When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a
hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed
with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his
climbing companions. This is what he said:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With
less of you there is more of God and his rule.
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear
to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are
- no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud
owners of everything that can't be bought.
"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for
God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,'
you find yourselves cared for.
"You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind
and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate
instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you
really are, and your place in God's family.
"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution.
The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
"Not only that - count yourselves blessed every time people
put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit
me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort
and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens
- give a cheer, even!-for though they don't like it, I do! And
all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My
prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble."
<The Message >
What have you/we lost that is most dear to us? We are still living
out of a post September 11 terrorist strike (a little larger
than most, but not qualitatively different). For American news
organizations and political rhetoric this is still a big deal.
A public loss of innocence is a blessing. Unfortunately it tends
to push us into the arms of patriotism [Patriotism is often an
arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles. -George
Jean Nathan, author and editor (1882-1958)] rather than into
the arms of GOD.
What constitutes "a good appetite for God"? We are
fast approaching Lent which is thought of as a time of refraining
from eating. How might we plan now for an extravagant Lent? It
will probably have something to do with fasting.
One image of fasting is that of switching menus. Instead of storing
up treasures on earth as the menu of our life, how might we do
better at storing up treasures in heaven? Instead of giving up
a meal, how might we invite someone to share a meal with us (with
all that it means to eat/feast together)?
These sorts of issues usually take some preparation time.
Cooperation, not competition! How un-capitalistic in it present
incarnation. If you have not yet seen the movie, "A Beautiful
Mind," it is recommended for a bit in it which goes beyond
Adam Smith and finds that the better way than maximizing the
profit to the individual is to find the way which maximized the
benefit to both the individual <and> the society. Note
the addition of that little word "and." What a blessing
to the world (Nobel Prize size blessing) to find that little
How might that work in Northern Ireland? in Palestine/Israel?
in the whole arena of terrorism? What "and" are we
Homepage | Sermon Prep