street, Castile, NY 14427

“Meals & Missions”

OUR MONTHLY MEALS & MISSIONS HAS BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

2020 Meals & Missions Focus is The Parables

Each month we will travel through a different Parable Jesus taught us.

Come and join us for a delicious meal, Friendly Converstion and a lesson on life.

January 2020 – “The Lost Sheep”

     This parable describes God’s outlook concerning the lost and their redemption (Matthew 18:12-13, Luke 15:4-7). The parable of the Lost Sheep, taught by Jesus Christ, is one of the most beloved stories in the Bible. The story sheds light on the celebratory atmosphere in heaven when even just one sinner confesses his sin and repents. This parable also illustrates God’s profound love for his followers.

     The ninety-nine sheep in the story represent self-righteous people—the Pharisees. These people keep all the rules and laws but bring no joy to heaven. God cares about lost sinners who will admit they are lost and turn back to him. The Good Shepherd seeks after people who recognize they are lost and in need of a Savior. The Pharisees never recognize that they are lost.

     Jesus was speaking to a group of tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and teachers of the law. He asked them to imagine having a hundred sheep and one of them strayed from the fold. A shepherd would leave his ninety-nine sheep and search for the lost one until he found it. Then, with joy in his

heart, he would put it on his shoulders, take it home, and tell his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him, because he had found his lost sheep. Jesus concluded by telling them there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.

What Does the Parable of the Lost Sheep Mean?

     The meaning is simple yet profound: lost humans need a loving, personal Savior. Jesus taught this lesson three times in succession to drive home his meaning. God deeply loves and cares personally for us as individuals. We are valuable to him and he will seek far and wide to bring us back home to him. When the one who was lost returns, the Good Shepherd receives him back with joy, and he does not rejoice alone.

  • I AM The Lost Sheep: I chose not to follow directions and wandered off by myself. Now I am lost and can’t find my way back home. I hope someone finds me soon!
  • I AM The Shepherd: I cannot find one of my sheep, so I am choosing to go on a search mission to find him. I am very scared that the sheep is lost and by himself. I want him to be back with the rest of his family.
  • I AM The 99 Sheep: We chose to follow the shepherd’s directions, but we were still left behind when he went off to look for our lost friend. We are upset our friend did not make a loving choice, but we still hope that he is okay.
  • I AM The Friends and Neighbors of the Shepherd: We are celebrating with our friend, the shepherd, now that he has found his lost sheep! We are so excited that the sheep was found. We are planning a party to show how happy we are.

Which character do you think you would have been?

February 2020 – “The Good Samaritan” The Good Samaritan

     Luke 10:29-37 says “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

     A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

     “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Why do you think the Levite and the Priest ignored the man?

It is likely that the Priest and the Levite did not go near the victim’s body because he looked dead and touching a dead body required a ritual washing.The Jewish priests’ primary responsibility was to make offerings for the people at the Temple to purify them and gain forgiveness for their sins.                     The Levites were the priestly tribe of Israel. They also worked in the Temple on behalf of the Jewish people. The Samaritans were descendants of the Northern tribes of Israel. Rather than going into exile with the rest of Israel, however, the Samaritan’s ancestors stayed in Israel and intermarried with Gentiles (non-Jews) some of whom worshiped other gods. Therefore, the Jews did not think of them as either Gentiles or Jews and they generally disliked the Samaritans.

Jesus uses this story to explain the unlimited nature of love. Our neighbor is not just someone within our community. Our neighbor is anyone in need of love and mercy. Instead of asking who deserves our love as a neighbor, this parable teaches us that to love beyond the confines of our community or religion and treat everyone as we ourselves would like to be treated.

  • When have you been like the victim in the story? Who was your Good Samaritan?
  • When have you been like the good Samaritan in the story? What made you want to help someone in need?

March – Wise and Foolish Builders

The parable of the wise and foolish builders is intended to get us to ask a very important question about ourselves.  A question that requires much soul-searching and honesty to really answer correctly. It is a parable concerning the importance of doing the will of the Father.

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

And then from Luke 6:46Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Can you think of a children’s story where this parable may have inspired the story line?

The Three Little Pigs

Did you notice that these accounts are not quite the same?  As we’ve seen in other Biblical comparisons, it is due partly to the retelling of the story.   Matthew was a Jewish tax collector so his audience was the Jewish people.  On the other hand, Luke was a Gentile doctor.  The audience for what he wrote, was Gentiles.  As such – the emphasis would be on different things.          

On top of that, we also need to take into account the very real likelihood that Jesus gave this same “speech” more than once.  Remember, He was travelling around the area.  There’s no reason at all to assume that Jesus said things only once – and whoever wasn’t present at that particular gathering didn’t get to hear what He had to say on a topic.  

Can you recall a children’s game where we say one thing, but by the end of the line, it comes out to be something completely different? Telephone

So we have two authors, different backgrounds, different intended audiences for what they wrote, and probably two different occurrences of a similar talk being given to two different gatherings of people.  BUT the bottom line is What Jesus wants… is a situation where we willingly live for Him.  For Christians, why would we want anything less?  Jesus will not force Himself on anyone.  We must ask for, and then allow Him into our lives, before anything happens. Let Jesus be the ROCK in your life.