Sermons

Summary: Church is a place where we may be imperfect but where we arre also in the process of becoming better.

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Title: Why Go to Church: Real People! (The People Are Real!)

Text: John 3:1-3

Thesis: Church is a place where we may be imperfect but where we are also in the process of becoming better.

Introduction

The word “hypocrisy” comes from the Greek word “hypokrisis” which means “play-acting.” Our word “hypocrite” (Greek word “hypokrites) may be understood as someone who is an actor or one who is putting on a performance. Along the way I believe I have heard being a hypocrite likened to wearing a mask so as to portray a false identity.

My favorite British sitcom is Keeping Up Appearances and stars the well-known British actress Patricia Routledge. Routledge plays the part of Hyacinth “Bucket” but in that “Bucket” is entirely too common, she prefers the pronunciation “Bouquet.”

She was born into a working-class family but managed to marry Richard Bucket, who may barely be considered upper-middle-class. He is a low level civil servant. Hyacinth is the epitome of a snob who is perpetually trying to climb the social ladder and doing her best to impress her neighbors and friends of her high social standing. She looks down on others and is embarrassed by her sisters, Daisy and Rose and particularly with her brother-in-law, Onslow. Onslow and Daisy live in tenement housing in a depressed part of town and have an old junker car sitting on blocks in the front yard.

All of the episodes are highly entertaining as viewers can easily see that her obsession with appearing socially advantaged is intended to compensate for her own insecurities and the fact that she comes from a family she considers common.

Unfortunately hypocrisy is not always so innocently and amusingly portrayed. Hypocrisy becomes most heinous when we discover a well-known televangelist who rails against pornography and prostitution and homosexuality is found to be a user of pornography, a frequenter of prostitutes or is engaged in homosexual activity. It is most heinous when a politician who claims to be a Christian and who espouses family values is caught in an illicit affair. It is most heinous when a person wearing a mask of business savvy and integrity bilks people out of their savings and squanders their money living in luxury even as the ponzi scheme comes crumbling down.

Some time ago the camera was on a well-known and admired politician who was attending a state funeral… he and another pol were walking together and appeared to be chatting and joking as they walked. Then when he saw that he was on camera, he immediately began to appear to be wiping tears from his eyes. Putting on a show of sadness so as to be socially correct is hypocrisy.

I am not foolish enough to make this a blanket statement because I would be wrong to say it is always the case. But my observation is this, whenever someone gets all condemnatory and judgmental about an issue, that person is likely fighting with his or her own demons. They, like Hyacinth, do not like to think of themselves as common.


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