You perform your small acts of kindness, do your bit to show up with the pie when there is sadness in some family, or write a short note to someone who is going through a tough time, or offer to pick up the kids for someone after school; nothing big, not carefully planned or brilliantly executed. You're sowing the seeds.
How hurtful it must have been for him to be rejected and labeled as “crazy” by his own family. Jesus didn't strike back—he simply redefined family. He enlarges the concept of family. Our definition of family is too small and inadequate for the embracing, expansive love of God.
Suddenly, he heard loud rock and roll music. Coming around the edge of a meadow, a dreadful sight came into view. About a hundred teenagers had gathered beneath a picnic pavilion. They were moving to the rhythms of the music. “My God,” the pastor thought, “this is church camp!” What would John Wesley think?
He came upon a platform carved out of stone. In the center was a modest pulpit also carved from stone. He stood behind the pulpit and looked out over hundreds of graves; a congregation of the dead. It was the quietest, most attentive congregation he had ever stood before. But he didn’t have anything to say to them.
Back in the 1960’s, the folk singing group Peter, Paul, and Mary made popular Bob Dylan’s folk song that asks some questions about important issues. He then answers the questions with this line: “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” On this Pentecost Sunday, what is the Spirit, that moves like a mighty wind, saying about the issues of our time to the followers of Jesus?
On Mother’s Day, the youth and children in the church family will use the story of Tabitha (Acts 9: 36-43) to explore the impact of strong women, church family, and a listening, loving God.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
John 14: 18-21
The United Methodist Church was officially formed on April 23, 1968 with the unification of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, along with the dissolution of the Central Jurisdiction, a segregated group of African American congregations.
Psychologists tell us it’s one of childhood’s greatest fears. Where was he now? Crucified. Body stolen from the tomb. Absent from them in flesh and in spirit. There they were—sheep without a shepherd—children whose parents had abandoned them and left them to face the cold cruel world on their own.
These were not atheists or agnostics that Jesus had recruited. They were not religious scholars by any means, but they surely had some familiarity with the Psalms. They probably grew up reciting, “The Lord is my shepherd . . .” in their synagogues. They were familiar with Joshua and Moses and the other heroes of the Old Testament. They knew that the Lord was the Rock of their Salvation who would never forsake them.
Where was their faith now—the faith that had sustained them from the time they were infants?
There were other doors that were shut in those allegedly golden days of old when many of us were growing up. There were doors, for example, that were shut against people of other races. And sadly many church doors continue to be shut to certain folk. How tragic it is when fear, which is at the heart of any prejudice, shuts the doors of a church.
The angel’s admonition to go and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen puts the women who discovered the empty tomb in a precarious position, requiring them to have freedom and authority that their culture doesn’t permit them to have.
So, what would you advise them to do? Tell the disciples and risk everyone’s life? Act against everything their culture tells them about being a woman? Or play it safe and hold the information close so that it can’t be used against them?
According to Mark’s original ending, they chose to play it safe. “They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
What kind of ending to a world-changing gospel is that?
Even the stones would shout
They’d cry your name aloud
Every bush, every tree
All the water in the sea
Even the rocks would sing
The coming of the King
Every brick in the wall
Would answer the call
Of the Savior who claims
All our fear and our doubt
Even the stones cry out
Even the stones cry out
“We want to see Jesus.” These words are frequently inscribed on pulpits, sometimes in view of only the preacher. That’s not a bad description of the purpose of preaching: to see Jesus. Yet seeing Jesus is not easy. Very few of the people who encounter Jesus really see him.
How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel like you are God’s handiwork? Do you feel you have within yourself the ability to be heroic? Do you feel you could change the world? Or are you satisfied to just get by? Are you satisfied doing as little as you possibly can to justify your existence?
God created us for more than just getting by.
Do you consider yourself a happy person? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not happy at all and 10 being happy and full of joy, how would you rate yourself? The Apostle Paul offers some advice on how we as followers of the Christ can be happy and joy filled Christians.
Frank Sinatra had a hit with the song My Way. Burger King ran a successful series of radio and television commercials during the 1970s with the slogan “Have it your way.” We tend to want to have things our way. Fortunately for us, God wants to make a deal.
What is your first thought when you see a rainbow? For the followers of the Christ the rainbow is so much more than sunlight refracting through water vapor. It is a reminder that no matter how disappointed may become with us, never again will the story of the great flood be repeated. The rainbow is God’s Covenant, a reminder of God’s love!
Have you ever been so tired you can't think straight? Our lives are hectic, to be sure. Our schedules are exhausting. No one’s life was any more hectic than Jesus’s. This Sunday, we will allow Jesus to show us the steps we need to take in caring for ourselves.
The sound of a voice can invoke a variety of emotional responses, from a sense of deep love, trust, peace and comfort to fear, anxiety, confusion, and even anger. What did the voice of Jesus sound like?