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Sunday, June 16, 2013

06162013 3rd Sunday After Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray!  Heavenly redeemer of the World, You clearly had a purpose for the story You told of the one lost sheep and the widow with the coin being lost and found.  Enable us to hear, heed and understand the purpose for the Pharisee’s and Scribes was to rebuke them, and us to reorient our perspective to one of the “Kingdom of God”, not of “its my church”.  For this house of worship was built for Your Glory not ours, for Your praise, not ours, in order that Your message of salvation may be proclaimed to the entire world, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

While Michele and Sarah are away technology has been wonderful.  Back in the day a lot of us remember that phone calls were a rare and most of the time a very special thing.  Whether it was the party line that was strung from house to house, then the transition to having your own three and sometimes four digit number, to today where nearly everyone has a cell phone and we don’t know what we would do without it and panic when we loose it or run it through the washing machine.  From not being able to make a phone call across the country or world to using the internet to see the faces of our family and friends and hear their voices and reconnect in a pretty amazing and awesome way, we have experienced a radical change in our way of thinking and living.

So during Michele’s visit with her sister and brother in Rocky Mount, she was at one of their houses and we were using the technology of Skype to see and talk.  As you might guess I really miss them.  While talking I heard Michele say that she had her ears attuned to if one of the dogs was growling, because Sarah is still at the age and not having the experience to understand that sometimes Dogs ‘growl’ when they don’t like what is being done.

This experience reminds me of this morning’s Gospel with Jesus and His hearing the Pharisee’s and Scribes and how they ‘grumbled’ or ‘growled’ at what Jesus was doing.  Luke writes, “Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Jesus knew what was in their collective hearts not only because He was the Son of God, but Jesus knew each of those men who looked at Him with disdain, because He helped create them in the womb.  But for us today Luke records Jesus story which really was meant to hit the Pharisee’s and Scribes right between the eyes as well as for us to understand He knows us and our hearts as well.  You see the Pharisee’s and Scribes were not the only target, Jesus is speaking to us today about our response, whether it is the politics of the country, the change in the electrical rates here in town, but more importantly how we react to what happens here at church and how we individually react.

So I ask you this question today.  Do you grumble or rejoice?  All of us here today probably clearly want to say, “I rejoice”!  But the reality is that we don’t always rejoice.  When we don’t get our way we grumble just like the Pharisee’s and Scribes.  When we don’t get our way we talk to our friends who sympathize with us, convince ourselves that we or our little group has been wronged.  This even includes when events or situations occur in the church.  We make a mountain out of a mole hill.

But today in this passage Jesus is trying to get us to look not with the selfish self-centered eyes of this world, but with the eyes of a child.  A child that has been baptized into His life, death and resurrection, in essence, a child of God.  For when we look with the eyes of this world we look for and from selfish motivation.  We look at every action as a motivation, rather than as an opportunity.  Our society looks and lives with the old motto of ‘what’s in it for me?’  If I or we give or do something for someone, they ‘owe me’.  When I or we do something we expect something in return.  But this is born out of selfish motivation and destroys the intent of Jesus message of the Gospel of salvation that He is using this parable to better explain and help others better understand the difference between ‘grumbling’ and ‘rejoicing’.

For instance if we were to radically change our perception and look at how the church gives in every facet of our ministry, we would change what holds us back and what can free us up to move mountains with the eyes of faith.  If we looked at everything as a gift to and for the people of God when we spend money whether on improvements to the church structure, investment in the organ that needs repaired, buying bibles or confirmation books for the kids, even the expenses that we have line items for in our budget, God with our change of mind set will enable us to make a difference in each other’s lives as well as the lives of the people here in Goodland that we are giving gifts to whether it is just time or even something very tangible.

When we look at how we spend money as gift givers rather than controllers and living in fear, we change and challenge the current play field we find ourselves in today.  With the current economic and farming situation we face today of a minimal to non-existent wheat crop, praying for rain because of the corn we planted in faith, having to sell our cattle that is part of our family business because there is not enough grass for them this summer, to having to have our houses or land taken from us because we can’t make the mortgage or pay the note to the bank.  We face a crisis.  Even here in the church we face the result of the crisis of spending more money than we take in our offering.  This is a matter of operation in a feast or famine mentality.  Jesus saw the Pharisee’s and Scribes who clearly operated in famine mode, because their existence they had been trained in, experienced and believed in was being set on its ear with Jesus teaching this parable.  And Jesus purposefully was changing the playing field and begs our question, ‘do you grumble or rejoice’?

Today we are no different.  We can, either grumble and operate as the Pharisee’s and Scribes and be misers and stewards that keep looking back to the past and what was in the past OR we can instead hand everything to God to trust Him with everything we have since it is His in the first place and rejoice that Jesus Christ came into this World and be empowered to give God everything we have as the gifts that they have been to us in the first place.

Today we not only stand at an opportunity to choose whether we ‘grumble’ or ‘rejoice’, we also remember God’s greatest gift that we find in His Sacrament, but also in our celebration and remembrance of Father’s on Father’s Day.  The reason this is so poignant is that this past week I was looking at pictures from when Sarah was born.  With another of the technological features of having camera’s that don’t require film I was able to re live her birth and the range of emotions that I had on that faithful day in 2009.

What strikes me today and connects clearly with this lesson is the first time that I was able to hold Sarah on the night of her birth.  The day had been full of emotions, from being left behind in the delivery room for 30 minutes after Michele was whisked to the operating room.  To not being told whether either Michele or Sarah were alive and having the only thing that I could do was to pray.  To hurriedly being taken to the operating room and hearing Sarah cry for the first time and finally seeing Sarah and Michele together.

As I held Sarah for the first time that night, I knew my life would forever change.  Unlike the Scribes and Pharisee’s I couldn’t and wouldn’t grumble.  I choose to rejoice and thank God for the gift of life that He had given Michele and I in Sarah Grace Hybl.  I was now a Father to the greatest gift God had given me.  
Today we have the same opportunity we can either be a Scribe or Pharisee and grumble or we can be God’s Child and trust our Father in Heaven with the gifts He first gave us and give them away to all the saints not only of this congregation, but of all Goodland and the entire world and rejoice over finding and bringing home the one lost sheep.  The choice is ours.  What are you going to do, ‘grumble’ or ‘rejoice’?  AMEN.
//trial script