Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

He Desires

May 6th:

He Desires
May 6, 2012
Call:   1 John 4: 7-21
Text:   John 15: 1-8
Read:   Canticle of Love                (646)

                He Desires

Raise your hand if you are familiar with WWVA

I am too!

Until about twenty years ago, it was the most famous four letter combination that began "WW."

For WWVA were the call letters for a powerful AM radio station in Wheeling, West Virginia

While I was growing up,
An apparently unique combination of
geography, atmospheric conditions, and radio waves
(That probably          someone at Clarkson can explain)

Created the situation that no matter where I was at night
        When I played with the radio dial trying to get a station
        Even if nothing I wanted to hear came in clearly
                I could always get WWVA

And WWVA played the old twangy country music
        That I didn't want to hear

I can remember lying in a canvass tent
        Camping on some wooded land that my Dad owned near Brookfield, NY
        And having other stations going in and out

But WWVA would continue to come in strong
        As if it were
Putting its thumbs in its ears
Waving its fingers
And      saying "Na na, na na na" to those other stations
And to me

But about two decades ago
        Another four letter combination that began with "WW"
Became even better known than WWVA

This more recent phenomenon was, of course, WWJD
        These letters were not the call letters of a powerful radio station
        But rather an acronym for a powerful mantra which many Christians adopted as their approach to things
                "What Would Jesus Do?"

For some time there was an abundance of
        Bracelets, tee shirts, and placards reading simply:     WWJD
And there was an abundance of people
Repeating the phrase those letters represented

Either  because they meant something to the speaker
Or              Because they were mocking the speaker

Today the WWJD letters and the phrase they represent
have become somewhat old hat or out of date
although the sentiment still has meaning.

But we remember it.
We remember it
        Like I remember WWVA - but more positively.

But I think that old phrase fell a bit short
        For any time we ask ourselves
                "What would Jesus do?"
        And get an answer we think is too hard for us to handle
                All we have to do is invoke the built in escape clause
and say, "But I'm not Jesus."

In saying that,  what we are saying is
        Jesus could do that, but I can't
                He could go to the cross,
but I would have been like the disciples and run away
                He could stand before Pilate
      but I would have been like Peter and denied knowing him
                He could speak with the crowds after learning of JTB's death
                        But I would have shooed them away
                        And felt sorry for myself.

Thus, I think the better question would have been
        "What would Jesus desire?"
That too has the same acronym - the same call letters, if you will -
But this time WWJD does not let us focus on
        What Jesus himself would do
This time WWJD changes the focus to ourselves, asking
                "What would Jesus want me to do?

This way, there is no built in escape clause.

This morning's two scriptures give us an understanding of the process of answering such a question.

We were called to worship by Cassidy's (my) sharing a passage from John's first letter.

It is one of my favorite passages.

In it, John tells us not only to love one another
        But explains that we need to do it because      love is from God!

He tells us
that God's love was revealed by God's sending his son
that God sent his son
        not because we loved God
        but because God loved us

He says that it is a simple thought process:
        Since God loves us so much
        We also ought to love one another

And he even goes so far as to add
        That those who do not love one another
        Are lying when they claim to love God.

Not one of us should have any trouble understanding that
        God desires that we love one another.

Hand in hand with this
is the image found in our text from John's gospel:        [John 15: 1-8]

God the father is the vine grower
Christ is the vine
You and I are the branches

Christ tells us that he wants the branches to bear fruit.

The branches cannot bear fruit, however,
if they are detached or separated or disconnected from the vine

The branches that do bear fruit will be pruned and trimmed
        So that they can bear even more fruit

Thus from these two scriptures we learn
        That love comes from God
                And is the way we love God
And     That the ability to bear fruit comes from God
                And our connection to God

And in these two scriptures we find:
that Christ desires that we love one another
and     that Christ desires that we increasingly bear good fruit

An algebraic equation might read
        2X = Y
Thus, "2X"      and "Y"         are different ways of saying the same thing

And when we understand that both scriptures are saying the same thing
        We can write them algebraically as well

But here we have no unknowns.

Our equation and proof:
        What Jesus wants/desires = increasingly bearing good fruit
        What Jesus wants/desires = loving one another
        Increasingly bearing good fruit = loving one another

It's not        too hard for any of us to understand what Christ desires.
It is simple
        Christ desires that we bear the good fruit of/by loving one another

And since loving one another    is the way we love God
By simply doing what Jesus desires
        We demonstrate our love for God
                Who already loves us so much
that he sent Jesus in the first place.

And so when we meet a challenge and ask the revised WWJD question
        "What Would Jesus Desire?"
Or      "What would Jesus want me to do?"

We should be able to grasp immediately
        That that the answer is for us to take the approach that reflects
                Loving one another.

Unless we don't want to increasingly bear good fruit
Unless we don't care if we disappoint Jesus.

And as we talked two weeks ago
        Disappointing Christ hurts us worse than any punishment could

So you and I need to allow
the new WWJD to come in as clearly
as WWVA came in when I was playing with those old radio dials.

And unlike WWVA (for the younger Jim Barnes anyway),
The revised WWJD is the station we should want to hear.