Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cleansing the Temple

• 22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 21:12-17  Jesus “cleanses” the temple   @FirstUMCBville   @kerrfunk

• This passage about Jesus “cleansing the temple” is neither about the temple nor about Jesus cleansing it – in fact, that word is not used by any NT writer.
Also though oft presented as unjust vendors, there is no indication that the vendors in the temple court were corrupt or even greedy; they WERE providing a useful and temple-legal service, but that in itself points to:
This is not about the temple the building but
the temple, the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:15 and 19 (your bodies are members of Christ… your body is a temple of the HS) Sanctify yourselves (2 Cor 6:14++) and be fit for prayer and worship and sanctuary.
Matthew is writing in a time when the Temple has been destroyed… a post-temple period, post-sacrifice.
The faithful have to wonder, Where is worship? 
And Jesus has answered already:
Where two or three gather (Mt18)  
Matthew is about strengthening the Christ community
after the fall of the Temple,
and where the body of Christ is (the church)
there is healing and restoration of sight.
• Matthew is against an improper understanding of The Church (as building not people), and also against improper understanding of The Church as afterlife insurance policy.

The attitude I can sin and then ask forgiveness demonstrates lack of understanding or authenticity: not true worship, not true religion.
 (example from book The Pillars of the Earth pre-forgiveness for burning village!)
 (perhaps we find ourselves planning to sin, too, knowing we can ask for forgiveness)

Rather Church is a place / a people of relationship and sanctuary and support.

There is no solitary salvation; one cannot be saved alone.

Recall our church’s membership vows / community of love and forgiveness, growth, celebration, accountability. Can I get an amen?
• Leads to Hebrews selection: persevere how? In community.
Grab a hand, pursue holiness together, leave no one out.
Abandon comfortable sin (pre-forgiveness) grab a hand and follow Jesus, who gets the community to its perfect finish.
• Grab a hand, leave no one behind, go forward into life in community, seeking holiness and pursuing justice.

• Hymn 581 Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service

Matthew 21:12-17        (CEB)             10/25/15
12 Then Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those who were selling and buying there. He pushed over the tables used for currency exchange and the chairs of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, “It’s written, My house will be called a house of prayer. [Isa. 56:7]  But you’ve made it a hideout for crooks.”
14 People who were blind and lame came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and legal experts saw the amazing things he was doing and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were angry. 16 They said to Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” he answered. “Haven’t you ever read, From the mouths of babies and infants
you’ve arranged praise for yourself?
 [Psalm 8:3]”
Then he left them and went out of the city to Bethany and spent the night there.

Hebrews 12:1-6, 12-15        (CEB)               10/25/15
12 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters:
My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline
    or give up when you are corrected by him,
because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves,
      and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.[Prov 3:11-12]

12 So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees! 13 Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously. 14 Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15 Make sure that no one misses out on God’s grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Palm Sunday in October

• 21st Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 21:1-11  Palm Sunday in October   @FirstUMCBville   @kerrfunk

• A wife asked husband at 25 year anniversary
“why don’t you ever say you love me?”
“I said it when we got married. I’ll let you know if anything changes.”
• Two times to say I love you… to pray… to praise…
to witness… to be disciple.
When you feel like it and when you don’t.
So when Palm Sunday reading comes up in October, celebrate J
• Today’s Gospel reading is both fulfillment of prophecy
as well as two-way proclamation of Jesus’ kingship, lordship
Proclamation by Jesus entering town as Zech 9:9
Proclamation by crowd honoring and calling king
• The crowd uses clothes and palm branches…
personal resources as well as what’s handy
to honor Jesus RIGHT NOW
• Response to salvation from Isaiah: praise and tell, hide it not.
Knowing the truth is good; DOING it is better.
• Discipleship, perhaps subjectship (to Jesus’ kingship) is
adhering to teachings… listening and doing
practicing kingdom values instead of worldly; humility, generosity
uplifting the oppressed
offering genuine praise
Seeking to be Christlike

• Hymn 172 My Jesus, I Love Thee

Matthew 21:1-11        (CEB)              10/18/15
21 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.”
He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said,
Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.
[Isa 62:11 and Zech 9:9]
The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted,
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!
[Ps 118:26]
10 And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked.
11 The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Isaiah 12        (CEB)                                              10/18/15
12 You will say on that day: “I thank you, Lord.
Though you were angry with me, your anger turned away and you comforted me.
God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and won’t be afraid.
Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength and my shield; he has become my salvation.”

You will draw water with joy from the springs of salvation.
And you will say on that day: “Thank the Lord; call on God’s name;
    proclaim God’s deeds among the peoples; declare that God’s name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, who has done glorious things; proclaim this throughout all the earth.”
Shout and sing for joy, city of Zion, because the holy one of Israel is great among you.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Showing Mercy

• 20th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 20:29-34  Two blind men are restored to sight by Jesus   @FirstUMCBville   @kerrfunk

• When I took a college math class for the first time I had no idea what I was doing. My math professor, Dr. Herman, had compassion on me. He gently guided me, gave me vision, and because of him I learned to love mathematics.
It’s wonderful to help a student and watch them “see”.
• Today’s story of healing of blind men. There are several levels.
One: two blind men. Disadvantaged. Fringe of society. Perhaps beggars, perhaps cared for by family or synagogue. Perhaps sense of shame. Mistreated. Rejected by crowd.
They’re blind and they’re also invisible.
They cry out to Jesus, asking him for mercy,
asking to be able to see,
to be able to be normal productive part of society.
And Jesus does see them, is moved with compassion, treats them as human, touches & restores vision.
They interact with Jesus and they become followers.
• Another level: this is a story of spiritual blindness. Jesus has been teaching about living as a disciple, about the community that is kingdom oriented instead of worldly, and the two blind men represent the unseeing community. They are outsiders longing for belonging, searching for the way, and not even the crowd can guide them. Thank God that God has mercy, gives direction, vision.
This story also demonstrates both the need for Jesus (and the Jesus community)
and the effect of interaction with Jesus.
They receive the teaching of Jesus,
they “see” and they become followers.
• This story is a repeat from Matthew chap 9. Examine the differences. Earlier “do you believe I can do this?” Also earlier just addressed Son of David, now 3x confession of Jesus as LORD. Also this time Jesus had compassion. Last time, after the healing, Jesus had compassion on the crowds and he healed them and taught them.
• A “take home point” is that In Jesus there is compassion and not rejection, there is hope of restoration. In Jesus there is life.
• Can you hear the cry of people today, rejected by the crowd, wishing they could be normal, wishing not to be known for what separates them from others?
Can you offer them Jesus, speak a word of hope and restoration?
Do you need to hear that word of hope and restoration?
Our challenge and our role is to not be like the crowds, unfeeling and unseeing,
but Christ like.
Lord, we want to see. Teach us. Be thou our vision.

• Hymn 451 Be Thou My Vision

Isaiah 40:6-11   Common English Bible (CEB)

A voice was saying: “Call out!” And I said, “What should I call out?”
All flesh is grass; all its loyalty is like the flowers of the field.
The grass dries up, and the flower withers when the Lord’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are grass. The grass dries up; the flower withers,
but our God’s word will exist forever.
Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion! Raise your voice and shout, messenger Jerusalem!
Raise it; don’t be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!
10 Here is the Lord God, coming with strength, with a triumphant arm,
    bringing his reward with him and his payment before him.
11 Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock;
    he will gather lambs in his arms and lift them onto his lap. He will gently guide the nursing ewes.

Matthew 20:29-34   Common English Bible (CEB)

29 As Jesus and his disciples were going out of Jericho a large crowd followed him. 30 When two blind men sitting along the road heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Show us mercy, Lord, Son of David!”
31 Now the crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet.
But they shouted even louder, “Show us mercy, Lord, Son of David!”
32 Jesus stopped in his tracks and called to them.
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord, we want to see,” they replied.

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.
Immediately they were able to see, and they followed him.