August 1, 2021
Last week we heard the story of Jesus feeding 5000 people with bread and fish that kept multiplying until everyone had enough, and there was some left over. I talked about how, in Communion, we break the bread just as Jesus did, and ask God to make us be the Body of Christ for the whole world, as we eat it together.
Today we will hear Jesus talk about himself as the Bread of Life, and I want to help you understand how we see Jesus giving himself to us when we receive Communion.
Who knows what a symbol is? It’s usually a picture or an object that stands for something else. For example, we have a steeple on our church building, and that’s a symbol for our purpose as a church. The church is supposed to point people to God. Some churches believe that the bread and the juice we use for Communion are just symbols of Jesus to remind us that he gave himself for us. In the Methodist Church, we say the bread and cup become Christ’s real presence among us when we take them. They are more than just a symbol.
So let’s go back to the steeple on our church. Did you ever play “here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people?” Let’s do it together. See, the steeple is just a symbol of what the church does – it points people to Jesus. But when you open the door and see all the people, they are the real presence of Christ in the world. It’s the people in the church who point others to God. Let’s pray.
Jesus, help us point others to you for real, not just be a symbol of you. We love you, Jesus. Amen.
August 2, 2020
Watch on Vimeo.
Many people operate out of a scarcity mindset – we are all too aware of what we don’t have. During the early weeks of the COVID shutdown, it was difficult to find toilet paper in the stores. Some of that difficulty was simply because most of the toilet paper being manufactured is for institutional use – office buildings, schools, hotels, for example. Suddenly, office buildings, schools, and hotels were empty. Everyone was at home, and the demand for Quilted Northern and Charmin Strong outstripped the availability of those products.
But there was something else going on, too. People were ‘stocking up’ on basic essentials like toilet paper because they were afraid. They were operating out of a mindset of scarcity, hoarding resources instead of sharing them.
The crowds following Jesus around Galilee were used to living a life of scarcity. Continue reading
Watch a video of this sermon.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
We are smack dab in the middle of Lent this week. We’ve been wandering in the wilderness, tempted by Satan to grab power wherever we can get it, to look for affirmation in all the wrong places. Like Peter, we want to make Jesus fit into our limited idea of what a Savior should be. And, like Peter, we tend to deny that we know Jesus when it matters most, instead of denying ourselves and taking up the cross Jesus asks us to bear.
Bearing our cross means living our lives in a way that should raise questions among the people we meet outside the church.
- What makes Christians different from everyone else?
- Why do Christians stand out in sharp contrast to the ways of the world around us?
- How do they manage to give sacrificially, and still have enough to be satisfied?
- How do they always seem to know exactly the right thing to say, or the kindest thing to do when someone is hurting?
- How do they manage to show so much love to people they barely know?
In first century Corinth, people had stopped asking those questions. And the church was in deep trouble. Made up of several groups that met in homes, what we would call house churches today, this church was a mess. One of the church leaders, a woman named Chloe, had sent some of her people to ask Paul for help. So Paul writes a letter, not just to Chloe, but to the whole church at Corinth. Continue reading