This Sunday is the last of an extended series we have been doing in connection with our Vision Statement. For the past month we have been paying closer attention to first line ‘We are a Community Rooted in Christ.’ The title for this Sunday’s focus is ‘We are a Community Rooted in Christ’ and it comes with the extension in parenthesis (is relevant).’
The word relevant is defined as; closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered.
At its best a Vision Statement like ours is only a guide to the actions it intends. So for this Sunday I have attached the (is relevant) to point us in that direction.
Consider the 3 scripture lessons below;
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
Qs. Are Jesus’ words ‘go and do likewise’ only for the lawyer mentioned at the beginning?
Or are those words meant for us as well?
In what ways does Jesus’ parable redefine the term ‘neighbor’ for you?
To whom does ‘go and do likewise’ send us to?
About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, ‘Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.’
When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’
According to this lesson the Way of Jesus can be disruptive. It can interfere with business as usual.
Q. Since Mennonites have acquired a reputation for being ‘the quiet in the land’ how can Marion Mennonite Church begin to unsettle the status quo around us?
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.’
As both John the Baptist and Jesus began to make the Kingdom of God relevant they began to develop reputations. John seemed ‘a little off’ and Jesus a little ‘too friendly.’
Q. What is my public reputation?
Does it have anything to do with following Jesus?