Sermons

Summary: Communion Meditation - 11 characteristics of a life lived in Christ.

1Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! 2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! 3Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! 4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. 6He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed. 7Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, 8fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! 9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! 10Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! 11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! 12Young men and women alike, old and young together! 13Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. 14He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD! 1Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful.

Psalms 148:1 - 149:1 (NRSV)

12As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12 - 17 (NRSV)

Do you like disaster movies? Not my favorite! Give me “Meet Me in St Louis” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” –There’s already too much reality on the daily news for me to be interested in end of the world scenarios. On the other hand, I can enjoy an animated children’s movie like “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many of those “disaster movies” produced? It’s because there is so much disaster and “shaking” of this world. Frankly, underneath it all people are nervous and unsure of what’s going to happen to this old world; so much is uncertain.

Herbert O’Driscoll is a retired Anglican priest who served in Ireland. In the 1970’s he watched the terrible earthquakes in Northern Italy. Someone with a home movie camera captured an outdoor worship scene after the quake hit:

On a hillside a rough altar of stones had been assembled and an elderly priest was about to elevate the chalice when an aftershock came. The tremor rippled through the crowd until it reached the priest. He staggered but succeeded in keeping the chalice aloft with one hand while supporting himself on the altar with his other hand.

[O’Driscoll continued that he]…immediately identified with the scene. I understood my priesthood as being in such a world, a world in which foundations were being shaken but where my task was to reach for and hang on to what remained solid and lasting….Why does God shake the earth?....God shakes the earth so that what cannot be shaken may remain….To serve in an age of earthquake is to be forced to decide what it is, for each one of us, that cannot be shaken. [1]

The table before us is, for me, what cannot be shaken. This table represents the love of God, and the life Russell should lead.

For these few moments let’s focus on the solid, unshakeable ways we can praise the LORD with our lives. The Psalmist told us why – that God is creator and sustainer of all there is, and therefore entirely worthy of our praise.

Paul, in Colossians, tells us the how – living each day of our lives in a manner that is a worthy offering, a life in the character of Jesus Christ. Paul shows us about 11 characteristics of a Christlike life.

Considering we’re so close to New Year’s resolution time, let’s go over the list.

1. With Compassion

Compassion is pretty straightforward; when somebody else is hurting, you do something! It may only be a word, or it may mean sacrifice beyond what you ever could imagine – but compassionate people act!

2. With Kindness

Kindness is a matter of seeing the weakness in another person and deciding against exploiting – rather helping the other to overcome. It is the picture of lifting someone out of the pit.

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