Summary: A Sermon for the 5th Sunday in Lent
5th Sunday in Lent
"The Non-Exclusive Good. "
20 ¶ Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.
21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.
27 ¶ "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ’Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
29 The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.
31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out;
32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
33 He said this to show by what death he was to die.RSV
A Sunday School teacher was honored one Sunday by her church for 25 years of faithful service in teaching the young people of that parish. She was honored with a plaque and a pin describing her faithful service, her dedication and the love she gave so generously to her students. When l asked to speak, she said," I am surprise you would honor me this way, I’m getting so much out of it, it isn’t really work at all. I enjoy teaching the children, I enjoy seeing their eyes light up as they learn about Jesus ’ love for them. I receive as much or more than I give."
This is what is meant by the phrase, "The Non-exclusive Good" There is nothing exclusive about goodness, no one person benefits, but most of the time a lot of people benefit from the goodness, the sacrifice, the unselfishness which has been exhibited. The Sunday School teacher gave of her self to her students, and in that giving, in that goodness, she also received a lot in return, maybe in more than she gave.
Another story about someone receiving more than he gave.This story is about Art from my one of my parishes. Art was on the board of deacons when I arrived. The Deacons and some other people volunteered to form an ongoing visiting committee. They were trained, and then one night went out to visit. Since the church was only 40 years old, some of the charter members were still alive, and it was to these members the visiting team first went.
We wanted them to know how much the church appreciated their giving, their willingness to sacrifice so much to begin a church in that town 40 years ago. Art and Lorraine went to visit Walt and Nancy. Walt and Nancy couldn’t figure out why they were being visited.
Their first question: "What do you want? Do you want us to serve on a committee, or give money?’
"No." came the reply, We came to see how you were doing? " for we all knew that life was getting more difficult for Walt and Nancy.
Then Walt and Nancy poured out their hearts to Art and Lorraine. They told of the hurt, the heartache of growing old, of being forgetful, of being not able to do those things you once could do. They told of the sense of thankfulness for the church and its ministry, of the concern these people had for them, that they weren’t forgotten but really appreciated for the fine work they did many years ago. They visited and visited. Then Lorraine prayed for them and Art and Lorraine returned to the church..
Art spoke to the others and me when they returned. He said he didn’t say much, but listened and saw what was happening during their visit. He was overwhelmed by the thankfulness of these people, by the love Lorraine gave to them in her words and especially in her prayer.
He told us he really didn’t know when he began these visits would if they would really do anything or mean anything to anyone. But now he saw that love, caring, and kindness can affect people in a real way.