Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

July 25, 2017

This morning for some strange reason I thought of a funeral that I attended a few years ago for a former coworker by the name of Julius.  A very large crowd was in attendance that day, paying their respects for this man’s life.

            In some ways it was like Old Home Week. In other words more of a reunion atmosphere than that of a funeral.

            The audience sure enough represented the so-called rainbow spectrum of humanity in that it was multi-cultural and quite diverse.  In death Julius managed to gather all these folks in one place at the same time and have us gather around the cross.

            At one particular moment in the funeral I had an epiphany. The cross is the only place that I know of that so many diverse people can gather and be in one accord, even if it only lasted an hour.

            I began to imagine all the things this crowd most likely disagreed upon.   Yet, for that one hour all of us by our presence agreed that Julius’ life mattered and there was room enough around the cross of Christ for all of us to gather.

            It dawned on me that our relationship with one another cannot be based merely on agreement. For us to survive as a people, it must be based upon Christ and on the love that is freely given to anyone who calls upon his name.

            My son and I have chatted recently about social media being the new road rage.   Have you ever noticed how bold drivers seem to become as they are surrounded by a metal cage called a car when they drive down the road?

            I have witnessed dog fighting on interstate highways. I have witnessed obscene gestures, name calling, horns blowing and the occasional bumper tag while folks make their way through traffic.

            But…how many of these people would behave this way is they were not in a car, protected by metal doors and a roof?

            Similarly, with regard to social media how many people would be so bold, rude, inconsiderate and abrasive if they were not speaking from a bully pulpit while in an office, lashing out with a computer keyboard?

            I’m just sayin’! Even so, technology is here to stay and Pandora’s Box has opened. I do wonder though about the states of souls when I read much of what’s on social media nowadays.

            But, back to the main theme! Our walks through life together will have to be based upon more than mere agreement if we are to have abundant living. Sadly, though many Christians seem to be more into the wall building business than the bridge building business.

            Wall building seems to be very un-Christ-like to me! Jesus was the master of crossing divides. In his day, he crossed lines of gender, culture, morality, politics and doctrine.

            It seems that Jesus could not even breathe without having somebody disagree with him. Even so, he was on a mission that was greater than he!

            “For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me (John 5:36b NIV).”

  “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it (John 12:49 NIV).”

  I say this frequently, but what if we began to build lives defined by what we are for rather than what we are against? Maybe today could be a good day to make a list of ten things that we are for.

  1. I am for mercy.
  2. I am for forgiveness.
  3. I am for healing.
  4. I am for recovery.
  5. I am for reconciliation.
  6. I am for justice.
  7. I am for love as Christ defined it.
  8. I am for do-overs and second chances.
  9. I am for patience.
  10. I am for peace.

            Now for the hard part! Are we willing to work diligently to accomplish those things we are for?

            What if…what if we decided today that we are going to work for peace? Have you ever considered our tongues to be our greatest enemy? No wonder we need a savior!

Everyone needs compassion, love that’s never failing

            Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a savior

            The hope of nations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Lab0SHGXkA

(Mighty to Save, Hillsong, 2006)

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