Archive for category Easter B

Luke 24:36b-48 “Inside Out” JUMC 20120422 OutdoorWorship

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. [NRSV]

From the Inside Out: 

The View from the Insiders

We are blessed to have a beautiful place to gather and worship. It is important at times to look from at our environment from a different perspective. We come with personal and coorporate traditions and habits that make worship comfortable and meaningful for us. We find ourselves at home in God’s house.

The text today describes disciples at a time when it was not safe to go home. They were in hiding. There are times that we find ourselves so comfortable at home in God’s house that we are afraid to go out.

We living an a more segregated time than any other in our history. It is a separation by choice. We order things from online or through the mail. We are entertained by media delivered to our homes. Children play indoors more than outdoors. Some times we need to step outside. Go our and risk getting wet, take a chance of getting dirty. And find what and who God has created around us.

The disciples who gathered in their locked room found protection from sharing liked minds and common fears. If we only gather together with people who are like-minded who hold common fears we could be a political group instead of a force of faith and witness.

There is an slippery sense that if we protect each other and isolate one another then the outside world is not our worry  nor our responsibility. In this place and experience of fear Jesus breaks through what appears to be locked up safe, to reach a people who are fooling themselves in a false and empty safety.

The View from the Outsiders

It is difficult to look at the church from an outsiders perspective. One of the reasons we have a combined worship is that we are two worshiping groups under one umbrella. There would be those who see our two worship service bodies as competitors. If they all came to our service we would have one big family. But that would not honor the fellowship and worship of the others.

Imagine your comfortable worship with robes, pipes and pews swapped with projects, shorts and amplified riffs. One is not right and the other wrong. But we are both at home under the same roof.  I am the only one in my family that likes salmon croquets or country fired steak. So how often do I get to eat them? When everyone is out of town or we are eating out.

There are as many people who are not finding themselves at home in a church this morning as there are those who do. We living a county that has no Jewish Temple, No Muslim mosque and no Universalist reading room for gathering or worship. Our options are exclusively Christian churches.. and we still half our neighbors are outsiders when it comes to attending and belonging to a church. Why is that so?

For many they are afraid. Some feel locked out and excluded. Some don’t connect the meaning of the story with the power in their lives because they have seen the difference in our actions and words. Until we have asked every person, we don’t know that we have done our work in this place. And out task is not only within the bounds of our city or county or even country.

If we have access to transportation and communication that reaches around the world, so does our understanding of who the Outsiders we are called to reach.

Think if you have no church to call home. When would you leave the privacy of your home, to get more dressed up than you might do so for work or school, to listen to some strangers tell you that God wants your money and your life. Why would you go? Why would you come?

We are outside the doors today because this is when Jesus came to the world. To break through what was locked away in fear and impossibility, to open to those hurting and alone and make a way to God’s power and grace before we know how our why.

Inviting Insiders to reach out to the Outsiders

The reason Jesus breaks through the locked door is because we are not called to stay inside our place of comfort. There is a challenge in coming out. There is a faith in stepping beyond the threshold. Jesus called disciples to follow and once following sends them out as apostles.

Here is the following step in the life of being a disciples of Jesus. It starts in following Jesus, but once we become an insider Jesus breaks through to send us out into the world.

The world can be a threatening and disappointing place. It is understanding whey we would want to say in our comfortable place. So today we are moving outside, because in Jesus Christ, we now can. The world is our parish.

John Wesley’s vision for the church remains our vision. The 1000 member delegation of members and clergy will be gathering in Tampa this week to begin the process of examining how were are to living our our faith as United Methodist in the next four years.

You will hear of controversial reports of what the church is struggling with in the next two weeks. If you have questions listen to umc.org in stead of the local or national news. Pray for those who represent us in this process to hear God’s word and call in their actions and decisions.

The General conference always seeks to drag us into being a larger church that we currently are. Not just numerically rather in the task of reaching with a wider net those who have not heard and those who have even been harmed or neglected by the church.

Invited the Outsiders to be reached by Our Insider

But the resurrection call to disciples is not simply historic or corporate, it is our call to reach out side by the power of our INSIDE connection. The assurance of sharing Jesus Christ with the world and our neighbors. There is not a question, despite our fears, questions and apprehensions to share our faith. We are to share Jesus Christ, him crucified and resurrected.

We have come outside and broken through our comfortable inside to show the world what we believe. Show them our hands that they might see Christ’s hands at world. Show them where our feet go, that they might see how far Christ will go with them. Stand by their side and show them the work of Christ saving and caring them, just has Christ carries us.

We are outside or a reason and the reason is that we are no longer insiders.. We are insiders stepping out with Christ, for the redemption of the world. There is no turning back, no turning back.

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I John I:1-4 “I declare” Jumc 20120415

1 John 1:1-4 “I Declare” JUMC. 20120415 [9&11]
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. NRSV.

We have a story..
What have we seen and heard?
{Scripture, witness of community.}
Who have we touched?
{Family, work, community,…?}
With our own eyes?
{How has God shown up in your life?}

“We” share a story
What is he story of our fellowship?
Tell the church story for starters..
Where have we seen God working through our church?
Tell our collective witness, UMC..

We ARE the people who tell, write share the story;
Tell it. Don’t expect some else to tell your side, version.
Write it. Make a lasting impact beyond the moment. Write it for others to read.
Live it. Make it so know that there is no doubt thats others know

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John 20:1-18 I Have Seen the Lord! Easter JUMC 21020408:1100

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. [NRSV]

Not only is the first person to preach and proclaim the resurrection a friend of Jesus, it is one of the women. In John’s gospel account Mary comes to the grave site alone and in the darkness of the early hours. She sees the tomb opened and unsealed and runs to tell the news. But the news is not Good News with the first look at the empty tomb. It is after the two and more look at what was first a sigh of foul play or bad news, later becomes the greatest of Good News.

There is an Easter message to those who hear for the first time… Come and see that Jesus Lives (Mary First visit)

There is an Easter message to those who have search and found nothing life saving… Go and ask for other Witnesses (Mary Going and only seeing and hearing the emptiness of the tomb)

There is an Easter message for those who have heard but stayed away… Come and help me figure out what happened (Mary asking for others to join the quest/journey)

There is an Easter message for those willing to come back and hang around, even after the show is over… (Mary returns with witness and sticks with it… not giving up even though the first visit was empty) Most folks who come Easter Sunday can join here.

There is an Easter message of new life to SHARE… Well? Get to it! Happy Easter, Christ LIves, Go tell

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Mark 16:1-8 Rolling Stones Easter JUMC 21020408:0900

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. [NRSV]

The stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty

Who will roll away the stone?
Mary and Mary were quite worried about the task awaiting them at the cemetery. The Sabbath was over and work needed to be completed. The very act of going to finish the embalming preparations is witness that the women were not anticipating a resurrection.

The greatest worry of the day was that no one would help them. But they went to work at the cemetery even though they might not even be able find access to the tomb. Sometimes in grief we do things that reflect that our minds and our hearts are not on the same channel. So it is for the Marys.

But this is sometimes true even when we are thinking clearly. We are looking at the work “WE” think needs to be done when other tasks are more important. Is It more important to stay at work 30 more minutes or to spend thirty more minutes with our child or grand child going over spelling words or listening to their dreams and fears?

In one of the last conversations I had with my father he shared that he wished he had spent less time at work and more time with us while we were at home. Jesus pointed out to Martha that Mary had made the best judgment call to let the dinner preparation for the big festival meal wait, because the spiritual meal was already being shared. For me the Easter story cries out for me to review, reflect and examine what work I am doing compared with the work God wants and calls me to be doing.

Focusing and worrying about what appear impossible does not move the heavy stones in our lives.

Easter Sunday is about SEEing what God has done, what God IS doing and what God is ABOUT to be doing…
God already had a plan for the impossible and had moved the obstical away… this is witnessed in Jesus
God has been at work while we asleep… long before any of us were born or join this or any church, God was here.
God knows we need witnesses and messengers… sending the angels and calling us to be messengers to others.

That first Easter Sunday, the first day of the week God has been at work long before we showed up…
And that work has been for our benefit.

While we focus on the physical, asking questions and fear of our weakness, God makes ready a greater strength.
This is the message for us to see, hear and meet face to face…
Sunday Is God’s work day… working for our benefit, faith and life.
Christ died for our sake
He arose for our life

So What?
Do we run away afraid, scared and overwhelmed with the word and witness that Christ has new work for us?
Hear the old story in a new way: Christ lives so that we can live in Christ… not continue to move stones.
That day is passed. Trust God to move the mountains, Don’t be scared.. Don’t keep silent. Go tell all who are afraid.

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Mark 7:24-37 “Tell No One the Good News?” 05/22/2011/0900am JUMC

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go–the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.

They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (-NRSV)

Why in the world would Jesus tell crowds and those restored not to tell what Jesus had done?
Reverse Psychology?
Forbidden Fruit?
People would only follow and believe if they received a physical blessing 1st hand.

(1) I will follow if you bless me.
(2) I will tell if you get us out of this jam. (3) I will be your disciple when I get something out of you first.

Discipleship comes before the blessing
Our culture is troubled with this, we want to a guarantee, we want our money’s worth. It is a contractual relationship. I give—I get. I beg—I receive,

Notice how Jesus takes the many with a speech impediment and moves in the house, into a private place, away from the crowds and drama.
• Jesus follows a medicinal method: touching his ears, spitting and touching his tongue,
• Jesus follows a spiritual method: looking up to heaven, he speaks release to the captive: Be open.

Be open to the spirit of God.
open to wholeness and faith.
open to the process, steps and stages. open to the power to change us. Be open.

The gift of knowledge we wish for all our students, be open. Be available, take what you have learned in private and go into the world that wants a show and its desserts. Be open to God’s touch, God’s word and God’s sending.

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