Summary: A sermon for the 5th Sunay after Pentecost Committment
5th Sunday after Pentecost
For July 1
"When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."" Luke 9:51-62, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
The following story named One Task speaks to our gospel lesson this morning.
A guard in charge of a lighthouse along a dangerous coast was given enough oil for one month and told to keep the light burning every night. One day a woman asked for oil so that her children could stay warm. Then a farmer came. His son needed oil for a lamp so he could read. Another needed some for an engine. The guard saw each as a worthy request and gave some oil to satisfy all. By the end of the month, the tank in the lighthouse was dry.
That night the beacon was dark and three ships crashed on the rocks. More than one hundred lives were lost. The lighthouse attendant explained what he had done and why. But the prosecutor replied, "You were given only one task: to keep the light burning. Every other thing was secondary. You have no excuse."
Temptation is a choice between good and evil. But perhaps more insidious than temptation is conflict where one must choose between two good options.
The lighthouse keeper in our story found himself in such a conflict situation. So also are the would-be disciples in today’s gospel story.1
For in our gospel lesson, Jesus called to people to follow him, but they wanted to do something else first. The text says To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father.
Another part of the gospel lessons says
Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home."
These people had two legitimate things they needed to do, bury a father, say good bye to parents, but Jesus says following him is more important than that.
That little but changes everything, But can I do this first, but can I do this second
The word but, as in, I will follow you, Lord, but it negates all that come before. Or, I love you, but.......you must not gain weight. Get the idea. The but is a good way for us to go back on our commitment our promises, our faithfulness.
We are good at coming up with the buts of life. We are good at giving excuses. Excuses for this and excuses for that, And the best excuses are found here in the church, I will worship you Lord, but..... and a whole host of things may follow.
Pastor Dale Barrick got so tired of hearing all the excuses of his people why they don’t attend church, that he come up with this novel idea, A NO Excuse Sunday.
There would be; cots in the church for those who like to sleep in,
blankets for those who fine the sanctuary too cold
fans for those who find the sanctuary too warm
sand for those who prefer the beach
televisions sets for per persons who prefer services on the screen
Poinsettias and lilies for those accustomed to entering the church only on Christmas and Easter
I thought about his list and came up with even more:
stop watches for those who want to go in exactly an hour and a whistle to stop the service
putting greens for those who enjoy golf