Summary: This sermons poses the question and attempt to respond to why a church should be dynamic. It explores the need for being fluid and adaptable to meet the needs of a dynamic community.
I am hopeful, and I must admit that my attitude of hopefulness is stressed by conditions that eat at that hope. During the last presidential campaign our president built his platform on the concept of hope, of restoring hope, and using hope as the foundation for change in the political arena. That hope generated a wave that not only resulted in his election as president but swept across our country generating hope in every little hamlet. One year has passed since the election and CNN did a series of surveys that asked the question does the hope that was generated in the last election still exist. The survey revealed that the larger percentage of those surveyed still believed that change was coming and held on to the hope that was inspired by the election but a significant number of those surveyed hope had dwindled and believed that their lives was no better now than it was prior to the election. The approval rating for the president dropped significantly in the light of the continuing war in the middle east, sustained unemployment, continued mistrust of wall street, and the battle in congress over the medical reform act. Take in consideration the tragedies that took place at Fort Hood and in Orlando. In both cases the tragedies are a reflection, at least to some degree, over failed hope and tragic judgment. If you analyze your families predicament now compared to a year ago on which side of the line would you fall, still optimistic or has some pessimism creped in to your corner of the world. I guess some clarification should be made to my earlier statement about my hopefulness, while I am less hopeful on an imminent withdrawal of troops, less hopeful about a change in ethics of wall street moguls, I am yet hopeful and trust that our president and our congress is making every effort to better this America of ours. Yet none of that is the source of my hope, for my hope is built on the promises of God. I believe and I trust and I am hopeful that God can and that God will make a way. If this is the source of hope, not just for me, but for all then the question of how is this hope made manifest. How can this hope permeate our culture and how is this hope to be nurtured and fostered in the lives of all who come to the well to drink. It is the church, the church must be the proclaimer of that hope, must be the agent of that hope and must be the facilitator of that hope. This is an excerpt from the letter sent to our conference speaker for this week. “We believe that the neo-church is equipped with spiritual power and presence coupled with a diverse community of believers to embrace and take on the unique challenges that persist in an ever changing culture.” What a grandiose statement, but one that I believe is an accurate depiction of our beliefs. We are challenging our selves to be more of a dynamic church, and we have defined dynamic as being able to respond to the dynamic shifts that occurs in our community. We are not apprehensive but we are cautious not to allow being dynamic take away from our charter, which is the worship of God, the exaltation of Christ and the exhortation of believers. So the church while honoring its charter must be dynamic enough to embrace the demands in its present day context. How do we do that, how do we be dynamic and yet at the same time not lose our identity as a church? I want to suggest by the aide of the Holy Spirit that our text this morning gives us some insight on the challenge of responding in a dynamic way to a dynamic mean. Go to the text with me and see if you can identify with me the challenges and the response.
1. It must be relevant: 12 As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town When we say that the matter is relevant we are suggesting that the situation is pertinent or crucial. The reason or the need for the church to be dynamic is because the issues that the community faces are relevant. We have come to fellowship, to worship and to praise God but a deeper investigation into our lives would reveal that there are issues behind the mask. In our text the widow’s issues are not masked but obvious to all who knows her situation. Her husband is dead and now her only son has died, she is left without a covering, without a financial backer, without a companion. Her tragedies are building up and are multiplied. The needs of this woman are so significant that even with the large crowd at the funeral procession none could relieve her pain. Her needs are beyond human hands and so much needed divine intervention. There is a unique set of dynamics that demands a dynamic response. Maybe her desperation is inconceivable for many of us that have gathered this morning but the reality is there are many that are here that can identify at least on some level of the crisis at hand. Maybe for you it is an impending surgery, a financial matter, a relationship issue but you to too stand in the need of dynamic intervention from the hand of God. So you have come, you have made your way to this Holy Mount with the hope that somehow, someway that something is said, that something happens, that shifts the dynamics and a response from the divine will lead to change for your life. Your faith brought you to the house of worship and this is what I can promise you, that you are at the right place, at the right time to receive a blessing. But what of a community that is losing hope with the weight of relevant matters? We must meet them at the gate, meet them at the funeral procession. Take any relevant matter and ask what should be the response of the church.