Sunday, August 30, 2009

13th Sunday



Today the Liturgical Churches that use the Common Lectionary are celebrating the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost. The Gospel text is Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23.
For the last few weeks the textual spotlight has been on God. It let us see his grace poured out over us. I love those texts but today the spotlight shifts from God to man.; That is one horrible shift.
It is even worse because today the spotlight is on the active Christian. The one who works really hard at being good.
I want to scream Lord shift the light. Go look at the sinners of this world. Look at greedy politicians who lie, look at drug dealers, look at people who don’t go to church, look at the immoral fornicators all around us. Put the spotlight on their sins.
We are the good guys. We keep the rules. We work hard at being Christian. We are so much better than them. Go look at them.
Oh! And keep them out of our churches. We don’t need any more members who don’t try and seldom come.
We are the good guys.
You gotta love us.
But the spotlight doesn’t move and we see ourselves reflected in some other “ good guys” .
They kept the rules. They weren’t loving and they weren’t kind but they kept the rules.
They were the Pharisees and they kept rules you and I have never heard of.
They judged Jesus and his disciples and in today’s text found them guilty of breaking God’s law.
Hey! They had a point. They didn’t wash their hands before eating.
Well they didn’t. Blasted law breakers.
But Jesus says they and we are looking in the wrong place . It’s not the outside law keeping that everybody sees that shows who we are but what comes from our heart.
We don’t want to hear that Lord.
It makes us guilty.
It ruins our good guy image.
How can we be better if all the judging has to be left to You?
How will we know we are good?
But we aren’t good we are forgiven.
We aren’t better than others we have just felt the Father’s love.
Our task is not perfect law keeping but loving people as they are.
Letting God’s love shine through us.
When we fail and become today’s Pharisees we drive people away.
We hurt them. We reject them. They learn to hate the Church.
We are the bad guys.
But we can repent.
We are forgiven.
We can try again the route of the cross and love the unlovable or those we think are unlovable.
God picks us up. God renews us. God sends us out again.
We need that spotlight.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Quilly said...

I am reading the liturgy tomorrow. I will think of your sermon as I do so.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Yes Dr. John unfortunately no matter how hard we try we are all sinners. No matter how hard we try. The light that shines for us is that we were all saved by God's grace!
Love Di

4:42 AM  
Blogger Susan DeAngelis said...

God picks us up. God renews us. God sends us out again.
We need that spotlight.

True that, my friend.
Hugs,
Sue

4:50 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

And for that we PRAISE Him! I always wonder how I can be such a SAINT... and such a SINNER... all in the same DAY! Sometimes in the same HOUR!

My Monday night group just finished Judges -- whoa what a book! We are starting Mark on the 14th! I'm looking forward to this one! (lol! I look forward to them all! But Judges - that one was HARD! Talk about BAD people!!! And yet, God used them - and used them well!)

Have a great Sunday Pastor!!!

5:54 AM  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I must be a closet Lutheran.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Dulce said...

I need to stop feeling guilty and God renews me... YES- Little by little I'm getting there
Wonderful God-Day post.
I wonder Dear DR. Why you do not follow anyone or let people follow you.
Blessing Sunday and Peace to you from me. :-)

7:42 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

Forgive me Father for I have sinned.
God Bless

11:33 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

I heard two wonderful sermons today..one by my church pastor, and yours.
Do you ever preach in person still? I bet you are very charismatic.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Thom said...

Great Sermon Dr. John :)

1:37 PM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

I'm not so sure about this. One of my administrators is not worth loving. She's truly unlovable. I guess that's unChristian of me, but God needs to work some miracles at Our Humble High School. Seriously.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

Marvelous, Dr. John!

6:38 PM  
Blogger a corgi said...

as my pastor said today in church, Jesus said we are the light of the world; we need to go out there and shine for him and his glory, and try every day to be more like him

my favorite verses are Matthew 22:37-39 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.

how different the world would be if we just did that. love God and love our neighbor like we love ourself

Jesus made it soooo simple, we have complicated it sooooo much

good sermon!

betty

9:12 PM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

I guess the moral of this one is beware complacency.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

The greatest thing about God is that He gives us a new day to begin again. I am thankful that our God loves us so much.

If God can do this for me, then shouldn't I do this for my enemies?
God is an awesome God.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Gattina said...

Sometimes the church behaves very badly and that's why people prefer to stay home, that doesn't mean that they are not believers or bad people.
I know a lot who only go to church to show their new hats and outfit and make sure that everybody sees it ! Black sheeps are everywhere ! In all believes and religions.

7:12 AM  
Blogger kcinnova said...

It never fails... whenever I think I'm doing pretty well (not perfect, but pretty well), I get a little reminder that I am thinking like a Pharisee. God keeps us on our toes that way, or else we'd get too self-assured. I don't want to drive any more people away than I already have...
And then I hear from an old friend that something I did (that I can't even remember doing) helped him 10 years later.
Picked up, renewed, and sent out. Yep, that's how God works! :)

6:15 PM  

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