Sermon – September 20th 2015
By Roland Legge
What does it mean for you to be a Christian? Right from the beginning the Disciples struggled with what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. In today’s reading from Mark the Disciples do not want to hear what Jesus had to say. They are still living in denial. They want Jesus to be the great leader who will fix their problems. They want him to fix their problems without them having to make any changes. What are your expectations of Jesus?
I have a lot of sympathy for the Disciples. Jesus was asking a lot of them. But what I love about Jesus is that he invited them to join him. He used no coercion. He lays everything out so there are no surprises. If people are to follow him they must be willing to turn their lives around and put their faith into the love of God. They must put wisdom of God before anything else. They must be willing to find strength in vulnerability. They must be willing to mix with those on the edges of society who are living in poverty, violence and all forms of abuse. Jesus was challenging them to walk their talk.
It is ironic that the first people who really understood what Jesus was about were the people who were threatened by him such as Pilot. So why was it that the people who were trying to kill him understood who he was while the Disciples who followed him did not? I think they understood because they could grasp the huge cost the Jesus movement was going to have on, them. It took Jesus disciples a long time before they fully understood. They didn’t get it until well after Jesus death and resurrection.
Jesus struggles to get our attention today. Many of us don’t want to hear what he has to say. We like the disciples, metaphorically, don’t want to get our hands dirty. We want someone else to fix our problems. But yet Jesus never gives up on us. He keeps calling us to true discipleship. He does without judgement always hoping that one day we will be ready to be transformed.
Are we ready to be transformed? Are we ready to be born again? There is nothing magical about this process. It is all about finding the Christ self, our higher self within us. The Christ self is a gift from God and we all have within us.
There are many ways to access the higher power within us. It is always helpful to quiet our minds so the Spirit can mold us. Reading scripture in community can help us to discern our call to heal the world. For me the Enneagram is a great tool to reveal our Christ self because it helps us to release behaviours that are not of service to the world. It helps us to see the difference between our egos, our fake selves, with our truth that comes from wisdom and true presence. Presence coming from when we are able to release all our insecurities, greed, fear and hopelessness and fill that void with the love of God.
The Good News is that we don’t have to wait for anyone else to join us in our mission to transform the world. One person can begin to make a huge difference just by changing the way they act. In Systems theory it shows us that one person can begin to affect change in any organization by acting in ways that they expect their colleagues to act. One person, destructively acting out, can show us where the organizational system is not healthy by asking these question. Where is their discord? Where in the organization are people not having their needs met. Where in the organization are the members not being heard and respected? Often once these problems are resolved the person will ether change their behaviour or leave. Have you ever experienced this?
What will be most surprising are the people who we will meet on our faith journey. Sometimes they will be the people we least expect. Maybe a person from another faith will want to join us. Maybe it will be wealthy business person who is wanting to make the world a better place. Maybe it will be a person who has a criminal record who is eager to help. God has called us all to transformation, are we ready to receive those who are hungry for experiencing the Kingdom of God?
How are we at we at Foam Lake United Church trying to transform the world. Individually many of you volunteer in our community. Know that your dedication really does make a difference. But what are we doing as a congregation?
There are people in our community who are eager to make a difference in the world. I believe that part of our mission is to invite community members to join us in some community mission that will do something positive for our community and world such as services for children and young families, cleaning up the environment, ending prejudice, building relationships with first nation brothers and sisters. This would strengthen our community, giving us a purpose and encourage those in our community who are looking for a spiritual home where they get to live out their faith. A place where people get to make a difference.
When we allow our maker to engage us in ministry our lives are changed for ever. The things that used to bother us are no longer giving us sleepless nights. We no longer worry who is better or worse than us. We no longer worry about who is good and who isn’t good. We no longer worry about who has the right doctrine because we are living out our faith. We no longer worry about having enough money because we will receive whatever we need to do God’s work because of the Creators abundance that there is enough for all. We no longer need someone else to tell us what to believe because our faith is now etched in our hearts. You cannot help but know what we believe by what we do and say.
While being a follower of Jesus is not easy. It also brings us great joy and purpose in life that nothing else can replace. It is what guides us in what we choose to do. It gives us amazing community to help us celebrate life and people to help us through the rough times. It gives us a safe environment to grow beyond our personality. It brings us together with other people to make the world a better place. Most importantly it helps us all around the world to come together in peace, love, justice and harmony. To be the new world wide community of love, justice, generosity, and hope that both nurtures people and all of the Created order on this planet and throughout our galaxy.