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

MUST

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

April 19:

MUST
Call:       1 John 3: 1-3
Reading:    W&S # 178
Text:       Luke 24: 36b - 48
Closing:    Acts 3: 11-15

                Must!

I like to eat at Golden Corral restaurants.

When I discovered that we were to be moving to the Buffalo area,
    I went online so that I could find out how many GC restaurants were in that area.

I was excited because Buffalo is the largest urban area
in the Upper NY Annual Conference

I was even more excited when I recalled that
 Golden Corral likes to place their restaurants in tourist areas.
    Orlando, Lake George, Saratoga

And while Clarence Center is not a tourist area
    At least not until you come out to visit us
It is a mere 45 minutes from Niagara Falls
    And Niagara Falls was a tourist area while Orlando was a sleepy village in the part of Florida that nobody visited.

And my online research gave me my answer:       Zero

West Stockholm has as many Golden Corrals as Buffalo
    So do South Colton, Norwood, and Norfolk.
If I want to eat at a Golden Corral, I'm much better off in Potsdam

Understandably, I dialed Bishop Webb's number to complain
    I wanted to know why he wasn't sending me to
        Queensbury, Saratoga, or Albany.
Couldn't he have sent me East instead of West?

But         after taking some time to think about it
    I concluded that such a complaint might not strengthen my relationship with the bishop
And thus,       I chickened out and hung the phone up.

Besides, he probably would have told me that Marge had requested
       That I not be appointed anyplace near one of those restaurants.

But I mention Golden Corral because
    When we eat there we have a choice
    Of an enormous number of items      [chocolate fountain]

But despite all the choices available,
even there
we have certain things that we have to do:
        We must pay
        We must not take food with us when we leave
And     We must conduct ourselves with at least a semblance of courtesy to the other customers.

Personally,
I would not think of trying to eat there without paying.

Certainly,
I would not think of acting discourteously to others
    And risk being removed from the place

And unquestionably,
after eating at the Golden Corral buffet

    I am always too full
    To be attracted to the idea of taking any food home with me.

Thus I always obey.
I always do what the owners and managers of the facility tell me
    That I must do.

And that presents us with an interesting question:
Why is it
That we so readily obey what is expected of us at a restaurant
        But find it so easy to not pay attention
        To what Christ tells us we must do?

That question occurred to me
As I looked at Luke's version of the story we heard last week from John
    The story of Jesus' Easter night visit to the disciples

Luke begins with the story itself:      [Luke 24: 36b - 43]

Basically, the same story
    But Luke, of course,
Tells it in a somewhat different fashion than John
        Particularly Christ's eating a piece of fish.

But then
    He records Jesus telling us and those with him
some things they and we must do.
        [Luke 24: 44-48]

Jesus begins with his own "must do" check list:
    He had to fulfill the law
    He had to fulfill the prophets
    He had to fulfill the psalms.
And in opening his listeners' minds to understand the scriptures
    He demonstrated to them that he had done
what he had been expected to do.

Jesus then followed this up with the big item on his own check list:
    "The Christ will suffer"

The operative word for us is "WILL"
    That is "will" suffer       not "might" suffer
    That is "will" suffer       not "may" suffer

His suffering   was necessary and mandatory
His suffering   was not optional or collateral.

That brings us back to a modified form of our question:

Why is it
That He so readily obeyed what was expected of him
    When that involved suffering and shame
And yet, we so often find it so easy to not pay attention
        To what we must do?

This is the case even though we are witnesses to the fact that the last item on his     "must do" checklist     was
    "rise from the dead on the third day."

And his presence in the room with the disciples
    Demonstrated that he had done that as well.

Having said all this,   Jesus then addresses what we must do.

We must preach
    A change of heart and life
We must preach
    The forgiveness of sins
We must preach these in his name.

This preaching was to begin - but not end - in Jerusalem.

Get this:
    On the evening of the very day that he rose from the dead
        These were the very first instructions
        He gave to the leaders of his followers.

That might be some hint     that they are important instructions.
That might also be some hint    as to why they are mandatory.

And yet again, we return to the question of the day

Why is it
That if these were so important to Him
    That they were his first instructions
we so often find it so easy to not pay attention
        To them or other things he said that we must do?

As I struggled with the question in all its forms,
    My mind went to our Call To Worship from John's first letter

In that call
    The letter's author states that we should be called
        "God's children"
    for     "that  is  what  we  are"

In other scriptures, it adds that being God's children
    Makes us brothers and sisters with Christ
And even adds that
    Christ is not ashamed to call us "brothers and sisters"

Now it hurts me when I disappoint my families
    My church family or my biological family
And for that reason,
seeing ourselves as parts of God's family
    Adds an additional dimension to the question with which we have been wrestling this morning.

If God wants us to be a part of God's family
Why is it
That we still find it so easy to not pay attention
        To what our brother said on Easter
or the other things he said that we must do?

Well,       The time for questioning is over.
The time for answering is upon us.

Jesus Christ has told us that by our words and our lives
    We must preach a change in heart
Jesus Christ has told us that by our words and our lives
    We must preach the forgiveness of sins
Jesus Christ has told us that by our words and our lives
    That we must love, serve, and give second chances

Are we prepared to accept and fulfill our "must do" list
    Given by the one who fulfilled his own list - Even to death
And the one who is not ashamed to call us what we are:
    Children of God and thus his brothers and sisters?

Or are we only going to obey human rules
    Because they sometimes come with chocolate fountains

Closing scripture, takes place after the healing of a crippled man
   In it, Peter tells the people that they are the ones who killed Jesus
        Despite the fact that they should have known
           Who and what he was and what he expected of them
I don't want Peter or anyone else to ever have to tell me that.
[Acts 3:11-15]