Human Relations Sunday Speaker: Dr. Magaela Bethune
Human Relations Day is a denomination wide Special Sunday designed to celebrate and raise awareness to further the development of better human relations by involving congregations in community and youth outreach. A special offering taken the Sunday before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Gifts received for the offering build King’s vision of “the beloved community” through programs such as Community Developers and United Methodist Voluntary Services and Youth Offender Rehabilitation Programs.
Dr. Magaela Bethune, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Bethune is the Lead Consultant for the California-Pacific Conference’s Racial Equity Audit, the first ever racial equity audit for our Conference. It is important that the Black Church be included and represented in this survey and we amplify our voices and concerns on our experience in the Cal-Pac Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak in to your life! Expect great things!
Opening Prayer (Wesley Covenant Prayer)
O God, Searcher of all our hearts,
you have formed us as a people and claimed us for your own.
As we come to acknowledge your sovereignty and grace,
and to enter anew into covenant with you,
reveal any reluctance or falsehood within us.
Let your Spirit impress your truth on our inmost being,
and receive us in mercy, for the sake of our Mediator, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Scripture: John 1:43-46 (Common English Bible)
43 The next day Jesus wanted to go into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law and the Prophets: Jesus, Joseph’s son, from Nazareth.”
46 Nathanael responded, “Can anything from Nazareth be good?”
Philip said, “Come and see.”
For the Season of Epiphany, we enter the new year exploring how to recover or live into new ways of abundant life as followers of Jesus. Jesus leads us an “a more excellent way” of the truth and life!
Jesus finds Philip and Philip finds Nathaniel. Nathaniel questions whether Jesus is the Messiah because he is from Nazareth cannot believe that anything good can come from people and places that are downtrodden. In one of his last books, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked the question, “Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?” By faith, we can go from Nazareth toward a “more excellent way.”
- What is a word, phrase or image that comes to mind when you read or hear the text?
- In this scripture, Philip questions whether good can come from Nazareth. What is wrong with Nazareth? What is Nazareth’s reputation? Where could Nazareth be today? Why is it important that Jesus comes from Nazareth?
- What does this scripture teach about taking a second look?
- What does God invite you to do, change or be through this passage?
Discipleship Huddle Questions:
- How is it with your soul?
- How does your soul prosper?
God who surprises us, help us to be surprised by an encounter with you. Keep us attentive to your presence as we go about our week. Help us live to keep our covenant with you and our church family. Amen.