Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Last Word

From Pastor Randy's Sermon:

Jesus' words pointed to a future that he knew would be rough for his disciples. He wanted his disciples to be prepared, but also to know that their allegiance and faith in what he was doing would be the final marker to all events that would and could occur.  This can also be the message for us today as well.  Jesus doesn't sugarcoat what lies ahead, but he gives meaning to it.  All of us in our journeys, in one way or another, to one degree or another, will feel persecuted, will feel cheated, will feel great despair, and though our faith does not promise that these things can be avoided, it does tell us that in the end our future is guaranteed.  The last word of God to us and to the world, will be a good word.  A time when all questions are answered, a time of hope and joy that we perhaps cannot even begin to imagine.

From Pamela:  

Do you know anybody who seems to always want the last word in a conversation (or argument)?  You know, the person who comes up with just one more comment or question or gripe?  Or the one who can't leave the space just blank -- 

I can remember how one of my family members would often stomp from the room if he didn't get his way.  We would begin to breathe more freely, and then we would hear him come out of his bedroom, back into the living room with an angry:  "Oh, and just one more thing ...."(and the negativity would begin all over again).  

I must confess, it got to the point where we would laughingly wager on how many minutes would pass between stomp out and re-entry.  

The last say is the speakers effort to control the situation and have lasting impact.   

Jesus proclaimed to the people of his day and to us today that God will have the last say, and that say is a resounding "YES!" to life....  

When disappointment, suffering and loss of any kind seem to close the door of possibilities we are called to stay alert, watching and waiting -- and proclaiming to one another boldly the YES which is God's last word to us.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blessed are they

From Pamela:

Pastor Randy proclaimed the good news on Sunday:   Blessed are you when you mourn!  Blessed are you when you are cursed or abused.  What?
And then he proclaimed our part in setting things right by praying for our abusers or enemies or those who persecute us.  What?

From Pastor Randy's Sermon:

Today’s text really gets at the core of some of the more difficult things of life, some of the things that we may agree or desire mentally, but yet are much more difficult to live out.  How do we do good to those who hate us – as Jesus advises us to too?  How are we loving our enemies?  How many of us when we have been struck, hurt or injured, have simply offered up our other cheek?  How many of us, as Jesus literally requests, give to everyone who begs from you? How do we make sense of this?  These are the very words that come out of Jesus’ mouth, how do we deal with them – ignore them, skip over them, soften them, or even sidetrack them?  Do we catch a glimpse of why people of Jesus’ time reacted harshly to what Jesus was saying, so much so that the religious among them, plotted to kill him?

From Pamela:  

I don't know, Pastor.... can it be true, as you said, that praying for our enemies gives us strength?  Praying in our weakness moves us to see how we have been blessed?  
Oh, that is right.... praying constantly, fervently, and trying to discover God praying with us doesn't change the situation or take away the pain we have suffered or caused.  Praying brings us closer to God, the source of all blessing.  Even when I hurt, or am ashamed, or enraged, praying brings me into the heart of God -- where all is "blessed."  
That's the good news!