Sermon: What About THEM?!!

It isn’t about them. … It is about us. Jesus is teaching us that to change the world, to make the Kingdom of God here on earth a reality, does not require that we change others; but rather requires that we change ourselves. This is part of the great journey of Lent after all, a time when we remove distractions. We look inward, taking a realistic look at our flaws and our failures. We repent, and ask God to help us.

shame-finger-pointing-320x198Do you remember, when we were kids, when someone whom we sometimes barely knew approached us in class, on the playground, or maybe even at church, and said “<So and So> just said something terrible about you!” or maybe “Did you hear that <So and So> just said or did some unimaginably awful thing?!”

Admit it, we’ve all not only experienced this, but have done these same things ourselves. (Hopefully less often now than we did as kids!)  We’ve all heard and then unthinkingly repeated things that we’ve heard someone else said or did, something that confirms what we knew about them all along, something that we feel validates why we cannot support them, or why they cannot be our friend, that proves they really do believe or represent something that is completely against the obviously right and true things that we believe.

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A Message for All Ages: “Garlic Mustard”

The seeds of the Kingdom of God always surprise us – often originating as what others see as a weed or a nuisance. And yet – they grow and grow and grow, and are unstoppable. … This is how our faith is: small beginnings that produce wonderful results we didn’t know could happen!

Garlic Mustard Plants in Full Bloom
Garlic Mustard Plants in Full Bloom

This particular lesson looks at the Parable of the Mustard Seed, which is found (with only minor differences) in Matthew 13:31–32, Mark 4:30–32, and Luke 13:18–19.

This lesson works best when presented at the time of the year (May or early June) when the “Garlic Mustard” plant – an invasive weed here in the U.S. – is in blossom.  It is often widespread in the understory of forested areas, and can also be found growing in disturbed soils, including along the edges of roads, paths, fences, etc.

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Unexpected Faith

Presented at First Baptist Church, Belmont, MA; June 17, 2012.

Scriptures:
2nd Corinthians 5:6-17 (We walk by faith, not by sight…)
Mark 4:26-34 (The Parable of the Seed that Grows of Itself and the Parable of the Mustard Seed)

How many of you are familiar with the Garlic Mustard plant?

It’s a common weed in this area.  If you crush its leaves, it smells like garlic; and it has a taste similar to that of mustard, hence it’s name.  In colonial times it was a common herb, since the colonists had no money to buy spices from overseas, such as pepper, even if they had access to them.  It was also very easy to grow.   …Perhaps a bit too easy.

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