Archive for the ‘22nd Sunday’ Category

Jesus Needs Our Hands 9-4-2017

Monday, September 4th, 2017

On this Labor Day weekend I would like to share with you a powerful meditation written about hands.
First look at your hands. You carry them around with you all the time. But now, take the time to look at them. Look at the backs of them. Your hands are an evolutionary miracle, an enormously complicated collection of bones and sophisticated joints and muscles.
And now look at the palms of your hands. Look at the lines, the sores, the calluses, and the soft places. There’s a whole history written on the surface of your hands.
Think of the hands of a newborn child, so tiny, so delicate. Once upon a time your hands were the same size.
Hands are fascinating. Think of all that your hands have done since then. Almost all that you have learned has been through your hands – turning yourself over, crawling and creeping, walking and balancing yourself, washing and bathing, dressing yourself. At one time your greatest accomplishment was tying your own shoes. Think of all the learning your hands have done. Think of how many activities you have mastered. The things they have made. Remember the day you could write your own name.
Our hands were not given just for ourselves but for others. Remember the tears they have wiped away, our own or another’s, the blood they have bled, the healing they have experienced. How much hurt, anger and even violence they have expressed, and how much gentleness, tenderness and love they have given.
Remember for a moment all the hands that have been reached out to you. The hands of your family, the hands of your friends, the hands of the boys and girls you dated as you were growing up. Think for a moment of the most unforgettable hands you have known – the hands of your father, your mother, and your grandparents. Think of the oldest hands that have rested in your hands. Think of all the hands opened to you for help. Did you answer them? Or the hands held out to help you. Did you accept them and love them?
There is a mystery about hands. A hand extended in love is not just skin and bones. It carries the caring heart within it. A handshake is the real heart transplant. Think of all the hands that have left their mark on you. And think of the all the places that carry your handprints and the people who bear your heartprint.
The most beautiful hands God ever made were the hands of the Lord Jesus. They were strong hands, callused well by many years of toils and struggles. But there was something indescribably gentle and caring about them. How often they softly probed into the sick parts of minds and bodies and brought healing. How often they brought light into darkness, eternal life into what was dead and cold and unresponsive.
Those hands of Jesus were bruised and aching at the end of long days. I saw those hands on Good Friday when rough nails were cruelly driven through them. I saw them tremble when nerve and muscle and bone and flesh were torn and slashed. But those same hands opened again with forgiveness and with a blessing.
Even the hands of Jesus were not strong enough to extend around the whole world. There are many people, places, and situations in life needing to be touched. On this Labor Day we need to be reminded that the Lord Jesus needs our hands.
Yes, the Lord Jesus needs our hands. Hands that have sinned yes, hands that have betrayed, hands that have hurt in a thousand ways. Yes, the Lord Jesus needs our hands to love the world through. Let us offer our hands.

Easy Does It? 9-3-2017

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

A young man, eager to make it to the top, went to a “success in business” seminar taught by a wealthy tycoon. “What’s the reason for your phenomenal success?” he asked.
Back came the answer, in a gravelly voice: “Hard work!”
“Uh, well, what’s the second reason?”
It’s natural to find the easy way to do things. Book stores sell thousands of “easy” books. Spanish Made Easy, Five Easy Steps to a Better Vocabulary, Easy Does It, Eat What You Want and Lose Weight. Looking for the easy way may be natural, but today Our Lord warns us that about really important things, the easy way isn’t the best way. The easy way isn’t always the right way.
Perhaps the harshest words that ever came out of the mouth of Jesus were aimed at his friend for counseling him to take the easy way. The scripture says Jesus turned on Peter, turning on someone…what a phrase, and said, in new Testamentese: “Simon, get the blank out of here. Your advice of taking the easy way, avoiding the cross, eliminating pain at any cost, is a dangerous temptation that might make me fall. I don’t need people around me that only judge by the world’s standards. The easy way is not always the right way.”
Many of you here with some years experience know that what Jesus says is true! Success in life requires a willingness to resist the lure of the easy way. A sound body requires that you exercise, eat the right foods, and conquer bad habits. A sound mind requires that you read, that you observe, that you continually learn, instead of resting on a handful of pet convictions handed down from grandma and grandpa and never expanded or enlarged. A sound marriage requires that each partner goes into it with the understanding that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition, but a 70/30 one, in which both partners give 70. A sound family means that we will take the time to be sensitive to the needs of our children, that we provide not only for their physical needs, but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. Such goals require sacrifice, they require perseverance…Every one of us knows that the path to personal success is the path of self denial. And why should we do this unnatural thing, take the hard way, pick the cross, say no to our inclination to ease. Because our Lord has loved us the hard way, the godly way, the right way; no one who looks on that cross would ever complain when God asks us to sometimes take the hard way. After all, Jesus did not come to make life easy. Jesus came to make human beings great People of Faith!

God You Are the Source 8-28-2016

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

I think Jesus was a first class people watcher. One day he was invited to be a guest in the home of a Pharisee. When it came time for dinner, he began watching closely the other guests’ behavior. He watched all the jockeying for position to be number 1. When all were seated, Jesus gave them a piece of his mind. What he had to say was much more than a lesson about table manners. In essence Jesus said, “It’s a foolish thing to waste your time and energy trying to look important.”
In thinking about this statement, I believe there are a couple of important considerations to keep in mind:
A. Jesus never discouraged the desire for greatness . . . He encouraged it. It was never human littleness that Jesus stressed, but human grandeur. “You are the light of the world; you are the salt of the earth.”
B. His philosophy was: try hard to achieve. Do something significant with your gifts; be the best person that you can possibly become.
Where then do we get out of focus in this area? Let me suggest this:
1. Most of us don’t make a big fuss about the seating arrangements at banquets, but we are still masters in the gentle art of self promotion. We have these neat tricks that we use to elbow our way up to the head table of life.
(a.) One of them is criticism of others; fault finding in others is almost always an attempt to cover up some weaknesses in ourselves. If we can’t climb to the top, we can accomplish something of the same result by pulling others down. We need to remember that we can never promote ourselves by putting down other people. Invariably the opposite happens. Life just moves us down to a lower seat and we gain the reputation of a small minded, critical, jealous person.
2. Another common means of self-promotion is boastfulness. What a waste of time. No person is as boring and unconvincing as the one who continually talks about his or her achievements. There is something about arrogance that just doesn’t make sense, and we all know it. Whatever we are and whatever we’ve accomplished, it has required the love and help of God and a lot of people. Our best posture should be gratitude. (Sports personality, thank you God)
Let me close with this statement: If you really want to be important, stop worrying about where you are seated at the Banquet of Life and just get up and start waiting on tables. God, you are the source of all we have . . . thank you!
Now, that’s where true humility starts!