Monday, September 9, 2019

Looking Ahead to September 15, 2019

This Sunday we are inviting students to bring their Backpacks (or other carrying cases) for a Blessing of the Backpacks during worship.

Also this week during our service we will be formalizing our covenant relationship with the Northern Spirit Regional Council as the United Church continues to live into its new national structure.

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Luke 14:25-33
The Sermon title is Choices and Plans

Early Thoughts: Choices matter. Priorities shape our lives. Plans are important.

Can I stop there?

If we are going to live as people of faith we need to keep those three precepts in our minds.

Choices matter! What does it mean to "Choose life so that you and your descendants may live"? What does it mean to recognize that our choices could bring blessing or curses? Many a parent has said to their children "make good choices". After all one of our tasks as a community is to help people know/learn how to make good choices. We want to consider where our choices lead us, what the consequences (good and bad, expected and unexpected [I am a firm believer in the law of unintended consequences]) might be. We are challenged to ask "what would Jesus have us do?" as we make those choices.

Priorities shape our lives! This Gospel reading has some hard words. Jesus says that following his way is more important than the "normal" rules of life. It may lead you to voluntary poverty. It may lead you to choose between following him and your family. What priority do we set on the various parts of our lives? Those things that we make top priority will automatically get more resources and attention. In a Scriptural worldview where there are constant warning of idolatry and/or following other gods our priorities can lead us to make something into an idol -- at a personal or a family or a community or a national level. Where would Jesus have us focus our attention and resources?

Plans are important! Some of us are not great at planning. Some are.  Some make detailed plans for every project -- sometime to the extent that they are unwilling/unable to alter course when the plan does not work exactly. Some simply drift along and play life by ear. I suggest that neither extreme is unhelpful. But planning is important. It gives us a direction to head. It pushes us to calculate the costs and benefits. Jesus challenges us to do the same in living our out faith. I wonder what criteria he would have us use in those calculations?

Choices and plans. They shape our lives at every level. Our hope as followers of Christ is that our choices and our plans resonate with where God would have us go.

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