I wonder why we pinch people who are not wearing green today, St. Patrick’s Day. Was that invented by 11 year olds (like mine) who would enjoy the search and pinch mission? I found out the color of green is important to the Irish people because it represents their land and heritage. Under English rule, they weren’t allowed to wear any green and could have been killed for it. So after that was over the pinch became a teasing sort of substitute. And the green beer will flow tonight and some fountains or rivers will turn green. Indianapolis has a long history of a St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown.
We still have places in the world where you could not wear a cross, and if you did you might be killed. How do we show our faith? I’ve often thought that our Christian symbol should not be the symbol of death, like the cross, but an open tomb. I don’t suppose that works very well on a necklace but it’s just an idea. In this Lenten season we tend to move away from thinking about the open tomb…but it’s ok to, it is the greatest aspect of our faith life. I have a sticker on my car that says “God rules” and I have the fish emblem on the back of my car. Did you hear about the woman who was at a stoplight and when the car in front of her did not move on a green light she began to beat on her steering wheel and honk her horn. She rolled down the window and cussed up a storm! A police officer pulled her over and asked if she had stolen the car. Exasperated, she said that she had not that it was her car. He said “Well, I figured you’d stolen it with the way you acted toward that car in front of you back at the light. You see, I was behind you and saw your “Jesus loves you” bumper sticker and cross emblem and I figured you must have stolen the car.” Don’t we want to make sure what we wear on the outside reflects our inside?
Nicodemus is my favorite Bible story. John 3:1-17 is the Gospel lesson this Sunday for the Second Sunday in Lent. “Nic at Night” comes at night to find out from Jesus something about this faith. Their dialogue leads to John 3:16 which we all know so well. What is fascinating about Nic is that “wears his faith” later in front of others in chapter 7 of John. Nicodemus listens to his colleagues threaten to jail Jesus and he asks the question about having a trial before someone is found guilty. Later in chapter 28 it is Nic who joins Joseph or Arimathea at the cross to take down the body of Jesus. And Nic brings with him, according to the Gospel of John 100 pounds of spices! Wow…think about it…not only is that incredibly expensive but heavy to move. And how many pounds of that is needed to anoint a body? 10? 15 pounds? Even that seems high…but 100!!! Nicodemus wears his faith right out for everyone to see and I’ll bet (while there is no known record what happened to him) he went on after the resurrection happier, joyful and more fulfilled.
You may or may not have green on, but join me in making sure we have our faith “on”! It is our heritage of the life in Christ!
God Bless you!
There are a variety of names of churches when you gander at our Indiana-Kentucky Synod directory. I was looking through it this week and noticed that there are 17 churches in our Synod with the name Christ Lutheran Church! There is only one church named Antioch Lutheran and only one church that has the Lutheran name first: Lutheran church of the Cross! And there is only one church with the name Come2Go located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. You can Google them by that name and get to their website. The statement right below their name is “Rock your Soul”! They meet in a warehouse and after starting several years ago now have a vibrant ministry in their part of town.
Isn’t the name “Come2Go” so appropriate? We are all called to come to worship in order to be fed in Word and Sacrament and then to go to the places God will send us. We go with that Good News to share with others; we go to tell others about Jesus and to bring the grace and love of the Lord wherever we go. This fits in well with our theme for our Council retreat around the idea of Gather, Grow and Go in Christ! G cubed….G3 as it is called!
Tomorrow in our Gospel lesson from John 1 we will see Andrew in action. He FIRST finds his brother and says, essentially, come and see! Come and see, says Andrew, we have found the Messiah and he brings his brother to Jesus. And Jesus knows him and names him. It is the same for us…we are called by name and gifted in grace to go forth and tell others to “Come and See”
I think one of my favorite church announcements is “we are sorry to announce this, but we’ve lost the lost and found box!” We don’t really have a box we just kind of leave things hanging on the hanger or set them out and the owner finds them. Sometimes I am sure we loose things and don’t even know it until much later. During these cooler mornings my son, Joel, looks for his cotton jacket to wear. Unbeknownst to me, I see it hanging at the church today…I didn’t even know it had been lost and I’m sure his mother didn’t know….
My memory jogs back to a family vacation to Disney World. I remember (barely) being on the Robinson Caruso island house and it being a large reconstructed replica of his home. All I can recall is being on the top floor of this deal on the deck/patio and looking away down yonder and seeing my family exit the area. Sort of like the movie “Home Alone”….I smacked my cheeks and yelled! I don’t know the rest of that story but just the sheer terror of being lost, and seeing where I needed to go, but no idea how to get there.
I don’t know why I can remember obscure details of my past and constantly loose keys, cell phone or other things. I get very angry when I loose something that’s obviously should not be lost. I’ll check with the others in my home to see who carried off the item when, lo and behold, it is where it wasn’t supposed to be. More like out of order than lost.
We probably all have many stories of being lost. We can all thank God that we are never lost in Christ. God is always searching for us and rejoicing with all the angels in heaven as our Gospel lesson for this Sunday teaches. Luke 15:1-10 (read it before Sunday and be doubly blessed) reports a parable of Jesus for the Pharisees about being lost and found. Jesus uses the analogy of lost sheep and lost coin. When they are found there is rejoicing…”over one sinner who repents”. We cannot get there and yet we can see it in the breath of a baby, in the fresh air, in the sunrise and sunset, in hospital room prayers, and the weeping and rejoicing we do with one another. We see it in our love for one another and we can’t get there on our own….we get there thru Jesus the Christ.
You’ll remember that “repent” is from the Greek word “metanoia” meaning a change of mind. We must always and forever change our mind from the lost ness of sin and remember that we are found in grace, found in God and found in the love outpoured from the Cross in Jesus the Christ. This is most certainly true as we gather around the Table to eat bread and wine and to do this “to remember Jesus”.
This is our Lord and Savior the same one the Pharisees grumble about….”This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them” and I say AMEN, THANKS BE TO GOD!!!
You Shall Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:25-37
Clay lives a block from our home and he and my son, Joel, have become friends. They are in the same Cub Scout pack that uses our church building and they run around quite a bit together. So far this summer, they seem to be really close. I have “prodded” Clay and his parents (and brother Sam) to come and join us for worship and, so far, to no avail. I believe they do occasionally go to church but I am not sure exactly where.
We have become friends and we’ve had them over and vice versa. Last night Clay spent the night at our home. His mother came by in the evening and brought over a change of clothes, etc for him. As we all talked his mother headed for the door but not before Clay could run up to her and say “Mommy, bedtime prayers, bedtime prayers.” And they hugged one another and prayed right there in our doorway. Something we don’t even do…in fact as our son has gotten older we’ve moved away from our routine of bedtime prayers/Lord’s prayer.
I thought, wow, here is a family that I thought was without and they were with. I mean they don’t’ have a church home, they don’t attend anywhere regularly, and I am sure they don’t give much money anywhere……
But they pray at bedtime….and who am I to judge anyway? Just like the Good Samaritan in our Gospel lesson Sunday, just love people where they are and give them help in times of need….and renew yourself in God’s grace and love……and have your bedtime prayers with our without another…