The St. John’s Pulpit
St. John’s Baptist Church 300 Hawthorne Lane Charlotte, NC 28204
ONE FATHER – MANY CHILDREN
Hebrews 1:1-3a, 2:10-18 (The Message)
October 7, 2018
by Senior Minister, Rev. Dennis W. Foust, PhD
For a PDF of this sermon click here.
Part of what brings you into this sanctuary today is your need for community; trusted friends.
In Lord of the Rings, Frodo began to feel restless. Change seemed necessary… he looked at maps and imagined life beyond their edges. Frodo thought to himself, “I have sometimes thought of going beyond…and I suppose I must go alone if I am to do that and save the Shire.” ….as he was speaking a great desire to follow…flamed up in his heart…. It was so strong that it overcame his fear… In that moment, Gandalf advised Frodo, “But I don’t think you need to go alone. Not if you know anyone you can trust, who would be willing to go by your side.”
John 3:16-17. In Jesus, God offers himself to you as a trustworthy relationship.
Jesus came to build relationships between humans and The Living God of love.
Jesus called twelve to be with him and he went around revealing God’s love relationally.
Jesus said, “Fear not; I am with you; shalom; be still. I am with you. Love one another.”
In times like these, when differences are accentuated, it is easier to express anger and fear than trust. Yet, you, as people of God, follow Jesus as Lord of your faith telling and sharing the spirit of God’s love which Christ reveals.
You are surrounded by lonely people; people who have internalized the cultural lie that the value of a person is determined by external factors: possessions, popularity, power, position, etc. Mother Teresa called loneliness the leprosy of the Western world; saying loneliness is even more devastating to humanity than the poverty of Calcutta. Loneliness makes you grasp other persons jealously and hold them tightly thinking their primary purpose is to meet your needs. Loneliness prevents you from listening, drives you to talk about yourself excessively and closes you off from welcoming others into your life. Loneliness is contagious and can spread like an epidemic. You have the antidote
Listen; can you hear the sound ǁ Listen; can you hear the sound
of lonely people all around ǁ of lonely people all around
hoping to learn they can just ǁ hoping to learn they can trust
find some people of God to trust? ǁ God’s people of peace to be just?
The words of scripture we read in worship today release the power of the spoken word. The same God who has spoken through the centuries using prophets and other means has now spoken through God’s Son, Jesus. The writer of Hebrews tells the second-generation Christian community that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s very being; perfectly mirroring God’s character, message and relational essence.
In Jesus, God tells you of your value. In his humanity, Jesus becomes your brother.
By Jesus becoming body and blood, (bread & cup) he identifies with you and proclaims you are children of God and sisters and brothers of one another.
Brothers and sisters of Jesus, deeply loved by God, you are like those second-generation Hebrew Christians who first received these words we call scripture.
You, too, are removed from the intimacy and intensity of the early years of the Christian movement. You need to remember God’s deep desire to relate with you in trust and for you to journey with God’s other children.
The seductive forces of a materialistic and violent world can create disciples who see all the prejudice, greed, lying, abuses, cheating, stealing, immoralities, bigotries, falsehoods, and injustices which are prevalent and become over-burdened, discouraged, burned-out, apathetic, and lethargic.
Jesus prayed for you to be “in this world – but not of this world.”
Be encouraged! Each of you is one of the children of The Living God.
As a community of active faith – showing the world One Father with Many Children – you are continuing to tell and share the love that Christ revealed.
This morning, we are celebrating one way you continue the work of God revealed in Jesus.
In a few moments, Kevin Lynch and James Lubo Majak will come forward as we present a tangible investment in the work of God as One Father with Many Children.
Kevin is the leader of our congregational Peace-building efforts. Every Sunday morning, Kevin unlocks the doors of Hope Chapel about 7am. Some of our valued brothers and sisters in Christ, make their way from homeless shelters, highway underpasses or wooded areas for a hot cup of coffee, handshakes, hugs, clean garments, prayers and a message. Like you, they gather for community looking for trustworthy companions for their journey.
You need to know what happened last Sunday morning at Hope Chapel; what Kevin calls a “God winks” moment. Beloved, there is One Father – Many Children.
Last Sunday’s speaker at Hope Chapel was Calvin; a staff member in a home here in our city in which people who live with Cerebral Palsy experience care and community. Kevin asked Calvin if he would be willing to speak at Hope Chapel sometime as a fill-in. Calvin agreed. So, last Sunday, a fifth Sunday, Calvin was scheduled to speak; but Calvin became nervous. Several calls and texts were exchanged with Kevin. Then, last Sunday, Calvin got up to speak, looked out at the small congregation and started crying. Kevin watched his familiar small congregation and he watched Calvin. Then Calvin stepped down off the stage and went to a man on the second row of folding chairs. They embraced and cried like babies. The man on row two was Calvin’s nephew who he had not seen for more than 15 years.
The Living God who raised Jesus from the grave is overcoming death with life every day!
This bread and cup, which tells you that you are loved by The Living God, was passed to you today, as part of Christ’s gathered Church. And, now, you become part of Christ’s scattered Church passing God’s love to God’s other children every day.
Amen and AMEN!