Monday, January 27, 2014

Looking Forward to February 2, 2014 -- 4th Sunday After Epiphany

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Micah 6:1-8
  • Matthew 5:1-12
The Sermon title is What is Required?

Early Thoughts:  We have all said or thought it at some time -- just tell me what to do!  Just give me a nice concise description of what is expected so I know how to behave!

One of the main (I was going to say first but really it is an ongoing thing, not a one-time event) tasks and challenges of being a follower of The Way is deciding how to act.  Meeting this challenge is what lay behind the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets and stickers that were popular a few years back.

I remember a discussion with a friend one day.  A mutual friend was talking about the challenge her Bible study group was having because they wanted to study a book that gave them all the answers, that told them the "proper" response to any situation.  I suggested such a book does not exist.  Lori (a Baptist with a very different theology of Scripture--and many other topics-- then mine) said "of course there is".  I would disagree.

But there are some very strong hints in Scripture about how we should live.  NO, Scripture will never be able to directly answer the may questions that the modern world raises -- being written many centuries before the questions arise makes that a given.  But Scripture does give us a basic plan.

This week we hear Micah's summation of how we are to live in the world as faithful followers of God.  Yes it leaves lots of questions unanswered but it is easy to remember: Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly with God.

We also hear this week from Jesus.  Jesus who lays out whole new way of measuring the world as the Sermons on the Mount begins and indeed as it continues on over the next couple chapters of Matthew's Gospel.  Jesus who calls and challenges us to think differently, to have different measuring sticks, to keep score in new ways, here asks us to think about what it means to be blessed.  AND in there is advice: Be meek, be merciful, be peacemakers, be strong in what you think is right despite virulent opposition, hunger and thirst for righteousness (justice).

What is required?  What does it mean to be a follower of The Way?  Well here are some starting points for us to talk about this week.

PS> I have always thought those WWJD bracelets asked the wrong question.  It isn't what would Jesus do that matters -- especially since Jesus lived in a totally different culture and world.  The question is what would Jesus HAVE US do ????  That is a much more complicated question.

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