Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
12:00pm Fellowship
Pastor Rev. Brooke Newell
Secretary Donna McDonald
315-265-7474

Christ's Thruway

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

July 7th:

Call: Galatians 6: 7-14
Text: 2 Kings 2: 1-2, 6-14;   Luke 10: 1-3, 16-20
Read: W&S #202

Although born in Rome,
I grew up         in Chittenango and Baldwinsville;
While practicing law,   I lived in Oneida for 23 years;
And my first seven years in the ministry
   I lived in Jordanville in Herkimer County

Therefore:
   From June 24, 1954 (I was eight years old),
when its 1st section opened between Utica & Rochester
Until June 25, 2002,
      when at age 56 the Bishop sent me to the North Country,
the NYS Thruway was an integral part of my life.

[Actually my relationship with the Thruway started some months before it opened
   because there was a section near us
that was unofficially accessible
and my family used it to get to Syracuse.]

When we went on vacation
   We almost always took the Thruway

When we went to Syracuse or Utica
   The Thruway was one of our options
   (at times we did elect to avoid the tolls by taking Route 5)



Even during the years I spent in Law school in Illinois
   The Thruway was how I traveled between home and school
      This highway signified the last leg of my trip home
      And on return, the first leg of my trip back to school.

Even now, when I visualize the State of New York
   I always see the Thruway connecting the state's major cities
      Running from Buffalo to Rochester to Syracuse
      Then continuing to Utica and Albany
      Finally turning South and taking us to New York.
    And I see the Thruway connecting us with other states
From Buffalo we go to Pennsylvania and points west
From Albany head to Massachusetts and points East.

For 48 years (and one day)
   The Thruway was, as I said, an integral part of my life

Today the churches in ten of the twelve districts in the UNY AC
   Are all within an hour of this highway

The only exceptions are those in the Adirondack District
      (Plattsburgh, Glens Falls, and Lake Placid)
and those in the Northern Flow District
      (our district)

But even up here, on the occasions when I hop onto the Thruway
   I feel like I am visiting an old friend.

The NYS Thruway is one of the things that connects
   The churches in our conference with each other

The NYS Thruway is one of the ways that the persons in our churches get together
   to share Christ's life and love with each other.

However, if    when those legislators back in 1949 created
the Thruway Authority,
   They had called it the "Turnpike Commission"
Or The "Super Highway Department"

I would not be referring to it this morning.

It was the highway's name
that came to my mind as I read this morning's scriptures
   the "THRU" preceding the "WAY"

For I realized that the "way" that God gets "thru" to us
   Centuries after Christ walked this earth,
   Is "thru" those who came before us
   And "thru" those with whom we share the earth today

And that the "way"
that God will get "thru" to those who come after us
is "thru" us.

For me to get to Albany from Buffalo
the NYS Thruway will take me "thru"
   DePew and Manchester
   Batavia and Canandaigua
   Canastota and Verona
      Herkimer, Gloversville, and Schenectady.

I will go "thru"     places large and places small
            Places industrial and places agricultural
            Places exciting and places more mundane.

For me to get from my birth in Rome to the pulpit in Potsdam
   Christ's Thruway - a Thruway of people not places -
has taken me "thru," among others,

   Sadie Barnard and Jim and Peg Barnes
   Paul Kirkpatrick, Melvin Anderson, and Clyde Snodgrass
   Tom Schafer, Bruce Barden, and Leon VanWie
   Bob Homer, Dolores Cottet, Charlie Marks, and Bill Palmer
Many people in the congregations
which I have had the honor to serve
   And, of course, "thru" Marge

Christ's Thruway does not have toll booths per se
   But all of the people along the way
   Have expected something from me:
      To be a point on Christ's Thruway for others.

As such,  we pass on    the role of being    points on that "Thruway"
   Just as others passed that role onto us
   For someone,   I may be Batavia
and you may be Canandaigua

This has always been the case.

Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph
Moses to Joshua

I could go on and on
   But I think that the point is made in the two textual scriptures

First from the OT,   the story of Elijah and Elisha
[2 Kings 2: 1-2, 6-14]

We all remember
That Elijah was the prophet at Christ's Transfiguration

But do we remember when and where it was
that Elisha came into the picture?

It was when Elijah was returning from his self pity party
   The one  After he had defeated the prophets of Baal
   The one  Where he said, "I alone am left."

For Elisha was one of the persons whom God directed Elijah
   To anoint on his way back to Samaria
   To demonstrate to him that he was not alone
      That he was not the only one serving and sharing God.

Here, in the scripture, we see Christ's Thruway to us and others
   Moving us from Elijah to Elisha
And then the scriptures go on to tell how Elisha
   Taught, served, and prophesized as Elijah's replacement.

The passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha set an example for us as points on Christ's Thruway
   These two are not just names God gave us
      To get us to improve our annunciation.

We have a second text as well.
   This one is from the NT
      Specifically Luke's gospel at [10: 1-3, 16-20]

What I like about this one
   Is that - unlike the OT text - it involves no one famous
We all have heard the names of Elijah and Elisha
   But here we have Christ sending out
   70 nameless followers

That is like Christ tapping 70 of us on the shoulder and saying,
   "Go on your way
   I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves.
   Go to every town and place ..."

And adding,
   "Whoever listens to you, listens to me;
   Whoever rejects you, rejects me;
   Whoever rejects me, rejects the one who sent me."

The 35 nameless pairs returned with joy
   And Christ praised them
   But Christ also warned them
      Not to rejoice at the power they had been given
      But rather that their names are written in heaven."

In other words,
   Rejoice not at your own importance or your own gifts
   But, instead rejoice that you have served God.

That is how it is on Christ's Thruway
   We should rejoice not at our importance as "points on it"
      After all, everyone has this opportunity
But   instead we should rejoice that by being   "points on it"
      You and I are parts of the journey of others.
   That you and I are points connecting others to Christ
   That you and I points "thru" which Christ reaches others

That is a lot more important than being points along the way
   From Buffalo to Albany - and beyond

For this is the "Thru" "Way of Jesus the Christ.