In the Sanctuary at 8:30AM and 11AM -
a blended service of traditional and contemporary elements with communion

In the hall at 9:45AM
scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

Worship each Sunday @ 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Friday, September 04, 2009

SUNDAY SEPT 6th 2009
Mark 7:24-37
From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre.He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 28But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." 29Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go — the demon has left your daughter." 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.31Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

Helping Soccer Parent for a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds.
The Whistle blows and they play on oblivious, determined to score that goal no matter what the costs.
They bunch up all following the ball no matter how many times the coaches and parents suggest, sometimes loudly for the defense to stay on their side of the field and the offense on the other.
I have seen young players just leave the field having noticed the ball come near them on the field next door and decided to chase that ball instead.

We know in our heart that soccer for 4 and five year olds is about learning the rules that govern the sport – to learn to succeed within those rules.

Rules are important.
And listening to them allows us to succeed.

However we have a problem – more of a quandary really.
And the problem or quandary begins in our baptism.
For in Holy Baptism the Holy Spirit enters our live4s in a new and powerful way - a holy wind blowing through our souls.
And if the Holy Spirit was a soccer player it would have a hard time staying in position, let me tell you.
It would have a hard time caring about the stop watch or even the field markings.

What am I talking about – consider today’s gospel.

Jesus tells a woman off. Get Lost! Calls her a derogatory slur.
I'm sent to other people and not to your people!
At least not yet.
There's a plan - my Father's plan, you see.

And get this...she doesn't take the hint.
She keeps on pestering him.

Jesus tells a healed former deaf man and his companions to keep the news of the miraculous healing quiet. SSSSSssshhh!
The crowds are growing larger and Jesus can hardly get around in town anymore. His ministry might begin to attract the eyes of the authorities prematurely. Who knows?
Jesus isn't looking to fill stadiums, just do his Father's work. To follow the plan all the way to the cross.
Actually, he doesn't just tell them - he "orders them."
And the more he orders them, the more they blow him off and the more "zealously" they proclaim it.

Now if one of our children did that....

But it wasn't us and wasn't our children. This is Jesus and two people.
And the bottom line is that in each case that people disobey Jesus and something incredible happens.
Isn't that weird?
Jesus makes it clear that his ministry is to the lost sheep of Israel and this Syro-Phoneician woman defies him with a faith that would shame most of us. And Jesus acknowledges that faith, that passionate faith, with a powerful healing.

The deaf man hears and Jesus orders them to keep it quiet (the crowds already mob him in the town and who knows when the Romans will shut him down as a troublemaker), but he and his companions tell everyone they find about this healer, this Savior. And word spreads. Boy does it spread!

Here's where "What Would Jesus Do" is the wrong question for us.
It is the wrong question because as radical as it is, it is still too safe.
It is wrong because it limits what the Holy Spirit might have in store for us.

Yes, it is fine and important to go to Scripture to understand how to become imitators of Christ (See Ephesians!);
Yes, of course we need to understand our consecrated Baptismal life as children of God (Check out the Beatitudes in Matthew or Luke).

BUT, what these two healings remind us is that the Holy Spirit does not always play by the "rules."
That the word for Spirit and wind are the same in the languages of Scripture is no accident.
Both just cannot be contained.
Put it air in a balloon, and it still finds a way to get out - even those fancy foil ones.
We take in a breath - and we just can't hold it forever.
We try to stop it and it just journeys onward, right through us, right passed us to wherever it has been called.

The Spirit does not play by the rules. It will not follow the Script.
It improvises.
It asks of us impossible things.

That bothers us, I imagine.

We want things that we can understand, control, anticipate. The Spirit will have none of that.

So, away with "What Would Jesus Do?"
God has poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts.
God has changed us, gifted us, called us, equipped us and sent us out.
The Spirit beckons like a fire, like the wind blowing, calling forth from us the impossible for the sake of the Kingdom.
The Spirit just doesn't think "outside the box" - that is the Spirit's playground!

The question is…are we prepared to meet the Spirit there, outside, in the rain, in the sand and dirt, in unexpected places? Will we leave the comfort of what we know taking with us only the faith that Jesus declares is enough?
Are we?

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