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Archive for the ‘Mark’ Category

Welcome

Tonight we remember the final supper Jesus shared with his disciples

simple and contemplative

scripture reading (OT, Epistle, Gospel) and prayer

name for this service comes from John’s gospel

“I give you a new commandment,

love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34

Latin: mandatum novum

communion tonight will be by intinction

come forward as you are able

if you are not able, I will come and serve you

our table is arranged to remind us of three sides – triclenium

how people ate in the time of Christ

reclined around tables

with space in the middle for serving

at the end of tonight’s service,

I will extinguish the candles, as …

we hear the passion story from the gospels

listen as the shadows fall over our Lord Jesus’ journey …

to the cross

Note: after the benediction,

please depart in contemplative silence

reminder about Good Friday services

12-3pm: Sanctuary open for meditation and prayer

7pm: Shadows of the Passion

reminder about Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

Call to Worship

    + The Lord be with you

    And also with you

    + We gather to remember …

The night that Jesus shared his last supper

        with the disciples.

What shall we give to the Lord for all goodness to us?

    We will lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of the Lord

Opening Prayer (unison)

Gracious and merciful God, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper you give us a memorial of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant that the ones who receive these sacred mysteries may grow into him in all things until we come to your eternal joy through Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior. Amen

Scripture Readings

Exodus 12: 1-4, 11, 14; God’s instructions to Moses for the preparations for the Passover meal, which is the same meal Jesus and his disciples gathered for on this night in the Upper Room

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.

This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.


1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Paul reminds the emerging church that the Lord’s Supper is the practice and proclamation of the living Lord Jesus Christ.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

John 13: 1-17, 31-35. Jesus serves his disciples and gives them a new commandment.

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord– and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Invitation

This is not the table of the church, but of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been prepared for those who love him

This table is open to anyone and

everyone who wishes to come

There are no barriers to this table

So come, you who feel your faith is strong today,

and the ones who feel you are struggling;

The ones who have come to this table often,

and those who have been away for a while

or the ones here for the first time.

The ones who have tried to follow,

and the ones who feel you have lost your way.

Come, each one of you, not because I invite you,

for it is our Lord Jesus who calls, saying

“I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…

anyone who comes to me, I will never drive away.”

Prayer Before Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,
you draw us in and welcome us,
you invite us to be empty of pride and hungry for your grace,
to this your kingdom’s feast.
Nowhere can we find the food

for which our souls cry out, but here, Lord,

at your table.

Invigorate and nourish us, good Lord.
As we break this bread and take this cup

your love meets us
and your life completes us

in the power and glory of your kingdom.
Amen.

Words of Institution

    Bread

    Cup

Prayer after Communion

Gracious and loving God, we are grateful for this meal that nourishes our soul. May we go forth, strengthened with compassion, to work together for the coming of your kingdom of justice, love and peace, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Extinguishing the Candles

“Listen prayerfully to the reading of the scriptures for the passion of our Lord, and may the extinguishing of the lights be a reminder of his suffering, even when our hope for the resurrection may seem like a dim memory.”

The Shadow of Betrayal; Matthew 26:20-25

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”

He answered, “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.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”

The Shadow of Agony; Luke 22:40-44

When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

The Shadow of Loneliness; Matthew 26:40-45

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “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.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 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, “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.

The Shadow of Desertion; Matthew 26:47-50, 55, 56

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, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “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.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

The Shadow of Accusation; Matthew 26:59-67

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, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “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.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him…

The Shadow of Mockery; Mark 15:12-20

Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Shadow of Death; Luke 23:33-46

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,” If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Only the Christ candle remains lit

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Then slowly and deliberately extinguish the Christ candle

Blessing and Benediction

Keep us safe Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ.

Now, may the peace of God, which passes all understanding

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God

and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

And may the

Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Love of God

Communion of the Holy Spirit

Be with you – and everyone you love

Tonight, tomorrow, and forever. Amen

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Welcome and Call to Worship

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

We gather to remember the night that Jesus shared his last supper with his disciples.  What shall we give to the Lord for his goodness to us?

We will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

 

Prelude                     I to the Hills Will Lift My Eyes  (Martin)

                                    David Broerman and Dana Geuy

Opening Prayer  (in unison)

Gracious and merciful God, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper you give us a memorial of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Grant that the ones who receive these sacred mysteries may grow into him in all things until we come to your eternal joy through Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior.  Amen  

Scripture Readings 

Exodus 12:1-4, 11, 14         “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.”

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.  If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.  This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD.  This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26       “Eat this bread and drink the cup.”

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

John 13:1-17, 31-35                “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”

 13:1 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.  Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Anthem                     The Sound of Running Water

                                                Presented by the combined choirs:

                                                            + First Presbyterian Church of Sidney, OH

                                                                Dana Geuy, Director of Music

                                                            + Westminster Presbyterian Church of Piqua, OH

                                                                David Broerman, Director of Music

 The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

 Invitation

This is not the table of the church, but of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been prepared for those who love him

and want to love him more.

So come, you who feel that you have much faith,

and the ones who feel you are struggling;

The ones who have come to this table often,

and those who have been away for a while.

The ones who have tried to follow,

and the ones who feel you have lost your way.

Come, not because I invite you,

for it is our Lord Jesus who calls, saying

“I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…

anyone who comes to me, I will never drive away.”

Prayer

Words of Institution

Communion by Intinction

Prayer

 

Extinguishing the Candles

“Listen prayerfully to the reading of the scriptures for the passion of our Lord, and may the extinguishing of the lights be a reminder of his suffering, even when our hope for the resurrection may seem like a dim memory.”

 

The Shadow of Betrayal; Matthew 26:20-25

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”  And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”

He answered, “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.”  Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  He replied, “You have said so.”

 

 

The Shadow of Agony; Luke 22:40-44

When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”  Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

 

The Shadow of Loneliness; Matthew 26:40-45

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “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.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 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, “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.

 

The Shadow of Desertion; Matthew 26:47-50, 55, 56

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, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “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.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

 

The Shadow of Accusation; Matthew 26:59-67

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, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “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.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him…

 

 

The Shadow of Mockery; Mark 15:12-20

Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”  So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

 

 

The Shadow of Death; Luke 23:33-46

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,” If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Only the Christ candle remains lit

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Then slowly and deliberately extinguish the Christ candle

(while Joe is draping the large cross in black)

Blessing and Benediction

Keep us safe Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ.

Now, may the peace of God, which passes all understanding

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God

and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

And may the blessing of God Almighty,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

remain with you always.  Amen.

Depart in Silence

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1.  Way In

In 8th grade science class we learned to use a slide rule

should say “we were instructed in how to use a slide rule”

to say that I learned how to use it is definitely a stretch

I went through the motions

but used the calculator to get real answers

That’s the last HS science class I remember paying attention in

which is probably why I found myself 30-something years old …

taking a course commonly known as “Football Physics”

to satisfy the science requirement for a college BA in History

after I got serious about finishing my degree

Football Physics was supposed to be easy enough for the jocks to pass

I passed it, too

but I worked my tail off for that class

never had much interest or aptitude for science

I do remember studying about the speed of light

back to Mr. Walker’s 7th or 8th grade science

where we used the slide rule

he also made us use carbon paper to copy our class notes – talk about “old school”

he kept a copy

so he could show our parents how well we paid attention in class when they inquired about low grades

Had to go back and look it up

670 million miles per hour

186 thousand miles per second

I’m no scientist, just ask Mr. Walker

but I know THAT’S FAST

“The Speed of Light,” 186,000 miles per second

But look again at the sermon title, “Speed of the light

talking about “The Light,” not just light

not “what light through yonder window breaks” Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

The Light

“the life was the light of all people” (John 1:4)

“the true light which enlightens everyone” (1:9)

Jesus, who said “I am the light of the world” (8:12)

And the speed of THE LIGHT is about 2 miles per hour

according to my friend and mentor, Ed Loring of the Open Door Community in Atlanta, GA

Ed’s calculations come from the ground speed of the common donkey

which travels at about 2 miles per hour

which he therefore estimates as the top travelling speed of Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life,” since he usually walked

So the top travelling speed of THE LIGHT/JESUS/The TRUTH

is 2 m.p.h.

or as we shall call it, The Speed of Truth

Now lies … they travel fast.  Lies are instant.  They travel at about the speed of light, and they are believed even faster

saw a flier at the bank about e-mail scams

Did you win a foreign lottery which you did not enter?

Does a prince or heir to a fortune want to wire you a portion of their fortune, all they need is your bank information?

these lies travel from around the earth in a manner of seconds

ever seen a person before a congressional committee, one who everybody knows is lying

see from their expression how fast the wheels are turning to keep the story up

those lies require fast thinking and fast talking to keep them afloat

Truth, on the other hand

travels slowly, even meekly sometimes

truth moves ahead steadily

like the stout, compact donkey Jesus rode – up to Jerusalem

about 2 m.p.h.

2.  Tell the Story

Jesus sent two disciples ahead

to go get a donkey

Matthew adds a colt, others just have the donkey

“if anybody stops you, tell them the Lord needs it”

Jesus does all of this to fulfill the prophecy

that the Messiah, the king would come

humble and mounted on a donkey

the disciples did like he said

put their cloaks on the donkey’s back for him to ride on

they were met in Jerusalem by a “very large crowd”

spread their cloaks in the road, and limbs from nearby trees

making the way for Jesus

they sang, “Hosanna”

a Hebrew word meaning, “save us, we pray,” or a word of praise

yet here, they say “Hosanna to the Son of David”

which means “Praise to you, Son of David.”

they continue, “blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord”

The rest of the people

… the ones not in the crowd – which had become like a parade bringing Jesus in

were asking “Who is this?”

“This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

3.  So What?

This is Jesus, the king’s, triumphal entry into Jerusalem

“Triumphal”

that’s what the paragraph heading says in my Bible at home

is that what your Bible says?  Triumphal?

even if it doesn’t, that’s what you remember, right?

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Does this seem like the triumph of a king to you?

Jesus doesn’t conquer the city

or take over the government

he doesn’t come riding a mighty white stallion

with armor

and soldiers

and chariots

In fact, it seems just the opposite

He comes riding a common donkey

slow, stout, and stubborn

he doesn’t “conquer” anything

in fact he is soon arrested

denied by his own followers

“tried” before the courts

beaten half to death

then allowed to live so he can be executed by the state

hardly a triumph by our standards

Yet the events of this week some 2,000 years ago resound to us this day

here we learn of God’s ultimate love and truth

sacrificing his own son to conquer the powers of sin and death

Jesus’ triumph is not over the city’s laws or even what they would call justice

This is a triumph over the power of sin and death in the world

This victory is not won by the might of an army, nor the force of weapons

not by a blitz of charging steeds and thundering troops

but by the steady, struggling, gait of a donkey

moving ahead

or even stubbornly standing still when the work becomes too complex

but going…ahead…at the top speed of 2 m.p.h.

We know the rest of the story

we know how this same crowd quickly turned

how their shouts of acclamation and praise for Jesus …

quickly turned to calls for his execution

as far as we know, this was the same crowd

look how quickly the lies traveled

Yet Jesus continued his steady journey towards his death

moving slowly ahead, never wavering from the destination at Golgotha – the place of the skull

So this was an entry of triumph

but not as a western history might notice

no people were conquered or government overthrown

this was the triumph of truth

speaking truth to power

Jesus had a long “rap sheet”

healing on the Sabbath

consorting with unsavory characters

reconciling them for their own good

he claimed to be not subject to the emperor, but to God

and challenged the authority of the religious officials

And as jesus travels “up to Jerusalem” – let us not forget our place in the crowd

the same crowd that welcomed Messiah with shouts and greetings

yet a few days later, the same crowd called for his cricufuxion

and we are there

just as willing and as quick to reject and deny him

even as Peter denied him

and even as Judas betrayed him

maybe our denials and rejections aren’t as public

maybe not as dramatic as Peter and Judas

yet we are just as “denying”

when our behavior, attitude does not reflect Jesus

when we fail to see Jesus in others

when we withhold forgiveness or cling tightly to anger

when we judge too soon and forgive too late

Jesus lived and died that we may …

know the truth, and see the difference between good and evil

live by the power of forgiving love as we have been forgiven

And he was resurrected that we may know the power of God’s love

the length and breadth of his steadfast love

power of forgiveness and reconciliation

which is sure and steady – like Jesus, travelling at a top speed of 2 mph

Palm Sunday is an important day in the life of Jesus, and the life of the church

We travel “Up to Jerusalem with Jesus and the disciples”

we are part of the crowd, welcoming him to the City

Yet me must not move too quickly to next Sunday

to the glory of Jesus’ resurrection

if we do, we miss the real and powerful suffering of our Lord

attend, if you are able

Bible Study, Tuesday at 2pm

Maundy Thursday, 7pm, joint with WPC-Piqua

if not, read again, on your own, the gospel lesson

today’s reading, through Luke 22-24

Let us not move too quickly to the glory of the resurrection

but let us linger for a while

in the truth of the struggle and passion of Jesus Christ

which is for our sake

until we meet him again…

so let it be with us.  Amen

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32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12:38-44

Threads

 

1.  Way In

A gift from my mother

Housewarming gift when we moved to SC

placemats made by my great-grandparents of Gulfport, MS – Horace and Mary Hinds

same fabric as the blanket they made

probably had lots of bolts of these yarns

many similar pieces

but my blanket has a silver thread through it

Scriptures are like these heirlooms from my great-grandparents’ loom

focus on the individual threads

miss the details like patterns, initials, silver thread running

focus on the silver thread reminds me

I was a special great-grandchild

Joseph III, named for Joseph Sr.

who they named after my great-grand’s sister Josephine

reminds me that I was woven into the family

a warm and useful memory for me – like the blanket

Bridge

Like the threads of my blanket and placemats

Bible is full of threads of storiessermon

creation and destruction

birth and death

defeat and triumph

promises made and broken

dwelling on death, we can miss the story of new birth

destruction – creation

broken promises – new covenant

let us look at today’s teaching parable, considering the threads that run thorough this text and everything that God teaches

heroic sacrifice of the widow who gave everything she had

AND Jesus’ teachings about the scribes who exploited the people’s gifts to the church

teachings about sacrifice, pride, and humility

2.  Tell the Story

Jesus taught to beware of the scribes

like to walk around in long robes

and to be greeted with respect, and get the best seats in church and in the marketplace

they devour widow’s houses and say long prayers for the sake of appearance

they will receive the greatest condemnation

They watched as a poor widow went into the Treasury – special room for receiving offerings

put in 2 coins

“mites”, worth about a penny

about 1/64 of a day’s wage

Jesus said that she had put in more than anyone else that day

they have contributed from their abundance

and she, from her poverty

put in all she had

everything she had to live on

3.  So What?

remember about the thread running through scripture

constant concern for the welfare of widows and orphans

condemnation of religious establishment for exploiting the vulnerable

Maybe she could have spent her money better and more wisely

after all, the temple was destroyed a few years later

would she have been better off saving the money?

A story of a new minister

Deacons told her of a single mother of 4 who was tithing from her meager paycheck

they were concerned about her welfare

Pastor went to let her know it’s okay to back off some

As the pastor spoke, the woman cried

“That would take away everything that gives my life dignity and meaning – giving to my church for the ministry of Jesus Christ

this is a story of somebody who knows what giving is about

we don’t give to the church because God needs anything from us

we do have this big building to maintain

but that’s not God’s problem

some of the church’s biggest problems have to do with buildings

maybe that’s why the only house of worship God laid out was the tabernacle – something basic, even portable

but our giving to the church is for us

we give because we need to give to God

need to learn to give – even sacrificially, to God

as God has given sacrificially for us, in Jesus Christ

Jesus’ teaching here

although  he says the widow gave more than anybody

implies the others could have given more

but he’s not critical of the other contributors

the ones he is critical of, actually he condemns them …

the scribes, religious officials

for pretentious practices and exploitation of people

Jesus tells them to watch out for the ones who walk around in long robes

and like the best seats

and demand respect

I’m starting to feel a little vulnerable

robe, fancy seat, called “Rev.”

this is who Jesus is saying to look out for

Jesus condemns empty religious practice

those that are weak and lifeless, destructive, empty and false

of giving to the church from our energy or resources when we can spare it, when we feel like it, on the days when there is so much extra that some sloshes over the top for the church to get

and he reminds us that we can’t always tell by looking

remember there was a scribe in last week’s reading who realized the truth Jesus was preaching and Jesus told him he “wasn’t far from the kingdom of God.”

but he warned against the ones who were exploiting religion for their benefit

the one who got it the most right on that day was the poor widow who dropped in two pennies – an unlikely example of a benevolent giver

 

Jesus condemns the religious practice of the scribes, showy and oppressive.  He lifts up the religious practice of the widow; faithful self-giving without show.

Jesus’ teaching recalls the prophecy that self-serving religious practices are not what the Lord requires.   Isaiah tells of God’s contempt for fasting yet still fighting and quarreling, and for offering worship to God while oppressing others.  “If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry, and satisfy the needs of those in need then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom will be like the noonday.  Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you shall be called repairers of the breach.  If you honor the Sabbath, not going your own ways, serving your own interests…Then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth.”

Friends, what we read in this book is are not old dusty words for us to gather around once a week and feel good about how we are not like some of these bad people.

    This book is the living Word of God calling to us over generations and ages because we still don’t have it right.

God is calling us to religious practices that give of ourselves for God and for others in need.  This is a common thread woven through the fabric of the scriptures.   God calls us away from religious practices that only give to ourselves, things done for us, and not for God.

    God is calling me to be careful with the office with which I have been entrusted, to remember the God of my salvation and to remember the vows I took at ordination.

    How is God calling you?  What is God showing you about your religious practices … about your commitment … what you offer

    We have talked this morning about reading the Bible, reading the entire Bible.  And we have talked about religious practices.  Our discipleship is the life resulting from reading the scriptures and our religious practice.

Jesus himself defied simple answers as to whether he was or wasn’t the Messiah–he simply told people to look at the fruit of his ministry and decide if it conveyed truth and power.

Recently, you should have received your stewardship letter and pledge card in the mail.  If not, there are some here today.  As you prayerfully prepare your pledge for 2010, I pray that we will consider our gift to God that comes from our abundance, even sacrificially, not because God needs it, but because we need to give it up.

We need to learn about offering the best we have for God.  And not from what’s left over, but from the very best we have to offer.

Friends, we are a small church.  And we are the right size to wrestle with the transforming truth of the Bible.  This church has a rich and vital history on this corner in the middle of this town.  Through many changes God has saved this church, and God has not saved it for nothing.

We are each woven in the rich fabric which is the First Presbyterian Church – people of God in this church, our lives are inter-twined with the life and ministry of this church over the years.  Each one of you represents a unique color or texture in this fabric, and the whole of it wouldn’t be the same without you.

May we recommit ourselves to God, and may our gift be of ourselves, our lives – the most precious gift we can give through the renewal of spirit, commitment to worship, fellowship, and service for the sake of the Church of Jesus Christ that we serve.  So may it be with us.  Amen.

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10: 46-52

“See”

1.  Way In

Last Sunday, Pauly (5 yr.old son) and I attended a Young Life banquet with Kazy (wife)

in Piqua, Grace Methodist Churchsermon

seated with 4 other people – colleagues, acquaintances of Kazy

There were about 150 people there

our table was about like everybody else’s

but Pauly was about the youngest child I saw

and one of our table-mates was blind

Our new friend, call him Bart, was awesome

he told Pauly he was sorry he didn’t bring his guide dog with him

said he was a good dog, and P would have liked him

Bart is a funny guy

kept us laughing – stories about some of his adventures and escapades

Bart has a lot of friends

seemed like most people that came in the room came over to talk to Bart

maybe I was paying attention more than usual, but

a lot of people said, “Hey, Bart, good to see you.”

B. seemed to always reply, “Good to see you to.”

then when they would leave, both would say

“See you later.”

funniest thing: I picked up my giant plastic cup of ice tea (sweet)

took a big sip

in placing it back on the table … I spilled it

big ole cup of ice tea

tea, ice, all over the table

all over the literature in the centerpiece

…as the speaker was describing it

towards the people sitting across from us

I gathered napkins, I could find 3 on the table

servers quickly brought a whole case of napkins to the table

nothing was damaged too bad, nobody hurt, I got some more tea

then I had to laugh – at myself

we were the first, and only, table to have a spill like that

and it wasn’t the 5-year-old that spilled it

in fact Pauly didn’t spill anything all night

it wasn’t the blind guy that spilled it

he didn’t spill anything all night either

it was me – Dad, grown-up, full vision

see? it’s not always like you expect

the ones of us who can see – don’t always get everything

and the ones who are blind – seem to be more with it

Bridge

like Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus

the blind man Jesus and the Disciples encounter today

take a good look at how he

recognizes

calls/acknowledges

leaps up

asks

follows

2.  Tell The Story

Context

Jesus and the Disciples on the way to Jerusalem

Triumphal entry coming up

and you know the rest of the story

arrest, crucifixion

Jesus knows the rest of the story, too

on the way they come to Jericho, and after they pass through …

Narrative

They pass by where Bartimaeus sits and begs

the blind son of Timaeus from Jericho

short passage, but descriptive, and active

e.g., not just a blind beggar, but Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus

        in Greek, Bartimaeus, means “Son of Bartimaeus”

Bartimaeus heard that is was Jesus who was passing by

maybe he heard what people were saying to him, maybe he heard Jesus

maybe he could tell it was him by the way he sounded

B. started shouting

“Jesus!  Son of David!  Have mercy on me”

The ones who were hanging around, sternly out told him to hush

That just made him holler out louder

“Son of David!  Have mercy on me.”

Jesus stopped and told them to bring Bart. to him

the others said to B., “Take heart.  Get up.  He is calling you.”

B. got up, threw his cloak aside, and went to Jesus

Jesus, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Bart., “My teacher, let me see again.”

J., “Go.  Your faith has made you well.”

Immediately …

he regained his sight

and followed Jesus on the way

3.  So What?

Bart. was blind, but he got it

Blind, but not like the ones Isaiah describes “You will indeed listen, but never perceive, and you will look but never perceive.” (Isa. 6:9-10)

Blind, but not like the ones who had trouble ‘getting’ what Jesus taught, “The reason I speak to them in parables is they, seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13)

About Bartimaeus’ encounter with Jesus

Bartimaeus recognized Jesus, called out in faith

even though he could not “see” him

called him “Son of David”

King of the Jews, Messiah

knew who Jesus was, called out in faith

Our journey begins, or takes a significant turn when we recognize Jesus for who he is and who he can be for us, and call out to him

When Jesus responded, Bartimaeus:

jumped up and went to Jesus (remember, he’s blind)

Jesus asked what he could do for him

B. said he wanted to see – again

“Go, your faith has made you well”

back to faith (when B. had faith to recognize and call out)

immediately, he regained his sight

B.’s response – followed Jesus

grateful response for his healing – gift – grace

he stopped.

even though he was entering his darkest days – Jesus stopped to respond to Bart.

it is Jesus’ nature to care – to stop, and pay attention to Bart., and to us

Discipleship is our grateful response

“Attitude of gratitude”

            (Horace Tribble, The Open Door Community, I was  volunteer and resident)

The Bartimaeus Community – Wales

Bart. is sitting beside the road, as life goes by and he cannot see

when they tell him that Jesus is near,

 he calls persistently calls out to Jesus,

 even though others, including Jesus’ followers,  try to silence him

when Jesus tells them to call him to come

he throws aside his cloak and comes to Jesus unprotected

He tells Jesus he wants to see, and he Jesus grants it

Bart. is transformed into a pilgrim, a follower, a disciple

no longer sitting beside the road, as life goes by

but now on his journey with Jesus

 (“On his way rejoicing”, Acts 8:39)

For us; rather than sitting beside the road,

 listening to the ones who would silence or stifle us …

Jesus is too busy for you, you really don’t matter

let us cast aside what binds us,

or holds us back

 even though it may seem like protection, like Bart.’s coat

maybe it’s more of a security blanket

“I can’t go without that.  I would be too vulnerable.”

like taking the training wheels off of the bike

step out in faith

trust in Jesus

speak from our heart, “even if our voice shakes”

ask Jesus to open our eyes, give us vision

and follow him as a disciple, a pilgrim

When God opens our eyes, restores our sight, give us new vision – even visions

may we recognize Jesus and how he guides us

may we be persistent, not dissuaded by nay-sayers

this is vision from Jesus, for crying out loud

may we trust in Jesus compassion and promise not to ever leave us alone or abandon us

and let us take an attitude of gratitude, with discipleship as our grateful response to mercy and healing

Example

I was speaking to someone about the last school board meeting

they were reluctant to speak out – share their feelings

some intimidation, esp. at the meeting

a person, known to hold opposing view

had taken an intimidating posture (show them: arms crossed,. etc)

and stood at a place of intimidation (right beside the lectern)

this person knew this opponent

encounters in business and the community

reluctance to insult or speak out in front of them

politeness?  lose a customer?

but the more we talked about it

the more this person seemed to pick up some energy

to realize how this intimidator was keeping them back

keeping them from speaking their mind

don’t you think this is just what he had in mind?

there were many other places he could have stood

… many other postures he could have taken

we need not let intimidators, nay-sayers, contrarians –

need not let these put us off

Conclude

God is always near, and will respond when we reach out in faith, trusting in God’s name

God responded to Bart. in Jesus Christ, asking “What do you want me to do for you?

Bartimaeus asks, ~Rabbouni teacher), let me see again.”

I used to be able to see, but I can’t now

something is clouding my vision, something’s in the way

I remember how beautiful everything was, sunsets, the ocean, my mother’s eyes ….

but I lost my sight

let me see again

Now imagine your Bartimaeus moment:

Jesus stands before you, even though you still can’t see him, and says to you,

    “What do you want me to do for you?”

How do you respond?

even though people are trying to hold you back

be polite, don’t show your feelings

Like Bart., what do you have to cast aside first?

and what do you ask for?

Give a few moments to reflect

Take this Bart. moment with you – reflect on it as you imagine your ministry/calling/vocation

So may it be with us.  Amen.

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1.  Way In

Connecting example

James and John: 2 of the 12 disciples, Mark tells us they’re sons of Zebedee

Mark 3, Jesus calls them “Sons of Thunder”able cred

these 2 seem to expect quite a bit from Jesus

right away in today’s reading they ask/demand of Jesus:

“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask for”

for one preacher, a divinity school professor, it brings to mind “Sons of Entitlement”

seem to feel like somebody owes them something

When we lived on the east end of Long Island, famous as the playground of the “beautiful people” – exposed to some vacationers with a well-developed sense of entitlement

after all, here they were – rich city people, pumping lots of money into the sleepy little towns and hamlets on the east end

their estates employed people: construction, landscapers, housekeeping, etc.

they spent money in stores and paid lots of taxes

seemed to feel like the locals ought to appreciate them, as I heard a couple of comments

in the grocery store on a busy weekend, I overheard one city person say to another:

“seems like the locals could get their shopping done during the week so it wouldn’t be so crowded in here on the weekend.”

standing in line at the General Store, waiting to place my order at the deli, when a city person-couple came in

“we don’t have to wait in this line,” as they pushed their way right up to the counter

we knew civil servants who constantly dealt with city people who seemed to feel like things just didn’t apply to them

traffic laws, especially parking

zoning codes they treated like annoyances and triflings to be manipulated

Bridge

I was really ticked off when people treated me or others that way –  with their sense of entitlement, or superiority

found myself getting my back up, wanting to say something sarcastic

or cut somebody off in traffic

back to James and John

seeming to feel a little entitled – after all, they were part of the original 12

once again, we have the example of Jesus

receiving their rather fussy and snooty request … an entitled request

… with a much better attitude

dealing with entitlement in a much better way than me

big surprise.  I know

Jesus asks, “What is it that you want me to do for you?”

2.  Tell The Story

Context

After, Jesus …

 Chapter 9

Transfiguration 9:2

Healing 9:14

Teaching about his death and resurrection (9:30), third time since 8:31

Teaching about first and last 9:33

“Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all”

Before Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Gospel text

Conversation between James, John, and Jesus

J & J, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever you ask you to do”

Jesus, “What is it you want me to do for you?”

J&J, “Grant us to sit, one oat your right, and one at your left, in glory.”

Jesus’ response

You don’t know what you’re asking

Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?

or to be baptized with the same baptism

J & J:  “Yes, we are able.”

Jesus:

the cup that I drink, you will drink

and my baptism will be yours

but to sit at my right or my left is not mine to grant

When the 10, the rest, heard this they were angry with James and John

Jesus to all of the Disciples

Among the Gentiles, their rulers/leaders lord it over them

they are tyrants

But not with you

whoever wishes to become great must become your servant

whoever wants to be 1st among you must be slave of all

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve

and give his life a ransom for many

Bridge

after this, they go to Jericho where Jesus heals a blind man

then Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem

followed by the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection

But for today we have this exchange between Jesus and the Disciples

3.  So What?

James and John are asking for some special treatment

and if he’s annoyed, or put out, he doesn’t show it

not annoyed like me with the examples of entitlement I mentioned before

He wants to hear more about what they’re thinking

what it comes down to is they want to have the glory of Jesus

but they’re missing the rest of what that means

Are you ready for the rest of this?

Are you able

“Oh, yes,” they say, “We are able.”

But they’re just thinking about the glory

The Disciples were all about the glory part of being Disciples

but they’re overlooking the cup

the cup, the suffering of Christ

… the part Jesus himself asks God to take away, if at all possible

“Oh yes, we are able”

like they are all ready and able to take on the part Jesus himself meets with dread

But the difference is in how Jesus treats them

He doesn’t just dismiss them as arrogant blowhards

“Oh yes, we are able, Lord”

… to take on that which you barely accept

the only candidates for followers of Jesus are people

regular people

with human abilities

able to follow, and able to lead

able to learn Jesus’ guidelines for both

able to have devotion and love for others

and able to be arrogant, or ignorant

all the other un-helpful human characteristics

even though, at this point, the Disciples have no idea what they’re getting into

he stays with them, engaging their questions

understanding their wanting the “easy” and “superstar” part

Jesus doesn’t blow off the disciples

even over-ambitious

to the point, sometimes, of arrogance

he sees the possibility within them

these are the ones, the people, he chose

Jesus responds to their blind ambition, and overlooks their shortsightedness, for now

what Jesus resists and criticizes is

complacency, lack of ambition  …  inertia

like when Peter tries to call Jesus down for talking too much about his impending suffering

“Get behind me, Satan.” You’re setting your mind on earthly things, not heavenly things

Jesus can work with passion. he’s got no patience for inertia

Take home

talk about missions we have undertaken…

biting off more than we can chew

still feeling able – encouraged by the gospel

local and reaching out farther

talk about others I have heard from who feel empowered by the gospel

Facebook and Twitter responses

region, Atlanta, Africa!

Let us never be afraid to reach out

even if it seems too much

God will deal with passion

empower and refine it for God’s purpose

it’s laziness, complacency that holds us back

So may it be with us.  Amen

 

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 9:38-50

 

1.  Way Insermon

More and more of us are eating less salt

Reducing sodium is healthy

reduced sodium salt?

salt substitutes

Face it, we miss it

but we get used to it

esp. those who have “medical wake-up calls”

Salt is also a preservative

found in canned and prepared foods

country ham, cured with salt

supposed to be a southern delicacy, but I hate it

Biblical context

uses for salt – important substance for them

taste was important

preservative qualities more essential

“salted with fire” (v.49) refers to preservative/purifying qual. of salt

significance of salt

Lev. 2:13, “include salt with all of your offerings”

covenant ritual – these uses show how precious

mixing salt in the hands of those making cov.

kingship of David sealed with a salt cov. [2Chro. 13:5]

oil for priestly anointing includes incense and seasoned with salt (Exo. 30:35)

Bridge

This is background for why Jesus used salt in his lesson to Disc.

they were familiar with use of salt

like fishing and farming

2.  Tell the Story – recap gospel account

3.  So What?

have salt in yourselves

don’t be like salt that has lost its saltiness (salinity?)

no taste

like adding sand to mashed potatoes

no preservative

useless to keep food with, unhealthy

salt without saltiness is to lose the essence

salt-less salt is no good

has to be thrown out

take salt within yourselves

spice up your life

preservative – keeps alive

purifies, cleanses

traditional sign of covenant

And be at peace with one another

having salt within ourselves is not where it ends

with these new qualities of life

be changed in how we relate to others

peace not just limited to absence of war

wholeness, well-being, completeness

be filled with seasoning and preserving salt that Jesus provides, and be at peace

take in what Jesus offers

seasoning, purifying

power to spice up your life

and preserve it

precious – binding a covenant, seasoning an anointment

soothing

promise of permanence (God is the only really permanent One)

and let that “flavor” how you treat others

Paul says, When writing to the church at Colossus, Paul reminds the church of what Jesus said.  “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time,” he says that they must, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”  Paul reminds the church, including this one, about the saltiness we should be filled with…you remember, the salty seasoning that fills us so that we may be at peace with one another? (Col. 4:6)

be at peace: live beyond dispute and promotion of self-interest

look for ways that bring harmony

Remember how today’s reading started out?

the disciples came to Jesus with a “problem”

tattle tales: Jesus, we say somebody casting out demons in your name

we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us

Maybe they needed a lesson in how to deal with outsiders

Jesus had given the disciples the authority to cast out demons in his name

but he never told them there wouldn’t be anybody else doing it, too

yet the disciples went to tell

because this person wasn’t one of them, he wasn’t following them

The rest of what Jesus said was a lesson about being so concerned with who is in – and who is out – who belongs, and who doesn’t

 

.  “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Be filled with what I have been teaching you, and learn from me.

      Take within yourselves this sense of peace

                  that has qualities like salt to make things taste better,

                  and to preserve things.

This should remind them of the temple rituals

      marking God’s covenant with Israel with salt,

      that those who God has chosen would be for God’s forever.

Remember this covenant; remember also what you have been taught.

      Do this, he says, and be at peace with one another.

      Don’t quarrel and argue about who’s in and who’s out.

 

But Jesus,

      There are people coming around who don’t look like us or talk like us.

     

What gives you the right to decide how to look or talk?

      “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

But Jesus, they don’t do things like we do, and they don’t do like we tell them.

      Who died and made you God?

      “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

 

Let us pray …

 

Lord, Jesus.  Teach us what it means every day to live as your faithful people in a world that changes right before our eyes.  We go shopping and hear languages from the tongues of our neighbors that we don’t understand.  Habits and customs that have always been around are being replaced by new ways of doing things by people who we didn’t used to know.   We see real-life horror and terror in the news everyday that used to scare us to death in the movies.  Yet we yearn to be filled with your teaching, to claim our part of the covenant God made with us in you.  Help us, we pray, to have salt in ourselves and be at peace with one another.  So may it be with us.  Amen.

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