Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Today's Link
Fool's Rush In

Today's Saying
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8

Today's Picture
Pennie in a Church Playlet

The liturgical churches will celebrate the fifth Sunday of Easter today. The Easter season runs from Easter day until Trinity Sunday. It is my very favorite season of the Church year. It is a time when the Good News is front and center. There are resurrection appearances with the loving words of Jesus. There are texts like the gospel for this Sunday that show us how much God loves us. The emphasis is not on our failures but on God’s faithfulness.
The gospel for today is another of my favorites.
Here Jesus pictures Himself as the vine and us as the branches. As long as we stay connected to him he makes fruit to grow in our lives.
I love this mage.
So many people have an image of God in which God is the bookkeeper , God counts up their good deeds and if there are enough he lets them into heaven. One has to always be trying to produce good works. Then as they fall short the guilt builds up.
I used to be there. I tried, after I discovered there was a loving God, very hard to please Him. I knew I was falling short. I felt so guilty.
The wonderful news of this text is that good works come not because I try hard but because I am connected to the vine. They happen because Jesus makes them happen. All I have to do is stay connected.
The text goes on to say to say that my good works aren’t for me to brag about. It is not for my glory.
No! The good works in my life give glory to the Father.
I had everything backward.
I do good deeds because I am connected to Jesus not to impress Him.
I do them to glorify God not me.
For me this is so freeing.
The only way I can wreck it is to walk away, to turn my back on God, to leave the Vine.
But I can’t do that.
Here I know I am loved and wanted.
Here I know what price God paid for me.
Here I can just say “ Thank You Jesus” and hang on tight.
But even there I discover He is hanging on to me.
God is so wonderful.
I just love the Easter season.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
On Wednesday with the battle raging in the street Pastor Joan worked on her sermon not sure if their would be a Last Lutheran to give it in but trusting that good would win out over evil. In case Pigeon Falls ceases to exist here is part of what she wrote:
“ Most people don’t want to be branches. They want to be the center. The important part.
Branches are often cut off and thrown away.
Branches blow off in a big wind.
Branches are fragile.
But today along comes Jesus and tells us we are branches.
Everybody isn’t a branch just us Christians.
Isn’t that weird.
We would much rather be the C.E.O.s of the Jesus company.
We want to be in charge.
We want to show God the profit we are making. The good deeds WE are doing.
But Jesus says we are branches.
Further he says any fruit we have, any good deed we do comes right from Him.
Don’t I get credit for anything.
Don’t I get to be better than those that aren’t producing good deeds at my high level.
Why should I even bother ?
Then there is this pruning stuff in the text.
I don’t want to be pruned.
I like my life just the way it is.
I really do.
But we forget who the Vine is.
He laid down his life for us.
He loves us with an unbelievable love.
He wants to make it possible for us to glorify the Father.
Anybody else we could ignore.
But not Jesus.
We need to trust Him.
We need to let Him change us. Recreate us. Make us new.
The good news is He will.

Wrap UP
Well I got to Church this morning but had to leave right after the sermon. Betty and Pennie were joing Peter and Pat at Miller Stadium for the Brewer's game, a mother's day gift for Betty. Maggie and I were left home alone. I brought the Church website up to date with today's pictures on the picture page, todfay's sermon. and today's choir number. All of that took a little while. Then a searched the web for some saffron bun recipes that were more like my grandmother's. I visted swome blogs. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Shadow said...

lovely message, thank you!

1:19 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

I love Pastor Joan's sermon. I wish I could attend Last Lutheran tomorrow, but the kids in my church are expecting me to help them finish their Mother's Day gifts, so I guess I'd best stay here.

1:33 AM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

A great upbeat message in this. Enjoyed it.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Very nice.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

When I was a child there was a beautifully written saying that was on the arch above the altar. It said "I am the vine, you are the branches."

As a child I wondered what that meant and would find myself looking up at those green letters in fancy letters -- complete with a vine and leaves surrounding the words.

When I was a bit older I figured out what the words meant and I have never forgotten.

Take care.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

Could you just preach Easter all year long? I love it too!

I sure hope Pastor Joan got to deliver those words today... I wonder... I wonder...

6:42 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful...Thank you so much for making my day great

7:46 AM  
Blogger Maude Lynn said...

I love your Sunday posts!

I still struggle with the feeling that I have to earn grace, rather than just embracing grace as the gift that it is.

8:48 AM  
Blogger jmb said...

Good Sunday Message Dr John

12:17 PM  
Blogger Lou said...

I try to remember that God wants me to do something nice for someone and not tell anyone about it.

That was difficult for me in the beginning..I really, really wanted someone to know how nice I was!

4:07 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Wonderful message.. Thank you.

My mother-in-law always made saffron bread/cake. It was a yellow saffron fruit cake.

Saffron is aquired taste.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

I know you were home allllll alone today. I hate that. I hope Betty & the kids had a good time! But I really do not like you being home alone. I remember the time you got sick... I'm glad today wasn't one of THOSE days!

I'm going to bed early -- I have to have to leave here at 4:30 tomorrow morning to have Krysti to the airport by 6:30. Ugh! Please pray for her safe flight to Europe!

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent Dr. John...very up beat...I enjoyed this :)

8:40 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

I like the two "Camillas" in your picture, the hats are terrific !
I don't know if I do some good work or not, I just do it because it comes out from my heart.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Joan is wise. Still, pruning isn't pleasant. (Hebrews 12:11)

9:45 AM  

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