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What Kind of King?

 

2 Samuel 23:1-7
Psalm 132:1-12
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37

 

1:4b “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:4b-8, NRSV)

 

18:33 “Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  (John 18:33-37, NRSV)

 

Let us pray: Most High God, majestic and almighty, our beginning and our end: We pray that you will rule in our hearts and guide us to be faithful in our daily actions, worshiping the one who comes as Savior and Sovereign, and who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

 

It seems like an election year already in the United States. We have had multiple debates that have been heated and vicious. Both Democrats and Republicans have gone off the rails by attacking each other, their backgrounds, their college applications, their religious affiliation and even their fantasy football league records.  And we have almost a full year to go.  All of this has me thinking about leadership and what it takes to be a ruler, president, a king.  Today is Christ the King Sunday (or Reign of Christ).  It is the end of our liturgical year. We are on the threshold of Advent, the season of hope for Christ’s coming again at the end of time. But before we start the journey to Jesus’ birth, we end this year with Jesus as king, exalted to rule over the whole universe.

 

So, we can just imagine Pilate’s frustration as he is trying to understand that Jesus is a different kind of king.  Pilate, a governor of a remote Palestinian outpost of the Roman Empire, was a long way from Rome, so he worked very hard to placate Caesar. So, he certainly knew what it was like to deal with a king.  But this Jesus, this “King of the Jews,” was different.  No earthly king would dare to stand in front of a governor in chains with any measure of defiance, nor would an earthly king ever be willing to face the fate Jesus knew was coming.

 

It started out as any other Friday evening begins in the city of light.  But this Friday evening would be anything but ordinary.  This was Friday the 13th of November.  Beginning at 9:20 PM in Paris, there were three separate suicide bombings outside of a stadium, followed by four mass shootings in central Paris, and then four separate suicide bombings at four different locations. The deadliest of those attacks took place at a theatre, where a large crowd was gathered for a concert.

 

According to news reports, over 130 innocent victims were killed and a further 415 were admitted to hospital with injuries sustained in the attacks, including 80 people described as being seriously injured.  In addition to the victims, seven of the extremists’ attackers died.

 

Fear abounds all across the world and I am tired of the violence that is carried out in the name of God or Allah, or Yahweh! I am tired of trying to understand extremists who give a religion a bad name.  Where is a leader to take decisive action and put an end to this terror and violence?   I am tired of waiting for an all-powerful king to come.  There is a part of me that really wants that king to come now and seek vengeance on those who go against his will.  I am ready for a powerful and vengeful God to redeem his name.

 

But that is not how God works.

All of this has me thinking about leadership and what it takes to be a ruler, president, a king.  So, I wonder what we would do if we were in charge of the world today?  If we were faced with making some of the difficult decisions our world faces in these days.

 

Here is Pilate, who knew all about difficult decisions.  It is up to him to choose whether Jesus lives or dies.  You almost get the feeling that Pilate really liked and respected Jesus.  He kind of, sort of, thought he might be the King of the Jews and he apparently couldn’t quite understand why the crowds wanted to kill Jesus.  The crowds just want him dead.  You get a sense that Pilate, this governor, this man of power with the mighty empire of Rome backing him, is anxious and agitated as he wonders what to do with Jesus.

 

So, he takes Jesus into his inner chamber to try to understand him. Just for a moment at least it appears that Pilate has a conscience and is confused about what to do.  You get the sense his heart was telling him one thing but then there were those crowds, the noises from outside, the pressure to be what people expected him to be.

 

A professor I had in seminary describes Pilate’s behavior as “typical of a person or institution who is confronted with a critical decision who has instincts in one direction but is pressured by the circumstances or a crowd to move reluctantly in the opposite direction.”  (Charles Cousar as quoted by Kate Huey on internet sermon).

 

What strikes me about Pilate is that he knew that Jesus really didn’t deserve to die, but he didn’t have the guts to say it and to stand up for what he believed.  The crowds would have been furious.  But even still, Pilate knew and he didn’t have the guts to live it.

 

We see politicians do it all the time—base their decisions not on their conscience but instead on what will get them the most votes.

 

We see kids do it all the time—follow the crowd who is doing something they know they shouldn’t be doing because it is so much easier to just go along and fit in rather than buck the crowd and say no.

 

And we do it in our own lives.  Don’t you sometimes get that knot in the pit of your stomach when you see that something is clearly wrong but you just can’t quite bring yourself to take a stand, stand up and say something?  It’s easier to just keep quiet and not disrupt the status quo and go with the flow. All of this has me thinking about leadership and what it takes to be a ruler, president, a king

 

So here are these two men, Pilate and Jesus.  One a ruler and the other a king. One filled with the power of this world, caught up with success and maintaining order and gaining power and pleasing Caesar.   And the other, calmly, quietly, knowing what is coming, standing there speaking of a different kind of kingdom.  In a strange twist they are now both on trial.  What will Pilate do with the information he has?   What will Pilate do with what his heart and his conscience tell him?  What will he do with what his heart tells him?  Will he listen to his heart or to the crowds?

 

God does things differently. Our God does the unexpected — sends his son, Jesus born to an unwed virgin, in a manger, raised by a carpenter.  Lead people to believe and follow him. He taught that servanthood and love and justice are much more important than riches, power and strength.  He is the kind of king who comes riding in on the back of a donkey, who befriended prostitutes and sinners, who cares about the least, the last, the lost.   Not exactly the kind of leadership, president or king we are looking for today. Can you imagine how Jesus would do in a political debate?

 

So here we are on Christ the King Sunday, looking for a leader, a Savior, a King…Come, Lord Jesus.  We just can’t wait.  Christ is King, but not the king we expect.  The King with a crown of thorns.  The King with non-violent followers.  The King of gifts of love.     May we have the strength and the courage and the faith to put all of our lives subject to this King of Kinds and Lord of Lords.  All of this has me thinking about leadership and what it takes to be a ruler, president, a king

 

We pray, Come Lord Jesus, Come.  Amen.

 

Let us pray:

A Measure of Compassion

 

2 Samuel 7:1–14
Psalm 89:20–37
Mark 6:30–34, 53–56

 

6:30 “The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”

 

53 “When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.” (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56, NRSV)

 

Let us pray: Shepherd God, you call us into a rhythm of work and rest that our lives may be the better for it. So shape our work and our rest that the world will recognize us as Jesus’ disciples and our service as what you would have us do. Amen.

 

It was a surreal experience getting a text message that your home town is in the midst of a mass shooting.  Midafternoon on Thursday my middle brother sent me a text message about an “active shooter in Chattanooga.”  Chattanooga is the city where we grew up.  The news was sketchy but as the day went on it only got worse. Rumors swirling that it was an ISIS attack on military installments.  What about my family, friends and the people I know back there.  Are they safe?  What has happened to the world?  Violence and death and terror seem to rule the day.  As the day turned to night the details continued: four US Marines were dead, a policeman was injured and a US Navy Sailor was in critical condition and has since died.  Then came the news that the gunman, a Muslim, was dead.

 

What makes this reality even worse is that it creates more discontent and more animosity for interfaith relations.  It allows the critics to point out the fact that it is not only radicalized Muslims that are a threat to us but even naturalized citizens who seem like all American guys can actually be wolves in sheep clothing.  For supporters of building interfaith bridges it sets back the cause because yet again it is one of “them” that has done this cowardly and disastrous act.

 

As I learned more about the Chattanooga shootings I remembered the parts of town that rolled of the tongues of the newscasters Lee Highway, Amnicola Highway, Hixson, Colonel Shores, Red Bank High School, all places I am very familiar with.  How can this happen where I grew up?

 

The Mayor of Chattanooga Andy Berke, who was a grade school classmate of mine was all over the television and his quote said it all “it is incomprehensible to see what happened and the way that individuals who proudly serve our country were treated.”[1]  The victims of the crime were rushed to Erlanger Medical Center, the hospital where my father practiced medicine. It is just so surreal and my emotions run the gamut from anger, sadness, rage and compassion.

 

I have been thinking about this for a few days now and I realize that violence is all too common place and I have to admit that I may not have paid as close attention if this violent act took place in Wichita or Dubuque.  Have we become so callous to violence and death that it just washes over us like the weather reports and sports highlights?  After all it was just a month ago that Dylann Roof murdered nine African American worshipers at the bible study at the Immanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.  It was on Thursday night that a jury in Colorado found James Holmes guilty of first-degree murder in the mass shooting inside of a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

 

I am not feeling particularly Christian in my thoughts and feelings and I am not moved to compassion for those who commit these cowardly acts of violence in death for their misguided beliefs and interpretations of holy writings.  Whether it is a White Supremacist, an Islamic Terrorist or a lawbreaking cop.  Their acts of violence and terrorism that seek to change the world that God created and God sustains and that God redeemed through Jesus are wrong and evil and we can’t stand for them anymore.  Yes, I am angry and passionate about this because it hurts, it hurts us all when it seems that evil is wining and violence continues.  Have we lost all sense of compassion?

 

And that is what this sermon was supposed to be about before the tragic events of Thursday afternoon took place.

 

Compassion. The word compassion has its root in a word that means “guts” or the seat of feeling. You know the saying, “You feel it in your gut.”  You know that feeling – where your reaction to something sends your stomach churning.  That’s compassion – a visceral feeling.  Jesus has compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd, lost, lacking guidance, in need of care, and of protection.

 

But for Jesus, compassion is not just a feeling but an action.  And Jesus shows his followers that compassion is essential to discipleship. Compassion, this gut feeling causes you to go outside of yourself to care for another.

 

For Jesus and his followers, compassion is not an optional, there is no vacation from showing and giving compassion.  The reason is simple: Compassion is who Jesus is. Jesus has come proclaiming a God who is not uncaring but compassionate.  But what if Jesus were to say: “Sorry, I can’t be compassionate right now, I’m on vacation”? It contradicts his very message, his very being.  If Jesus stops being compassionate, he stops being Jesus; he stops being the Son of God.

 

Of course Jesus is going to show compassion.  What else is new?   As if Jesus is just automatically going to cease to have compassion on anyone who comes along. Yet we dare not take the compassion of Jesus for granted, because when you think about it, it is an extraordinary thing, a monumental thing, that Jesus should have compassion on “them.”

 

See, the thing that really gets me about this statement is not that “compassion on them”, but that Jesus had compassion on “them.”

 

Can’t you see them, waiting like a bunch of vultures for Jesus and the disciples when they got out of the boat, clamoring, demanding: “Jesus, heal me first . . . Jesus, give me some food . . . Jesus, make me feel better,” They are dirty, sweaty, needing a bath, so loud and demanding.  And Jesus has compassion on “them.”

 

Now I’m all in favor of compassion.  Given the right circumstances, I can be very compassionate. I was moved to compassion a few weeks ago when Dylann Roof murdered nine African American worshipers at the bible study at the Immanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.   I feel compassion for my family.  I feel compassion for friends who face hard times.  I hurt deeply for them.  I know what it is to feel compassion.  No, my problem is feeling compassion for “them.” Them, a word we use to distance ourselves from a particular type of people or group of people. Them and Us, I am so glad I am not one of them. Would you look at them and how they are acting?

 

You know what I am talking about: Them! The people who are not like us, who don’t look, act, worship, and live like we do. They have different values and morals and lifestyles. The people we don’t want to show or share compassion with. You know —“them!”

 

Jesus interrupts the disciples’ vacation to them.  They are not the handpicked and well qualified, they are everywoman and everyman, anyone and everyone.  They were people: some who are sick and wanted to be healed.  Others who are hungry and wanted to be fed.  Still others had spiritual needs and hungers that were eating away at their souls.  These are precisely the ones who “Jesus had compassion on.”

 

That is why this unassuming story from Mark in between the miraculous feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water is so radical: “Jesus had compassion on ‘them.’” It upsets all the careful arrangements of our world.

 

Jesus has compassion precisely on the ones the world tells us to ignore. The least, the last and the lost, the “riff-raff” with whom Jesus associated.

 

Maybe it is the events of this week or maybe it is the work of the Holy Spirit but I realize that this story is more of a blessing than an indictment because  in a very strange twist – I realize that Jesus compassion on them includes me and us.

 

If we can understand that, if we can begin to know that God has compassion on us just as we are, then perhaps we can begin to feel compassion on the ones we consider as “them.”

 

You know:

The next time you see someone who really turns your stomach, stop and think, “Wait, Jesus had compassion on them.”

 

Next time you come across someone who is dirty and smelly and unpleasant, let the thought come to your mind: “Jesus had compassion on them”

 

Next time you come across someone who pushes every one of your buttons: “Imagine, Jesus had compassion on him or her.”

 

Next time you we hear of violence and terror: “Imagine, Jesus had compassion on them”

 

Thanks be to God, Jesus had compassion – especially on them.  Because “them,” includes all of “us.”

 

Let us pray:

[1] Twitter feed of Andy Berke and also found on http://www.npr.org/2015/07/17/423740589/chattanoogans-find-killings-of-four-marines-incomprehensible

No Guarantee of Success

2 Samuel 5:1–5, 9–10
Psalm 48
Mark 6:1–13

 

6:1 “He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. 4Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” (Mark 6: 1-13, NRSV)

 

Let us pray: God of grace and powerful weakness, at times your prophets were ignored, rejected, belittled, and unwelcome. Trusting that we, too, are called to be prophets, fill us with your Spirit, and support us that we may persevere in speaking your word and living our faith. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

 

I know it is strange but I really do enjoy mowing the lawn.  Call me crazy, I know!  Let me explain, what I love about it is the sense of accomplishment.  What I enjoy is I can see what I have done and what I still have to cut. Not all jobs and tasks in life are like that.  Other jobs and tasks are not so clearly defined.

Being a follower of Jesus is one such task or calling.  Jesus tells parables about casting seeds on the ground and having faith that they will take hold and grow.  He admits that not every seed will flourish.  In today’s gospel he prepares his disciples for the harsh reality that not everyone they encounter is going to join the movement.

 

In the Gospel of Mark we learn that Jesus’ ministry is off to a great start.  His has preached throughout Galilee, he has recruited disciples, he has healed the sick, performed miracles, survived theological arguments with the Pharisees, he has calmed a violent storm on the sea, and the crowds gathered to hear his words.  Then he and his disciples go to Nazareth, his hometown.[1]

 

Now you would think it would be one of the high points of Jesus’ ministry to go back home…to family and friends, the people that Jesus grew up with; they were his teachers, his childhood friends, the mothers and fathers who had seen this son of Mary grow up. Up until this point, everywhere Jesus went the crowds loved him and the people were moved by what they had seen and heard through Jesus.

 

So, why this sort of treatment from his neighbors and hometown friends. Why such disdain?  Was it something he said?  Perhaps it’s just that familiarity does indeed breed contempt. Jesus wasn’t what they expected a prophet, let alone a Messiah, to look like.  No one they knew could be a prophet or a Messiah and it surely called into question everything they thought they knew about the world and about people and about themselves. It is a hard lesson of life to learn that not everyone will like you or what you say or what you stand for.[2]

 

It is the difficult truth of the Christian faith and the church, in the end it is not for everyone.

 

Another difficult truth of the Christian faith is the naive idea that if you treat people like you want to be treated, that is treat them well, then people will like you and respond.

 

But that is not what the Christian faith is about— being liked.  The Christian faith, being a disciple, is about loving God and loving our neighbors. Even in disagreement, love God and love our neighbors, but that isn’t so easy.  And that is why Jesus is preparing his disciples for the harsh truth of life as he tells them, “As you leave, shake the dust off your feet…”

 

Jesus prepared his disciples for rejection because there is something inherent about following him that causes controversy. Something about the Gospel that provokes hostility and creates conflict that brings about rejection to the messenger.[3] It is the reality of the church, of faith, that we aren’t all going to agree about everything. There are parts of faith that simply aren’t black and white, most aspects of faith are gray.

 

But yet, having a conversation, being open to sharing your views and listening to others is important, is faithful and what the church can do more of. So, here it goes for today.

 

I imagine that the thoughts on most of our minds over the past few weeks have been on national events such as; racial violence, confederate flags, the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage all leading up to the Fourth of July the celebration of the birthday of our great nation.

 

It seems that when the Supreme Court or the government or the ruling body of a church denomination makes a decision it splits us into two groups: those for it and those against it?  Does every political or social issue have to divide us as a people?  Divide us as a church?  I hope and pray not.[4]

 

So, as people of faith we turn to the Bible for guidance and in most cases it isn’t clear cut.  Take marriage for example, as best as I understand, marriage is the creation of a stable social structure in which children can be born and raised.  It is the logical outcome of what God says in Genesis 1:28, in which God says to the Adam and Even whom he has just created, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.”  In the very next chapter Genesis 2:24 it says, “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves or embraces his wife and they become one flesh.” This is how humans multiply.  A man and a woman “cleave/embrace” to each other.  Biologists call it reproduction or procreation.

This seems to be the primary purpose of marriage in the Bible, and for that reason it is necessarily between a man and a woman.  But not only one woman.  Early in the Bible there is the story of Jacob who married first Leah and then Rachel and then had children by their hand maidens Bilhah and Zilpah. Ultimately Jacob produced twelve sons and who knows how many daughters.  But I don’t know many people these days who hold up the example of Jacob as the model for what the Bible says about marriage.  Instead we talk about a lifetime of love and commitment.  But most biblical marriages were not based on love or attraction.  Most marriages were arranged by parents who lived in an agricultural society and they needed more workers for the fields.  It wasn’t about love; it was about multiplication.[5]

 

Times have changed, we no longer live in an agricultural society. Likewise our understanding of marriage has changed as well.  Today, a woman gets married because she falls in love with a man and wants to spend the rest of her life with him. A man gets married for the same reason. And while they may want a family at some point that is no longer the sole reason for marriage.

 

I have officiated at a dozen or so weddings for couples in their sixties, seventies and even their eighties.  One in particular comes to mind. Bob and Willene, each had survived the loss of a spouse after more than fifty years of marriage.  They both had grown children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.  They were getting married because they were lonely, and they had fallen in love and they longed for companionship.  So, times have changed as our understanding of marriage has changed since biblical times.  It’s not just about multiplication anymore.  It’s about love and commitment.  And our understanding of human beings has changed.

 

Most people are attracted to members of the opposite sex, some people are attracted to members of the same sex. Why, we don’t really know?  Is it nature or nurture? Genetic?  Is it something learned?  As far as I can see, whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be a choice. But that is for another sermon.

 

And so the Supreme Court has decided that, since marriage is no longer strictly about multiplication, but rather a matter of love and commitment, and since people don’t seem to choose whom they are attracted to, but rather discover those attractions at an early age, then who are they to tell two adults that they can’t share their lives with each other? That they can’t have joint ownership of property and joint custody of children? The Supreme Court has decided that marriage is a civil right, and that withholding that right on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is unconstitutional.[6] Like it or not, for it or against, it is what it is—

But that is not the real point to me.  Instead the point to me is what I believe being a Christian, a follower of Jesus is really all about—how do we treat others?  We have a new law of the land that reflects the reality of our times.  What I believe is important is how we treat people in light of it, especially those who see things differently than we do?

 

I was taught in preaching 101 that the majority of people don’t come to church to hear about politics, especially the politics of the preacher, especially when the politics of the preacher differ from theirs.  Even so, I know that these issues are controversial, painful, and divisive but here’s the thing: you and people you know are talking about them.  You are talking about them with your friends, your family members, your co-workers.  You are talking about just these things everywhere…just not at church. Which is why of all places church should be the place you come to talk about these issues and many others.

 

I enjoy the dialogue, the learning from others about issues and I have heard from many of you that you would like a time to talk about the sermons I preach and the message of them.  So, today grab some coffee and a cookie and come to the library and we can talk about these issues and/ or any of the other hard things going on in life and in the news.  I think this is role of the Church and the task of Christian formation and discipleship, to offer perspectives on how the Scriptures and our faith help us navigate this very challenging world.

 

Which is really the reason I’m bringing all this up – not simply because there are huge issues in the news but more importantly – because the Gospel passage appointed for this week has a lot to tell us about what it means to be a disciple, a follower of Christ in a challenging, difficult, confusing, and at times painful world which is also and simultaneously created and loved of God.

 

There have been a lot of changes in our country in the last few weeks, but as the author of Hebrews says, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever’ (13:8).

What does Jesus say about gay marriage? Nothing at all.

What does he say about the Affordable Care Act? Nothing.

What does he say about the Confederate flag? Nothing.

What He does say over and over is to love our neighbors…

Remember in the parable of the Good Samaritan he makes it clear that the people or groups of people we have the hardest time loving are also our neighbors. Samaritans were despised by the Jews of Jesus’ time, but the Samaritan in his story stopped and helped a Jew who had been beaten and left for dead. What would Jesus say to us in these days when some people have been shot because their skin was black and others have been allowed to marry even though they are gay?  I’m fairly certain he would say, “Love your neighbor.” And I like to think he might add (although I don’t want to put words in his mouth) that the commandment to love applies to everyone with no exceptions, that those of us who follow Jesus must love our all our neighbors, black, white, gay, straight, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist and even the neighbors who call the SPCA because our dog barks too much.  Let us leave the work of judgment up to God and the Supreme Court and focus on our calling, as difficult as it is – to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.[7]

 

Let us pray:

 

[1] The Reverend Dr. Sid Batts, The Gospel of Rejection, Mark 6: 1-13. Government Street Presbyterian Church, Mobile, Alabama July 9, 2000.

[2] The Reverend Dr. David Lose, Pentecost 6 B – Independence & Interdependence, Mark 6: 1-13. http://www.davidlose.net/2015/06/pentecost-6-b-independence-and-interdependence/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+davidlose%2FIsqE+%28…In+the+Meantime%29

 

[3] ibid

[4]The Reverend Dr. Jim Somerville, In Light of Recent Events, June 29, 2015. https://jimsomerville.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/in-light-of-recent-events/

 

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.