Monday, June 28, 2010
Won't You Be My Neighbor? Sunday Recap June 27, 2010
The story of the Good Samaritan. Done it a few times over the years. Everyone knows it, right.
Spent a LOT of time on background to try and find tidbits that would excite me about the passage. Found some stuff which was cool. But it wasn't until Saturday night that the message gripped ME. It was as if scales fell off my eyes as the Holy Spirit dealt with my heart. Stunning.
There are times when you finish preparation and you pray over the message asking God to take it and use it for His will that you aren't sure who it will affect. There are also times that you have a pretty good idea as a pastor who will have to deal with what will be taught. Then there was yesterday. I went into the sermon expecting pretty much everyone to be as stunned as I was.
One person told Bunny "David sure dropped a bomb on us with that sermon." Another case of the "only the imperfect messenger," folks.
If you go back through the text and especially look at the contextual background, you'll see just how incendiary it is. Jesus' story was brilliantly crafted. He used a formula the people would have been familiar with to build the story around - The Priest, the Levite, and _____. Normally the third member would have been the "good old boy", "just plain folks", everyday man. So as the story progressed, the hearers would have been nodding to themselves and setting up the ending in their minds and hearts. It would give most of them the opportunity to separate themselves from the other two characters and feel secure in their beliefs. Instead, Jesus does just the one thing they never (including the disciples - see Luke 9 for their brand of bigotry) dreamed of. How'd He do it? He used the Samaritan as the good guy.
Samaritans and Jews - where to begin. Worst racism I've seen. I used a slide of a man in Haiti trapped when a building fell. Under the Jewish way of practicing their religion at the time, if that building had fallen on the sabbath, the Jews would have checked to see if the man was Jewish. If he was, they would have rescued him. But if he wasn't, even if his life would soon be forfeit - they'd leave him there until the sabbath was over. The Jews reinterpreted the horizontal (people to people) parts of the 20 commandments to add the caveat - "as long as the person is a Jew". So in practice, they had withdrawn any application of the Law's mercy provisions from anyone but themselves.
So we look at that and go "bad Jews, what were they thinking?" We might go as far as see the parallels in American attitudes to race, especially in the South to black people. But for the most part, people know that will not fly in God's eyes. Yes, we still have racists in the church, but they have been silenced to a great degree and our churches have been opened to all.
So how to bring back the "bite" of that parable to today's listener?
Or said another way, what sin did the Holy Spirit convict me of Saturday night? Well here's what the Holy Spirit used to nail me.
Just substitute "illegal alien" for Samaritan.
For the record, I believe we should secure the border first. Illegal is illegal and the church is subject to obeying those that God has put in authority over us. We have to work out what to do with those already here. If we deport them, we cannot dump them like people do puppies out in the country. Whatever we do cannot regard them as any less human as someone born here. They are people created in God's image too. We cannot see them as "an issue." We have to see them as neighbors. So "go and do likewise" brothers and sisters.
Music for Sunday -
We debuted "Revelation Song" and it was awesome as a opening to worship by the praise team alone.
Here Is Our King by Crowder was next.Then "Whole world in His hands"
Then we did Revelation Song again adding "Holy Holy Holy" to the end. The idea was that the Rev song was bringing us to the throne and since we were there we should sing along with the heavenly hosts. Emily Shermer did great on the Holy Holy Holy lead in.
"Just as I am " was the invitation.
Great place to serve. Great people to serve with. Come and see what God is doing at New Hope.