Sunday, May 17, 2009

6th Sunday of Easter

Today's Link
My Mutterances

Today's Saying
These things I command you, that you love one another.
John 15:17

Today's Picture

In the liturgical churches the Easter season is coming to an end. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of Easter. This Sunday is the sixth Sunday of Easter.
Of course, in some sense every Sunday the Church celebrates Easter and what God has done for us through the death and Resurrection of Christ. Soon , however, the texts will shift from what God has done for us to what God expects of us . At first glance today’s text would seem to be one of those texts.
Jesus tells us we are to love one another.
Well, okay! Most people in my church are lovable. If you don’t count that cranky old guy who never smiles.
It could be worse Jesus could be asking us to love everybody.
But just the “ one another’s” that make up our fellowship I can do that.
But then Jesus adds “ as I have loved you”.
Now that’s pushing it .
Jesus laid down his life for us.
There is no way I’m willing to die for that cranky old guy.
The best I can do is sit with him at coffee and let him tell me how bad his world is. But die for him, never!
Jesus expects the impossible.
Then a miracle happens. He makes it possible.’
We can love the cranky old man, the uppity lady, the know it all and any other odd character in the fellowship because Jesus loves them.
His love flows through us.
His love bears fruit in us.
His love prepares us to love those outside the fellowship.
But the good news is that Jesus knows how hard it is to live the faith.
He knows how badly hurt we can get out there in the real world.
He knows that unconditional love can get you killed.
So his directions to love starts with the fellowship.
We need a place to be safe.
We need somewhere to be loved.
The Church is that place. We are to love one another.
We are to support one another.
We are to be conduits of God’s love to one another.
That’s why I like St. Mark’s. They love this cranky old guy. They listen to me whine over coffee. They support and build me up.
The Sunday school welcomes and supports autistic and mentally challenged individuals.
In an imperfect world the love of God flows here.
And God has blessed us with a succession of great Pastors.
God has enabled us to reach out in love to the world in so many ways.
But Sunday after Sunday we come back to the source of that love.
Christ comes to us in the Word preached and in the Holy Communion.
We are sustained. We are up lifted. We are transformed.
This is Church as it was called to be.
For here we love one another through the love of Christ.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Here is part of Pastor Joan’s sermon for today:
When I was in high school and trying to decide if God was calling me into the ministry I always went to the annual meeting of the congregation. Well, to be honest, I had to because my father was on the Board.
Every year the same guy, his name was Herman, sorry Herman but that was his name. The same guy got up and complained that we were paying the Pastor too much, that we didn’t sing enough old hymns, that we needed to use a different communion method, that the janitor wasn’t doing a good job, and so on. Every year he did this.
It so upset me that I thought if this is what qa Pastor has to put up with then I should become something else , anything else.
But my senior year God opened my eyes to something I hadn’t seen before. The pastor and the congregation still loved Herman. That’s right. In fact Pastor had coffee with Herman at least once a month and let Herman tell him everything that was wrong in Herman’s world. Nobody ever said “ Herman shut up1” They loved him.
They cared about him.
So I went and sat down with the Pastor and asked how it was possible to love Herman when he was so obviously unlovable.
Pastor said “ Jesus does therefore I can”
It was that simple. Jesus loved Herman. So we should love Herman too.
Then Pastor helped me see a different Herman. A Herman that had been hurt by the world and was still being hurt. A Herman that had lost his mother when he was very young. A Herman that needed healing. The Herman that our loving God saw.
When I read today’s text and the call of Jesus to love one another I think of Herman.
Somehow he found his way to a fellowship that would love him.
Or maybe not somehow, maybe God lead him there.
When my home church saw the need for a shelter for battered woman Herman offered to chair the committee. He understood pain and suffering. He did a great job. He was just the right man that God had in the right place for that ministry.
I’d like to tell you he stopped complaining at the annual meeting but he didn’t.
But they still love Him .
Our first task is to love those of the fellowship so that they can be free to love the broken and hurting of the world.
In Christ Jesus we can do this.

Wrap UP
Another glorious day. We went to church. The sermon was great but the ending was special. The Pastor's wife and daughter sang a song to the tune of the twelve days of Christmas thanking the people of the congregation for their service. They acted out each verse. Then new members were welcomed into the congregation. It was just great.
In the afternoon I brought St. Mark's website up to date and then cut the volunteer song off of the sermon and posted it separate under pictures. Then I visited everyone who left a comment yesterday.


Blogger anthonynorth said...

Life affirming words. I'm not a practicing Christian although my wife is, and she'll be going off to church shortly. She will no doubt be tested. That cranky old man is in her church, too.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Oh dear, there is a cranky lady I sit with at church, but some days I am just don't feel up to dealing with her, yet as soon as I see her frowny face, I know she needs a little positive attention and I suddenly have the strength to share some. That's gotta be Jesus because I'd just as soon go sit with the teenagers and laugh and giggle. (Come to think of it, that might be Jesus, too -- on behalf of the teenagers ....)

I loved the news clip. I hope Penny is right and the flamingos fly home.

2:29 AM  
Blogger Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

I wouldn't call you a Cranky Old Man Dr John but a Man full of Love for his God, Family and friends.

Penny looked really good on the News, I hope the Flamingos make it back home.

A Blessed Sunday is wished for you and your Family.

2:55 AM  
Blogger starbender said...

I am just getting ready for church now. I love everyone there. Good people trying to survive life.

Have a great day Doc.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

Oh my! They made the news!!! WOW! I do hope all those flamingos come flying back to the St. Mark's Nest!

I never realized there was a difference between "one another" and "everybody". All this time I thought I had to love everybody...

Do you care to share exactly WHICH day this birthday is going to happen on during the coming week?

6:03 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Maybe the same kids who took the flamingos took my new garden light! I hope they are returned.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

And may the peace and love of God be upon you and your family on this Gorgeous Sunday Day Dr. John.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Jeni said...

The week of frequent rain, damp cold weather has again taken its toll on my back and legs and I didn't awake in time this a.m. to get to church. (Wish they would return to the old time schedule with a later Sunday service as, along with the stiff creaking joints, aches and pains of aging, I have never been an early morning person.) But my daughter and granddaughter did get motivated and moving and out to Sunday School this a.m.! Thankfully, some family representation is there, huh?
But, I really just wanted to say I wish more people could read this post of yours and understand the true meaning behind it all. Very good words and really, they aren't that difficult to put into practice either. All we really need to do is think of the "Do unto others" and understanding that, loving them is simple then.

8:17 AM  
Blogger A Lady's Life said...

I agree with all of the above.
I liked what you said and wrote because it is so true, and I had a church I used to go to as a child I loved deeply.
Then life took over and Sundays became busy with kid activities, we never have a chance to go anymore.
But things eventually slow down and when we get our lives back We probably will again go and praise God in the manner he deserves to be praised. We don't forget him at home and thats the best we can do right now.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Reston Friends! said...

John, thank you for the uplifting reminders. I taught our "childrens church" program this morning and we had a missionary visiting from Kenya. She is a medical missionary, the hands and feet of Jesus, in the slums there. Her photos of the beautiful people there, full of joy and hope in Jesus, surrounded by "nothing" by our definition of possessions really grabbed our K-3rd graders. God is gracious to reveal Himself this way!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I have learned something new today."liturgical churches" ~ I'll do my homework Dr J. I love what I learn from you.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Voegtli said...

I liked the video. And of course, your post, as usual, giving some food for thought.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These so make me think a great deal. I do enjoy them and look forward to every Sunday :) Mahalo Dr. John

6:10 PM  
Blogger B.R.L said...


7:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home