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War and Peace Sermon

Sermon  War and Peace by  Rev. June Fothergill    July 10, 2016 Scriptures:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Isaiah 9:2-7; Matthew 5: 9, 45-47; Romans 12: 14-20 I found some letters and prayers to God the other day written by children.  One said, “ Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.”    Another was heard to pray, “ And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.” Today I want to talk with you about the big issue of War and Peace. Yet, the children remind me that it all starts right here where we are and how we decide to deal with the trash people put in our baskets!   The ancient philosopher of Ecclesiastes looked out at the world and realized that there was a time for  everything.   There was a time for hate and a time for love; a time for war and a time for peace.   After that now famous passage,  he goes on to talk about God’s gift to humanity- that all people eat and drink and take pleasure in their toil. Ultimately, in life with all its complexity, it’s time for everything-  God wants to offer us the gift of a community where people find what they need: food, drink, and joy.  That sounds to me like a time of peace Ecclesiastes also points to the reality that in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament there is a conversation going on about the nature of God.  Is God someone who calls for violence and war or a is God one who offers ways of peace?   Many of us have heard about the stories of war in the OT- Joshua at Jericho, the bloody battles to protect and conquer the land, the fights to overcome oppression.   Yet, there are also stories of God offering alternatives to war:  Abram and his nephew Lot separating their operations rather than fight ( Gen 13); Isaac moving on and digging new wells rather than fight over old ones. (  Gen. 26: 12-22)  Elisha ‘s dealings with King Aram’s attempt to fight the King of Israel.   ( 2 Kings 6)   The Israelite king wanted to massacre the Aramean force but Elisha told him instead to prepare food and drink for the Arameans.   The passage concludes, “ And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.”  ( 2 kings 6: :23) In his article about Jesus and the Old Testament, J Denny Weaver points out that there was an ongoing conversation in the tradition- is...

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Discipleship Sermon

Discipleship Sermon    Rev. June Fothergill    July 3, 2016 Robert Fulghum shares the true story of a man named Larry Walter. At 33 years of age Larry decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a different perspective. So he went to the Army Navy store and purchased  45 weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a sawn chair to which several of his friend tied the hone helium filled balloons. He took along a six pack, a peanut butter sandwich and a BB gun- figuring he could shot the balloon one at a time when he was ready to land.  Larry thought the balloons would lift him about a 100 feet but when he was cut look the chair soared 10,000 feet- smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern from the LA airport. He was too frightened to shoot any of the balloons and stayed in the chair for more than 2 hours, causing air flight delays.  After he was safely back on the ground and cited by the police reporters asked him three questions “ Were you scared?”  Yes Would you do it again?  No Why did you do it?  “ Because Larry said, You can’t just sit there.  ( Dr. Andrew Wolfe,  Look Before You Leap) What an adventure!  It all started with me this week when I remembered the words my father preached one time that I actually remembered- that following Jesus is an adventure.  So my translation for the word discipleship this morning is the word  All.   Christian Discipleship means to me that we give our all in all to the Adventure with  Jesus Christ Learning from Jesus Christ Leadership of  Jesus Christ Adventure.   Clearly  the persons who chose to follow Jesus in the gospel readings we heard today went on an adventure.  They all chose to leave behind their livelihoods and follow Jesus around Palestine.   If that’s not an adventure, I don’t know what is.  Also, they were later sent out by Jesus two by two to do what he did: to heal people and talk about God.  These folks were not seminary trained professionals. They were ordinary fishermen and tax collectors.  Yet, following Jesus changed their lives all around.  They were now healers and preachers.  Not only that!  To call following Jesus an adventure implies that it will not be easy.   Jesus later told them that to follow him would mean sacrifice- to take up a cross ( an instrument of pain and suffering).  And then at the end of Matthew Jesus tells them to  go out into all the world to continue his work.   Do you see that I mean about the first folks...

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