Jennie Gordon's Poem
2010-09-04 by David von Schlichten

This poem ponders the kenosis of self to the cross and what that would mean for the speaker. The verses hold before each of us a great, intimidating, exciting challenge.

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





a poem by Jennie Gordon
2010-09-04 by Laurie McKnight

give up           

          Luke 14:25-33 

my arms embrace

a lifetime collection

of necessary nothings

but each thing connects

and recollects the other

recounting who I am as daughter

sister, friend and wife and mother

while

each day adds another

vital verse to the anthology

of completed works - by me

that no one else

will ever read, while I persist

denying or defying dying

maybe

and then there’s all that substance

I’ve hoarded for tomorrow

the ‘one day’ that I know will come

it fills my head, my dreams,

my home 

what would it mean

to loose the hold

let go, put down, give up

and walk with empty arms

save for the cross of life-affirming death

that has been ours

since first baptismal breath

© Jennie Gordon 2010





Two Sermons in Cafe
2010-09-03 by David Howell

Text: Jeremiah 18:1-11

 

LIKE A LUMP OF CLAY

September 5, 2010

Young Memorial and Brookston Presbyterian Churches, Vance County

Rick Brand, Supply

 

and

 

Sermon on Philemon

At St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, Youngstown, PA

On Sunday, September 5, 2010,

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C,

The Reverend Dr. David von Schlichten

 

Your Onesimus

 

Sermon Feedback Cafe

 





Laurie McKnight; Preaching on Philemon
2010-09-03 by David von Schlichten

Our guest blogger has done a smart job of providing extensive reflections on each pericope for this week. Scroll down to enjoy.

I am focusing on Philemon. Laurie writes about the letter dealing with letting go and restored relationships. That's a salient theme, to be sure, and one people need to hear.

On a related note, I will be preaching on the idea of Christ making us into brothers and sisters and the implications of this new relationship. My sermon is up at the cafe. I welcome feedback, ever

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten





Thoughts on Luke 14:25-33
2010-09-03 by Laurie McKnight

Jesus is talking about who CANNOT become his disciple.  Aren’t we more familiar with religious (and other) movements where there is a constant membership drive?  I belong to service organizations, to women’s groups, to sisterhoods, to cultural groups – and always one topic on every meeting agenda is:  How can we get more members?  In fact, often we tend to relax the “membership requirements” – oh, you don’t have to attend every meeting; you just come when you can.  Oh, if you don’t have time to participate in a service project, that’s OK – just be sure to send in your dues.  And if you know of anyone else who would be good for our membership, please let us know….   Even our church nominating committees are beginning to operate in this way.  Jesus does not seem to have this concern about getting more “members” – more people – to follow him.  Jesus seems to want to do the opposite in this pericope – not recruit more members, but make sure that those who follow him are truly following HIM – are truly on The Way – have made a commitment that will last through the weekend, that will last beyond the first doubt and the first persecution – and the next, and the next, and the next….

 

Jesus is being followed by crowds everywhere he goes, but all the people in those crowds are not his followers.  Many are curious bystanders, onlookers, those wait-and-see kinds of people.  Jesus is the most exciting thing to have come along in quite awhile – stories about him will circulate for days, weeks, months, even years (if only they knew!) – people will be talking about him for quite awhile.  But for now, people are watching; not many are disciples.  And that’s OK with Jesus.  He is throwing up roadblocks, being radical again (he does that so well), giving a list of shalt’s and shalt-not’s to become one of his true followers.  First, you have to hate your family.  You have to leave them and maybe never see them again.  Second, you have to carry a cross, a burden, when you walk with me.  Third, you have to give up all your possessions; you have to get rid of everything you own.  Still want to be a part of this party?  Following me, Jesus says, is like building a complicated, expensive structure.  Following me, Jesus says, is like going into a war you are sure to lose.  Still want to come?

 

Maybe Jesus was not that callous and blunt when talking to the crowds.  Maybe.  But the idea of laying everything aside and following only Jesus is the goal.  It’s a difficult choice; it’s a costly choice – which is why so many bibles call this section “The Cost of Discipleship.”  It’s costly to walk with Jesus.  Even today, in the 21st century, being faithful will cost some of us relationships with family and friends.  It will cause us discomfort as we consider environmental and fiscal stewardship – trying to live green and not follow polluting, wasteful, consumerist trends, shopping at one store and not another, choosing where and how we spend our money.  Following Jesus may cause us to rebel against our government’s policies and the powers that be.  We may alienate ourselves from the world.  It’s not easy, this following Jesus.  It’s easy to say it’s rewarding.  It’s easy to talk about the benefits of discipleship instead of the costs.  But what do we feel?

 

I think we often feel lost in our lives today, which is why we pursue membership in all those other organizations.  I think we sometimes feel out of sorts with our earthly family (and friends) and there comes a point when we ask, Is that all there is?  The answer is No.  Jesus is all there is.  Jesus is all we need.  God loved us so much that Jesus was sent to live among us and to die for us and our sins that we might live more abundantly and experience life eternal.  Jesus invites us repeatedly to follow him, to experience God’s love, and to give that love away as we form a new family with all believers, an ongoing and ever-growing family, and as we act as the arms and legs, the hands and feet of God in the world, bringing the Kingdom to earth right here and right now.  What other choice do we have but to follow Jesus?  What other decision can we make?  No turning back.  No turning back.





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