Churches must compete with the culture as it hasn’t had to do since the first century. Travel teams compete with religious commitments as do work responsibilities and social opportunities. None of this is bad. It is just the new reality in which we find ourselves.
Offertory Three Psalms for Bells Arranged by Hunnicutt
Bless the Lord, O My Soul (103:1)
Hear, O Lord, When I Cry With My Voice (27:7)
I Will Love Thee, O Lord, My Strength (18:1)
Performed by the FFC Chancel Bells
Rough spots. Life is about navigating the rough spots, isn’t it? We all experience them. It is, I believe, comforting to know that centuries ago, Jesus prayed for his disciples–then and now–for he knows that they would face many, many rough spots. Within a short time, his disciples would face the rough spots of betrayal, denial, crucifixion, and resurrection. There is still work to do, for the glory of God.
We have a hard time understanding the importance of clothing in the ancient world. We readily give things to Goodwill when our clothes go out of style or simply throw them away when they become worn. But in the ancient world clothing was so central to life that there were laws against taking someone’s cloak because that cloak may be all that they have.
We meet Jesus at the Table – to be fed, to be restored, to be encouraged, to be reminded not of who we were, but of who we are. Once Jesus has come into your life, once Jesus has touched your life, you can never be the same, ever again. You may go back to your profession but you will not go back to your old way of life, your old way of looking at things.
I charge you, do not be afraid of your doubts. Don’t let them control your life or separate you from God. Seek the fellowship of God’s people, be faithful in answering God’s call and claim upon your life. Remember, in life and in death we belong not to ourselves but to God, in whose image each and every one of us has been made.
The Risen Lord comes to us most days of our lives in manifestations that we do not recognize. When we show an act of kindness to a stranger or help someone in need, we are really ministering to Christ.