Sermon – 07-07-19 – Proper 9 – Cycle C
Scriptures: Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalm 66:1-9; Galatians 6:1-16; Luke 10:1-20
Sermon Title: “Minding Our Own Business – Or Not”
Minding our own business – or not! What would Jesus do? What does God say? On a spectrum of 1 to 100 how nosy are we supposed to be? Not at all? Zero? Half-way as in 50? Would our nosiness be to satisfy ourselves or would it be to honestly help someone else? What if they don’t want our help even if they need it?
Millie – oh, I met a Millie recently. Was it here? Where did I meet a Millie? I will assume it is not here and I will call my character Millie. Millie knows a lot about a lot. Does she need to share her wisdom to build her own self-esteem or does she need to share her wisdom to fulfill a genuine need to be helpful and see someone thrive under her guidance? It is hard to tell. Has Millie analyzed this herself? Or, does she just know that it feels good to lay her head on her pillow at night after helping someone.
What kind of help does she give? Does she just talk or does she act? Some of you are genuine helpers. You are always ready to lend a hand and you do it well. I’ve observed that you are not busybodies. However, when you notice or hear or are asked, you step in naturally and selflessly. Some of us are more hesitant to give of our time and our strength. Maybe it is pure protectiveness. Maybe we are short on time and strength. Maybe we are not good at cooking or cleaning or repairing. You might chide us saying that we will never become good if we don’t try and don’t practice. How true!
What if our neighbor is an unhappy person and we are convinced that if that person knew about Jesus it would change our neighbor’s life? Would we find it easy to go to the fence that separates us and casually bring Jesus into a conversation? Or maybe when we are helping that person to clear the tree that came down in a storm, we mention the “Jesus” word.
What if Jesus knocked on my front door and said, “Mary Etta. I have a job for you immediately. Do not bring anything with you. I need you to knock on doors and say, ‘I have good news for you. May I come in and tell you?’” “Do I have a choice, Jesus,” I say. “Not really,” Jesus says. So how do I say “no” to Jesus? I am the one who dreads packing to go overnight lest I forget something and oh the time it takes to pack and then to unpack. Jesus is saying, “Take nothing.” And immediately! I wonder if that means no time to use the bathroom even. Oh, misery! This is the epitome of trust. We are to trust the Father to take care of every need!
I feel powerless to slam the door in the face of Jesus so without looking at the meal half eaten on my kitchen table, I step outside and close the door behind me. No keys, remember! I become a salesperson for Jesus. I put on the mind of Jesus. I need to be a humble salesperson. Are those two words oxymorons? Thank goodness that Jesus does not expect us to stay where we are not welcome. We present the message. If it is not well-received, we get to shake the dust from our sandals and face the next dwelling. A whole town could be against us. On the other hand, the whole town could welcome us. Then there is the thing of having a partner. Jesus does not give us personality tests to know which two people would be compatible partners. Some of you know that I would rather go alone, at my own pace, telling the story my own way. Having a partner! Oh Jesus, mold me, melt me, fill me, use me, by the Spirit of compatibility.
Does Jesus know the word “nosiness?” Are we interrupting people’s lives to prepare them for
a different way of life? Granted, in the time of Jesus it was not unusual to receive unexpected guests and offer overnight accommodations plus food plus conversation. But, we Jesus-followers are coming with authority. Our instructions are to say, “God bless this home with peace.” If the people living there are peace-loving, they will feel blessed with peace and with healing! “Cure the sick who are there,” Jesus instructs.
When we return to Jesus after our mission travels, we are jubilant. Our attempts at healing succeeded. We were filled with power and authority but the overwhelming feeling was peace. We brought peace and healing.
I dared to place myself in this 1st Century setting with the living Jesus. Will Jesus give me power and authority to heal and to bring peace in this 21st Century? More importantly, will he give each one of us the command and the power. It is about all of us – each one of us who cares about the sin-sickness of this world. Can we go two-by-two into our town to share the peace? We certainly love to share the peace in our weekly worship. But going into the town! No way, we find ourselves saying. But, wait, this is Jesus at the door. This is Jesus at the door of our hearts!
This is the kingdom of God coming to spread the peace we need so desperately!
Some of us who did the clean-up walk last Sunday two-by-two, feel the call to walk the town as a group. To say hello. To say “God bless you with peace” or “Peace be with you.” Maybe we could even wear T-shirts which say “Peace from Zion UCC.” That sounds selfish. We should probably declare ourselves as working for Jesus. Our shirts could say, “Peace from Jesus!” Then in small letters we could identify ourselves as “Believers from Zion UCC Womelsdorf.”
Would we do this for the reward of having our names written in heaven? We would do this because of our longing to have the peace of God pervade the world. Our names are already written in heaven by the grace of God.
If you are sitting near someone who has the more modern picture on the bulletin cover, take a glance, please. This “going out” can lead us on multiple paths. The paths converge, sharing our love of Jesus, strengthening our beliefs, then branching into the world not to mingle and to be absorbed but to bring the joy and the peace that passes understanding and the love of Jesus into the world to overcome the world, to prepare the world for the ultimate, perfect kingdom of God.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart; down in my heart to stay.
I have the love of Jesus, love of Jesus down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart. I have the love of Jesus down in my heart; down in my heart to stay.
I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart. I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart; down in my heart to stay.