Sermons

May 13, 2018

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Ascension Sunday   May 13, 2018   Psalm 47, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53, Acts 1:1-11 ***************************************************************** Talk about a group facing rather long odds for survival, as it’s founding leader departs… That would be the early Christian church, according to any conventional wisdom. Our leader has been crucified and buried. We remember his teaching and deeds of power. We believe he’s risen from the dead. But we’ve watched, now, as Jesus has risen into the heavens. And we’re left without the only one who held us all together. Who could ever even possibly take over leadership after Jesus? Can we imagine anyone so impossible to follow? Can we imagine anyone other than Jesus  able to lead the movement that he began? Yes, the apostles have trained under Jesus. But their following… and witnessing for Jesus hasn’t been exactly stellar. And after three years of Jesus demonstrating God’s power at work… Still our committed core group totals only about 120 members. (We all still fit into one room together at the same time.) Without Jesus leading, what chance do we have to survive? (If faith was a horse race we’d be a thousand-to-one longshot…) Except – Jesus has been reminding us all along – he’s the fulfillment of the law and prophets of Israel. So we’re reminded of Elijah who ascended into the heavens in a chariot of fire, leaving Elisha to continue his ministry. We’re reminded of Moses, parting the Red Sea waters, leading Israel out from slavery… Moses, who dies, yet in traditional rabbinic commentaries is lifted up by God into heaven.  Through the ages God’s people have always had to maintain subversive memories of God over-riding the conventional wisdom. The early church remembers Jesus, and in remembering, believes – the Ascension of Jesus into the heavenly realms is all part of God’s plan. As, in the closing words of Luke’s gospel – Jesus lifts his hands and blesses disciples as he’s lifted up into heaven. And disciples who fled in fear as Jesus went up to the cross now worship him, as he’s lifted up into the heavenly realms… as volume one of St Luke’s gospel concludes… And now in Acts, St Luke’s volume two – we have the ascension story again, now from a different angle, as Luke tells us that his first book was about everything Jesus began to do and teach till he was taken up into heaven. (Where  Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, Ephesians tells us… and…) Jesus says it’s not for us to know God’s times and seasons… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit is sent upon you… Wait, here in Jerusalem, for the Spirit… And Jesus is lifted up in a cloud and a pair of angels appears asking “why are you looking up into heaven? Jesus who you have seen ascending will come again the same way you saw him leaving…’ Meaning… Clouded in mystery… *** Leaving us who’ve been left behind to ponder the second generation leadership model of the New Testament… Which, perhaps no surprise, is not exactly what they teach in Business School – or Church Administration class (though I think I somehow missed that class). No national talent search is conducted for qualified candidates to be next CEO of the church....

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May 6, 2018

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Easter 6  May 6, 2018  Psalm 133, 1 John 4:13-21, 5:1-5, 13; John 15:9-17, 17:1,20-23        United ******************************************************* Life imitates the gospel. By divine synchronicity some of us were observing National Day of Prayer last Thursday, and our theme was a close match with our theme today from John’s gospel – unity in the body of Christ. Thursday morning I joined fellow Methodists at Swift Memorial in Sagamore for their Day of Prayer service, then joined believers from other Bourne churches at the flagpole outside Town Hall, praying for our town, state and nation, with unity again our theme. One pastor-brother-friend prayed aloud for unity. Another prayed we’d remember – our unity can’t be unity in wrong-doing or not-caring. Our unity needs to be unity in Christ and doing his will… A distinction we all agree on… And yet the work of being and staying united in Christ has never been easy… Many have been praying for our United Methodist Bishops, meeting last week in prayer and discussion about a way forward for our denomination that can keep us from splintering and dividing. I was pleased yesterday to read a letter from our Bishop, saying the council of Bishops have agreed on a plan to keep us from further division. Great news. But I was not entirely surprised to read the Bishops plan for unity still includes actually three options – each of which will be a hard sell for some Methodists…And I’m hopeful by nature, but… I’ve been remembering officiating once at a United Methodist Charge Conference in Northern New York state at the request of our District Superintendent. There were only two congregants left in this tiny church. They sat on opposite sides of the church all through the meeting. The pastor said it was this way every Sunday. Two people in one church… sitting far apart. And yes, this is just one tiny church… but… I’m also remembering a church in Boston I was once involved in, where a group of parishioners, part of the church leadership, picked up and left the church abruptly to start their own church a mile or two away. The pastor told me this was a pattern. Every five or six years, he said, someone in the church leaves and starts another church. Which, come to think of it, has been basically the pattern of church history… all over the world. The First Letter of John where we’ve been reading for five weeks now, is addressed to first century churches going through painful schisms. (We have to read the parts of the letter we’ve skipped over to notice – one reason First John keeps saying “love one another” so often… is because not everybody was.) We don’t know all the details, but we know there’s lots of hurting. Many of St Paul’s letters are also written to address church divisions and schisms. All the early church ecumenical councils – Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, etc – were good attempts to forge unity amidst division on the essentials of faith. Yet even with lots of prayer and discussions over several centuries, still the Eastern Orthodox and Western Roman Catholic churches split  over different understandings of theology, language… and religious and political turf and power. Later Protestants split from Catholics. Protestants have since splintered into...

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April 29, 2018

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Easter 5   April 29, 2018   Psalm 67, 1 John 4;7-12, 13-16; John 15:1-11 ********************************************************** All the post-resurrection stories in the gospels focus on Jesus revealing himself to startled disciples – who’ve seen him die on the cross, sealed tight in the tomb. Now from the day of resurrection – over the course of 40 days till his Ascension –  Jesus walks with disciples, unrecognized, till he breaks bread – Jesus passes through locked doors to greet followers and commission them for ministry – Jesus appears on a mountain in Galilee where disciples worship him and doubt  at the same time – Jesus shows up by the lakeshore to serve breakfast to disciples after an all-night fishing trip – He asks for something to eat on one occasion, cooks for disciples on another. In each after-the-resurrection appearance Jesus shares words of comfort, challenge, and instruction. Each time disciples are left awestruck – half-believing-half-disbelieving-in-awe-and-wonder-and-worship-in-a-blur-of-emotions – and in this collage of imagery we glimpse the life of the early church, our ancestors in faith – in moments in time and space that help us find our own place in the story. The emotions and reactions we see among the first disciples are not so very different from those we see and hear and feel ourselves today. The story is alive – the story has deep heart-to-heart power still to communicate the love of God… And the story still needs translation and interpretation each new day…As we seek to communicate the word of God for people living in different times, places and circumstances, every day… Noticing… Unlike everyday users of Face Book, whose minute-by-minute-details-of-life are tracked in selfie-sequence-with-emoji-accents more-or-less-unceasingly – unlike our present-day obsession with endless information – the gospels never tell us how Jesus took his morning coffee – what color shirt he wore – what were his comfort foods and favorite psalms to recite in the morning – favorite prayers at night. As we draw near the end of the Easter season, the bible is focused almost exclusively on communicating just the message: God is faithful – God is love – Jesus is Lord – and He Is Alive! As we open the word of God again in the light of Christ’s resurrection…. ******* [John 15:1-11– ] ************ The soundtrack for our reading from John 15 today is set to the tune of a beloved hymn – When other helpers fail and comforts flee – Help of the helpless, O abide with me… Help of the helpless help me, please…I’ve been feeling a little helpless, trying to keep focused, in our gospel reading, from Jesus’ last supper farewell teaching in St John’s gospel. I’m feeling a bit helpless because Jesus goes deep in so many directions. Offering comfort, discomfort, and questions all at the same time. I’ve been feeling like I imagine early church members may have felt, trying to sort and digest all the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus… The spiritual comfort food part of what Jesus says today is set in close harmony with our readings from the First letter of John. Jesus is singing the original version of Abide with me – though he says “in me” not “with me.” Abide in me – as I abide in you. Branches can’t bear fruit alone – Neither can you. We’re...

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April 22, 2018

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Easter 4  April 22, 2018  Ps 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18, John 21:15-25 *************************************************************** Not so many of us are familiar anymore with real-life sheep and shepherding…  Yet the image of the Good Shepherd still ranks high among images for God and Jesus that we treasure most. Many still know the psalm – The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…Many still resonate with Jesus when he tells us I am the Good Shepherd… I lay down my life for the sheep… Many still remember – We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture… (as Psalm 100 says.) We are the sheep of God’s pasture. Many of us know the words of Psalm 23 by heart…Many find deep comfort knowing –  He makes me lie down in green pastures… He leads me beside still waters… He restores my soul… We say this psalm together in our household almost every night. It’s so familiar… it can be easy to overlook the way the psalm is actually talking about life… as a journey with God. Life with God includes wonderful lying down in green pastures times, and blessed resting beside still waters times. But throughout most of life we’re in motion… following God…as… He leads us in paths of righteousness for his name sake… and… Yea though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (and sometimes I try to walk a little faster till we get through the darker parts of the valley…) Still, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me… In the psalms, God, the Father of course is The Lord, my shepherd. Like Father, like Son, Jesus continues in the vocation of his Father… tending the sheep of God’s pasture. What wonderful, comforting images we have here, with the Lord our shepherd, and we, the sheep of his pasture… Though now as I hear…. Jesus asking and saying to Peter Do you love me? Feed my lambs. Do you love me? Tend my sheep. Do you love me? Feed my sheep. Saying it three times to make the point hard to mistake – If you love me, take care of my flock. You’re a shepherd now, like me. Follow me! Now like Peter, I’m feeling a little less comfortable…. as I recall our First Letter of John reminding us today  – we’re all going to be like Jesus – doing what Jesus does. Like Jesus, we too ought to be laying down our lives for one another…. And now as we hear Jesus saying he lays down his life for his sheep five times today… I’m hearing the repetition as Jesus’ way of telling us (along with Peter and the other disciples) – we too are supposed to do this laying down of life thing repeatedly…  In the other gospels Jesus says “take up your cross and follow me every day.” Here in John he says “I lay down my life for the sheep”… repeating himself…. repeatedly. Which is typical of Jesus, I know, but…does kind-of  make my image of the Lord, my shepherd… a little less comforting… *** Yet – here in John’s telling of the story, with all it’s discomforting emphasis on laying down our lives for God and one another – all the emphasis on following...

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April 15, 2018

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Easter 3   April 15, 2018   Psalm 8, 1 John 3:1-3, Luke 5:1-11, John 21:1-14 *********************************************************** As a fisherman I find it rather amazing – that Jesus, Savior of the world, who knows all about us – nonetheless chooses fishermen, of all people – as his first apostles. How weird is that? The first disciples Jesus calls in our reading from St Luke are all fishermen – people notoriously stereotyped as habitual exaggerators, even outright liars. Yet now here again at the end of St John’s gospel, here’s Jesus – who we might think would have reconsidered choosing fisher-folk, after fisherman-apostle Simon Peter famously denies he even knows Jesus three times in one night. But here again is Jesus – not sending his fishermen back to the minor leagues, nor trading them to Cleveland for players to be named later – but instead putting together almost a re-run of his first calling of his first disciples. Again – how weird is that? St John’s gospel includes only a very little of the content of the other three gospels. And John’s gospel tells the Jesus story in a very different sequence, with some very different emphases. Yet John shares some stories, characters and situations with St Luke in ways that suggest these two gospel writers felt a close gospel kinship, in spite of their different styles of communicating. I’d guess they probably shared drafts of their gospels with each other as they wrote. Since, as any fisherman would notice– All four gospels feature fishermen disciples – but only Luke and John describe the fishermen actually catching fish. And John’s concluding fishermen-fishing story sounds an awful lot like a sequel to Luke’s earlier fishermen-fishing story. Noticing again, how – In both Luke and John disciples have been fishing all night without catching. In both cases Jesus tells them try again. In Luke they’ve quit for the day and are cleaning their nets, when Jesus asks Simon Peter to let him use his boat as a preaching platform. Call it a generous tip, call it paying-it-forward, call it whatever, but – when he’s done preaching Jesus tells Peter – “put out into deep water, let down your nets again.” Now Peter and his partners James and John are into a net-busting catch of fish. In John’s gospel the fishermen, Simon Peter again in the lead, James and John sons of Zebedee again – with last week’s disbelieving Thomas, and Nathanael of Cana who we haven’t seen since chapter one – and two others, un-named – plug-in your name and mine – seven together in the boat – John’s favorite number – seven fishermen together in the boat – likely ready to quit as day’s breaking after a long-fishless-night-on-the-water – when Jesus calls out from shore – “Cast your net to the other side of the boat.” Now in Luke and John alike, huge numbers of fish come flooding into the net when fishermen do what Jesus says. Notice in John’s account, doing what Jesus says works, even when we don’t know yet it’s Jesus we’re listening to. We could say again “how weird is that?” Or – figure there’s authority in the sound of his voice that makes fish and fishermen obey. In each case, when fishermen do as they’re told their nets...

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April 8, 2018

Posted by on Apr 10, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Easter 2   April 8, 2018   Psalm 33, 1 John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31 *************************************************** Shalom, Jesus says, Peace be with you. Shalom, he says a second time, adding now – Receive the Holy Spirit. As the Father has sent me so I send you. If you forgive the sins of any they’re forgiven. If you hold onto them – they’re held. As disciples huddle together that first Easter evening, lamenting the absence of Jesus… Here comes Jesus, walking through locked doors, saying Shalom – Hebrew for Peace be with you.  And as God breathed life into Adam in the beginning, now Jesus breathes new life into his disciples… As God has sent Jesus into the world to save the world, so too now Jesus sends his followers… Thomas, one of the original first-round-draft-choice twelve apostles, was away that night. When Thomas returns, the others tell him We have seen the Lord. Thomas tells them Unless I see and touch for myself I will not believe. Now here we are again, a week later, gathered in the same place, doors again shut tight against the outside world. And here comes Jesus again, entering without knocking, saying again Peace be with you. Shalom. Turning to Thomas, saying Put your hands here. Touch and see. Don’t disbelieve but believe. (The word Jesus uses isn’t doubt – it’s disbelieve.) Thomas blurts out My Lord and my God! The best Jesus one-liner in the bible. But Jesus doesn’t seem impressed – he just says Do you believe because now you see? Blessed are those who don’t see but do believe. *** Which has had me pondering this week… Is there really anyone – who has ever really believed… entirely without seeing? Of course it depends on what we mean by seeing. Remember, in John’s gospel seeing rarely means seeing with our eyes. In John seeing nearly always means realizing – getting – what it’s all about… Not meaning fully understanding – but realizing… Jesus is who he says he is – Son of God – Messiah – Christ (same word in two languages). Getting it – that God is good and God is love. Realizing –  trusting in God and in Jesus is the way. Getting who Jesus is – is the seeing that matters. Though for Thomas – seeing with his eyes and being invited to touch with his hands – sure seems to be what gets him on to getting it – that Jesus really is alive. Which, in fairness to Thomas, is also what our first reading from First John says is the church’s basic proclamation about Jesus – we’re testifying to you about Jesus who we have seen and touched. And Thomas doesn’t seem to me to need to see to believe any more than all the rest of the Jesus crew… All of whom except for him have, by now, been able to see and talk with Jesus, alive and risen. And when it comes to faithfully following Jesus, Thomas, if anything, has been above average.  When Jesus tells disciples earlier (in John 11) he’s heading back to metro Jerusalem where he’s almost been stoned to death a little earlier, Thomas is the one who says lets go with him so we can die with him… And of course we...

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April 1, 2018 – Easter Sunday

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Easter Sunday     April 1, 2018   Psalm 116,  Luke 23:44-56, Luke 24:1-12, Luke 24:13-35 ************************************************************ Two travelers are talking with each other as they walk along from Jerusalem to Emmaus…When another traveler comes by… and asks what they’re talking about… “Are you the only one around who doesn’t know… all the things that have been happening in Jerusalem?” they ask. “What things?” he asks. “Things about Jesus, of course,” they say – launching into the story of how Jesus of Nazareth – “a mighty prophet of God – the one we had hoped might be the Messiah of Israel – the one we had hoped would deliver us from captivity and oppression… The one in whom we had hoped all our highest of hopes…” “But he was crucified and laid in the tomb. He had told us more than once that he would be executed… But… we didn’t really believe that…. He had said he would be raised from the dead on the third day…We had hoped… even though we didn’t believe, we had hoped…. But… now the third day’s almost over… And we had hoped… But now… all we have for all our hopes is just a strange report from some of the women of our group… who went to the tomb early this morning… And came back saying the tomb was empty – and they had seen a vision of angels who told them he was risen… And… We didn’t believe that…” “How very foolish…” the stranger walking with them says. “How very slow you are to remember all the prophets have said about the Messiah and how he must suffer…  before coming into his glory…” And the stranger talks with them… all the rest of the seven miles to Emmaus – opening the scriptures to them – teaching them what is written about the Messiah… And as they come near the village of Emmaus… the man walks on now a little faster straight ahead… As if he’s going to walk on to wherever he’s going by himself… But they insist – “stay with us, it’s getting dark, day is almost done…”And he does. Now at table, it’s as if he, the stranger, not they, is host – As he takes bread, blesses, and breaks the bread… And they recognize him in the breaking of the bread…. **** Try and imagine – walking with someone you consider your main teacher and guide in life – someone you have put your hope and trust in – and not recognizing him for the whole seven miles you’re walking together… (I’m a relatively fast walker…. and it takes me more than two hours to walk seven miles…) But – we should cut these travelers some slack… Probably they were so deeply disappointed about Jesus being gone… And all their hopes not fulfilled… that even his presence up close and personal… doesn’t quite register – doesn’t quite penetrate their consciousness… And… Probably Jesus had his hoodie pulled up over his hair – his ball cap pulled down over his eyes – his eyes covered with dark sunglasses… Perhaps he was also disguising his voice a little… Having a little fun, messing with his friends minds, and testing their memories. *** I expect these travelers were embarrassed when they finally recognized Jesus. But...

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March 29, 2018 – Holy Thursday

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Holy Thursday March 29, 2018 ************************** Reflection Lent began, Ash Wednesday – with the sign of ashes on our brows in the shape of a cross – and the taste of ashes in our hearts – the cries of those slain that day in Parkland, Florida ringing in our ears – with tears of families, friends and people everywhere joined with them in weeping and prayer… Reminded so starkly of our human condition… And the depths of our need for God. Others, around the world, also suffer… just as deeply… But there is something in the loss of a child… that breaks our hearts beyond words… If life lately sometimes feels as if we’re at the end of the world – with the world in disastrous breakdown and perpetual crisis… Probably this is how life felt for Jesus and his first disciples also… that first Holy Week… As if time flowing in all directions – past, present, future all intermingled – as if the world has already ended…  With God our Father’s beloved child… dying on the cross… Yet, Jesus and the apostle’s tell us – this is not the end – this is the birth-pangs of God’s new world coming into being… and… We’re not even formally at the cross till tomorrow – though Jesus has been talking about himself on the cross all the while we’ve been with him… We have see him there already… from many angles… As we’ve journeyed with Jesus through his wilderness temptations and testings… As we’ve journeyed with him vicariously through his years of ministry in Galilee, Judea,  Samaria… And into the holy city, Jerusalem, where Jesus spends his last week, Holy Week, teaching – making ready disciples – to continue his work when he is taken up – lifted up – from among us. Now, tonight, we’re with Jesus at his last supper – hearing again his last instructions – as he prepares to return to God the Father. Jesus reminds us – eat this bread, drink this cup. Eat my body, drink my blood. Do this in remembrance of me. We’ve been reminded by John the gospel writer (as we’ll be reminded by other apostles) – the good Shepherd of the sheep is also the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – also the bread of life who came down from heaven to give life to the world. Mixed metaphors abound with Jesus. Eat this bread, drink this cup. Come to me and never be hungry. Eat this bread, drink this cup. Trust in me and you will not thirst.  The Word of life is also the bread of life. We need Jesus in our heart, mind and soul. We need Jesus bodily also. We need his life, his teaching, his presence with us in our flesh and blood… Jesus has prayed to God the Father we’ll all be one. (He’s even told us we’ll do greater things than he’s done, together. Which is only possible because he will still be with us…) Together we are the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. Called and blessed to keep making Jesus real for all the world that God still so loves… despite the world’s denial of God and Jesus… Tonight again we’ve renewed our vows...

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March 25, 2018 – Palm Passion Sunday

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Palm-Passion Sunday    March 25, 2018   Psalm 118, John 12:12-16, Mark 14-15 ***************************************************************** If we remember just one thing today – I hope it will be – Stay with me – remain here with me – watch and pray – watch and pray. We’ve sung these words spoken by Jesus. Stay with me. Remain with me. Watch and pray with me. One of the simplest things Jesus asks us to do. Yet it can be difficult to stay close to someone suffering. Keeping company with people suffering didn’t come naturally for me. I’ve had to learn by doing over the years. Being willing to share in the suffering of others (of course) is part of our job description as Christians. Jesus tells us love one another. It’s his first commandment. And I’ve learned… being there for people in the midst of difficulties and suffering is a very big part of what it means to love. And what Jesus asks from us is really not so hard, in perspective. Even though I’m a slow learner, I do want to spend time with those I love when they’re  hurting. And the vicarious suffering Jesus asks us to share with him in Holy Week is small indeed compared with his own actual experience. Jesus has been through the worst imaginable for us… And – we’ve already accompanied him to the cross and the grave today. Remaining with him through the rest of this holy week ought to be less difficult. Especially as we understand… The worst pain for Jesus is not being beaten and whipped… nor even the nails of the cross. The worst pain for Jesus…. is his friends denying him and fleeing away… and being left alone. That’s why he asks us – Stay with me – remain here with me – watch and pray – watch and pray. Last week I came across a meditation by Pastor Anne Jernberg (written for Christian Century magazine) about a retreat in a monastery she participated in.  She writes, “I was on my knees in a monastery…. imagining being in the garden of Gethsemane as the brothers and other worshipers and I gathered and sang the Taize refrain “Stay with me – remain here with me – watch and pray – watch and pray” over and over again. It was then that I realized that Jesus needed me to walk with him…” (She continues–) “I had come to the monastery that evening for a brief respite from my studies. I left four hours later with bruised knees, an aching back, a raspy voice and a growling stomach. To top it off, I felt guilty because I didn’t stay through the night. (The brothers began singing that night and continued to sing in shifts until the Good Friday service the following afternoon.)” But, she says – …“I experienced something that night. [As–] Someone read the words Jesus prayed in the garden, “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done”… we were instructed to get on our knees and begin singing. That was it – one brief scripture followed by 18 hours of singing four simple phrases.” “Some sang the phrases through a few times and then got up and left… others lasted longer…. The length...

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March 18, 2018

Posted by on Mar 27, 2018 in Sermons | 0 comments

Lent 5   March 18, 2018   Psalm 29, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-36a   We want to see Jesus *************************************************************** People come saying, “we want to see Jesus.” And Jesus tells us what life looks like…. When we look to him – and see him – as he is. We never actually get to hear the reactions of these seekers from afar who come to see Jesus. So we’re left wondering – did they turn their lives around and follow Jesus? Or did they turn tail and hurry home – as soon as they got a glimpse of Jesus – and heard him telling what it’s like to follow him? We’re left to wonder. And I admire the way John’s gospel leaves the story open-ended – like get-your-picture-taken-here-with-Jesus – if you want to know how the story ends. The end of the story in fact depend somewhat on us… And our willingness to see… what God is doing in Jesus Christ. *** As we rejoin our story in progress – here’s Jesus – who up to now has been saying  many times “my hour has not yet come” (my time’s not up) – now saying “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” The words glorify and glorified (each word heard twice) play key harmonic roles in the melody of the story. And it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out what Jesus means by glorify… as he says – unless a grain of wheat falls to earth and dies its just a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit – and – Those who love their life in this world will lose their life – while those who love God more than life will keep their life for eternal life – and – Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am my servants will be also. Now it’s not so hard to see where Jesus is heading… And – do we still want to see Jesus? *** We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Author Cornel West says at the time of his death 78% of Americans, including 50% of Black Americans, did not approve of Dr King. Many regarded Rev King favorably when he was just preaching non-violent integration and reconciliation. As long as he was preaching just the first part of our Thought for the Week: “The Christian gospel… seeks to change the souls of men and thereby unite them with God” – many were willing to say amen. Not so many looked favorably on Rev King when he began advocating radical change in the American economy – preaching the second part of our Thought for the Week – “(the Christian gospel also) seeks to change the environmental conditions of man so the soul will have a chance after it is changed…” Reverend, now you’ve gone from preaching to meddling. Many were glad to follow Jesus when he was multiplying loaves and fishes, feeding the multitudes and healing the sick. Not so many kept following…. when he began letting it be known he is the Son of God as well as the Son of Man… Not so many were eager to follow when Jesus turned over...

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