Message based on Luke 14:25-33; “C” – P15

This Week’s Scriptures: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139: 1-6,13-18 or UMH 854; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33

You can find these readings here:   NIV  // NRSV  // The Message

clip_image002

We are NOT called to be doormats. We are called to be Disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. That means a certain accountability on our part for the way we live our lives.

clip_image004 clip_image006

NIV Luke 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he [JESUS] said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters– yes, even his own life– he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

clip_image008

When we hear the words “carry your cross,” most of us see visions of some grandiose spiritual travail or some painfully difficult or burdensome work. We think of noble perseverance. We imagine sacrifice or suffering, usually on behalf of the faith.

Today’s Gospel reading has nothing to do with any of that.

clip_image010

Dean of McAffee School of Theology, Alan Culpepper, writes, “Bearing a cross has nothing to do with chronic illness, painful physical conditions, or trying family relationships. It is instead what we do voluntarily as a consequence of our commitment to Jesus Christ” (Culpepper, 293).

 

Today’s Gospel reading is about our accountability that results from our love and devotion for God. Jesus calls us to be witnesses to God’s presence in whatever we do in the course of our lives. We are called to “bear our crosses” by allowing our lives to reflect Gods presence.

 

The point of today’s Gospel reading is that being a part of the body of Christ requires practice and commitment. Being a Christian is a call to action. That is why, when we become a part of United Methodist church and a local congregation, we make certain promises to God and to the congregation (UMH 38) of our Christians sisters and brothers.

clip_image012
 

Being a Christian is an invitation to be bearers of God’s love and grace in this world. The teachings of Jesus call us to fill our minds, souls and time with doing good, so that we do not have time or space for temptations or to pursue the bad.

clip_image014

Being a Christian is an invitation to stay focused on what we have been saved for. My understanding is that what we are saved for is to be bearers of God’s love and grace throughout God’s Creation (Dick, Dan).

clip_image016

Being a Christian is about becoming who and what God wants us to be, what God envisions our lives to be in a community of other Christians. It is about making a positive impact in the present as we keep an eye on the promises and possibilities of the future.

clip_image018

Being a Christian is about being an instrument of God’s love;

clip_image020

love that is a sum of joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

clip_image022

Being a Christian is about being an instrument of God’s grace;

clip_image024

grace that is a sum of compassion, mercy, justice, forgiveness, emotional and spiritual wholeness and healing, hope and finding common ground in order to face common challenges.

clip_image026

Being a Christian is about acknowledging that we are not perfect, and recognizing that it is NOT about our shortcomings, failings, flaws, and faults (Dick, Dan). It is about our fervent and purposeful striving to find the strength and the stamina to be disciples of Jesus of Nazareth in spite of our imperfections.

clip_image028


Being a Christian is about looking beyond what is and recognizing what could be because we know that God is active in our world. Being a Christian is about rolling up our sleeves and joining God in doing whatever it is that God is doing when and where we live. It is about acknowledging the beauty and wonder of God’s presence in our lives and in our community as we work towards the future that God envisions for us.

clip_image030

Being a Christian is not a trivial accomplishment; salvation is not for wimps. It takes discipline, determination, perseverance, and faith. God expects us to grow in our Christian walk; John Wesley called it “growing in perfection.” Being a Christian is evident by the fruits of the spirit that we demonstrate. As we observe Labor Day, let us remembers that we are all laborers in God’s Garden. Our accountability is evident in the way that we produce the spiritual fruits of love and grace. Can you answer this simple question: what are the results of your labor in God’s Garden?

clip_image032

To help us to bear spiritual fruit and to remind us of God’s interest in our lives, God established sacraments. As Protestant Christians, we celebrate two sacraments that were established by Jesus himself: Baptism and Holy Communion. These sacraments are tangible reminders of God’s grace and love in our lives.

{Transition into the sacrament}

List of Works Cited:

Culpepper, Alan., Luke, The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 9. Abingdon: Nashville, TN., 1995. 

Dick, Dan (dorotheo2.wordpress.com). United Methodeviations. 26 August 2010. 26 August 2010 < http:/doroteos2.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/holy-warps/ >

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: