Sermons 2008
Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Proper 29A 2008 Christ the king               Matthew 25:31-46

There was once a small town back before automobiles where a store owner loved to quote the Bible.  Whenever someone bought something from him, he would come with a King James Bible quote relevant to the purpose.  If someone bought a lantern he would quote:  “John 8:12 – Jesus said I am the light of the world.”

A stranger went into the store one day and said, “I want a blanket for my horse.  This horse is very special to me and I want the very best blanket you have.”

The shopkeeper went into the back and realized that he only had one kind of blanket in stock, although it came in different colors.  He took a green one out front and offered it to the stranger.  “It’s ten dollars,” he said.  “That’s not enough to be your very best blanket,” the horseman answered.

So the storekeeper went out back again and brought out a red one.  “This one’s twelve dollars,” he said.  “That’s still too cheap to be your best blanket,” said the stranger.  “Now get this straight, once and for all.  I only want the best.”

And the storekeeper brought out a blue one.  “Look at this one, how firm the fibers are, how thick it is, and how well the seams are sewn.  But, it’s one hundred dollars.”  “That’s’ more like it,’ said the stranger.  “I’ll take it.”

As the door closed behind the horseman the Bible quoting storekeeper looked up to heaven and said, “Matthew 25:35 – you were a stranger and I took you in.” (1)

I don’t think that’s quite what Jesus meant.  I suspect it was more like this story.  In 1979 The First Infantry Division deployed  from Fort Riley, Kansas, leaving by C-141 aircraft from Topeka and, after refueling in the Azores, landed in Germany.  After the tactical exercise, the Division began its redeployment by civilian charter aircraft back to the United States and Fort Riley.

One of the aircraft carrying troopers of the division’s cavalry squadron was grounded for repairs at its refueling stop in the western Hebrides of Scotland.  Theywere delayed for several days.  The young soldiers were billeted in in inns and even homes of the Scottish people in the villages near by.  I hoped my lads would behave themselves and was pleased that there were no reports of incidents, for they were very high spirited.

About a week after everyone had finally returned a letter from Scotland came in the mail.  It was from the owner of one of the local inns.  “I just wanted you to know,” he wrote, “that your soldiers were a delight to have as guests and we would welcome any of them back at any time.”

Matthew 25 – I was a stranger and you welcomed me.  I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink;  I was naked and you gave me clothing;  I was sick and you took care of me.

We are in very difficult economic times.  Heating fuel remains close to three dollars a gallon.  I doubt it will go down:  demand is high as cold weather comes on.  The poor people who dwell among us did not refill their tanks when warm weather came and now they must.  I have spent much of the last week arranging for fuel to be delivered in hundred gallon  lots to elderly ailing couples, single mothers with children, whose dilapidated trailers and dwellings are not insulated, and have no heat.

The pressure on our alms started last year when we depleted our duPont  people in need funds by August, two months before they could be replaced.  We here are already planning to increase our monthly subsidy of funds to Gleamers and Blenders, our local food bank.  And arrangements have been made with Food Lion in Heathsville to buy meat on the day before it expires for a good discount.   It goes directly to the freezers at Gleamers and Blenders.  As I drove by there yesterday the parking lot was packed to overflowing – I haven’t seen that before.  Food banks all over the commonwealth are running short.  And if it is to be a true commonwealth we need to do our part.

The thrift shop has affordable clothing -- and free clothing for the destitute, whose number is growing.  The bazaar could not come at a better time.  In short we have about maximized our efforts.  But God’s poor children need our help now and will for a long while.  This is the God-given task we have for this time and place

So which will we be and where will we stand – among the sheep or among the goats?  Choose you this day whom you will serve, said Joshua to ancient Israel.  And the sweet Lord who loves us calls us across the centuries and  beyond time and space:  choose you this day whom you will serve. 


1.  From “A Wild and Wooly Tale,” an InterNet download.