Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Grace and greetings.

Following this morning's service, I had the opportunity to speak with my father, wishing him a "Happy Father's Day." He said they got up and went to church, then out to eat with some friends, enjoying their day. They had arrived shortly before I had called, and being true to my father, he was starting the grill for some chicken.

Here, we had lightly blowing snow, but now it is sunny. Though today is also the Summer Solstice, we are not really affected here as else where, for the sun does not set until August.

Anyway, I got a chance to relax in between services to watch the Angels-Dodgers game, only to get frustrated when the Angels blew both of their chances with the bases loaded and gave the game away. At least Matt Kemp scored the first two runs for the Dodgers. From what I understand from old classmates from Edison High School in Huntington Beach, that is where Matt went to school; not the same years of course...

I am not sure why I am also putting in my message from tonight's service, I feel burned out and tired, and this just seemed flat, maybe it will do something for somebody out there. Then again, it could just be a lousy sermon.

“OPEN WIDE YOUR HEARTS”
2 Corinthians 6.1-13

In the lectionary reading this evening, we pick up a few verses where we left off last week. Paul is still trying to get through to the Corinthians with whom he has had an up and down relationship with throughout the time since Paul helped start the Christian Church in Corinth. In reading of the two letters that we still have in existence, we realize that there are references to other letters that Paul wrote to the church, trying to heal the factions within the congregation.

Paul writes to the church on behalf of the other workers, stating they are “Ambassadors for Christ” coming to them with authority. But he also asserts that as we are all in Christ, we are ALL NEW CREATIONS; we are all made new. Within the newness of Christ, we should be able to put aside our differences and come together and sisters and brothers in Christ. Paul requests that they do not take God’s grace in vain; for God’s time will be when it happens, and it God’s time is now.

Paul appeals to the group in Corinth to trust in the message that Paul and the others working with Paul bring to the people. Paul writes of his troubles that he has experienced, in Corinth and throughout his ministry. Paul tells of his pain, his loss, and his love for the people of Corinth. Therein lays the message of Christ that is so often lost in the world of riches and might. So often in the world, we look to superior military might; we look at the riches of a person or nation. But Christ came with his strength in his weakness, by going to the cross. Paul too expresses his weakness means strength in Christ. The message is not as the world gives, but as Christ gives to us. As we empty ourselves, we find God.

All too often, we end up in arguments in the church. Sometimes those arguments can be summed up with the quote: “The reason that fights in churches get so vicious is that the stakes are so low.” We find ways to divide ourselves over petty differences. We get into arguments over the color of the carpet; over who is doing what for which committee; who got snubbed at the nominating committee; whether a picture or flags belong here or there. The arguments are not over salvation or how to fully use our gifts for the betterment of the Realm of God.

It is this type of arguing, over the pettiness of the church, that Paul is writing to the people of Corinth and to the people of the future church. Paul is telling the people of Corinth, that like any parent of an adult child that is misbehaving, and fighting tooth and nail to prove it; Paul is saying, “We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.” (Verses 11-13)

Open wide your hearts to God, and as we open them wide to God, we will be opening them to each other as well.

Peace and blessings.

1 comment:

Jacquelyn Keller said...

Happy Father's day! I tried to call you but you were at the church. It sounded like you were going to be busy for a while. Just give me a call when you have a chance.