Sermon: Family

The challenge then is not who should be part of our family – that choice is not ours. Nor is the challenge to decide if we are to love them – because the Bible says love all, no exceptions. The challenge is how to love them, because they’re going to be climbing up that same ladder we’re on no matter what we do, Jesus made it so.

Hunter Family, ca1900; (c) 2015 Dorothy Vander Meulen
The Hunter Family of Waterbury, CT, ca 1900;
(c) 2015 Dorothy Vander Meulen

Jesus says “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? … Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

How does this relate to us, and why does it matter?

Please join me in prayer…

Lord God, we lift up this morning’s message.  May it touch our hearts, may it speak clearly to our souls, that we may come to more fully comprehend your eternal and undying love for us and for all of the Family of God. Amen.

I lived in the Tidewater area of Virginia about 20 years ago. Many of my co-workers, friends and neighbors were part of military families, mostly Navy. One September, a friend who served on board the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise invited me to be his guest for the ship’s “Friends and Family Day Cruise”. Now, how could I refuse such an invitation to see the Enterprise? I accepted!

USSEnterprise CVN65This was an event where the ship’s officers and crew could invite those close to them to come on board for a short cruise that included tours, a picnic, and some presentations and demonstrations. Towards the end of that afternoon we ran into a co-worker of mine: a wonderful and godly black woman named Veronica. She told us her husband was an officer on the ship.

While there, we really wanted to check out the ship’s control tower, that big “Island” on one side of the flight deck where the bridge is. But, one of the rules was that only officers and their families were allowed up there. Veronica assured us that going up would be no problem…

Wondering how she could do this (since we clearly weren’t family), Sean and I timidly followed her up the ladders. Almost immediately, we were confronted by two very stern guards, holding their rifles at the ready. They said, “Sorry Ma’m, only officers and their families are allowed above Deck O-3.”

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Lord of the Unseen

Sermon presented at First Congregational Church of West Boyleston, MA; November 20, 2011…

Readings:

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

I’ve found that the best place to work on my Christian witness is while I’m driving in my car, alone.  Like, when someone cuts me off, I’ll spontaneously give them the fist of fellowship; and I’ve been known to utter a few very warm and heartfelt words when someone steals my parking spot. I also find that when I drive during rush hour, or when going to the mall during the Christmas season, that I pray every chance I get.

It’s so easy to let go, just a little bit, when we are wrapped in a steel and glass cocoon, when no one sees what we’re doing, or saying.  We are safe from interference, from having to judge whether the inconsiderate actions of others are due to their merely having a bad day, or if their IQ really is less than the speed they’re driving.  Since we’re invisible to those around us, why not let fly with a little emotion?  Why not blow off a bit of steam?

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