Category Archives: Calendar

Homily – Jesus Condones Weed

Matthew 13:24-43

24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

After telling two other parables…. He has to explain the first one…

 

36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart           be acceptable to you, O God           my rock and my liberator. Psalm 19:14

 

 

 

HOMILY –                                JESUS CONDONES WEED

 

Pericope –

  • Weeds sown with Seeds
  • Malicious vandalism of crop
  • Hopes of choking out crop

 

The actual weed Jesus spoke of was a ryegrass called “darnell.”

  • In its early stages it resembles wheat;
  • but instead of bearing fruit,it’s poisonous.
  • So not only is darnell useless, it’s toxic as

TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION –

Metaphor

God – sower of Seeds –                             Good people

Devil –sower of Weeds –                            evil people

In the END

God sorts out the good                         from the bad…                    takes Good into the kingdom                 and sends bad in the flames

BUT, I ASK THAT WE LOOK AT THIS PARABLE WITH A DIFFERENT LENS…

CHARACTERS IN THE STORY

SEEDS represent ?

 

WEEDS represent ?

Seeds –                                                                                                                                          those trying to do God’s  will/Follow Christ

Weeds –                                                                                                                                              those struggling with God’s will/Christ

 

Seeds –      Facts

Weeds –     Lies

 

Seeds –      Truth

Weeds –     Untruth

 

Seeds –      Accurate News Coverage

Weeds –     Fake News Stories

 

At one time or another – we have found ourselves surrounded by WEEDS…

GOSSIP?

Mildred, the small town gossip and self-appointed monitor of church morals, was always one to stick nose into other people’s business.

Most members of the congregation did not approve of her intrusions, but she was feared, so all maintained their silence.

She took that fatal step too far one day, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the small town’s only bar all afternoon.

She emphatically told Frank (in front of several others) that EVERYONE SEEING THAT PICKUP THERE WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment then just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home ….and left it there all night.

 

LIES/RUMORS

These weeds are the hardest.

We want to stop the spread –

But rumors/lies cannot be stopped –

We must spread the truth just as quickly… then let it go

Often we have to live with the lies/rumors – until the day the truth comes to light….

 

FAKE NEWS

Although it has always existed…

Now it has a proper name

AND a perfect disguise.

Fake news is frustrating, infuriating

 

For many – we want to take it upon ourselves                                                 to jump on the lies/fake news and WEED them OUT –

Shout out contradictions and

Root out the truth…

In this parable – what is Jesus trying to convey?

Jesus seems to be saying that God’s Answer to Problem – is to do nothing —

Let the lies,                                                                                                                           untruths,                                                                                                                                     fake news                                                                                                                            rumors  continue to circulate –

 

Go On about your life… live it according to God’s will –

 

Racing in to refute a lie only     keeps  the lie center stage…

Once the story is out there…    an immediate  correction   rarely repairs the damage

Stirring up the mud…

The lies begin to muddy the water – but then when we respond trying to refute the lies, we stir the water more and more mud gets into the mix…

Jesus says —  wait – don’t act now… let the mud settle and THEN the truth will appear…

Don’t’ spend all of our time trying to fight the lies, and nothing else gets done…

_______________

Jesus wants to get across to the disciples that attempting to pull out the weeds before harvest will only result in pulling out the wheat as well….

God wants us to Wait –

In the end, the lies and the       truth will be sorted out …

BUT

BUT

BUT

This means we have to allow the lies to continue to live and grow –

Until God moves in….               Letting God handle it…

Trusting God to bring the                truth into the light

And send the lies into flames

ILLUSTRATIONS,

There was a church in which the minister asked the people to imagine what would happen if they adopted a policy of weed-pulling,

if they drew a circle around their little town of Wingate, North Carolina, and made a vow that no evil would cross that line,

that no weeds would grow within that border.

The minister said,

“You know, you and I could spend the rest of our lives protecting that boundary,

standing shoulder to shoulder with pitchforks and clubs, making sure that we kept drugs and alcohol and pornography and gambling safely on the other side.

I think it would take all of our energy and most of our time.

But what if we did it?

What if we succeeded?

What would we have?

We would have a town characterized by the absence of evil,

which is not the same as a town characterized by the presence of good.

And maybe this is what Jesus was talking about all along,

that it’s better to have a wheat field with weeds in it than a field with nothing in it at all.

We also have to understand that what is a plant to one may be a weed to another…

I am sure I have one of the healthiest WEEDS growing in my back yard…who knows… I am not deciding…

The same goes for some people around us we may see as weeds, who AREN’T –

Transgender      Illegal Aliens      Muslims      Homeless                      Mentally Challenged

A man wrote about someone he viewed as a WEED…

He said:

One of the best Christians I’ve ever known was a Roman Catholic who cursed and smoked and had a heart as big as the Gulf of Mexico.

She was not the kind of person you would find serving punch in the church fellowship hall.

But she started the shelter movement in Atlanta.

I remember when she stopped a knife fight at our night shelter by walking calmly between two combatants and saying,

“You guys know better than  this.”

And that was the end of that.

When one of our homeless friends died on the street,                                she claimed his body,   paid for the cremation, and waited for someone- friend or family-to come.

No one ever came.                   She drove around for weeks with his ashes in the backseat  of her car.

Finally, she asked the rector of a downtown Episcopal church                      if the ashes could be placed  in the church’s memorial                garden.

He said:

“Our policies will allow only the remains of relatives to be placed here,”

“Perfect,” she said.     “Jesse was my brother.”

It’s often hard to tell who is wheat and who is weed.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am wheat                                     and sometimes I am weed,

Often, I can’t tell when I am being either…

Pray with me –

Homily – Numbers Don’t Always Count

Luke 10:1-20                                    (MSG)

10 1-2 Later the Master selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. He gave them this charge:

“What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands.

3 “On your way! But be careful—this is hazardous work. You’re like lambs in a wolf pack.

4 “Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage.

“Don’t loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way.

5-6 “When you enter a home, greet the family, ‘Peace.’ If your greeting is received, then it’s a good place to stay. But if it’s not received, take it back and get out. Don’t impose yourself.

7 “Stay at one home, taking your meals there, for a worker deserves three square meals. Don’t move from house to house, looking for the best cook in town.

8-9 “When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you, heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, ‘God’s kingdom is right on your doorstep!’

10-12 “When you enter a town and are not received, go out in the street and say, ‘The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we’re giving it back. Did you have any idea that God’s kingdom was right on your doorstep?’ Sodom will have it better on Judgment Day than the town that rejects you.

13-14 “Doom, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had been given half the chances given you, they’d have been on their knees long ago, repenting and crying for mercy. Tyre and Sidon will have it easy on Judgment Day compared to you.

15 “And you, Capernaum! Do you think you’re about to be promoted to heaven? Think again. You’re on a mudslide to hell.

16 “The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me.”

17 The seventy came back triumphant. “Master, even the demons danced to your tune!”

18-20 Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.”

 

 

HOMILY

 

When I first knew that God was calling me to this church… I began disassembling our house and packing boxes. I packed boxes every day for three months and stacked them in the garage. Even with yard sale, many late night runs to various dumpsters, and trips to Good Will… I still had filled a large two car garage and stacked two and three boxes high.

I thought, for two people who had accumulated a lifetime of stuff… this wasn’t too bad —

Until the day the semi-trailer truck pulled into our little cul-de-sac for the move. The driver walked through the house and began putting yellow tags with numbers on everything….

Before he had come close to finishing… he said Oh, Oh..

Apparently the company contracted to estimate the load had been inaccurate… by 4000 pounds… (remember the estimate was made BEFORE sorting, selling, throwing and donating.

I asked if there was a problem, and he said there was. The estimate was for only ¾ of the trailer… and he was to pick up two more loads in route to Nebraska…He had to call his office in Michigan to have another truck sent for the other loads. I still could not believe our stuff would take up that much space in a semi-trailer…

Well, after eight hours of five men and two dollies loading the trailer to within inches of the roof… and front to back— they got it all loaded — but barely. And we didn’t bring washer and dryer or refrigerator. After preparing for this move – literally handling every possession we have… then packing the truck… I can now understand why it was that Jesus suggested to his followers that we ‘carry no purse, no bag, no sandals’….

Jesus understood how belongings can be a burden – how possessions divide our attention–how things divert our focus –how stuff can prevent progress

Jesus then sent these followers out in pairs, rather than one by one…We are not given his reasoning for this,        Maybe Jesus thought it was more   effective to send his followers out in               pairs sharing diverse gifts.

They would be accountable to one another, They would be encouragement for one another, They would be safer traveling in pairs.  But who were these followers?

Scripture just states that Jesus appointed seventy others…Not priests… not prophets… not scholars… not royalty…

OTHERS…..

Others sent to share God’s peace – cure the sick – cast out demons – and share God’s love..Contrary to popular belief these acts do not require professional religious leaders – to perform these acts requires trust in God’s reign. Sending out ordinary people shows us that everyone is called into God’s ministry….and can carry out that ministry in any number of ways.

Flannel blankets cut and tied are a ministry to children through Linus Project – and to those at the end of life in the hospital.

Some of these are tied by young people with mental illness; older people who still wish to contribute and everyone in between.        Taking turns to serve breakfast to the homeless.                                   Collecting household items for refugees                                                                Distributing necessities to panhandlers                                                       Picking up the tab for groceries for a struggling family.                  Collecting eye glasses for the poor                                                               Giving rides to dr appts                                                                                              Hospice House volunteer – ministry was to go room to room and clean the resident’s glasses.

These are ministries – that do not require professional training –Theological research  Special skills    Or money….Just time — and a desire to be part of God’s ministry…

The followers were sent out empty handed –

Another reason for this might have been so that these followers ministry to others would require them to depend on relationships to survive…It required them to help others learn to help themselves, rather than supplying for their need—or fixing the problem….

Is this story a good example of a successful ministry?                                   It was seventy ordinary people – untrained – unskilled and sent out in pairs       When it comes to having a successful ministry- it may not look like what we would expect –When the seventy returned excited at their ‘success’, Jesus reminded them that their success was because of him… and not they themselves…

Often, ministers measure the ‘successes of their ministry by the numbers in the pews… by the money in the plate                                         If that is a legitimate way of measuring… then many churches are very UNSUCCESSFUL…

FACEBOOK   Modern Religion Focuses on Filling Churches with People. The True Gospel Emphasizes Filling People With God.(www.revivial-library.com)

Jesus taught us to be more concerned with the health of the community not the size of it. Jesus knew the difference between CROWDS and followers…One who reads the gospel of Matthew       quickly realizes there is a real difference between crowds and         disciples.

So, it may be that the message we have here is                                           The health of a church is not based                                                                        upon the number of people who attend.

But whether the church is producing disciples.

So when we worry about church growth —Remember – we are healthy and successful  Because

We are more concerned with growing disciples than numbers!

Ministerting to Refugees / Homeless

Refugee

Karen and Jane – Shopping for household items to                                        assist refugee families

Open Door Missions - Serving Breakfast - July 8, 2016

Breakfast Queens – Rev. Susan, Peggy and Debbie                                         serving pancakes at Open Door Mission

Open Door 2

Peanut Butter Patt brightening someone’s day                                             at Open Door Mission.

Open Door 3

Helping Hands at Open Door Mission Breakfast                                            – Peggy, Barb, Patt and Debbie

 

Homily – Baptism of Jesus

Homily – Baptism of Jesus

 

Luke 3:15-22                         The Message (MSG)

15 The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, “Could this John be the Messiah?”

16-17 But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

18-20 There was a lot more of this—words that gave strength to the people, words that put heart in them. The Message! But Herod, the ruler, stung by John’s rebuke in the matter of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, capped his long string of evil deeds with this outrage: He put John in jail.

21-22 After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

 

HOMILY

BAPTISM

-Christian sacrament (ritual/ceremony)

marked by ritual use of water and                  admitting the recipient to the                         Christian community

-a non-Christian rite using water for               ritual purification

-Christian sacrament signifying                       spiritual         cleansing and rebirth

-an immersion or sprinkling of water                      that signifies one’s identification with            a belief or cause.

In Christianity,                                                      it is the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection     (Rom. 6:4-5).

It is done in the name and authority                      (Acts 4:7) of Christ with the baptismal    formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit       (Matt. 28:19).

_____________________________

Do you remember your baptism?

This is what we are called to do whenever we witness a baptism… to remember our own.

________

How were you Baptized?

Sprinkle

Pour

Blessing

Immersion

 

What is one word that describes your baptism?

 

 

Why were you baptized?

Salvation

Ordinance

Sacrament

 

Some Traditions: baptism needed for salvation

 

It does not save us (1 Pet. 3:21).                      However, it is our responsibility,                               as believers, to receive it.

Why are some baptized by                            sprinkling? Pouring? Immersion?

_____

Why was Jesus baptized?

Baptism of REPENTENCE?

Washing away sins?

Salvation?

Possible Reasons

  1. He would be recognized by his forerunner, John the Baptizer
  2. Showed Jesus identified with sinners
  3. His baptism symbolized the sinners’ baptism into righteousness
  4. Showed his approval of John’s baptism, and that it was approved by God.
  5. Symbol of the new beginning of     Jesus’ ministry

Some theologians say that Jesus                         was also just following Jewish law…                   the legal requirements for                                   entering priesthood….

  1. Cleansing – washing – water
  2. Anointing with oil – represents the anointing of the HS.
  3. Needed to be 30 years old
  4. Receive verbal blessing – God spoke this blessing.

_________________

Luke was not as concerned with the Baptism of Jesus, as he was with what happened               AFTER WARDS

Luke, unlike Matthew, Mark and John                never mentions Jesus in the water,                        or that it was John who baptized him.

Luke directed our attention to what Jesus did AFTER the baptism – his story has Jesus

IN PRAYER after the baptism and at            THAT time the HS descended                 on Jesus like a dove…

________

Luke wanted his listeners to know that PRAYER was and is an important part of Jesus’ life as it should be for all of us…

And it is in prayer that we will receive the HS…

Baptism ends too soon when we focus only on              the moment and forget what comes                    after the water has dried:

a baptism-shaped life where God’s Spirit               dwells within our very bodies.

Please pray with me.

Gracious God, remind us that baptism is a symbol that we are claimed by someone special and called to do something special.

That we are God’s beloved… and God is well pleased with us…

Pour out your Holy Spirit now upon us, upon and within our bodies.

Help us to live in faithfulness to you long after the water has dried.

Amen.