Sermons 2007

"Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24

Home | In the Beginning was the Word, Christmas Day, 25 December 2007, John 1:1-14 | What's Missing? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007, Luke 2:1-20 | Joseph, the Forgotten One, Advent 4A, 23 December 2007, Matthew 1:18-25 | Come with Joy, Advent 3A, 16 December 2007, Matthew 11:2-11 | Darkness or Light? Advent 1A, 2 December 2007, Matthew 24:37-44 | What Kind of King is He? Proper 29C, 25 November 2007, Luke 23:35-43 | Predictions and the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Proper 28C, 18 Nov 2007, Luke 31:5-19 | Just passing through? Proper 27C , 11 November 2007, Luke 20:20-38 | Not like others? Proper 25C, 28 October 2007, Luke 18:9-14 | "We are bold to say", Proper 24C, 21 October 2007, Luke 18:1-8a | "The ten lepers", Proper 23C, 14 October 2007, Luke 17:11-19 | Proper 22C and Holy Baptism, 7 October 2007 | A taste of cool water, Proper 21C, 30 September 2007, Luke 16:19-31 | We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13 | "Lost -- but found!" Proper 19C, 16 September 2007, Luke 15:1-10 | "Who is coming to dinner?" Proper 17C, 2 September 2007, Luke 14:1, 7-14 | Doors and narrow gates, Proper 16C, 26 August 2007, Luke 13:22-30 | "Fire to the earth", Proper 15C, 19 August 2007, Luke 12:49-56 | "Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40 | "How much is enough?" Proper 13C , 5 August 2007, Luke 12:13-21 | "Lord, teach us to pray" Proper 12C, 29 July 2007, Luke 11:1-13 | "The Better Part?" Proper 11C, 22 July 2007, Luke 10:38-42 | The Good Samaritan -- the Summary of the Law" Proper 10C, 15 July 2007, Luke 10:25-37 | "Travel Light!" Proper 9C, 8 July 2007, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 | "Independence Day" Proper 8C, 1 July 2007, Luke 9:51-62 | "Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24 | "In or Out?" Proper 6C, 17 June 2007, Luke 7:36-50 | "On Grace", Proper 5C, 10 June 2007, Luke 7:11-17 | Trinity C, 3 June 2007 | Pentecost C, 27 May 2007 | "Unity and Diversity" Easter 7C, 20 May 2007, John 17:20-26 | "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" Easter 6C, 13 May 2007, John 14:23-29 | "What is this thing called love?" Easter 5C, 6 May 2007, John 13:31-35 | "Numbers and Sheep", Easter 4C, 29 April 2007, John 10:22-30 | Virginia Tech, Easter 3C, 22 April 2007 Revelation 6:8-10 | Thomas Doubter and Believer, Easter 2C, 15 April 2007. John 20: 19-31 | ""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10 | Good Friday 6 April 2007 | Maundy Thursday 5 April 2007 | Why are we not surprised? Palm/Passion Sunday C, 1 April 2007, Luke 22:39-23:50 | Party or Pout? Lent 4C, 18 March 2007, Luke 15:11-32 | To Stand on the Mountaintop, Lent 3C, 11 March 2007, Exodus 3:1-15 | "Ways Not Taken", Lent 2C, 4 March 2007. Luke 13:22-35 | "Liminal Thresholds and Lintels", Lent 1C, 25 February 2007, Luke 4:1-13 | Ash Wednesday Meditation 2007 | "Transfiguration and Transformation, Epiphany Last C, 18 February 2007, Luke 9:28-36 | "Weal and Woe", Epiphany 6C, 11 February 2007, Luke 6:17-26 | "Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11 | "Filled with rage!" Epiphany 4C, 28 January 2007, Luke 4:21-32 | "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us," Epiphany 3C, 21 January 2007, Luke 4:14-21 | "Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11 | Schism and Epiphany, Epiphany 1C, 7 Dec 2007, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Proper 7C 2007 Luke 9:18-24

As Union General William Tecumseh Sherman led his powerful blue clad armies on their relentless march through Georgia to the sea, he ran into a formidable obstacle. Out from behind a smokehouse popped a little old lady. She planted her feet, her eyes flashing rebel fire, and shook her raggedy straw broom at the general on the large horse.

Sherman and his horse hesitated and then attempted to ride on past her. At that the fiery little old lady started whacking general and horse alike with her broom.

When she finally stopped to catch her breath, an amused Sherman said, "Ma'am, don't you see that I have a whole veteran and battle seasoned army coming behind me, and that you are a small woman, alone, on foot, with only a broom in your hands? There's no way you can stop us."

"Shucks, I know that, sonny," she snapped. "I just wanted to make sure everyone knows which side I'm on!"

Which side are WE on? More importantly, WHOSE side are we on? That’s one of THE THREE questions.

When Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" and "Who do you say that I am," he wanted to know whose side they were on in the tough days that lay ahead on the road to Jerusalem and the Cross.

It's easy for us to say on Sunday that Jesus, the Son of the Living God, is our Savior and our Redeemer, as we say the ancient words of the Creeds and of the entire liturgy itself. But do we say it every day, when we are away from Church, in the presence of friends and strangers?

When folks see my black shirt and white collar, they aren't surprised when I talk about Jesus. But they are often uncomfortable. And I don't think I've mentioned Jesus much in Eubanks Hardware, or Southern States, or Tri Star Grocery, or the barber shop or the gym. It makes us uncomfortable, doesn’t it, to answer publicly and loudly the question "Who do we say that Jesus is" and to declare publicly -- away from here -- whose side we are on.

And of course we know that it was hard for those disciples who were first asked the question and among whom Peter, at least, gave a -- if not the -- right answer. We are all too aware that Peter later denied Jesus three times, too afraid to declare whose side he was really on. And most of the other disciples were notable by their absence when Jesus had to pick up his own literal Cross.

The question is not only who we say Jesus is, and whose side we say we are on, but also who do the crowd say that we are?

There's an InterNet publication called the Joyful Noiseletter. I thought it was for people like me who simply cannot sing on key. In it is a column called "Ask Dr. Guaneaux" -- G U A N E A U X. Dr. Guaneaux is described as the Mary Kay Professor of Multicultural Preaching at Snodgrass Theological Seminary in Dampness, Pennsylvania. One of the letters to Dr. Guaneaux asked this: "In the story of the feeding of the 5,000 do you think the miracle was the most important thing or is it the lesson on sharing and stewardship?" Signed, Puzzled in Petersburg.

The Professor replied: "Dear Puzzled: The miracle, of course. Not the one about multiplying the loaves and fishes. That's a snap for Jesus. I mean the miracle where he got twelve people to do what he told them without any argument or forming any committees."

Who do people say that we are? Suppose someone were to ask the person who knew us better than anyone else, to describe us in one word? Would the first thing that came to their mind be "Christian"?

We call ourselves Christians because we have been baptized by water in the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We can call ourselves Christians because we have been called to be disciples of Jesus Christ: our Lord, our Master, our Redeemer.

We can call ourselves Christians not just because of what we believe, but if, and only if, what we believe determines who we are in the depths of our hearts and minds, and souls, and bodies.

We can call ourselves Christians if, and only if, what we believe determines how we live and what we do. One man said that his greatest fear about death about death and dying had been that he would find himself in line behind Mother Theresa at the Pearly Gates and hear Saint Peter tell her, "You didn't do enough."

We can call ourselves Christians because we pick up our own Crosses daily and follow Jesus. Follow is the key word for the Christian. Too often in our society we hear someone sigh and say, "Well that's just a -- or worse -- that's just another cross I have to bear." Often that means we've just simply given up, we've quit the struggle, we submit passively so we can enjoy a whining and even satisfying martyrdom to a sometimes imagined suffering, perhaps just to gain sympathy from others. That’s not following Jesus.

One last story: In one of Alan Paton's novels, a character speaking of heaven says: "When I go up there -- which is my intention -- the Big Judge will say to me, 'Where are your wounds?" And if I say, 'I haven't any', he will say, "Was there nothing to fight for?' I couldn't face that question."

Three questions:
Who do we say that Jesus is?
Whose side are we on?
Who do people say that we are?
These three.