Entertainment and Humility

When you check out at Kroger, Publix, pharmacies and the like, you always have a last minute opportunity to purchase a weekly magazine. Or at least read the headlines. These usually are about a celebrity or public figure. And they are either being praised or humiliated! The magazines are appropriately named e.g. PEOPLE or ENTERTAINMENT!

Our scriptures for Sunday include lots of thoughts about people in both high and low places in society as well as “entertaining.” At least the idea of entertaining as “hospitality.”

Many hospitals now have employees in charge of “hospitality.” They are to render services of assistance, respect, convenience, and comfort in addition to medical and nursing skills! One should not have to be miserable in finding parking, seating, and directions while feeling sickly as well! Hospitality. Seems fitting doesn’t it in a place called “hospital.”

Jesus instructs those “better off” e.g. the Pharisees, about both hospitality and humility. The two Hs in our scriptures! Celebrity status and social pride have their limits!! Just read your magazines at Kroger!

And also be aware that at your house and table or….church ….someday….you might just happen to “entertain angels unaware!”

Peace and Grace to you brothers and sisters….and to your neighbors+

Pastor Barry

Sundays: 1900, 1966, 2016

After reading the passages from Luke and Hebrews, I can’t help but think about how I spent Sundays as a child and teenager in the Fifties and Sixties. There were not a lot of restrictions but quite a few expectations! And I did notice that we rarely went to movies on Sunday, but, for some “reason” TV was not an issue! Was it the wholesome Bonanza or Disney shows?

I wish I had heard my grandparents say more about their Sundays when they were my age. I suspect the early Twentieth century “Sabbath” was not far from the Blue Laws era! The “blue laws” were the peculiar American restrictions on work and activities in American Sunday life especially in 19th century New England. And punishments did apply!

When Jesus heals on the Sabbath 5 times in the Gospel of Luke, he seems to be up against the “blue laws” of his first century Jewish world. He finally asks, “For whom was the Sabbath made?” We do well also to ask a similar question, “What shall we do with our Sundays? What IS Sabbath?!”

Hebrews 11:29-12:2 will be helpful in answering these questions, so read on! Anyone for flag football, cards, or golf this Sunday afternoon!? And hopefully no injuries from playing these!! Might not be allowed to see the doctor depending on whose side you are on in Luke 12:49-56!

Worship this Sunday! Be there or…….?

Pastor Barry

Family Feud?

Richard Dawson. Everyone remember him? The host of the 80s TV show Family Feud. Almost always more “fun” than “feud!” Light hearted entertainment pitting amused and amusing families against one another for prizes.

Luke 12:49-56 with its “divisions of family” over the ministry of Jesus seems a far cry from a 20th century television game show. I doubt many of us could read these scriptures about the necessity of judgment and turn so easily to pass the time watching TV!

But, so much else on current TV IS about division, judgment, conflict, and family and national heartache. The bible is better than TV as both a mirror for seeing ourselves as we are and a “grooming kit” for getting us to look better!! Thus, we should not despair when we read these “rough ” passages of scripture. Rather, we can find ways to be hopeful that “family feuds and worldly conflicts” do not have the last word! Ultimately the Prince of Peace will prevail. As we might paraphrase the line from Family Feud, “Survey says….”: rather, “Jesus says….!”

Bring the “family” to church Sunday!

Leave the feuds at the door!

Peace and Grace,

Pastor Barry

Oil Lamps, Batteries, and A Far Country

I don’t know how anyone stays focused! We have so many sounds, images, thoughts, memories, and desires flooding us constantly. Except when we sleep! Well…even then….here comes that strange wacky dream!

It’s a wonder (or miracle) that God gets our attention. Sunday worship is one thing; the other six days are something else!

In spite of our “attention deficit” to things of “The Kingdom of God” our Teacher Jesus has so many ways to bring us back to focus. He gives us powerful stories and images that can compete with sports, politics, celebrities, and social media.

In Luke 12….”lilies of the field…that neither spin nor toil!” “Ravens that neither sow nor reap….but they are fed!” Images of old lamps that need oil to keep burning. Who uses oil lamps anymore?! Everything runs on batteries…..or solar! (See…you had to think for a second didn’t you!?). God’s way of saying things important to us CAN stay with us and impact our way of living 24/7 in a world of competing images and messages. And “do not worry,” Luke 12:22…. “Seek the Kingdom….God will give you the Kingdom….” V. 32.

See, Don’t you feel a bit better already? See, you don’t have to get all your “information” from the newspapers and television and your neighbors opinions!

Now, go figure out a way to share that with someone who doesn’t have a church yet or doesn’t read the Bible as often….as you do! Fire up the lamps in your life whether oil fed or….battery powered! You have a Far Country to keep watch for (Hebrews 11:16)!

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God~~

Nobody said it would be easy! But guess who already did the heavy lifting for you!!? You just need to prepare….and share! Shine your light!

Pastor Barry