Sermon June 21, 2020

A Message for Father’s Day?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen.

Now and then we may read and hear a Good News Gospel portion of scripture and in worship the pastor says “The Gospel of the Lord’ then as we say the response ‘Praise to you, O Christ’

we wonder ‘This is good news?’

I have not come to bring peace, but a sword?

And so much for a nice sermon with Father’s Day humor. ‘I have come to set a man against his father and so forth and one’s foe will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me or take up the cross is not worthy of me.

Happy Father’s Day!

There is good news when we look at the greater context. Jesus, the teacher and master, is teaching the disciples and preparing them for the days of persecution ahead. While by and large Christians are no longer hung on a cross or stoned to death or imprisoned we do face various forms and degrees of persecution today. Having said that sentence it makes me think while slavery of Blacks, Women, and children is no longer legal for the majority of the world yet many people around the world including in the United States face hardship and suffering by various forms and degrees of persecution today. Much may be very polite and subtlety quiet but it is real. Consider Godly love and compassion when reflecting on our current turmoil. Consider that old phrase to try to walk a mile in another man’s or women’s or child’s shoes.

Disciples of Christ then faced difficult times and we disciples of today face our difficult days. What do we need to know and do in these times?

We need to see our world with compassion and love as God and Jesus did.

As disciples we can and need to put our complete trust in God. To use the old word image to surrender like a slave or servant does with the master.

We need to know we can do so because there are some important differences with our Lord and Master. The gospel lesson illustrates with the sparrows and the number of hairs we each have. God considers us of extreme value. Both body and soul.

A human slave master will not sacrifice his life for the sake of the slave but fully expects the slave to die for the sake of the master. But God gave his body and soul through Christ Jesus crucified and risen for you.

We need to know our calling is to share God’s saving story. It may be from a housetop but more likely in many various ways the world needs to hear and witness the gospel through you. I read road signs and you may have read to church sign on the way to Mountain Home: ‘Meet Jesus Sunday, Be Jesus Monday through Saturday.’ A Scripture verse says to ‘put on Christ.’ So we witness God’s love that changes us and others can see.

With our doing so, many will come to a loving faith relationship with God and Christ Jesus.

But we know too that many will not only not submit to God’s love but will actively combat against it. Like Jeremiah in our first lesson and most prophets of God and disciples of Jesus were verbally and often deadly targets of Satan’s arrows. And that takes many forms and mostly directly against anyone who does profess Christ. Sometimes it may be polite but then other times like a sword to cut down your faith and your joy.

Given the difficulties Jesus is open about ‘counting the cost’ to following him.

Costly yes but consider also counting the joy of following.

Jesus assures us of His love and you can place your soul into His victory.

Our Romans text expresses ‘if we have been united with him, if we have been baptized and buried into his death we will be united in a resurrection like his.’

So, our Gospel text portion today is indeed ‘Good News.” God’s love is at work in us. We certainly will have our days of difficulty and persecution but God’s love is with us every step of the way. Our human love for other humans can grow when instructed by God’s sacrificial love.

And another comment on the Good News text.

Jesus’ teaching in verse 37 begins: ‘Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;’ For those who may be troubled by that statement and not consider it ‘good news’ I would point out that saying ‘love more than’ is not saying to hate but we do love God so much and the comparison is so much a greater love that it governs all our loves.

God’s love is so great it guides all our other loves. We love our spouses, siblings, and children as well as the stranger, sojourner, nations, and peoples (of all colors, languages, etc.). ‘We love because he first loved us and while we were yet sinners at that.’

So, we disciples of today face our own trials and tribulations but God in Christ Jesus is with us. As we ‘lose our life for the sake of glorifying Christ Jesus we find true life.’




  August 2021  
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