Pastor Wendy’s weekly sermons touch on what we are being called to do as a church. You can find all of the 2016 sermons on the Sermon Link. Here are some excerpts from this summer’s sermons:
“… For if you look closely at that story of the Samaritan, it’s more than a little scary. For one thing, Jesus makes clear that Christian faith isn’t just about rattling off the catechism and creeds on Sunday and then forgetting them. Yes, knowing the Bible’s stories, the 10 commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Creeds are basic. Christian faith has a content. Yet, that content doesn’t mean much if it’s not put into practice 24/7, 365. The scribe who questions Jesus is highly-educated. But he’s not very good at practicing his faith.
So we have to ask what the practice of compassion asks of us in the times in which we live. What does Samaritan-like compassion require, when three more black men are dead at the hands of police, one of them in Wauwatosa? What does compassion require, when five white police men are gunned down by a black military veteran using military sniper techniques? Does compassion require that we light another candle and hold another vigil and then pass on by?
Well, after years of black men being murdered and multiple mass murders and now police being gunned down, I’m candled out and vigiled out, and TV commentaried out. I’m tired of expressing tearful outrage and lowering flags to half-mast and then seeing everything go back to bloody business as usual. At some point, candles and vigils and outrage without any other action become just another form of walking on by. I would bet that the priest and the Levite commended that mugged man’s soul to God as they hustled out of there. What does the practice of Christian compassion demand these days? It demands that we not look away – from the dead, or from each other. It demands that we begin having serious, difficult conversations together about race, class, and religion – and by religion, I don’t mean the Christianity vs. Islam controversy.
I mean the worship of the God of Jesus versus the worship of guns – because some in our beautiful country don’t just use guns, they worship them. It might be argued that everyone in our violence-saturated culture genuflects to the holy trinity of Smith, Wesson, and the NRA. We need to have serious engagement to have transformative action. No, I don’t know the answers that would come from such conversations. As a white, middle-class woman, I don’t even know the questions. Like the scribe whom Jesus teaches, I need others to speak the truth in love to me. I need to listen more than talk. I need to learn, and in learning, I need to repent. Compassion requires me to change, and you to change.
But we must have these conversations –…”
Take and Eat Evenagelism – July 3, 2016 – excerpt:
“…But Luke makes wonderfully clear that Jesus’ instructions to his disciples are very different. The good news for us today is that Jesus sends us out to practice what I call “take and eat” evangelism. “Take and eat” evangelism begins, not with a fumigation of the bugs in others, but with a greeting of peace.
The harmony of a world without conflict, and lives without trouble was rare in the ancient world. So to wish people peace was to offer them a blessing. Since people then believed that the gods bestowed peace, offering peace conveyed that you wanted them to have God’s blessing. In greeting people with the word of peace, Jesus’ disciples would approach people with an attitude of human and divine acceptance and blessing.
If we follow Jesus’ counsel, then we also approach others with acceptance for they who are, and an attitude that wishes them well. We approach others – whether they’re co-workers or fellow shoppers or our neighbors – as we would want to be treated. We’ve all met people who make us feel like it’s OK to be who we are. Jesus says that our manner should announce to people, “I think you’re someone God loves – and I’d like to know you better.”
In other words, we first approach people as potential friends. And, we approach them on their turf…
… So Jesus tells his evangelists to do what our teen-aged youth do so well – hang out and eat together – and so begin to get to know one another. So we evangelists talk about our families and jobs. We talk about our joys and hopes. We don’t talk at – we talk with. We spend time together, in order to discover and appreciate the other.
And when you hang out with others, Jesus says, your relationship may lead to healing…”