Today’s service as filled with great music, new members and wrestling with a difficult text. After Jesus blessing all those people who came to hear the Sermon on the Mount after telling them they, THEY are salt and light and precious, he throws down a challenge.
The challenge is to be “more righteous” than the religious leaders, to follow and live the law in a way that shows glory to God. The lectionary today has Jesus saying things like, “you have heard it said, but I say to you….” Jesus says insulting someone is the same as murder, looking at someone with lust is the same as committing adultery and in the middle of this passage Jesus speaks about divorce and that there is not reason for divorce.
Hard passages and I did my best to do justice to the time, the scripture and what that means for us today. As a divorced and remarried woman, I think I can not avoid these scriptures when they come up in the lectionary. Wresting with the text is important for me and for my congregation. I believe that grace is sufficient for us all.
You can the entire service or just the sermon here.
It was a wild ride of a morning weather wise in south central Kansas! I don’t sleep well on Saturday night (occupational hazard for me) and so I am usually up and going by 4:00 a.m. or a little earlier. We had had storms, but sometime around 4:20 the tornado sirens went off.
As a typical Kansan I don’t tend to get over anxious…but that early in the morning I pay attention. I haven’t heard the sirens in our area for an actual weather event in a long time. As I was moving to go get Andrew, I heard his feet hit the floor and also then noticed the siren only sounded once!
I went to the facebook feed for KAKE TV to hear the sirens were a mistake. However within a few minutes the sirens went off (not in my area) but south of Wichita. A lot of storm damage before the sun came up and in my neighborhood up the street a transformer blew and many of our neighbors had been without power.
What a way to begin a Sunday. Other than the weather excitement it was a good day to gather and to continue our sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Today’s scripture was from Luke and focused on the woman anointing Jesus at Simon the Pharisee’s home. When Simon is asked….do you see this woman? I came to the conclusion that he didn’t…or that he only saw what he wanted to see, the labels that had been placed on her.
And me? I am not so different from Simon. I can become judgy pretty fast and making assumptions about folk. I am sure that draws the circle tighter not wider. Fortunately, the ripples of grace that come from faith in Christ is there for us all.
The music today in worship was outstanding. You can find the whole worship service or just the sermon here.
I committing my self this week to pay attention to how I “see” people, really see them. It is my hope that by doing so, I can be part of God’s work to “Draw the Circle Wide.”
Today is a day filled with the secular and sacred. It’s Father’s Day in the United States and in the Western Church it is Trinity Sunday. Neither of which I dealt with in my sermon today.
I did offer a Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles and men who have mentored. I was a fatherless child for a while and I am so grateful to those teachers and preaches and youth group leaders, my grandfather and my stepfather who mentored and supported me over the years. I do not underestimate the gift they gave with their time and love.
Trinity Sunday usually sneaks up on me as it is one of those “theological” Sundays which take a lot to unpack. One of my favorite videos is about St. Patrick and all the “heretical” understandings of the Trinity. You can find this silly and yet provoking theological education here.
You will find none of that in my sermon today. The service continued the sermon series “Draw the Circle Wide.” Today we have Jesus healing a centurion’s slave on his word alone. Jesus is amazed by the faith of this outsider who believed Jesus had the authority and power to heal on a word. You can find the whole service or the sermon only here.
Today is the first Sunday in Lent. The season began on Wednesday. It was an odd day with Ash Wednesday (the sacred day) along with Valentine’s Day (the secular day.) In between the two services, another mass shooting in a high school in Parkland, Florida. I am still saddened by yet another shooting. A couple of days ago I wrote a blog sharing my dismay and grief.
Today in worship as I rewrote my sermon in the last couple of days, I am aware that embracing the tempted Jesus meant believing that no matter what, like Jesus, we are all called to face the adversary, Satan, and stand up and say not today, not in this place and time. The Dalai Lama has said “For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, Until then may I, too, abide to dispel the misery of the world.”
So in worship today, we baptized an adult and called her beloved. We confessed our sins. We heard the gospel of Jesus’ baptism, temptation and call to proclaim that God’s kingdom is at hand. And we focused on what it means to to believe and trust God is with us no matter what. You can find the service video link here.
This story by Brian Andreas was shared in my facebook memories from four years ago
In the midst of all that is, I pray for love and courage and moments of play to strengthen me and you to believe that God’s kingdom is at hand and we are part of it.
In worship on Sunday, the gospel reading was John 9: 1-41. This LONG reading is the story of a man born blind who is healed by Jesus. Actually, that only takes 7 verses. The rest of the chapter is filled with questions. How could this man be healed, why has he been healed, who healed him and what is the purpose behind it? The blind man was almost invisble from the beginning, the disciples talked about him as if he couldn’t hear, everyone else talked around him and at him.
Not only had he been born blind, but his blindness made him practically invisible. I have pondered this story and wondered who I overlook? Who is invisible to me or who do I see, but not see. It seems to me Jesus doesn’t overlook anyone, but always sees them and offers new sight and new life. Sunday’s worship service looks at this gift of sight or lack thereof. The whole service can be found here:http://sundaystreams.com/go/firstwichita
Yesterday I preached on John 4: 4-42. This encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman has been preached hundreds of times by hundreds of different preachers. I could probably preach on it several Sundays in a row and not scratch the surface of this amazing encounter.
Casting Crowns produced a song several years ago that has become one of my favorites, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners.” There are so many phrases in the song that catch me, deeply in my heart and spirit. “the world is on their way to you, but they are tripping over me, always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded.”
My youth director and his spouse Caleb and Mandy Fouse sang it in worship It comes in at 36:10 in the worship video from yesterday’s service First United Methodist Church My sermon comes a little bit after that.
In this text I find it compelling how much I add to what is not there and do not take away what is life changing. I want live authentically and deeply, allowing God to change my heart and change my ways. In the middle of Lent, it is a good reminder for me.
I continue to respond to the challenge to blog each day. I have missed a couple. I am grateful for those who prompt me to consider writing each day.
In my daily devotions I ran across this quote from Linda Carter:
“In one sentence, a life of faith is this: Avoiding the very real,
very human propensity to let the worries of the indeterminate
tomorrows divert us from what we have to do today,
we dive into the day’s own trouble, seeking in it
justice and God’s commonwealth,
firm in the knowledge of the love of God for us.”
Truly it is real that the worries of tomorrow divert us, diver me from what has to be done today. Sometimes those worries nag me in the middle the night and rob me of rest and send me into a new day weary from troubles that have not appeared. A life of faith rests in the knowledge of God’s love and grace and that same grace and love is sufficient for whatever lies ahead.
The beloved writings Christians call scripture of filled with promises of God’s care and of hope. Jesus said “Don’t worry about tomorrow, today’s troubles are sufficient for the day.” Basically Jesus said has anyone ever added one moment to their life by worrying about it?
The takeaway for me is that when I allow worry drive me, nag me or distract me from the life in front of me, I am losing a very real chance to live life to its fullest. Certainly there are always problems, there are always distractions and issues to be addressed. Each problem or distraction or issue can be an opportunity for me to grow, for me to pay attention and for me to make choices as to how I will live authentically and faithfully.
Today I choose to live life “firm in the knowledge of the love of God” and surrounded by God’s infinite care. With that knowledge I am graced to serve.