September 18, 2016
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
The Body of Christ…?
What really matters?
Prayer of adoration and for God’s illumination so that His Word would be heard through me or in spite of me…
I would ask you to rise, as you are able, for the reading of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 36-46…listen to the word from God for you and me, the people of God.
Sometimes life can get so complicated. There are so many things and people who are needing our attention. It can get overwhelming because of demands…the urgency…the fill in the blank. I know there are days that I feel like I am chasing my tail…around and around in circles. It can be hard, some days, to organize my day as I try to do the things I feel need to get done first. OK…audience participation time… the question is this…What matters most to you and why?
How would we define the body of Christ? We have defined it as family. But how we do you and I really define “family?” Try as we might, sometimes we don’t even come close to how God would define it. We leave out people who because they don’t fit our idea of family. But truthfully…we are not the ones who define family…the Creator of our diversely awesome family is the One who really defines it…our God is the One who gets to define what He himself created…Do you remember the saying from the movie “Lilo and Stitch” from last week? Ohana means family and family means no one is left out or left behind. We also came to realize that in order to become community in the world…in order to continue to be relevant we, as Christ’s followers, need to wake up. Wake from our slumber…wake from our complacency…wake from our numbness and see the world and people around us who are looking for someone to reach out in love, hope and compassion. They are in need of a savior…we can lead them to the saving grace we were and are given anew each day
Now there are probably a million ways to help someone…to minister to those who are in need. But I think Jesus kind of gave us a list of ways…sort of like categories…that we can lift others up from their sea of despair. In the scripture I read this morning from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus talks about what the sheep and goats did…or didn’t do.
- For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat
- I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink
- I was a stranger and you invited me in
- I needed clothes and you clothed me,
- I was sick and you looked after me
- I was in prison and you came to visit me
(Speak from the Spirit for each piece) Now this is not a checklist for us to check off and then we are done. To me it seems as if it is a way of life…one that honors God and Jesus…
What is our bottom line? What really matters to us? According to Jesus, what’s the bottom line? How do we or don’t we compare with what Jesus says matters most? In the scripture I read this morning…Jesus is clear on what really matters. Serving others…helping one another…loving others remember where they are and not where we “think” they should be. Jesus is also clear on what happens if and when we care more for ourselves than others. So many things seem to demand our attention as we walk on this journey of life. I don’t think we want to miss out on what really matters in life. The world claims one way but we are called to another. We are summoned…we are beckoned to a different way of life…one in which we are in community with on another.
As we open our hearts and our doors to those who are on the outside we become family. As we become family we can work together as the body of Christ…as a family of believers who reach out to those who are looking for someone to grab their hand to pull them out of the vortex they are in. As we come together the word Ohana becomes our battle cry because no one is left out or left behind. As we help others our focus is changed and we begin to think “we” instead of “me”. We begin to see a change happen within our communities when we begin to define…to specify what really matters. We become one as we do all of this in the name the One who is the heads of the coin toss of life…being the head of the church, our hearts and our minds…our Risen Lord Jesus Christ…