Posts from March 2016

“Experiencing the Unexpected” Luke 24:1-12

Ours is a world filled with the unexpected.  We don’t expect the weather to stay the same for extended periods of time.  We don’t expect presidential candidates to play nicely.  We don’t expect the Department of Transportation to have too few workers at any site.

We also have some expectations.  We expect the grounds at Augusta National to be beautiful every year during the first week of April.  We expect to encounter traffic if we go to Atlanta around 8:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m.  I expect to enjoy chili dog, chili steak, onion rings, and Frosted Orange every time I go to The Varsity.  Maybe every person’s expectations are unique.

Unfortunately, because of some prior negative interactions, we also have some other expectations.  All of us have experienced difficulties, days when people don’t do what we expect them to do.  Conflicts or disagreements emerge.  Some expect to be disappointed.  Others expect governmental officials to be dishonest.  I expect there to be long lines when I renew my drivers’ license or have some computer snafu.  Side note:  I renewed my license last week and was grateful that the process was painless and efficient.  Again, a person’s expectations are connected to prior experiences.

“Life of the Beloved” Luke 22:14-27

Maundy Thursday Meditation

Jesus was very deliberate when he had his Last Supper with the twelve disciples.  He had planned everything in advance.  He sent Peter and John ahead of the group and told them to prepare the Passover Meal.  When they asked him of the location, Jesus responded to look for a man carrying a jar of water; follow him to a house and then say to the owner of that house, “The teacher wants to know where he can eat the Passover Meal with his disciples.”  They were led to an Upper Room, and that is where Peter and John prepared the Passover meal.

 

“If These Stones Could Talk” Luke 19:28-40

Occasionally I have heard someone, when discussing everything that has happened in a particular space, say, “If these walls could talk.”  The meaning is that talking walls could discuss specifics of what had happened.  Historians could use the phrase in wondering about the behind the scenes conversations that helped form a specific scenario.  We know that Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man; he regularly entertained guests at Monticello, his home in Charlottesville, VA.  We know that around his dinner table, he discussed the forming of a great nation.  About his dining room, someone could say, “If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell.”Detectives who investigate a crime, seek to piece together the details.  In entering a room to seek clues, the detective may think, “If these walls could talk, we’d know more about really happened.”

“Judging Outcasts” John 7:53-8:11

For the past few weeks, I have enjoyed preparing the sermons in the “Where Would Jesus Go?” series. The intentional focus on how Jesus related to the outcasts of his day has hopefully shed some light on how we might follow Jesus more closely, which becomes the purpose for the season of Lent. We have also intentionally highlighted community ministries in which anyone can be involved.
As a result of a recent meeting of the ministers in downtown Madison, I have invited pastors of every church in Morgan County to a meeting this afternoon in our Fellowship Hall to learn of how others can participate in The Caring Place, Madison Meal on Main and the Ecumenical Benevolence Fund. All of these serve the entire county; I hope that more churches will actively participate and also realize that these ministries are available to their members. We can always do more together than we can accomplish alone. “One Morgan” shouldn’t only be a slogan for our school system; I hope that one day “One Morgan” will also represent the Christan Community of Morgan County.

 

“Holy and Unholy Recognitions” Luke 7:36-50

My Dad had many colorful sayings, some of which were original, and most of those should not be shared in a church Sanctuary. As teenagers, we regularly heard him offer this saying, which was not original to him, “If you lay down with the dogs, you will get up with fleas.” Have you heard that? My Dad was addressing the company his children were keeping. The lesson was that the people with whom you associate have an influence on you.
Jesus didn’t necessarily hold to my Dad’s parental counsel. Jesus had a reputation of laying down with many different kinds of dogs, associating with multiple kinds of people, yet we also know that he did not sin. Jesus ate with the sinners; some were tax collectors, drunks, prostitutes, but he also ate with other sinners, the Pharisees.

 

“Seeing our Blind Spots” John 9:1, 6-9, 13-22, 34-41

After deciding upon today’s sermon title, I googled “blind spot.” I was unaware of an NBC television show by that name. I also didn’t know that Blindspot is a company that produces window coverings, specifically blinds. Merriam Webster offers three definitions (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blind%20spot). First, a blindspot is an area around a car, truck, etc., that the driver cannot see. The Honda we bought back in September has an area which the rear-view mirror cannot reach; this is called a blindspot. Secondly, a blindspot is a small area at the back of the eye that is not sensitive to light; our peripheral vision becomes limited, because of the way our eye is created, thus preventing us from seeing a certain area. Finally, the tendency to ignore something especially because it is difficult or unpleasant becomes a blindspot for us; I hope that because of today’s sermon, we can see some of our own 
blindspots.