Weekly Evangelectionary for Sunday August 30, 2015

Lectionary (Year B): Song of Solomon 2:8-13 or Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 or Psalm 15; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Theme: “Religion: Pure and Undefiled”
Message: “The Real Thing”

  1. The Real Thing Comes from God (James 1:17-18)
  2. Listen to the Real Thing (1:19-21)
  3. Do the Real Thing (1:22-27)

Quote(s):

“It (James) went to diaspora churches that were in disarray and needed to hear again the authoritative voice of the Jerusalem church’s leader. Its aim was to instruct Jewish Christians experiencing tensions between their allegiance to the Torah and their newfound faith in Jesus. In this sense, James and Jude are the last New Testament echoes of Jewish Christianity.” – from the introduction to the Letter of James, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version

“…we are to humbly seek to understand and then put into practice the teachings we discern in our faith and in Scripture. When we do that, then we can hear the Word in a way that transforms our hearts and gets translated into the way we live our lives.” – Alan Brehm, The Waking Dreamer

“To know that one is loved is the most freeing thing imaginable, even as this same love holds us in a relationship of love. This is where we see ourselves, James says. Look into the law of love. This is who God creates you to be.” – Commentary, James 1:17-27, Craig R. Koester, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2009.

Illustration:

“There is a story about St. Francis of Assisi that he was praying in an ancient church that was badly in need of repair. He heard a voice from a crucifix which was over the altar which said, “Francis, go and repair my church which you will see is falling into ruins.” Francis went to get his tool chest, but he soon realized that the voice of God was referring to something else. The voice of God again said, “Not the bricks, Francis. The people are in need of repair.” Then Francis went out and took care of orphans and widows. The voice of God still speaks from above the altar today and says, “Francis. God and repair my church which is falling into ruins.” And God is not talking about bricks and mortar.” From a sermon, “James, True Religion and the Real Thing,” by Edward F. Markquart, Sermons From Seattle.com.

Film, other visual aids:
Weapons of the Spirit (1989)
“…..We, we in this congregation, are called to do what comes naturally (!) for one who has considered the costs and believes, one who has in her back pocket the promises of God as recounted in our Psalm today?.And what comes naturally is moving ahead.(!) The community of LeChambon, France did this. During WWII this protestant peasant French Huguenots hid, housed, fed, educated and welcomed hundreds of Jews. They set their face firmly toward Jerusalem- with all it’s suffering, glory, uncertainly and promise. I believe their story helps illuminate Jesus’ greatest hopes and expectations for his disciples.(!) A Jewish man who was a baby when his family was embraced by the people of LeChambon created a documentary film about its story. (We should have a movie time at BPC to watch it). Put a picture of these people in your head. All in their 70s and 80s at the time of filming, there are neatly dressed in well worn vests and simple aprons, walking sticks in hand, rosy faced, vibrant. The filmmaker remarks that hugging one of them is like hugging a tree-these are solid people. Again and again, when asked why they risked their lives for their Jewish brothers and sisters, the peasant farmers respond matter-of-factly with comments like: “Sure, We gave up our bed when there was no choice.” “It happened so naturally, we can’t understand all the fuss.” “The bible says feed the hungry and visit sick. It was the normal thing to do.” In an interview with Bill Moyers about LeChambon, the filmmaker remarks, and I am paraphrasing, “These days we seem to think that good people are those who agonize. They ” sleep on it”?and maybe in the morning their conscience gets them to do the right thing. No- this idea is wrong. People who agonize don’t act. And people who act don’t agonize.” Their path to discipleship also affirms our Psalm text. Descended from a persecuted people themselves, the French Huguenots, theirs was a community who took great pains to remember the past. As good Calvinists, they had a very high view of the OT and looked to the prophets to nurture their faith and conduct. Their most oft sung hymn says, “May the spirit that gave [our] ancestors life inspire [our] children to follow their example.”They credit their natural giving now with the simple fact that they remember their own story. “There’s was not a sentimental faith. Not extraordinary. It was a solid faith that was put to the test and not found wanting.” (Anonymous contribution)

Pay It Forward (2000)
This is a great movie about living generously, of the debt we owe to Christ that is to be repaid in service to others. (Dennis Estill)

Music: “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” “A Charge to Keep I Have,” “Rise Up, O Saints of God,” “Here I Am, Lord,” Text and music: Daniel L. Schutte; arr. Michael Pope and John Weissrock, 1981, New Dawn Music,/OCP Publications

Opening Prayer
Eternal God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, things seen and unseen, open up our minds and hearts to behold your glory, in the world around us, and in the world within us, in the world inside this place of worship, and in the world outside where we can also glorify you. May your power at
work within us enable us to be what you called us to be, In the strong name of Jesus, Our Savior and Lord. Amen

Benediction:
“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father, who is in heaven.” Amen

avatar About Bruce Laverman

Bruce is a retired pastor and former Director of Evangelism in the Reformed Church in America now living in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the RCA's representative to Evangelism Connections and serves as Managing Editor of this Web site.

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