June 25, 2017
Stetson Memorial UMC
“Mending Fences-Healing the Heart…”
Adapted from Marcia McPhee’
“On the Mend” Sermon Series
Matthew 8:5-8; 13 NIV
“The Eyes of God…!”
The Lord be with you
And also with you
Let us pray (Prayer that God’s Word is heard through me or in-spite of me)
Please stand for the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 10, verses 46-52 Listen to the word of God from His love letter to His beloved, you, and I…
(Read Scripture from the NLT Bible)
As Hope and Joy went down the hallway to the coffee shop, they both thought about what had happened that day. They thought about Grace and how she could forgive, how she was able to put things into perspective. They both wanted that for their lives. They were at the threshold of something bigger than themselves. What would they do with this new-found way of thinking?
“It really has been a rough few day,” Joy said with a sigh. “It sure has” said Hope, “look, I am really sorry for what happened. If I had known what was going to happen I would have never…” “It’s ok Hope. I know it wasn’t your fault. I was just upset I couldn’t see the truth. Will you forgive me Hope?” Joy asked. Hope was taken back by these words…”me forgive you…I the one who needs forgiveness. I would have felt the same way if I was you,” Hope explained to Joy. “I acted so un-Christ-like…I wish I could take it all back.” Joy said as she took hopes hand, “Please forgive me for that much at least.” “How about we forgive each other” Hope said with a smile. “Yes…let’s do that.”
As they shared coffee and more conversation nurse Faith came into the Coffee Shop at the hospital. “I have been looking everywhere for you two. I have some great news to share. Your friend Grace, is going to be all right and can go home the day after tomorrow. I told you everything was going to be all right…you just have to have a little faith,” Faith explained. At this news, the two friends began to cry as they both stood to hug Faith.
“I am so sorry I judged you Hope. I never realized who you really are until we took time to talk with one another.” Joy said as they watched nurse Faith walk away. “Well Joy I also did the same to you and I am sorry. You really do love like Jesus. You are human too and have times when your feelings get the best of you.” Hope said as she and Joy walked towards the door of the Coffee Shop”. “Thanks for being there when Grace needed us. I admit that at first, I was afraid of you but you truly are a good friend. I didn’t trust you because you were different. I am glad we got to know each other and I realize we are a lot a like you and I.” Joy said as they began to laugh.
“Laughter…it heals the soul,” Hope said, “Let’s go see if we can share that healing laughter with Grace. Oh, by the way, sorry that I judged you as one of those “would be Christians”. I was holding on to what happened in my past that I couldn’t see the present of the present. Thanks for opening my eyes to the truth. You truly are a good friend.”
As the girls walked together by the hallway they could feel this sort of light heatedness about them. Neither knew what was in store for them and their friendship. They had more to learn as the journeyed together to a place much bigger than themselves.
But that part of the story is for another day…
Good morning. Well here we are together again. WE have been walking this road of healing with each other for 9 weeks now. It doesn’t seem that long. We have heard Hope’s story…and by the way…this is not all of hopes story…I have more for her and I am writing a “Hope’s Story” sort of book with much more about her journey and the people she encounters on it…
For weeks now we have been talking about what ails us. We have had a lot of good conversation over our ailments as we have been interactive with one another during our sermon time…so, I need audience participation. In the story that I just shared with you, what stands out for you? Give time for answers. What stands out for me is the growth they have had in this story. They both thought they knew what life was about and judged people they met but they both now have had an “eye opening experience” that has probably changed their lives forever…
I truly believe that we as Christ church…followers of the Way…need to have conversation of what ails us. What is hurting inside of us. What hold us back from living the life, individually and collective, that we are offered through Jesus. We need to heal what ails us to be the relevant Christians. We need to let go and let God as we move forward as God’s people and take back our streets…the places where we are called to share the Gospel of Grace, Hope, Joy, and Faith. Without healing, what ails us we can’t call ourselves Christ followers because we can’t follow His example in the world. We want to be those Resurrected people. We can spend the tomb with our comfortable “death cloths” …not leaving those things behind that bind us… But we need to put on the robe of righteousness that we receive in and through Christ.
Today I want us to continue to talk about another ailment we, as humanity, get plagued with…that stop us from living that life in Christ, as we mend fences and heal the heart. We need mending…we are all broken. If we say we are not we lie. We live in a fallen world…we live in a world of chaos…we live in a place where everything is turned upside down. But praise Jesus, He can turn it all right-side up for us again as we travel the road of healing and are mended from the inside out. What in us needs mending? My hope is that as we continue to have that conversation it will lead to healing. Conversation is hard but it is vital if we want to be that vital congregation for Christ.
So, some of the ailments we have talked about are…
- Our intentions and the fact that, whether we like it or not, there are times when our intentions may be not so helpful.
- Our inhibitions keep us from being open to others. How there are many things that cause us to be closed off to the very ones that Jesus came to save…including ourselves.
- Fear is one of the biggest things that keeps us from being who God would have us be. Fear immobilizes us and keeps us stuck in the mud…unable to move forward for Christ and the Good News. Maybe even the fear of Hope as she is walking through our door…
- There is also the sickness of “pride”. Pride is not a bad thing unless it gets in the way of being that loving community that the “Hope’s” of the world need.
- The disease of division. As we work together…and not just give up and leave…the most important thing to remember is we need to take our division to the Way Maker, our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, He will stand in gap for us as we work our way back to unity and as we bring our hurts and ailments to the Balm of Gilead, we are healed from the inside out.
- Another thing that ails us as people and as a church is Miss-Trust. Lady Ms. Trust loves to come in and stir up a whole lot of nothing and sit back as we begin to come unglued together because we are suspicious and untrusting each other.
- “holdouts” … holding on to things that should be released to God. They keep pushing the bolder up the hill and not letting the Creator of all make rubble out of it…
- Power struggles-the ones who have a need to control. This one began with the first twelve disciples and continues today.
There are times when we are blind and we just can’t see. Blindness is another one of the things that ails us. How do you think we, as Christ’s church…on a whole? Give time to answer. What about our church? What do you think we are blinded to or by? Give time to answer. How do you think we can receive our sight again? Give time to answer.
There are many healing stories in the bible. I think that one of the most frequent types of healing that Jesus gave was vision. Why do you think that it was and is important to Jesus for our vision to be healed? Give time to answer. In the healing account from the scripture I read this morning, one thing really stands out for me. All the man did was ask and it was given. Jesus didn’t spit on his eyes or make mud and put it on his eyes. All Jesus did was say your faith has healed you…that’s it…nothing else.
There is one thing from this healing that jumps out for me. As blind Bartimaeus got up…he threw aside his coat, jumped up and came to Jesus. He knew he was in for a heling. Because Jesus bid him come he knew that Jesus was going to heal him. So, he threw off his death cloths…the clothes of a beggar… jumped up and ran to Jesus… He ran to the healer of all that was ailing him. Now my question is this… Are we willing to throw aside our death clothes and run out of our tombs to the only one who can heal our brokenness? I think that is or main ailment…brokenness…
Do we have the faith to heal our eyesight? Give time to answer. As we bring what ails us to Jesus He will heal us. As we bring our sorrow and struggles to Jesus he says, “be healed…your faith has healed you.” Jesus say the word and we will be healed. The faith of the centurion healed his servant in Matthew 8 verses 5-8 and 13:
5 “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.”
It is all about faith… It really is as simple as faith. In just one word, Jesus can heal us. As we bring our sicknesses to Jesus it is our faith in Him and His ability to heal that heals us. If we did not believe we would not be healed… Talks about my knee
Beloved children of the Most High God. Jesus is calling us out of our tombs and in to His Glorious Light and be healed of our ailments. What is ailing us…as a church…as individuals…as one body? How can we be on the mend, of fences and our hearts? I know that there are things we just don’t want to talk about…there are things that we just don’t want to hear. But we cannot/will not let fear stop us from healing what ails us, personally and collectively.
So, how’s your eye sight? Are you and I…is Christ’s church…our church…in need of some vision revision? Are we walking around blindly trying to see the least and lost only being that our selves…least and lost? Or…are we ready for a new set of eyes, God’s eyes? Without His eye sight and love vision we cannot see the sacred around us. We live in a world that is dark and it is afraid of the light. How will we see in the dark if we are not looking through the eyes of the Light of the World? Are we ready…are you and I ready…to have our eyes and hearts open By the One who can give us 20/20 vision? Or will we continue to grope around in the dark? The choice is ours to make.
Think about the Hope’s of this world. Would she see the eyes of kindness, love, and servitude if she walked through our doors? I ask that we prayerfully come together…as family…to heal what ails us. I passionately want us to be that church that Hope would hear about the goodness of God and feel the oneness of our church as we work through our faith journey together trusting in the One who knows us best.
I think Hope is ready to come in now…Maybe…just maybe…we will find hope in Hope, we will be joyful as we find our Joy in the world…and be changed forever by Grace…that is if we have Faith…