Worship on June 11, 2017

Reverend Lindsey Williams

Like a Child

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 

 

 

Reading

 

 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

  

Interpretation of the Word

 

This week we celebrate Trinity Sunday.  We celebrate that our God is one God, because we in fact are not polytheistic, but monotheists, meaning that we believe in One and only One God.  Our one God however works, acts, is comprised of three different and distinct and yet it not three different Gods, but one.  We are not going to go into the nitty gritty details of how this is because it’s not something I can explain in 10-15 minutes, and even the best Theologians throughout history have not been able to explain the trinity in a way that doesn’t leave people with glassy eyes.  


Plus I’m going to take a wild guess, that you didn’t come here to get a lecture on the inner workings of the Holy Trinity, but rather you came here for some life application.  How do these scriptures, written over 2 thousand years ago, apply to our lives today?  That is what we’re here for.  We want to know how these texts are relevant to us TODAY?   One of the questions we can always ask ourselves about a text when we’re reading it is “How do we experience God?”  Paul, in 1st Corinthians tells us that we are called to experience God like a child, and that our faith is to be that of a child.


Not too long ago, within the last two years even, it might have been difficult for us to imagine what that looks like, but NOW, now we have 5 shining examples of what it looks like to have faith like a child.  These five, precious, young people here show us how easy faith can be when we have faith like a child.  Their faith has not become cynical because of the things they have experienced in the world.  Instead, their faith trusts that God loves them, just as they are and that God has teaches them how to treat one another with love and kindness.  Their faith believes in the love that flows from God easy forgiveness offered.


This can be seen in when we observe children playing.  I’m sure many, if not most of you, have watched or at least overheard children playing.  They are cute, and in the grand scheme of life, it is simple play.  Everyone had roles to play and they share with each other.  If there is a disagreement, it is usually resolved quickly and simply, with an ‘I’m sorry,’ a round of hugs and some ‘I love you’s’ and all is resolved and play continues.  I like to believe that this is how God is with us, that our differences and disagreements are solved with simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’.  That nothing more is needed.  That is faith like a child.  And yet, we, adults, overcomplicate things.  We have come to think that life can’t exist that simply, that faith cannot be that simple, that the LOVE of God, that we care called to share, cannot be THAT simple.  But maybe it is, just that simple.


These last two verses in 1st Corinthians come from a larger, very familiar passage that we know as the Love passage.  “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.”  Words many if not all of us have heard proclaimed at weddings, I remember them read at my own wedding ceremony.  


Why would Paul feel the need to remind us that when we Love, we are to love like a child does.  It might be because, as Pastor and Professor Karoline Lewis puts it, “We are also no strangers to the kind of division that the gospel provokes. And sometimes we forget just how divisive the gospel can be. Choosing regard over rejection, respect over diminution, love over hate, peace over conflict is not as easy as we hope it could be, as we wish it would be. It seems like it should be easy -- and that’s the problem. Why is it that we find it so difficult to make what appears to be a rather obvious choice? A choice for love? What stands in our way?”


I would suggest that what stands in our way is our adulthood.  As adults, we have a distinct need or at least desire for explanation and reason and facts.  Children do not tend to have this desire, at least not until they are taught to seek it.  Little children on a playground will play with any other child there, regardless to color, gender, religion, political background (they are children, they don’t have one!), socio-economic status, who they voted for or even physical ability.  Children are trusting in their faith, they believe that until they learn otherwise, everything and everyone is good, especially their parents.


However as adults, people are left out, for many of the reasons I’ve mentioned and more.  We have all experienced being left out, for one reason or another, and as we age, that experience even tends to increase.  Our differences separate us and divide us, rather than unite us.  Things are no longer simple, are they?


There is a grassroots organization, known as Parent’s Circle, for Palestinians and Israelis who have lost loved ones due to the conflict.  In a presentation, two members of the group, two fathers, a Palestinian and an Israeli, who had both lost daughters because of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine shared about the conflict and about life before and after the Separation Wall. “No wall, not matter how high, can stop two kinds of people, one determined suicide bomber and the one determined peacemaker,” said one of the fathers. They each went through their own moments of wondering how life could possibly carry on given the death of their children due to such senseless, mindless fighting. They could have chosen revenge to ease their pain but instead realized that the only way forward was to talk to each other.


In each other, they found the way to carry on because, in their words, “our blood is the same color, our tears are just as bitter.” They found a way to carry on that chose peace instead of revenge, conversation instead of fear, life instead of death because “it is not our destiny to kill each other in this Holy Land.” At stake for both fathers was peace. Simple as that. This is the gospel. This is love.  


This is the Good news that we have been commissioned to share with the whole world, to the ends of the earth, near and far and everywhere in between, as we heard in Matthew 28.  You, sitting here have been called, ordained, and commissioned to go out into the world and share THIS good news with the world.  That God loves us, all of us, every single one of us.  Jesus didn’t put a limitation of who needs the Gospel.


Therefore, friends, it is with the faith of a child, that we go out into the world and share this Good News with ALL that we meet.  With every single person, even if they have heard the message already, let the it be reinforced by every interaction you have with them.  We are called to have a child-like faith.  Not childish, but child-like, open and willing to try new things, and willing to say I’m sorry and above all to admit that we more alike than we are different.  We have been given the mission of sharing this faith we have in a God, while complicated and confusing to describe, loves us beyond measure.  


June 28, 2017
SUNDAY WORSHIP

 

Worship Service 11:00AM

Adult Bible Study   9:45AM

Children's Class  11:00AM 

   

SERMON ON SUNDAY: July 2, 2017  "Welcome"

 

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