Sunday, September 20, 2009

16th Sunday

Today's Saying
It is wise to direct your anger towards problems - not people, to focus your energies on answers - not excuses.
~William Arthur Ward

In many of the liturgical churches today is celebrated as the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel in the Common Lectionary is Mark 9:30-37.
All during the period after Pentecost the texts have been helping us to see something we sometimes forget. The disciples and others that we call Saints were humans with human failings. They were not the perfect servants of God.
We look at ourselves and think if we were more like the disciples we would be far better Christians.
We would understand more clearly what God wants of us.
We would rush to do the will of God.
We would understand everything in the Bible.
But we aren’t like them, we think, so we fail.
We just aren’t good enough.
We don’t pray enough.
If only we were like them.
Today we see, again we are like them or they are like us.
Jesus says some very hard words to them and like us they don’t understand.
But they don’t dare ask him because they ought to know.
Does that sound familiar.
Then the disciples argue over which one of them is the greatest.
Here they are following the Creator of the Universe and bickering over position in the Kingdom.
And these are the Saints.
And we are like them in that sometimes we think of ourselves as better than others and that God owes us for our good works.
Jesus then explains that you can’t aim at being great in heaven. To be great you have to put aside greatness and serve others. You need to help the poor, feed the hungry, visit the sick.
There is so much we can learn by watching the disciples.
Praise God for the learning.


Despite all of the threats facing Pigeon Falls it is Sunday and Pastor Joan will preach, This is part of that sermon.:
Do you remember when only Lutherans were saved and everybody else went to Hell?
According to the leaders in those days we alone had the true Word and the true Sacraments.
Of course the Roman Catholics thought the same way and the Presbyterians.
The Baptists were sure none of us knew Jesus and we all needed to be saved.
Do you remember those days. They weren’t too long ago.
I’m glad they are over. We no longer have to save the saved in a world crying to meet Jesus.
We can be about the sharing of the good news.
In a sense the disciples had that same fight a long, long time ago when they argued over who would be greatest in heaven.
Jesus had to sit them down and say greatness is in the serving.
Well our churches have grown up and are doing a better job than before.
The question is– Have we?
We still like to see ourselves as better Christians than others.
Not by denomination, of course, but by performance.
Not by serving but by other performance.
We go to church more, give more, read the Bible more, and pray more than the one’s below us.
You know the one’s that don’t go to church except Christmas and Easter.
But the truth is if you were busy looking for ways to serve you would have no time to think of yourself as better.
You have good news go out there and share it.

17 Comments:

Blogger Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Anger may be exist to introspect oneself.

1:06 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Usually if I compare myself to another, it is because I see a lack in me, not them. I always see someone doing more. Like you, using your blog to entertain and teach.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Dulce said...

I feel so little is done about it.
Maybe because I don't DO anything except complain about it... and this relates to the whole post.
Thank you Dr.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

Luke gets his Bible today at church since this is the day they are handing them out to all the third graders. He seems excited to get his own.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

Great points! Comparing ourselves to anyone is a slippery slope.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

Yes, Dr. John, it does sound familiar.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

Great sermon Dr. John...
Are really better or worse Christians...no one really knows...
for me religion and piety is a matter of heart and soul.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

OUCH! That's all I've got to say today!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Beautiful Words Dr John.

Amen

10:35 AM  
Blogger enchantedoak said...

Praise God for the learning! From a Lutheran who loves your pastor's sermon.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Thom said...

Wonderful sermon my friend :)

11:06 AM  
Blogger JennyMac said...

This was a great and enlightening post.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

That is very very good. :)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

Amen! We also need to direct our anger and frustration into productive work to help each other out...

5:53 PM  
OpenID kcinnova said...

I'm usually pretty sure the lack is my own. And I guess we're not following the common lectionary, because we are in the beginning of Chapter 7!

9:45 PM  
Blogger Jeni said...

Boy, the truth hurts, doesn't it? Even when one consciously tries not to think in that manner, all of a sudden you realize those same nasty old thoughts are back -coming through again. Just need a bit more perseverance I guess.

10:28 PM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

When I see such examples as this I usually think of 'perfection'. The whole point of it is that it is an unobtainable goal - 'cos if it could be reached, what then?
I do enjoy your Sunday posts.

12:59 AM  

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