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January 29, 2017
WORSHIP ON SUNDAY
I thought, growing up, that the future was going to be better than the present or the past. I just had to get to that future. That meant that I could discard as unimportant the past and the present because it was the future that would define my life. There was some magical event that would happen so that the results from all my mistakes, faults and lack of planning could be erased or corrected. Such a posture allowed me to excuse the behavior of my present and to wait for someone or something else to make the difference for my future.
As I grew older and reached those future destinations, I discovered that the change never happened. So, I blamed my parents, my church, my pastor, my teachers, my coaches and even God for surely, they were the reason that magical transformation never transpired. I blamed everyone else so I would never have to blame the person who was responsible for the future never materializing as envisioned.
As we continue our Epiphany journey longing that the Light of Jesus Christ would more fully bring God’s Kingdom to earth, it is easy to look around and see a world vastly different from the vision shared with us by the Jesus Christ. Perhaps, we have looked for people to blame who must be keeping us from experiencing and enjoying the future we deserve and have been promised. It must be our political leaders’ fault that our present is not consistent with our vision. It must be our church leaders’ fault that our present is not making our dreams a reality. It must be someone’s fault other than us for the disconnect between our dreams and our perceived reality.
As you prepare for worship this Sunday, I invite you to read the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12. As you read, please notice three words in the Beatitudes. The first word is “Blessed.” Blessed does not mean that one will receive a blessing at some time in the distant future. This blessing is not what one must patiently wait for until after one’s death. “Blessed” means that we are already living in a state of blessing. So, verse 3, can be interpreted to read, “You can rejoice when you feel poor in spirit because you are already living in a state of blessing.” The second word that I want you to notice is the word, “is.” “Is” is in the present tense. It is not a reference to what may one day be. It is a statement to a condition that already exists. So, verse 3 could read, “You can rejoice when you feel poor in spirit because you are already living in a state of blessing. You are already living in the Kingdom of God.” Living in God’s Kingdom changes our perspective regarding our worth, our life and our activity.
The third word replaces “is” in the next six Beatitudes. That word is “will.” “Will” is not always referring to the distant future. “Will” may be right at hand. But whenever the “will” takes place, there is no uncertainty about whether it will take place. So, verse 4 could read, “You can rejoice when you feel like mourning because you are already living in a state of blessing. You have God’s promise of comfort even when facing the greatest loss of your life.” The Beatitudes remind us that God has not and will never abandon us. God is with us! That presence makes all of the difference in our present life.
I invite you to read each of these Beatitudes translated in a similar manner as I have done for verses 3 and 4. Read them out loud. Read them out loud as you are reminded of what you read in the newspaper. Read them out loud as you are reminded of what you watched on the news. Read them out loud as you look at your reflection in the mirror. “Sharing the Light of Jesus Christ” makes a difference in us, our words, our actions and thereby our world because we have allowed God to not only change us but to change the way in which we view and engage our present and our future.
Our Groundhog Dinner will be Thursday, February 2, 2017 at the Logan County Fairgrounds. The time is rapidly approaching. I am so grateful for all the hours that members of our church have spent in preparation. Thank you.
WE NEED DESERTS! Please sign up in the church foyer this Sunday.
I hope that you will invite your friends and neighbors to our Groundhog Dinner.
WE NEED DESERTS! Thank you.
If you have auction items to donate, please contact me.
WE STILL NEED AUCTION ITEMS!
To better accommodate our youth’s schedules, the youth will go bowling at the 89er Bowl on this Sunday at 4:00 pm. Please let the youth in your family know that they are welcomed to join us. For more information, call our pastor at (405) 824-2691.
We will be starting a Confirmation Class for youth in 5th through 8th Grade on Sunday, February 12th at 4:00 pm. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall. If you know of any youth in our church in 5th through 8th Grade, please invite them to join us on February 12th.
Confirmation is the opportunity that our church provides for our youth to help them better understand what it means to be a Christian. This is the journey to help our youth transition from a faith that was given to them to a faith that is owned by them. Confirmation is not a destination. It is another step in the life-long journey of our growing relationship with a living God.