Sermon - 08 09 19

Sermon - 08 09 19


# Sermons
Published by Yvonne Callaghan on Friday, 20 September 2019 00:00

This weeks sermon.. Bargain Jesus


This week as the schools and colleges went back

As the offices opened 

And people returned from their summer holidays

The phones began ringing off the wall in the office

And the email’s kept began arriving at incredible speed..

Diana and I took a lunch break          

We nipped into Richmond 

and found somewhere to enjoy lunch..

then … not only content to have some lunch

Diana and I visited a couple of charity shops..

 

Now I love a bargain

And I love getting unexpected bargains.. 

So I popped into Oxfam 

and found a couple of lovely bargains.. 

Fabulous… 

 

But some bargains as we all know are not what they seem to be

At first sight..

And I think this is what Jesus is saying today

He’s saying I’m not a cheap

And following me is not cheap

I’m a good deal..

But following me is costly 

and demands a lot 

Often more than you want to give…

 

 

So .. how does he say this 

Well if we take the Gospel reading at face value 

Jesus tells us we cannot love our family

Or our friends..

We have not to value our own lives

And we have to take up our cross

 

So .. what does that mean 

where the fourth commandment is concerned

honour your father and mother

Or as Jesus summed up all the commandments 

and told us to love others

And to love ourselves as we are love

It all seems incongruent

The words we read today 

don’t match the Jesus I know and follow

Jesus cannot ever mean two different things when he speaks.

He cannot tell us to love others 

And then hate all others who are different ..

That’s not the way I see Jesus work

That’s not the way I experience Jesus.. 

 

so lets take another look at the text

Let’s see what Jesus is really saying.. 

 

Remember …… 

Jesus was being followed by the crowd

The crowd who had seen the miracles and healings 

And the crowd wanted some of that healing 

The crowd wanted a miracle for themselves.. 

 

So Jesus uses something called HYPERBOLE

Its exaggeration

Heightening to get something across to others.. 

We’ve all used it.. 

 “Ive told you a million times not to do that”

       

But among the exaggeration 

the truth is .. following Jesus demands a lot of us

It is also life giving .. 

But.. these statements we read 

Are not quite an accurate translation 

 

You see when we compare other story’s 

Where Jesus has used the same Aramaic word 

which we have interpreted for hate

The word itself actually means “loves less than”..    

So to follow Jesus 

Means you have to love your family less than him.. 

 

Now that explanation may be a little better

But it’s still really uncomfortable 

Because if the translation is true 

We have to love others less.. 

 

I believe that what Jesus is really saying 

is that the love we have for our family

Or even ourselves 

When compared with the love Jesus has for us

And asks of us

Makes our human experience of love so much less 

than the all-consuming 

unconditional love Jesus has for us..

in-fact it is so much less .. 

that love can almost feel like hatred.. 

 

Then Jesus tells us we have to carry our cross to follow him 

To be his disciple

Those words would have shocked those who were there

Remember how familiar crucifixion was  

And not only familiar 

But a shaming

Humiliating 

Demeaning painful way to die

 

If you remember the words of Jeremiah

God says he is the potter

We are the clay

And God can shape us to be the person he want us to be 

If we let him.. 

and as the clay is re-shaped…  

it’s still the same Clay 

As we are reshaped …

It’s still us .. our DNA … 

Becoming the ones we are created to be.. 

 

And many people have died

Taken up their cross 

If it were judged by the worlds standards.. 

 

There are many famous people in history and in scripture 

Who have taken up their cross

And done what the world would class as stupid

 

St Francis was called a fool for following Jesus 

And he became a fool for Christ.. 

 

For Julian on Norwich

Following Jesus with integrity 

Meant locking herself away in a room, 

praying and writing of her encounters with God

through her self-appointed isolation 

 

for Mother Teresa following Christ meant serving the lepers and the poor of Calcutta

 

For Dietrich Bonhoeffer it meant taking himself back to Germany from the safety of a teaching post in the US as the rise of Hitler and his policies took hold. 

 

For Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following Jesus meant taking up the charge for Racial Equality in the US

 

Bonhoeffer never saw himself being a Martyr

Nor did Mother Teresa see herself as a Saint

Dr. King never saw himself as the voice and giving his life for a greater cause

Julian of Norwich never saw herself as a mystic

Mother Terresa would have exchanged places with each of those whom she served

 

Hard though those things are

Following Jesus is even more than that too.. 

      

How many of us find forgiving others easy?

That’s what we are commanded to do

The Lord’s prayer, 

tells us that as we accept the forgiveness 

Of God bought by the cross

That we too are to forgive others 

That’s part of carrying the cross… 

Is that something you can do? 

I know it’s often something that takes me time

 

And that’s foolish to the world

Yet 

Being a true follower of Jesus means we have no choice.. 

 

And that’s the problem

Many want the bargain Jesus

We don’t want to commit fully to follow..

So. We either stop following 

Or do the pick and mix.. 

We choose which pieces of being a follower we accept..

We want to follow our way

For our fix.. 

 

And that’s when others notice

That’s when others who do not follow Jesus 

Who are not disciples notice 

That’s when people will say

“I thought you were a Christian.. 

That’s not how Christians behave.. “

We are seen 

And judged by others 

Even those who don’t have a faith 

Have expectations of those of us who do.. 

 

I suppose we can align it to the political situation in the UK at the moment

Those who follow a political party

blindly without integrity 

Are not being true to the party or to the country

They are seen to lie

They are seen to dodge the truth 

and the outcomes of statements

And we judge them for it.. 

 

We too are judged by others for being followers of Jesus

And how we behave.. 

 

Yet being a true follower of Jesus 

means we are willing to follow him in all things

Our faith 

Our belief in him does not change

as our life circumstances change

In the good and the bad

Followers of Jesus 

hold on to the truth Jesus brings and speaks

     

It is the integrity 

The witness that have inspired many

This is what Jesus referred to as COUNTING THE COST OF FOLLOWING HIM

 

The Lord is not looking for Bargain Hunters

We can’t pick and choose how we want to serve Him

We can’t come to the Lord and to the Church 

to see what we can get out of it

 

Bargain Hunters look for the best deal

The Lord is looking for our Total Commitment

And our commitment continues to cost us 

Cost us our all…

Always.. 

 

And when we fail 

Because we will and do fail as followers of Jesus

Others may judge us

But Jesus just asks us to simple acknowledge those failures and come back to him 

Again and again 

That’s the gift of following him..

It costs us everything

But gives us His all..