Archive for category #sacrifice
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. [NRSA: Galatians 3:27-29]
It is important for us to know some context of this area. More of a recognized state or region of the people who have Greek and Roman heritage. Thus, making it a place of blended culture and religions.
The region in what we now know as central and southern Turkey was in Paul’s time known as the region of Galatia. Historically a Greek formation, the Celts, were later occupied by the Roman empire in our period of the Apostle Paul and his missionary work in this area. It was more than a city, but rather an area with thirteen divisions. It is from the accounts in both Paul’s letter to the Galatians and in Luke’s recording in the Book of Acts, that we learn about this region.
Paul was extraordinarily successful in connecting the know cultures and religions and using those as entry points to show the inadequacies of the local gods with the One, universal God by belief in His Son. Paul is likely to have been building upon some missionary work from Peter and Sillas as his typical approach was to start with the Jewish communities at local synagogues, which were rare in the region of Galatia.
But what of any of this speaks to us?
Paul offers Christ to a diverse and divided culture that has been bouncing through generations of sweeping religious, political, and cultural changes. It is in this context that we see Paul being particularly helpful in transforming devotion into discipleship, and loyalty into faith and belief.
What if the world, the nation? Georgia? North Georgia? Our communities? Or our fellowship was so clothed in Christ, that the first thing we see in one another is Christ.
When you introduce yourself through writing, what is the first detail you would share about yourself?
- Would it be career?
- In some type of relationship?
- Having kids or grands?
- Would it be gender, or some other physical descriptor?
- Would it be your hobbies or talents?
- Most would say it differs by the context.
- Facebook: “Human, husband, father, pastor, writer, #humorinlife #foodie #techie #zippermerging #zoomevangelist”
- Twitter: “a sinful child saved by Christ, pastor, husband, father, writer, techie, foodie, neighbor, voter looking for humor, and humor in life. clergy.pro
- Business Card: “Sharing Christ and the Journey”
And how would you describe Rock Spring in 100 words?
Is their any church that would not consider starting with the words, “We are a friendly church” no matter if we were or were not.
Many times we are, Sometimes we are not, and sometimes most are friends, but always a handful on any give Sunday are distracted with something else in lives or on their heart.
- Would we share our missions because we are proud of our accomplishments or how much Christ has done for and through us?
- Would we list our activities we like or think others would like or how Christ shapes, guides, and challenges us?
- Would we describe what we enjoy about our worship, or how God is blessed by our praise and fellowship?
- Would we tell about how easy it is to visit and join, or how much work and devotion it takes to continue growing, serving, and following Christ?
Paul starts reminding the church: You are the baptized in Christ. You are clothed in Christ.
- Baptism is the sign of our adoption as sons and daughters of God, through and with Christ.
- Baptism is the moment we celebrate our life being more than our own.
- Baptism is our joining the family as heirs of the witness, work, and reward that God would bestow.
- Baptism is our spiritual birth into our heavenly citizenship.
- Baptism is not just something we hope people have done before they die, it is the belonging-relationship that we celebrate while we are living.
Paul is reminding the church that we are first responders to the fires burning in peoples hearts and minds, we have something better than Kevlar and Nomex, we are clothed with Christ who has died for us and lives for us to be in God, forever.
Paul encourages the church painting the warm quilt of love, faith, and prayer that surrounds us in the cold world, and the from the emptiness of being lost or alone. We are clothes with Jesus Christ who renews and restores and walks with us in all of life and death.
Paul is teaching the church to put on the arm, put on the baptism, put on the quilt, put on the strength, wisdom, and faithfulness of Christ because without it we are wearing the [Emperor’s New Clothes/ ‘naked’] instead that the world is selling as truth, safety, and meaning.
Once we wear the team uniform of Christ we are no longer divided; we become united in Christ.
If we are clothed by opinions, ideologies, data-points, peer-reviewed conclusions: all these change for day to day and as the context and balance of power shifts in the world. We are clothed in the life of Christ, don’t forget, don’t let go, don’t exchange it.
Think of all the descriptors in our lives: We rally around being in different camps: bulldogs, hound dogs, elephants, eagles, tigers, lookouts, Biscuits, owls, gophers, moccasin shoe, pickles, and our family favorite: Mighty, Fighting Okra from Delta State in Cleveland, Mississippi.
We divide up by age groups: Gen Z, Millennials or Gen Y, Gen X, Boomer, WW2ers, Depressists. They all sound terrible. But we try to make generation distinctions to hopefully better understand when we actually labeling and dividing people with names.
The is one race. We are humans. We have different cultures, pigments of skin color, and varieties of traditions and assessments of our identities as individuals and groups. We are all creations of God’s handiwork, created, loved, and saved by God.
- We have some shared features, but all have different fingerprints, and DNA markers that show God creates, not simply to mass produce, but value us one at a time, here is our weakness and strength.
- We are free to choose to love God or run from God. But living and seeking God acknowledges our questions, failures and fears and ability, through the grace in Christ, we have a way together, in Christ.
- We are valued by God both 1) the unique person we are and 2) the whole fellowship we become in Christ.
This week’s realization: The following is not politically bias: In the most recent weeks, I have had more occasions to speak with people who are anti-church, anti-religion, religious in practice-but not thriving in spiritual fruitfulness. I offer a both/and observation. There are flaws in our country, but we continue to be the nation that immigrants desire to leave their home to live. There are divided opinions and bias news surrounding us from every side, but other nations continue to turn to us for support, technology, and protection. There laws that need to be added and improved, but our system of government has built a nation that can welcome, respond, and adapt because it is a both/and relationship: Holding fast to our roots AND continues to amend our flaws.
Paul is telling a region of none Jewish people to believe in a God who is working through the Jew’s messiah, Jesus, God’s Son, to bring hope, meaning, salvation, love, power, grace, and is continuing this work through ALL who are baptized and clothed with Christ. Not destroying the framework but building upon it the work of the church, that whole world may know God through us.
Whether is to church OR state, the foundations have provided the framework, that without it we would not have the opportunities we enjoy today.
- The State will never love us, only use or appease us.
- The state will never be our salvation.
- The State will never die that we might live, rather calling us to suffer for its life.
- Remember who’s uniform you have been saved to wear?
- Remember which team that has died for you?
- Remember it Christ that truly unites us and not common law, identity, or opinion.
- Be Not afraid, God is with us. Repeat these words of assurance with me: “Be Not Afraid, God is With us!”
- Don’t let the worldly division sum up your identity or communities. Be those clothed in Christ.
- Let the world see Christ, just as they have seen your sport team colors and generational style
- Let the world look to those who are clothed in Christ, as sinners who are made who by Christ.
- Let the world see God’s presence in the living our faith and sacrifice to follow and grow.
- Let the world see in this context, this time in history, the eternal love and power of Christ today!
- Be Not afraid, God is with us. Repeat these words of assurance with me: “Be Not Afraid, God is With us!”
In his letter to the Galatians, he appeals directly to their well-known love of freedom and independence (5:1) and repeatedly contrasts freedom of the spirit through Christ with the slavery offered by pursuing worldly pleasures. He even specifically cites behavior and sins long associated with the Galatians such as jealousy, drunkenness, liberal sexuality, and idolatry (5:19-20) and contrasts these with the freedom from vice and corruption offered by Christianity (5:22-24). His appeals worked well, and the Galatians were converted, exchanging Sabiazos’ and Cybele’s protection for that of Jesus Christ. Herm notes that “the Christian communities under the jurisdiction of the Drunemeton were among the oldest founded” by Paul and Galatia grew into one of the most vital Christian centers of the region (43).
The Galatians by this time were almost thoroughly Hellenized and had further substituted their Celtic-Greco customs with Roman beliefs and attitudes. Christianity replaced their old religion, and the temples were turned into churches. This same paradigm was repeated, with the addition of military force, following the Muslim Invasion of Anatolia in 830 CE when the populace was converted to Islam and churches became mosques. By this time, there was little left of the original Celtic-Greco culture of Galatia. Its name survives today primarily through the biblical epistle of St. Paul and, possibly, the suburb of Galata outside of Istanbul, Turkey. [Mark, J. J. (2019, October 24). Galatia. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/galatia/%5D
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. [NRSV]
He Gave His Life
Through this very familiar passage we find the treasure of assurance of God’s Love and Sacrifice and our Purpose and Salvation
Honoring those who have given their life for country, church, faith and…
More that Remembering
Just as we honor and remember those who have died this Memorial Day, it is essential not only to recognize the loss of some family’s know more closely than others, but we also look at the greater good that comes when someone sacrifices for the rest of us.
This is not to be taking as lightly as we do.
In remembering what God has done for us through Jesus’s death and resurrection we acknowledge the love and sacrifice, but we also claim the greater good that comes through this service for us.
More than Memorial
Just as those who gave their life of our country and communities, they did not serve to get credit or fame or just to be remembered. They did it for duty, love, respect, trust and to save those who them they love and nation that is our home.
Jesus didn’t died to be remembered only. His death was a sacrificial death. God trades the value and meaning and purpose of his Child’s life for ours.
Not only do we honor with words and songs and memories on an annual day of remembering, we honor their service by living on in their stead.
Likewise, God service and sacrifice being the greatest gift for us, is not simply to impress or to give a reason for honoring and worshiping God, it is so that we will live on in the place of Christ
The Body of Christ
This is the trade. We live because of the life of others. Graduates give thanks to the parents, grands, teachers, friends and mentors that guided them toward graduation. The students steps that follow graduation is to do something with the next part of their life that is fruit of the labor and seed of new life.
We, the church, are being tested. The exam is this:
- Are we living as Christ or simply remembering the past traditions?
- Are we honoring the memory of Christ, or are we sharing the living Christ with a suffering and broken world?
- Are we honoring the idea of a loving God, but looking for every way to tear down our enemies?
- Is God’s sacrifice and love being lived out in our words and witness?
I am the gate.
Jesus said, he was that gate.
The metaphor of a gate.
Is the gate open or closed?
In or Out: What side of the gate?
Jesus is the gate, we trust the gate.
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. [NRSV]
Imagine having a four-hour walk home?
Travel experiences: WALKING
- We walk from our homes to our cars to parking lots to our destinations.
- We might walk for “race-for-a-t-shirt” or
- a fund or awareness event to show support
- we might walk to exercise for health
- we might walk on a hike to see the view
- What about walking to be spiritual present with someone?
Many would say that’s not for me.
[Note: Honestly, I am not sure why mini-pilgrimages have not been the tradition on Easter afternoon?]
- Maybe walk home from church on Easter?
- Or, walk back to church Easter Sunday evening for communion?
Travel Stories can be very powerful.
When we travel with someone, we have concentrated time together.
- Have your ever recounted funny, interesting or challenging events?
- Past vacation?
- Meet new friends who were strangers on a previous vacation. The Hymian’s
- Events that happened where you are passing on the road?
- Anticipating what will happen when we arrive at our destination?
- Sharing common adventures
If you had four hours travel time. How would you use that time in your car?
Would your faith come up as a topic of conversation?
If it did, What verses would you turn to reveal Jesus to a stranger?
Before we get to Bible verses:
- Some people are better at striking up a conversation than others.
- Some people are slow of heart to believe.
- Some people know the details of the story yet they doubt or are still searching.
A: There is not one verse that reaches and convinces or convicts all people.
A: Some people are uncomfortable discussing their faith and spiritual life
A: I’m uncomfortable when people talk about their faith with it is different from mine.
A: Isn’t it more polite to not be pushy.
Question: What is Jesus’ model?
- He is observant, see’s the sadness and disappointment
- He is inquisitive, asking for clarification
- He is instructional, drawing on scripture to transform the sadness and disappointment.
- He is well studied, and well prepared to share.
One Easter Sunday, the first appearance of Jesus is modeling what disciples are called to do.
When the words are not enough, he resorts to actions.
There is a problem with the saying: “Your Actions may be the only Gospel someone sees”.
- It assumes we have the heart of God in all our actions
- It assumes how we act always reflects God
- It assumes we are intentional about modeling our faith in all situations.
- It assumes we know why we do the things we do in the name of Christ.
All my actions are not always reflecting Jesus.
I need to know the core of my faith before I rely on actions only.
Think of Train leaving the tracks
If I see the resurrection as God’s ultimate victory over death and complete sacrifice of love for you and for me and name that as the core of my understand of LOVE:
If someone says, I love peanut butter or I love you if you agree with my world view, then are they talking about the same LOVE?
Which do we value more?
God’s heart or our freedom?
God’s word or our comfort?
God’s grace or our opinions?
God’s hope or our answers?
God’s patience or our resourcefulness?
God’s work or our work?
God’s love or
Bottom Line: Easter people need to know the scriptures, AND be ready to show them in action, AND meet people at Christ’s table.
NARRATOR: As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
JESUS: “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
NARRATOR: This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
PROPHET: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
NARRATOR: The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
THE CONGREGATION: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
NARRATOR: One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,
JUDAS: ”What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?”
NARRATOR: They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying,
DISCIPLES: “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
NARRATOR: He said,
JESUS: ”Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'”
NARRATOR: So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said,
JESUS: ”Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
NARRATOR: And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another,
DISCIPLES: “Surely not I, Lord?”
NARRATOR: He answered,
JESUS: ”The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”
NARRATOR: Judas, who betrayed him, said,
JUDAS: “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
NARRATOR: He replied,
JESUS: ”You have said so.”
NARRATOR: While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said,
JESUS: ”Take, eat; this is my body.”
NARRATOR: Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying,
JESUS: ”Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
NARRATOR: When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them,
JESUS: ”You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,
`I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
NARRATOR: Peter said to him,
PETER: “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”
NARRATOR: Jesus said to him,
JESUS: ”Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
NARRATOR: Peter said to him,
PETER: ”Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.”
PRAYER IN THE GARDEN
NARRATOR: And so said all the disciples.
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples,
JESUS: ”Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
NARRATOR: He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them,
JESUS: ”I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”
NARRATOR: And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed,
JESUS: ”My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”
NARRATOR: Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter,
JESUS: ”So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
NARRATOR: Again he went away for the second time and prayed,
JESUS: ”My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
NARRATOR: Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them,
JESUS: ”Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
NARRATOR: While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying,
JUDAS: ”The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.”
NARRATOR: At once he came up to Jesus and said,
JUDAS: ”Greetings, Rabbi!”
NARRATOR: and kissed him. Jesus said to him,
JESUS: ”Friend, do what you are here to do.”
NARRATOR: Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him,
JESUS: ”Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”
NARRATOR: At that hour Jesus said to the crowds,
JESUS: ”Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
NARRATOR: Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said,
ACCUSERS: “This fellow said, `I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'”
NARRATOR: The high priest stood up and said,
HIGH PRIEST: “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?”
NARRATOR: But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him,
HIGH PRIEST: “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
NARRATOR: Jesus said to him,
JESUS: ”You have said so. But I tell you,
From now on you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of Power
and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
NARRATOR: Then the high priest tore his clothes and said,
HIGH PRIEST: “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”
NARRATOR: They answered,
CHIEF PRIESTS: “He deserves death.”
NARRATOR: Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, saying,
CHIEF PRIESTS: “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”
NARRATOR: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said,
SERVANT GIRL: “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”
NARRATOR: But he denied it before all of them, saying,
PETER: ”I do not know what you are talking about.”
NARRATOR: When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders,
SERVANT GIRL: This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
NARRATOR: Again he denied it with an oath,
PETER: ”I do not know the man.”
NARRATOR: After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter,
BYSTANDER: Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.”
NARRATOR: Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath,
PETER: ”I do not know the man!”
NARRATOR: At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said:
JESUS: ”Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
NARRATOR: And he went out and wept bitterly.
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said,
JUDAS: ”I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
NARRATOR: But they said,
CHIEF PRIESTS: “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”
NARRATOR: Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said,
CHIEF PRIESTS: “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.”
NARRATOR: After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him,
PILATE: ”Are you the King of the Jews?”
NARRATOR: Jesus said,
JESUS: ”You say so.”
NARRATOR: But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him,
PILATE: ”Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?”
NARRATOR: But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them,
PILATE: ”Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
NARRATOR: For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him,
PILATE’S WIFE: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”
NARRATOR: Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them,
PILATE: ”Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”
NARRATOR: And they said,
NARRATOR: Pilate said to them,
PILATE: ”Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
NARRATOR: All of them said,
CONGREGATION: “Let him be crucified!”
NARRATOR: Then he asked,
PILATE: ”Why, what evil has he done?”
NARRATOR: But they shouted all the more,
CONGREGATION: “Let him be crucified!”
NARRATOR: So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying,
PILATE: ”I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”
NARRATOR: Then the people as a whole answered,
CONGREGATION: “His blood be on us and on our children!”
NARRATOR: So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying,
SOLDIERS: ”Hail, King of the Jews!”
NARRATOR: They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
NARRATOR: As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying,
BYSTANDERS: “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
NARRATOR: In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying,
CHIEF PRIESTS: “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, `I am God’s Son.'”
NARRATOR: The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.
From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice,
JESUS: ”Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
NARRATOR: that is,
JESUS: ”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
NARRATOR: When some of the bystanders heard it, they said,
BYSTANDERS: “This man is calling for Elijah.”
NARRATOR: At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said,
BYSTANDERS: “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”
NARRATOR: Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said,
CENTURION: “Truly this man was God’s Son!
NARRATOR: Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said,
CHIEF PRIESTS: “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”
NARRATOR: Pilate said to them,
PILATE: ”You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”
NARRATOR: So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
[ To be continued ]
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. [NRSV]
Christ Came to for sinners like us.
One of the Core faith questions is: Why did Jesus have to die for our sins? If God created the world in the first place, why not just speak the word, MULIGUN or DO-OVER and “so be it!”?
How many backyard ball games have been remedied by the power of the “do over”?
The relationship God creates humanity for is one of mutual trust, respect, and love. When we trust our own will, when we disrespect God’s rules, and when we turn “love of God” into “love of self,” we give up the innocence, wholeness, and life. We have no more than our own life to offer, and if we give it up, then we have no relationship with God.
In the Garden of Eden, once sin broke the relationship, Adman and Eve were out of the God-relationship and had to work on their relationship with God rather than only enjoy a relationship with God.
In the Flood and Noah, God tries the do-over, but sin continues to show up as quick as the remedy cleans the way, sin returns and the same as before the cleansing.
God offers to keep the relationship for us, even if we break it, if we will trust God to provide, lead and love us. But the offer is short lived and God’s will is questioned and rejected.
In the “Shark Tank” deal, God offers 100% of the profits, gives 100% of the resources, for us to choose life instead of death, knowing we will throw the whole deal away again and again. To seal the deal: God gives us the life we cannot restore, at God’s full cost, because the one thing God desires most is that you be freed from death, freed from the power of sin and free to ‘be’ with God, all of us.
Still, we listen to voices of talking snakes, tempting devils, and convincing logic within our own minds and we throw the gift away.
For us, Sin: That which distances us from a relationship of trust and love with God and the People of God.
Traditional, the Cardinal Sins our favorite, go-to list that usually needs our attention:
- Wrath, and
Virtue: That which helps build a relationship of trust and love with God and the People of God.
- The Old Testament virtues are to Love God with all your
- mind and
- The New Testament virtues are
- Hope, and
We can spend all day a church, feed five hundred people and sing praises till the cows come home and with one little word, we fail God.
Look at the short list
- Pride, misplaced achievement
- Greed, the assumption that things and money are our peace and hope and joy.
- Lust, Self-gratification of power or the absence of love in our relationships, satisfying only the body or mind.
- Envy, Not being content or satisfied, but alway wanting.
- Gluttony, satisfying the body, thinking that daily bread will bring us wholeness.
- Wrath lost in Anger, anger is, at times a healthy response, but when anger seeks revenge and dominance we come to the dark side.
- Sloth. Apathy and Laziness, the waiting for what we deserve to be given to us.
The remedy and our salvation:
The Gospel Remain, Jesus Christ who dies for our sins and his resurrection for our eternal life.
Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested
- We come to communion as it is our reaffirming Christ’s life has been given for our life
- We come confession our sins and trusting God’s promise to save
- We come to the table to eat, not of gluttony, but of grace
- We come giving praise for God’s mighty acts and not our own
- We come because we see the wealth in a life of giving ourselves to God
- We trust God’s power is greater than our own.
- We come knowing that we are empty without God’s mercy
- We come knowing God would be justified in being angry with us, but instead God set’s a place for us at the table.
So come, You life is waiting at the table
- Gilligan’ s Island
pride, The Professor
- greed, Mr. Howell
- lust, Ginger
- envy, Mary Ann
- gluttony, Mrs. Howell
- wrath, The Skipper
- sloth, Gilligan
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- Lion Witch and Wardrobe: Gluttony
- Prince Caspian: Envy
- Dawn Treader: Greed
- Horse and His Boy: Lust
- Silver Chair: Sloth
- Magician’s Nephew: Anger
- Last Battle: Pride
- STAR WARS
- Pride, Luke
- Greed, Boba Fett
- Lust, Han Solo
- Envy, Obi Won Kenobi
- Gluttony, Jabba the Hut
- Wrath, Darth Vader
- Sloth. StormTroopers?
- Pride, professor Gilderoy Lockhart
- Greed, Dumbledore of knowledge
- Lust, Snape for power
- Envy, Wormtail
- Gluttony, Duddley Dursley
- Wrath, Voldemort
- Sloth. Horace Slug-Hornn
Show Time Series
- Gwen as Wrath.
- Bridgette as Sloth.
- Lindsay as Lust.
- Beth as Envy.
- Courtney as Pride.
- Izzy as Gluttony.
- Heather as Greed.
Posted by myoikos in #2016, #costofdiscipleship, #cross, #forgiveness, #jesus, #mysundaysermons, #relationship, #sacrifice, bonhoeffer, Church, Communion, Disicpleship, Hope, Meaning, money, posessions, Preparation, Resurrection People, Sacrifice, Salvation, Service, Spiritual, Trust, Witness on September 3, 2016
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. [NRSV]
This test describes four points of discipleship: Family, Carrying the cross, Following through what we start, and Giving up possessions.
Bonhoeffer devoted much of his life to this text from Luke and we can learn from his faith investment for our own journey as disciples.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing. [Wiki]
- Discipleship: One who devotes one’s life to following Jesus.
- To Disciples others: To invite, support, and equip/teach others how to follow Jesus.
- Q: If I am not a Disciple of Jesus, to whom/what do I devote my life?
The Rude Awakening: To be a disciple is to wager our own life, all our relationship, all our possessions and struggle toward the Spiritual person God wants us to become in a broken and sin-filled, hurting world.
In this season of political turmoil, we can easily find folks either sticking one’s head in the sand OR being consumed by the drama. What are disciples to do in the next 64 days?
- By all means, be an informed voter and vote.
- By all means, trust that God will be your salvation and strength and not the government.
- By all means, study, pray and encourage those who choose blindness/ignorance to be informed and those consumed to evaluate what is most important in every day, not only election day.
- Seek God first, and all else will be revealed and added.
Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple:
The family is the core community in the human community. Jesus is calling us to compare our family of choice and our family of birth.
Just because we have people who are blood kin does not mean that they are living, acting, supporting, forgiving and trusting like our struggling faith family.
The community of the saints is not an “ideal” community consisting of perfect and sinless men and women, where there is no need of further repentance. No, it is a community which proves that it is worthy of the gospel of forgiveness by constantly and sincerely proclaiming God’s forgiveness…Sanctification means driving out the world from the Church as well as separating the Church from the world. But the purpose of such discipline is not to establish a community of the perfect, but a community consisting of men [and women] who really live under the forgiving mercy of God.”― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Carry the Cross
To be a following of Jesus is to imitate what we see and hear Jesus doing.
When Jesus welcomed the marginalized, forgotten and excluded folks, he talked, ate, fellowshipped, touched, and healed them, AND he sent them to go and “Sin No More.”
Following Jesus is both being touched and blessed by Jesus, but it is then our responsibility to become the new person that follows the new way of life in Jesus.
- To “Carry the Cross” is to feed people AND call people to be fed spiritually
- To “Carry the Cross” is to clothe people AND wrap them in spiritual encouragement.
- To “Carry the Cross” is to visit, stand with AND be Christ for someone
It is easy to carry the cross in symbolic ways, but it is ultimately allowing CHRIST to carry us on the cross.
Bonhoeffer: There is a way to measure if we are carrying the cross:
“The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace. The disciples will be sorely tempted to desert their Lord. But the end is also near, and they must hold on and persevere until it comes. Only he will be blessed who remains loyal to Jesus and his word until the end.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Finish what we Start
How many projects have been started at your house, shop, work, school, and life with great excitement and zeal, but when we meet resistance, a conflict of time, or lack of resources, or loss of focus, we lay it aside.
We know in our heads and hearts what following Jesus is about, doing it is where the power is found.
“So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Give up Posessions
This is where we usually head out the door or start thinking about lunch or find some other explanation other than the obvious one.
Bonhoeffer helps us with a suttle difference about posessions and a life devoted to Christ.
“Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
There is a falacy that giving our money away obsolves us from material management. Saving money to fund a life of service rather than a life of ease.
Wesley: Make all the money you can; save all you can; to do all the good you can.
Being a disciple is making a commitment that all that we have is God’s and we are intrusted with the responsiblity of doing God’s good work with all we have.
God knows we need material things, we living in the physical bodies God has made for us. Our bodies and things are not bad. BELIEVING they are our value, work and meaning becomes our God.
Cut it out because it too hard!
“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
The Hard life of Discipleship is Costly living.
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
- Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow,
- and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.
- It is costly because it costs a man his life,
- and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.
- It is costly because it condemns sin,
- and grace because it justifies the sinner.
- Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,”
- and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.
- Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.
- Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
- What do our relationships need most of all
- What does our daily life look like if not like Jesus
- What does our life feel like if we lay Christ aside for something new?
- Are we possessed by that which cannot love or save us?
What does it cost to not be a disciple?
- What does it cost to not seek a faith family’s support
- What does it cost to not let Jesus shine and show
- What does it cost to stop in the middle the race?
- What does it cost to invest in that which cannot love?
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” [NRSV]
I recall visiting sanctuaries through out Europe, some hundreds of years and wonder on one hand did Jesus imagine the ornate gilded cathedrals would become witnesses of his body and presence in the world. On the other hand, having walk through those ornate and gilded cathedrals and having join in the presence of worship that was older than my prayers and praises the allow us to experience the glories of a presence that is beyond our imagination and beyond our wealth and beyond our interpretation.
Somewhere in the combination of faithful stewardship and extravagant generosity we find the sincerity and and passion of worship.
There are times for simple and there are time for excess
The Garden of Eden reflects a sips relationship, one love and one rule, one trust and the consequences one transgression/choice.
Think of worship in the home of Mary and Martha. Recall Martha is the practical, hard working, thrifty with time and extravagant with comfort and dependable order. Mary is willing to throw caution aside! She is willing to leaving the house messy for a time, eat brunch for dinner, and invite too many guests to the party.
Mary take an extraordinary gift worth a years wage and gives the entire jar to cover Jesus. One pure of nard retailed for $700. Not a dab with the lid behind the ear r on ones wrist. She covers Jesus’s feet. Nard is viscous, acidic and concentrated scent similar to gardenia. It would have filled the house
Today we come to a historical day in the life of the church that is a mar rage of extravagant generosity AND a practical challenge. The big news is about t be revealed and it is a unique and exciting opportunity that draws on both our Mary and Martha sides.
The waste is not in using our gifts, the waste would be not to give.
Life in the Joy of Chrost with us.
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” [NRSV]
Jesus Agenda: Casting out evil, Curing the broken, and finishing his work on the third day.
- A fore telling of Jesus’ arrest, conviction and crucifixion are addressed by the disciples and Jesus.Jesus is talking back. Calling Herod by his action, a fox, cunning, callus and calculated. Skills of self preservation for the fox. Jesus’ mission, in Luke’s Gospel, requires him to be back in Jerusalem, positioned for the crucifixion.The Agenda cannot be stopped by Herod or any evil. But that will not stop evil things from happening.KEY:
God’s presence cannot be taking away, but neither are we to expect evil to disappear in the world.Prophet’s Job is Seldom Appreciated.
- Jesus points to the difficult task of being a prophet.The Prophet says nothing new. The prophet reminds us of the rails that our collective train should be running.The Prophet reminds us that God desires up to be with God.Jesus is more than any prophet. Jesus is God showing up first hand, the real deal, the actual.Jesus’s lament is how the necessary role of the prophet has never been without attack and often takes one’s life.We have at least two prophetic voices for our capital city:
I would suggest that our two leading political candidates (S&T) have tapped into the telling the people what the want to be reminded of, but their trains are running in opposing directions. Neither of them claim to be God’s prophets, but folks are desperate for a prophet and will follow until the find the prophet’s flaws or the prophet’s message becomes too personal. Mud-Slinging Campaign: (Interesting to hear from Jesus and John the Baptizer) Herod, was the secular leaders and he was a ‘fox’. The Sanhedrin were the religious leaders and they were a brood of vipers. God desires us to be together.There is a VERY powerful moment of self-disclosure and God’s heart being revealed in these words of Jesus outside of Jerusalem:The Mother Hen and her brood: How I wish my chicks would trust me. (Not just after they are in trouble, not after they are lost to evil, not just when faced with their own mortality, BUT when there was time to “walk together in the garden”) Remember the relationship with Adam and Eve, where God would walk and talk with them face-to-face, and explore the garden along side with them (Gen 3.8)The Prophets role is to remind God’s people of the relationship of Good and Evil. Helping folks remember what side of the fence they are too live.
- Are we people who put God first?Are we a people who put God 2nd or third or last?Are we people who honor our parents and their generation?Are we a people who lie, cheat, steal and murder?Are we people who choose our own agenda or God’s?Are we people who hunger and thirst to be correct or forgivenAre we people who satisfied with God or we want more?Are we people who listen to snakes and foxes?Are we people who will call out what it is evil, broken and diseased?Are we people who will turn to God or Government to define us?
These are the prophet’s questions: What are our answers?The Declaration:Blessed are those who come in the name of the Lord.
Posted by myoikos in #2016, #jesus, #loveneverwins, #marriage, #sacrifice, #umc, 5 Practices, Christmas, Extravagant Generosity, Faith, Forgiveness, Generosity, God, holiday, Holy Spirit, Intentional Spiritual Growth, Love, Marriage, Passionate Worship, Prophets, Putting God First, Radical Hospitality, Relationship, Risk Taking Mission and Service, Sacrifice, Service, Sin, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Truth, Wisdom, Witness on January 30, 2016
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. [NRSV]
Do I love that dress?
In a world, where we love mashed potatoes, love our sports teams and love or hate the weather, it is important to spend a moment being clear about love.
This past Christmas Eve, I ran a few errands and saw three stores putting out Valentine season products on the shelf. At first, I was frustrated that we had not officially started Christmas and retailers had moved to the next money grab. But if we stop and think what Christmas is about, God loving us so much that our heavenly father sends his only child to bridge the gap of love that we cannot build nor complete. Maybe a giant heart-shaped box of delicious treasures is better Christmas gift.
Love: Nothing Gained
ELOQUENT SPEECH: Genuine Love needs no response. That’s hard.
- If I speak in the tongues of mortals and angels,
- but do not have love,
- I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
- but do not have love,
CHARISMATIC VISION: Genuine Love sees through a show.
- If I have prophetic powers,
- but do not have love,
- I am nothing.
- but do not have love,
INSIGHTFUL COMPREHENSION: Genuine Love is not calculated.
- If I understand all mysteries
- but do not have love,
- I am nothing.
- but do not have love,
MULTIPLE DEGREES IN MULTIPLE DISCIPLINES: Genuine Love has nothing to prove.
- If I had all knowledge,
- but do not have love,
- I am nothing.
- but do not have love,
UNWAVERING TRUST and BELIEF: Genuine Love is the core of faith.
- If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
- but do not have love,
- I am nothing.
- but do not have love,
EXTRAVAGANT SELFLESSNESS: Genuine Love is Forgetful of the score.
- If I give away all my possessions,
- but do not have love,
- I gain nothing.
- but do not have love,
SACRIFICIAL OFFERING: Genuine Love cannot be faked.
- If I hand over my body so that I may boast,
- but do not have love,
- I gain nothing.
- but do not have love,
IF, THEN STATEMENTS
- Conditional statements about unconditional, foundational core of relationships.
- SuperMan/SuperWoman are meaningless without love. Right Action, Wrong Purpose
- Love is God’s meaning, purpose, and energy, what we have to gain. Love is God’s power plant
- BOTTOM LINE: Without Love all in life is meaningless. Scientific Method can never love. Science is accurate in measuring how, but not why. Love is why. The universe is not so big to make us feel special; it is to show how incredible God is.
The Object of Love NOT loves itself.
LOVE is sacrificial, selfless, extravagant, unwavering, trusting, knowing, insightful, visionary, and charismatic, but the reverse does not necessarily describe love.
The test if Love is love or something else: Does my love stop if Love is not returned?
- You can take one for the team and not love the team at all.
- You can act selflessly, seeking approval for your random act of kindness.
- Your extravagance can become enabling.
- You can be “committed” and support something evil
- You can trust wealth, fame, opinion polls or deeply held principles, but these are based on us, and we inconsistent, fragile and often wrong.
- You can know many facts but not know how to use information
- You can misguide judgement selfishly
- Your visionary work can be selfishly motivated
- Your charisma or charm can fool people
- The Object of God’s Love is you. Hear the Good News..
- God’s love is not if, then. God’s love is. God may not like our behavior,
- God forever loves us.
IS / IS NOT
- Love is patient; tolerant of us and intolerant of our manipulations
- Love is kind; when is the last time we were snippy, rude or down right mean
- love is not envious; I want vs. God wants
- love is not boastful I’m right, you are wrong
- love is not arrogant I know better than you
- Love is not rude. Thoughtless or intentionally vindictive
- Love is not insistent My way or no way.
- Love is not irritable How can I get attention
- love is not resentful How come I’m not getting attention
- love cannot rejoice in wrongdoing, I told you so
- love rejoices in the truth. Admit I am wrong, especially when they are wrong too.
- (sometimes being truthful is not popular or pleasing)
- Love endure and hold up through all things, vs. I will give you one more chance, or no more chances
- Love believes through all things; You crossed my line, your out.
- Love remains hopeful through all things, We can’t do it, That’s impossible.
- Love lasts longer than anything else. I give up
If we are honest, our conversations and actions reveal, while we know what loving is, we are not always loving when it get self-less.
- Love never ends.
- Prophecies end
- language ends
- knowledge ends
- wealth ends
- Love never ends.
The Best is Yet to Come
For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
We learn to love as children, and it is to mature and grow.
- Speaking.. saying I love you.
- Thinking— Thinking about
- Reasoning Justifying Love
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
- Adult love, mature love, doesn’t have, to say it. We are not there yet..
- Adult love, doesn’t have to plan it and think it through, it is automatic. We calculate..
- Adult love, doesn’t have to have everything neat. We try to fix, cover up or manage love.
- When we move toward God’s love, we loose ourselves and more fully enter the heart of God.
For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.