Friday, August 23, 2013

Who has your back (and side and front???)

An author writes:  “One day I was walking with a couple of friends in front of a bar, when all the sudden a bar fight, like an old Western, spilled on to the street right in from of us.  Three men were beating up one lone opponent.  Being Christians, and feeling the need to stand up to stop the violence, I took a risk to yell at the men to stop fighting.  Preparing for my first fistfight in years, the thugs suddenly looked up at us, and with fear in their eyes they started to slink away.  This caught me by surprise, and I almost ran after them to ask them why they were running away.  Then I looked behind me.  There standing behind us was a huge man.  He was the bouncer at the barroom.  The man stood about six seven and weighed probably 250 pounds.  If Hercules had married Xena the warrior princess, this would have been their child.  We later called this man: Mongo, though of course not to his face.  He just stood there with his muscles bulging.  He looked as though he hoped that the fighting men would take him on.  In that moment, I wanted to yell to the fleeing fighters: “You better not let us catch you hanging around here again.”  I was now ready to confront with resolve and firmness.  I was released from anxiety and fear.  I was ready to serve someone who needed help.  Why?  Because I had “Mongo” standing behind me.  I was convinced that I was not alone.  The middle of a barroom fight was perfectly safe for me.

 If I were convinced that Mongo were with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I could take a different approach to life; I could face many fears.  The reality is that as Christians we already do, he is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  He is the one who has promised to be with us.  Yet all too often our lives do not reflect it.  All too often we shrink back when we should confront; we worry when we can pray; we cling when we could generously share.  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin the clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…”  Perhaps, it is so easy to get caught up in our own particular paths of challenges as we live today that we forget that we are not on this path alone.  For not only is God present with, and sometimes carrying us through things, but also we have a family of faith that surrounds us.  This family of faith is our own devoted family members, those who have witnessed the Gospel to us through the years, whether they are physically here or not, and this particular community of faith, Christ the Redeemer Lutheran.  Sometimes it is about sharing each other’s burdens, celebrating each other’s joys, beyond the high importance of coming together for worship.

From Pastor Randy's Sermon on 8/18

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