Do I know what happened an that first Easter? How the stone was rolled away? What it was like for those disciples to encounter Jesus after the crucifixion? No, I don’t know. But when I hear about and see people doing the kinds of things that I believe Jesus would be doing if he were here with us now, I cannot help but think that he is here with us now, alive.
I don’t have to tell you all reasons and all the ways that you could choose to despair. From gun violence and school shootings to sexual abuse and human trafficking, the reasons to turn away from the world are numerous. Yet, God does not turn away from us. God turns to us with a certain kind of empathy to say surely the days are coming. . . when God will put God’s law within us, and will write it on our hearts; and God will be our God, and we shall be God’s people.
God’s intent was never to narrow that love down to me and mine and those that I could convince to think like I think. No, the flow is in entirely the opposite direction, broad, expansive, inclusive, Loving the whole world.
Yet, we miss it. We abuse it. We resist it. We twist it. We fashion it into something that better suits our purposes. Rather than losing our lives for the sake of the gospel, we lose the Gospel for the sake of our lives.
She added a postscript to her letter. It reads, “I had to look your church up. You are 2188 miles away, but managed to reach us!” Reach her indeed. There is a whole lot of ground between Vermont and Texas. But there is not so much that it kept you from being hands and feet of Christ. There is not so much that it kept you from doing on earth as it is heaven. Often, the barriers of distance and time are breached when God is working through God’s people. Sometimes we are the ones God is working through and sometimes we the ones that receive the benefit of God working through others.
How is it that the 2nd Amendment to our constitution has become a protection for the rights of every disturbed, demented and hateful person who decides to load a gun and start shooting children?
The details of God’s knowing are comprehensive. Sitting, standing, thinking, walking, sleeping, speaking, God knows it all. Which makes sense, because God is the one who has fearfully and wonderfully made the writer of this song.
Ministry is often described as a mutual relationship between pastor and congregation, but it’s easy for both the pastor and the congregation to forget to see themselves as partners.
So I hope you will have enough faith in the future – in the excitement of calling and working with a new settled pastor, in the satisfying work of making the goals of the strategic plan a reality, in exploring the new ways you might be called to be the church, and most of all, in God’s ongoing care for Christ’s church – to commit your time, your talent and yes, your treasure, to ensuring that this is a vital UCC congregation for years to come.
The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat isn’t an easy one, and so, before I deal with the parable itself, I want to say a little about the gospels and their authors. The word “gospel” comes from an Old English word meaning “good news,” so what we have in the gospels is the good news about Jesus Christ. And we have it in not one but four different versions. Each version contains the good news, according to a particular author, and I’m sure we can all reel off their names: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.