Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

Today's Link
Signs Along the Way

Today's Saying
In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet. ~Albert Schweitzer

Today's Picture

In liturgical churches this is the sixth Sunday after Pentecost.. The Gospel text is Mark 6:14-29.
It is not a pretty text. It is a text about guilt, sinful love, fear, honesty, drunkenness, and horrible death. If it were a movie it would have an R rating.
It begins with Herod hearing about Jesus and out of his guilt begins to think it is John the Baptist raised from the dead.
Then Mark takes us through the whole horrible story.
He tells us how John denounced King Herod for taking his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias.
Yet King Herod liked to listen to John preach and so left him alone.
But Herodias who resented having her sins called down in public wanted John dead and finally got Herod to arrest him.
But even then Herod protected John. John was held in a sort of protective custody.
Then came King Herod’s birthday and the King throws a wild drinking party for himself.
It ends with a fantastic dance by the daughter of Herodias.
Then Herod who has had far too much to drink tells her he will give her anything she wants. He says this in front of all the gathered guests.
At her mother’s urging she asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
Herod has made a public promise , drunken or otherwise, he can not back out and save face so he gives the order.
Now he felt bad about that because he believed John to be a Holy Man.
He knew in his heart that somehow there was a connection between Jesus and John. But he got it wrong. Jesus wasn’t John come back to punish him.
Jesus was the one who could set him free.
Lots of people get it wrong.
They see Jesus as the judge . They see him with the book that lets you into heaven and keeping them out.
But Jesus is the one who can and will wash our sin away so we can stand before the final judge clean and without guilt.
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.
“… So that is the story of Herod now I want to tell you the story of Donald.
Donald is a boy who lived in the town I grew up in. He belonged to the wrong group of boys in school.
You know the one’s that are always in trouble. Drugs hadn’t really come to our community at that time so the big thing was booze.
The week before graduation on a Friday night they had a big drinking party planned out at the old quarry.
Some righteous sophomore , named Fred, turned them in. The police showed up and they all got hauled in, their booze was taken away , and their parents were called. It was costly and embarrassing.
So several nights later the group went after Fred. They beat him to death. Well he died on an operating table with the Doctors trying to save him.
The police hauled in the group. The three that did the actual beating got fifteen year sentences and the rest got a year’s probation.
Donald wished they had sent him to jail. He had liked Fred. He ate with Fred in the lunchroom. Fred helped him with his mathematics. But when they were beating Fred he didn’t raise a hand to stop them. He didn’t even say stop.
Now every night he could hear Fred screaming. He was in a cell of his own creation.
But then like Herod he ran into Jesus.
He found a pamphlet Fred had given Him. He just tossed it aside at the time but now he read it. The next Sunday he went to Fred’s Church. There a miracle happened Jesus came and took his guilt away.
Now Donald is a youth counselor for a big Lutheran Church. He is helping youth to meet Jesus.

Wrap UP
A nice day. Got to Church. The sermon was great. Our visitors from Africa sang. We had a chance to fellowship with them after the service. In the afternoon I brought the Church web page up to date. Then I visited all the blogs that left comments yesterday. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger anthonynorth said...

I think this is such an important story. So many elements - revenge, desire, indulgence, injustice, the inner mind of a tyrant at work ...
And a deep heroism and faith at its centre.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to be grounded rather than to fly.

3:24 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

I think that often Jesus is sitting in the corner in the dorm where my son is (he is in a low level facility, not in a cell). I believe that Jesus trys to get my son's attention to tell him He is always there for him if he wants to talk.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Voegtli said...

Your saying of the day by Albert Schweitzer brought memories back to me. When I was at high school in the late 50ties, so many missionary people were touring the schools. Misereor, The Basle Mission and of course everybody knew about Dr. Schweitzer's hospital in Lambarene. I attended all conferences of these people. I was attracted by what they said, about what they did in Africa, in Asia, in the jungle, in the desert. And they, perhaps planted a seed in my head. A seed that grew and made me go and do what I did all my life. In the jungle, in the desert.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Maude Lynn said...

I love your Sunday posts!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Gattina said...

I think it all depends on the bible's interpretation. Some priests prefer to present Jesus as a judge without any pity and some people unfortunately believe it.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

I love how you add the human element to your sermons in your story of Pigeon Falls. Jesus is the answer not the judge.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Donald will save many through his faith. Miracles happen. God Bless.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love todays saying. Excellent. I'm also torn about the sermon. I wish I could be as forgiving and not judge but David was so wrong. A fellow human being lost his life because of him. And because he is now a counselor and a miracle happened he is suppose to be forgiven and his guilt is gone? I have a hard time seeing the justice there. How do you explain that to Freds family?

11:38 AM  
Blogger Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Another wonderful post Dr John, I would have loved to have been able to come and sit in your church and listen to you.

A Blessed Day is wished for you, Betty and your family.

Stop by the blog, you have until Midnight MDT to guess what the closeup is.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

Before Pastor Paul read the Gospel today, he said to the congregation... "Soooo, you think YOU'VE got problems??? Listen to THIS!" ... and proceeded to read the Gospel and segue into his message. Tis' true, tis true! Herod had a problem -- and poor John REALLY had a problem! And today's prayer that will always be answered with a YES? "God, get me through this suffering." It was a great message! Yours was too! And Pastor Joan's! I just love hearing how different pastors approach the same piece of scripture!

Sorry I missed visiting yesterday. And I'm sO sorry you didn't get to go to Life Fest! I know you really would have enjoyed it. I would too! I've begun hearing about some other Christian gatherings in the area... so I think NEXT year I may forgo Women of Faith in favor of trying something different! There's an Evangelical Conference that is going on the SAME weekend that I would love to attend -- so I may plan THAT for next year!

12:53 PM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Great sermon -- both of them. Jesus is salvation.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

Wow, look at those flowers!

8:03 PM  
Blogger LoieJ said...

Our guest's pastor's sermon about this was based on our call to be disciples, but that there is a cost. But it wasn't a downer of a sermon at all because of the Good News.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that a true story about Donald? Because if so... WOW.

The Herod part has always intrigued me... you'd think the Bible would paint him as a totally bad guy, but here he is almost a sympathetic character. Weird. Just more proof that the Bible isn't written from human perspective, but from God's perspective.

5:36 AM  

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