- Movies That Cook
- Things for Your Kitchen
- Walk to Emmaus- Luke
- The Unknown God- Acts 17
- Prayer for the Church
- Charlotte/ Acts 8:26-40
- Jacob/Prodigal Son
- Jacob/Romans 8
- Jacob Wrestling and Blessing
- Jacob learning to live with a limp
- FTF Timothy
- The Field is Ready, Genesis/Romans
- romans 8
- Philippians 2:1-13
- Ruth Dinsmore- Acts
- Philippians 3: 5-14
- 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
- 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8
- 1 Thessalonians 2:9-20
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-19
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
- New Page
- Advent 1 Isaiah 64
- Advent 3 Isaiah 61
- Christmas Eve Isaiah 9: 1-7
- Baptism of Jesus Mark 1
- Mark 1: 14-20
- Breathe: Mark 1:21-28
- Backyard Basics 4: Belong
- Ash Wednesday
- Backyard Basics 5/Blessings 1
- Backyard Blessings 2: Generations- Genesis 17
- Backyard Bless 3-CreationPsalm 19
- Backyard Blessings 4: Healing Ps 107
- Backyard Blessings 5: Love-Jeremiah 31
- Easter Blooms John 20:1-18
- Backyard Blooms: Luke 24:36-48
- Vines- John 15: 1-8
- John 15:9-15 Blessings: Friends
- Bkyd Blooming: COnfidence- Acts 1
- Backyard Breeze! Acts 2
- Bkyrd Breezes:Isaiah 6/Romans 8
- Bkyrd Brz: 1 Samuel 3/2 Cor
- Mustard Seed Annointing
- Bkyrd Breezes: Courage
- Mark 6:1-13, Romans 12 Bkrd Breezes: Wisdom
- Bkyrd Bodybuilding-Core- Ephesians 2
- Bkyrd Bodybuilding- Cardio- Ephes 3
- Backyard Bodybuilding: Legs, Back, Chest, Arms!
- Bkyrd Bodybuilding- Nutrition-Ep 4
- Mark 10:35-45
- Mark 8:27-38
- Mark 9:30-37 Bkyrd Stmbling:Pride
- Bkyrd Stumbling Blocks: Patriarchy
- Mark 4 Combined Service
- Mark 12: 28-34 Backyard Bounty: Love
- Backyard Bounty: Value
- Backyard Bounty: Encouragement Mark 13:1-8
- Backyard Bounty: Abundance!
- Backyard Birthing: Speak- Advent 3
- Backyard Birthing: Sing! Luke 1:39-46
- Christmas Eve- Ressurection
- Luke 2: 21-40 A Once Over
- Epiphany- Matthew- Star of Wonder
- Beyond the Backyard: The Call-
- Beyond the Backyard: The Message- Luke 4
- Beyond the Backyard: Words Matter- Jeremiah 1:4-19
- Beyond the Backyard:
- Beyond the Backyard: Compassion
- Beatitudes: Imagine 1
- Imagine: Beatitudes- Meekness
- Imagine Beatitudes: No countries: Hungry, Thirsty, Filled
- Imagine Luke 15
- Easter Sermon: Mary- Through our Tears
- Imagine: Beatitudes- Mercy and Pure Heart
- Imagine Beatitudes: Peacemakers
- Imaging: Beatitudes- Persecution/Rejoice!
- New Page
- Say yes! (Fig Tree/Potter/Ps139)
- 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Things we leave behind
- Say Yes: What we Bring- Luke 14
- Luke16- Lazarus and the Rich Man
- Luke 17:1-10- increase our faith
- Luke 18- Widows, Judges, Labels and MIrrors
- Pharisee, Tax Collector, Mirrors, and Prayer
- Luke 19:1-10 -Zacchaeus
- Luke 20:27-38 Seeing Scripture Differently
- Seeing church differently Luke 21:5-19
- John 6- Obstacles:Seeing community differently
- Compassion Advent 2
- Advent 3 Compassion 3 Mary
- Advent 4: Compassion/Joseph Mt 1
- The Nice List- Christmas Eve
- Baptism of Jesus-Matthew
- No Matter What: 1. Abraham
- No Matter What: Jacob
- No Matter What: Jacob/Tamar
- No Matter What: Rahab
- No Matter What: David
- On the Road Again: Into the Unknown
- On the Road: Nicodemus
- Woman at the Well COVID-19
- On the Road Again: Man Born Blind
- On The Road Again: The Rest of Us
- Easter: Up and On the Move-Mt. 28
- Risen? Or Fake News? Mt. 28: 11-20
- How the Virus Stole Easter
- Emmaus, On the Road...Again?
- Interruptions and Upheavals 2: Acts 2
- John 14:1-14, 1 Peter 2:2-10
- Acts 17:22-31 Interruptions and Upheavals 4
- Know, Share, Go... Together- John 17
- Acts 2: For Such a Time as This
- Christ In Us: A Living Sanctuary Matthew 10
- Christ in Us: Listening to YHWH
- Christ in Us: Love Anyway
- Christ in Us: Abundance
- Christ in Us: Abundance- Matthew Sower/Romans 8
- Christ in Us: Acceptance
- Christ in Us: Gratitude
Know, Share, Go... Together
After Jesus said this, he looked up to heaven and said, "Abba, the hour has come! Glorify your Only Begotten that I may glorify you, through the authority you've given me over all humankind, by bestowing eternal life on all those you gave me. And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent, Jesus, the Messiah. I have given you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Abba, glorify me with your own glory, the glory I had with you before the world began. I have manifested your Name to those you gave me from the world. (and First Baptist Church of Mooresotwn) Now they (the people of FBCM) know that everything you've entrusted to me does indeed come from you. I entrusted to them (FIrst Baptist Mooresotwn) the message you entrusted to me, and they (the congregation) received it. They know that I really came from you; they believed it was you who sent me. And it's for them that I pray- not for the world, but for those you've given me (at FBCM)- for they are really yours, just as all that belongs to me is yours, and all that belongs to you is mine. It is in them (FBCM) that I have been glorified. I am in the world no more, but while I am coming to you, they (the people of FBCM) are still in the world. Abba, holy God, protect those whom you have given me with your Name- the Name that you gave me- that they may be one, even as we are one.
These are praying days, amen church? On the 26th of this month we will have been in various stages of quarantine for a full three months. I'm not sure how I would get through the day were if not for prayer. Prayer comforts, soothes, empties, releases, lifts, holds, yearns, affirms, and hopes... Prayer allows us to bring everything we have and everything we are before our Lord and God. Whatever we are going through, have gone through, or will go through offering it up to God in prayer confirms our belief that we are not alone. It's a statement, and an act of belief.
When we pray for ourselves, many times it is when we are faced with a challenge, when fear or grief inhabits our spirit, and it can feel like we are in a room by ourselves; like no one in the world understands what we are going though. What prayer does is to open up the door of that room and allow someone inside with us. And that simple action leads to a realization that God has been with us all along- that Christ has been standing next to us in that room the whole time.
When we pray for others, we step outside our own needs and we go to God on their behalf- petitioning for the needs of another; that God might provide both whatever they need, and a way for them to experience God's presence and power.
The scripture we read today is and example of the latter- this the prayer Jesus prayed before he entered Gethsemane. As much as he may have dreaded what he knew would happen to him, prayer Jesus does not struggle over his journey to the cross; the prayer here is for those he is leaving behind... for the disciples... this prayer is for us!
By inserting the name of our congregation into the scripture, we get a better sense that Jesus was indeed praying for us- here- now. It is powerful to read our name out loud in this context- to hear the name of congregation spoken by God's Only Begotten- but I'll admit, the first time I read it aloud, I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it is wonderful to realize Jesus' prayer is for us, here, now. The great love shown to us... to be included... to feel the compassion of Jesus pouring out and hear in his own words just how much God cares for us.
But on the other hand, it is a bit overwhelming to think of Jesus praying for us... for our church...it lends itself to self examination and comparison and even self judgement... if we let it.
But instead of jumping down that rabbit hole, why not look at Jesus's prayer for us in light of the things we've been talking about the past several weeks. Now that we've acknowledged the Spirit's continual interruptions and finally upheaval; now, when everything seems as if it's been shaken up, or as my husband likes to say, "Etch-a sketched" and we are in this place where we are forced to redefine what it means to be "church" and do church, we can turn to this very prayer for guidance. Because when we talk about moving from the institution church has become back to the movement it began as- we need the foundational pieces on which this movement was founded.
Jesus prays first for us to have eternal life. Now, this is beg- because some of us were taught that eternal life refers to something that happens after death. That we live forever. Here, Jesus defines for us the term eternal life "to know you, the only true God, and Christ whom you have sent." How is simply knowing God eternal life? Because knowing God, or as we said a few weeks ago, believing, or being convinced of God, living moving acting- believing, or being convinced of the Christ in you, living moving acting- changes everything about you. Knowing your are God's holy dwelling place, that you carry the Spirit of love wherever you go, makes you see yourself and others differently- changes the way you think, changes every action. You begin to live a full, rich, God centered life- right now- eternal life.
And yes, I understand that is a big jump for us moderns-especially in a world that tells us we are broken and defective. To see ourselves as God sees us, pure and holy is a stretch- and Jesus knew it too. He knew that for most of us, a lifetime is needed to grasp who we are and to live into all we are designed to be... he lived among us. He understood the shaming and abuse and violence and generational dysfunction... he understood greed and poverty and the desperation to which they lead. He understood loss and grief and abandonment and illness and addiction and pain and at the same time the high we get from thinking we somehow have control of everything- our desire to be self sufficient and not dependent on anyone for anything... Jesus gets it.
So to help us get it, he gives us tools- three things he has modeled for us, that he now entrusts us with. These are things we can adopt as practices- we do them in order to gain a better understanding of eternal life while we are living, life. We do them together because we can't live into our Godly identity alone-it's why Jesus gathered disciples... The three things Jesus outline the message/mission he received from God which he has given us- what he names in his prayer are both our mission and our responsibility; what he hoped for us- prayed for the us- the church.
First, that we help people get to know God and experience God's love. Seems like simple evangelism, right? Just tell people God loves them just the way they are no matter what- but you know what? People will only believe what we say if our actions match our words. Jesus revealed the love of God to people in a way that they could see God in him. His prayer life, his healings, his ministry all were a reflection of the Spirit's dwelling in him- he didn't lead with "Hey, you should believe in God" he lead with actions of love and mercy, justice and liberation. And people recognized God as revealed through him. And when they asked about God as a result of something he was living out- he told them. It reminds me of the famous phrase, tell everyone you know about God, and use words if you have to.
Next, to recognize that everything we have comes from God. This is a little tougher- we are used to believing that we get what we work for, but instead Jesus is asking us to live a life that reflects God's provision and abundance instead of one based in scarcity and lack. It means giving, no because we have to, but because we can. It means not taking more than we need, and at the same time, sharing what we have with others so that their needs are met. It means being good stewards of the resources God has given us and caring for and respecting all of creation.
And finally, Jesus prays that we may be one... And that one I am leaving for next week's sermon- but know that unity of mind and heart and spirit are not just some utopian ideal- this is Jesus's ideal- that we remain connected to one another as the Spirit is to each of us... intentionally and with the help of that same Spirit.
An I don't know about you, but honestly, looking at these three things Jesus prayed, can you think of better foundational principals for a church? What a fantastic starting place- Believe, know and reveal God's love to the world around us, care for, share, or be 'good stewards' of our resources- and do all things unified in Christ; as one. And it's so simple, isn't it? What a pure and holy calling- and if we can resist inserting our traditions and other institutional stuff into the mix and just let them be, for now, what they are, especially when we've been given time and space to let them inhabit who we are... my God, we have all the makings of a movement!