Posts Tagged Body of Christ
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” [NRSV]
CAN ANYTHING GOOD COME OUR OF ROCK SPRING
- The power of doubt
- Consumption of assumption
- Oh little town of Rock Spring,
- Nathanael, the product of Peter and Andrew
COME AND SEE
- Come see with your own eyes,
- The shepherd saw the angels but said to one another, let us go see for ourselves, what has been told to us
- Thomas who had not yet seen Jesus raised from the dead, told the others, I will not believe until I see with my own eyes
- The invitation is for tag team invitation for people to come see.
- The greatest showman is a wonderful new musical that is a great movie even if you don’t ususally go see movies, it is worth experiencing. Is about PT Barnam’ seeing a dream come to life, loose it, and being reminded that joy can be found through people who love and trust.
YOU WILL SEE HEAVEN OPENED UP
- Peter and Andrew promise Nathaniel that he will see heaven open if he goes to see Jesus,
- That is what it means to find Jesus
- It might. It be coming to church, the music and events, the ministries and activities, but it is through these people and the relationships we share that the Kingdom of God can show up
- Some folks will tell you they don’t like church because all they talk about is money, or the Christian people gossip, lie and stab each other in the back, these are folks who have seen people WITHOUT Jesus
- The challenge is to strive to share Jesus and not ourselves. Or at least not sharing our selves without Jesus opened up and visible.
You hold the keys to heaven, who will you keep out? Who will you let in?
- So this passage holds our model:
- Have an encouragement accountability partner,
- Reach out to the people we know and meet
- Invite them to come see Jesus at work in our lives, in our worship, ministry, fellowship, etc..
The Lead Team of Followers
The Promise of Failure
Bringing the Kingdom Near
- in my words
- in my mind
- in my heart
Expected Rejection and Failure
Living as Sent People
The Homework: Share hospitality, heal/fix what you can, and confirm why you are present and doing what you do: bringing the kingdom close to you. (Carpenters: Close to You.)
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [NRSV]
The first halloween costume recall know about was odd. I was given a cat mask, a number one crew cut and a ankle length wool over coat and a cloth sack for the loot. It might have been appropriate for Oak Park, Chicago weather at the end of October, but the photos reflect a back-robber-in-the-making-look. At ten or eleven I meticulously planned a vampire costume with a grandmother-custom-made cape, plastic teeth and fake blood and white face paint. The only reason I didn’t win the best costume in the class contest was Jennifer’s aunt was our teacher. Shenanigans, I called shenanigans! The last time I dress up I wore a rubber mask of a former political figure, where small children ran away from the house before grabbing any candy.
Halloween is one time that we wear costumes. Homecoming dances, weddings and school plays might come to mind. I suggested to you that we all wear masks and costumes in everyday living.
Scholar of Early New Testament community convey Paul uses words from a familiar hymn of the church to make is clear God is to be lifted up, believed and trusted because of the self revelation through Jesus Christ. This early hymn describes how Jesus had the mind and spirit of God but came incognito, hidden in the costume of a person. We have the unique opportunity to see the all seeing, invisible, God, always wise in human form through Jesus.
Typically we think wearing a costume is an activity of where we pretend something we are not. Just as in the movie, Let’s Be Cops, two roommates misunderstand the dress altair for a masquerade party and come in full police uniforms instead. They pretend in light of real world situations. Instead picture the young child who tries on their parents shirt or blouse is a shadow of the desire of who they will become.
One of the critiques of the church, by those outside the church, is that we are hypocritical. We talk about being good and right and righteous, but we are just as sinful and broken as the rest of the lot. There is truth in this assumption, but its a twisted glimpse. Even though we are sinful and fall short, we are becoming who God hopes and dreams we will become. This is a practice of living the life know reflect’s God we see in Jesus.
Paul wants to church, now and at Galatia to know, God is fully God, masked in Jesus, reveals the humility of taking the consequences of our sins and brokenness, Jesus takes the fault and blame for our mistake and failures. Jesus takes responsibility for our poor choices, exchanging all that is flawed as a life-gift, given through the cross. And this powerful gift is revealed and uncovered through the cross.
Jesus is not trying to hid the gift, not should we. There are Christians being persecuted, threatened and killed in Egypt, Northern Iraq, Palestine, Houston, Atlanta, and even in Gainesville, GA. When the cross comes near we’d rather find another way. We’d like to remember simpler and safer times.
Homework. Is to get our costume in order. Is the witness, image and presence I share with my family, community and world one that reflect Jesus or protects Jesus. Jesus needs no protection. We have God’s promise to be in and with us in all things, knowing that God desires for nothing to separate us from the love, power, grace and spirit of God. This is our confidence and witness. This is our praise and passion.
Homework applied: Plan to allow your self, your image, your dress, your personal, your influence, your countenance, your witness to reflect the present of the Spirit, the power of God and the grace of Jesus Christ. Or, just hid all that good God stuff and save it for next Sunday where we can let out little glimpse here where it is safe at church.
Bottom Line: You are going to reveal something to the world, will it be the Spirit? God? Jesus? the Body of Christ? or something, someone else?
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.