Sunday, May 30, 2010
No Greater Love Preached @ Tinney Chapel on Memorial Day
Click on any image to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view video of Pastor Sue Gross' sermon, No Greater Love.
Love at its greatest and loving one another
The Pastor's sermon today spoke to the congregation in a layered fashion, combining elements of patriotism, heroism, self-sacrifice, but especially elements of love.
When Lay Reader Cheryl Newton read from Proverbs 8, the stage was being set for reminding us that Jesus has never been out of the picture, that He didn't just turn up on Christmas Day a couple thousand years ago. As the psalmist says: When He (God the Father) prepared the Heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth...when He appointed the foundations of the earth. Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him...and my delights were with the sons of men.
Thus, when Pastor Sue read from today's Gospel message, John 15:9-17, our minds were settled in on the fact that Jesus had been there, with His Father at the very time of the Creation, an awesome concept that adds even more to what Jesus has to tell us than do the red letters of some translations.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends...These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Even if your Bible translation does not print those words in red ink, you certainly recognize them as the very words of the Son of God, and that the first concept in the quotation was lived out by Jesus at the Crucifixion, while the second concept is part of His great commandment to all of us.
Since today was Memorial Day, the Pastor referenced several anecdotes about patriotic observance of the self-sacrifice suggested in today's Gospel reading, while also noting that history's greatest example of this kind of love is that of Jesus on the Cross.
She also touched on the elusive concept of heroism, and the decline in our society's treatment of heroes, even perhaps begging the question of whether we still have heroes at all. Perhaps celebrities have replaced heroes in our culture? Meanwhile, the Pastor did point out a major difference: Celebrities make news while heroes make history, a sobering reflection on the values of our day, perhaps.
Pastor Sue touched on two of the most common types of love mentioned in the New Testament: Brotherly love and Agape love, the unconditional kind that Jesus exampled and recommended.
Today's Scripture and sermon message reminded us that we owe all of our freedoms to the brave men and women in the armed forces who have fought, and often died, to protect us and our rights. For this, we can never be sufficiently thankful, the Pastor emphasized.
In addition, the Pastor took the occasion to remember the once-and-forever self-sacrifice of Jesus The Christ, and the freedom that offers to all believers: Eternal Life.
After this, the Pastor and the congregation left the sanctuary and reassembled outside the Family Life Center to plant Memorial Day flags in memory or honor of Veterans.
Memorial Day Flags Planted @ Tinney Chapel
Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view the video of this outdoor flag-planting ceremony.
The Planting Of The Flags On Memorial Day
A new tradition may have been born today at the quintessential country church: Planting flags on Memorial Day on the lawn of the three crosses of Tinney Chapel UMC.
Across the fence, haymaking was in progress. See photos above. But, as congregants of Tinney Chapel filed out of the historic sanctuary to approach the lawn of the three crosses, all were carrying small American flags, each personalized with the name of an armed forces veteran--either in honor or memory.
All the flags were planted in the green grass surrounding the three crosses left over from our Easter Sunrise Service. Again, see photos above. Some of these flags will later be moved to cemeteries and planted again at the graves of those who gave the last full measure of devotion: Their lives.
Pastor Sue Gross conducted a Memorial Day call-and-response ceremony, at times straining to be heard over the sound of the haymaking machinery. On the other hand, what better indication that ours is truly a historic rural church that still sits on the same acreage that was originally carved from what had once been the farms of Ambrose Tinney, who donated the first acre in 1900, and Donald and Corinne Tinney, who donated another two acres to build the family life center just a few years ago.
Several of our church's living veterans of World War 2 were present for today's Memorial Day ceremonies, inside and outside, as well as some veterans of more recent wars.
After this moving outdoor ceremony, the congregation moved inside the family life center for a hearty lunch which was blessed by Pastor Sue Gross.
Monday, May 24, 2010
The Passing From This Life Of Eddie Cherry
Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click the arrow to view the graveside service video below at bottom of this post.
Contributions to a Cherry Family Love Fund may be made at the First National Bank of Winnsboro, Texas.
The Official Obituary
Mr. Eddie Herbert Cherry, age 49 of Winnsboro, passed away on Wednesday, May 20, 2010. He was born October 9, 1960 in Tyler, Texas to the late Jo Ann Cherry Turner and the late Jerry P. (Shorty) Cherry. He attended Central Baptist Church in Tyler, where he could be seen with his grandparents every Sunday.
He later moved to Winnsboro. Eddie loved his family and friends, which was evidenced by his gift of service. He spent his tune helping people. He loved being in his shop, working on anything from tractors to lawn mowers. He was extremely mechanically inclined and well versed on many subjects. If he didn't know something, he would exhaust every avenue to find the answer, whether from a book or the computer. One of Eddie's favorite pastimes was fishing. He could be found fishing from his four-wheeler at a nearby pond. He loved being outdoors and wasted no time getting on the tractor and doing some shredding for a friend when he was not working. If anyone needed anything from Eddie, they could always count on him. He was an owner/operator with LandStar Trucking Company. Eddie married Robin Boyd, his wife of 27 years, on January 21, 1983. His life was blessed by two sons, Joshua Eric Cherry and Jeremy Ellis Cherry and a daughter-in-law, Addie Cherry. Others who will rejoice at seeing him again one day include; brother, Duane Cherry and wife Belinda of Hillsboro; brother, Stephen Cherry and wife Erica of Quitman; and sister, the late Vicki Cherry; mother and father-in-law, Georgia Ann and Tommy Boyd of Winnsboro; sister-in-law, Debi Rouse and husband Willy of Lindale; sister-in-law, Krystal Cook and husband David of Winnsboro; sister-in-law Shannon Hyser and husband Mike of Naples, Florida; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Brother Richard (Nub) Brown officiated at the funeral, which included several songs that had been favorites of Eddie: You'll Be There, When I Get To Where I'm Going and In The Garden.
Pallbearers were Mark Sims, Kevin Lindley, Ricky King, Jeremy Cherry, Danny Broomfield and Benny Caldwell. Honorary pallbearers were Steve Dennis, Jerry Smith, Ben Hogue, Josh Cole, Chris Holland, Tom Inskeep, Bit Mauldin, Willy Rouse, David Cook, Mike Hyser, Charlie Craddock and Ricky Conner.
He Made A Difference: Eddie Herbert Cherry
Funeral eulogy by Tommy Boyd, Eddie’s father-in-law
John 15:13 says:
Greater love has no one than this: That he lay down his life for his friends.
I have a friend named Eddie, his soul is in Heaven, his tabernacle remains with us for a while, someday we will all be home, some will be called to meet in the air as our Savior Jesus comes for His bride, some will be waiting at home. I see faces, some familiar to me and I know all of you would be known and loved by Eddie.
We have been honored to have Eddie in our family for more than 27 years, ever since he came to our home on FM 312 and asked for our daughter Robin’s hand in marriage. There are two sons from this marriage, wonderful grandsons that make you proud, Josh and Jeremy. Jeremy is seated here today with Love in his heart and wonderful memories to draw upon from time to time as needed. Probably all of you knew Josh or have heard his name spoken in love; he wrote a timeless poem during his short tenure on earth, it is as follows.
There are many times that one may doubt,
But take the good with the bad and don’t pout.
Always look ahead to what is to come
And try to do good which is a good rule of thumb.
The times may grow dark and look never ending,
But just look towards the light and know your time is pending
There is so much good that is never seen
That it is the norm to be unclean.
One day everything will come to an end
I just hope you tell your next of kin
One day, happiness will be forever
Me, you and God will all be together
Josh Cherry who God placed in our family in 1984 and called home in 2005.
Eddie laid down his life for his friends. His passion was to help people, especially friends, but you didn’t have to know Eddie or be a friend to get his help, he just had to know you needed help and he was there. There was a benefit rodeo for Josh in 2005 and the proceeds were given to Robin and Eddie, most of those proceeds were used to help other people. The only reason he did not help more people was because God has said, come home and rest, your work is finished. I need you now.
Eddie has been in numerous gatherings of our family, holidays, birthdays or just casual gatherings. He was a little camera shy at first and never really let you know he wanted his picture taken. I have taken many many pictures at our gatherings, which I cherish more and more as time goes by. When you see a man with a camera, or someone else, you have two choices, relax and let him take a picture that you will be proud of or try to avoid him and end up with a less pleasing picture because your picture is going to be taken whether you know it not. I have never seen a picture of someone I love that did not pull my heartstrings. They are all keepers.
As time passes and we all think, I am going to call Eddie and ask him, and then remember he is home with the Lord, love will flood your being, a little sadness will creep in; Eddie will be there with you saying its ok and we once more smile with Eddie in our heart.
I was lucky enough to be asked to ride with Eddie to Seattle as he was hauling cars. A trip I enjoyed very much then; now with memories, pictures and videos that, to me, are priceless. As we were returning to Winnsboro we encountered a storm, with strong winds as we were coming thru Idaho, Wyoming or Nebraska, ( I am not sure where it was, but Eddie could tell you the road number as well as the mile marker) the storm was making me a little uncomfortable, the winds were blowing contrary to the way we were traveling, we were passing by some lake that was running parallel to the road we were traveling, the waves were coming onto the roadway, we slowed but continued traveling, hoping to run out of the storm soon. The truck was rocking some, but knowing Eddie was at the wheel I knew everything was going to be ok. He would tell people I was holding onto the dash pretty tight and I guess maybe I was or maybe it was Eddie just got more joy out of telling it that way – he was known to add some details from time to time to get a good laugh, but with love in his heart.
I have many wonderful, precious memories, of being with Eddie, some wet with sweat, some oily and greasy, some just sitting and enjoying the day talking and drinking Gatorade. Sometimes he would say, let’s go get something to eat or call on the phone and say “I made a pot of stew or I got some red beans and cornbread” better come and get some of this.
My life is better because for 27 years I had Eddie in my life and for the remainder of my life, whatever it is, I will have those memories to call on from time to time, because I will need them and when they come forth, they will be precious.
I think Eddie would like the poem “Do It Anyway” so here’s to you my Beloved Eddie.
DO IT ANYWAY
Poem read at funeral by Tommy Boyd
People are often unreasonable,
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them
By Helen McClain
I start the truck and I’m on my way,
Another town I will see today,
Sometimes staying or passing through.
Either way, I have a job to do;
I love my tuck, it’s a part of me,
Although it can’t compare to my family.
When I’m traveling on the dark roads ahead,
Always wishing this were my own bed,
It’s a long, lonely run most of the time.
No wife around, just another hill to climb.
But when all is said and done, and I’m heading home,
I think of my Robin, and I’m no longer alone.
A lot of miles under my belt
Tired and sore muscles I often felt.
Fast food, truck stops and a sun that melts,
Beautiful skies and roads so dark:
Rainy days, and a rest at the park.
When my trip is over, another I’ll embark.
I’ve traveled far and traveled wide
But the best road trip I ever had
Was the one by your side: Thank you
Sweet Robin, Josh and Jeremy for always
Waiting and being my family.
Never a stranger does Eddie meet:
He will give you his last dime
Even the shoes off his feet.
He’s been everywhere:
north, south, east and west, whatever the load.
He’s the best, takes time to call
When he’s away, never forgets:
Never missing a day.
Although he’s a trucker, that’s not all he’s about:
He can farm, fish and tell a good joke
And fun at you he will probably poke.
He will fry up good boudin and taters in a pan.
To sum it all up, he’s one hell of a man.
If you were ever in need or feeling weary,
All you had to do was call Eddie Cherry.
Good father, husband, and son-in-law indeed.
Not a better friend you will ever find,
Than trucker Eddie, when you are in a bind.
I better wrap this up cause I can go on all day.
About a special person, I have plenty to say
Don’t be sad, forever I’ll be: You see,
This is only another road trip for me.
Wherever I’m heading, I’ll not leave behind
The thoughts of my wonderful life during my time,.
Be at peace, my Robin, most beautiful of all.
Just think of me always on another haul:
Love always and forever, your Trucker Eddie.
Click arrow below to view graveside service video:
Sunday, May 16, 2010
God's Math preached @ Tinney Chapel
Click on any image above to view it in larger format, or click on the arrow below to view the video of sermon for kids by Georgia Goggans.
God's Math: 1 plus 1 plus 1 = 1
It's in the Bible, emphasized Pastor Sue Gross, it's Scriptural! Look it up.
John 17:20-26, Revised Standard Version:
Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.
And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. Father, that which thou hast given me, I will that, where I am, they also may be with me; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me; and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them. --RSV
That entire chapter of John's Gospel is a prayer by Jesus, and any discussions or sermons based on it, sometimes tend to get deeply mystical, but Pastor Sue chose to compare her interpretation to our understandings of math, the New math, the Old math and God's math.
Jesus is actually empowering His Disciples, explained the Pastor, who wanted us to get His message about Jesus being One with the Father--and all of us becoming One with Jesus the Christ, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. See how quickly all this starts to sound very mystical.
Think of the Cross itself, suggested the Pastor, with the parallel (up and down) beam representing God reaching down to us through Christ. Think also of the horizontal crossbeam, she added, representing His outstretched arms, embracing you, me, our neighbors and the whole world.
We are all One, re-emphasized Pastor Sue, in the math of God! And this is accomplished by the unmentioned third Divine being of the Holy Trinity: The Holy Spirit, Who enlightens us with the Word, fills us with Power and sends us out to heal others in His Name. We are truly One through the Holy Spirit.
By living in a community of faith, we are stronger than living apart. We make up the Body of Christ and share our Spiritual Gifts with one another. Certainly, the New Testament mentions Spiritual Gifts several times and the need to share them in order to build up the Church.
The Pastor mentioned the fabulous participants in the Mt. Vernon Youth Musical, Let's Rock, performed at Tinney Chapel's Family Life Center last Wednesday night (see separate post on this Weblog). In that production, the Youth emphasized the Body of Christ and using our talents for God's glory.
People look to Christians to know who Jesus is, added Pastor Sue. We are standing with arms outstretched in love, forgiveness and grace, in contrast to a secular world that emphasizes individuality and reaching the top at all costs.
We are not to assume from this Scripture that our goal is a global church, concluded Pastor Sue. Rather, we are simply to be united in the Spirit to be about the Father's business of forgiveness, discernment of right and wrong and the Peace that passes all understanding.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Click on any image above to view it in larger format, or click the arrow below to view the video of the second half of the Let's Rock Musical.
Let's Rock: A Children's Musical performed @ Tinney Chapel
To set the scene, imagine a local park with a church youth choir on site for a day of clean-up public service work.
But, everyone there knows that a famous Christian rock singer, Max Rockanelli, is likely to show up for some work on his latest music video. So, everyone starts thinking about their individual chances to be discovered for a part in the rock star's music video. Bottom line: Thoughts of sugarplums, fame and fortune.
Once Max arrives, things start to change, as he teaches the youth a valuable lesson about the importance of using individual gifts for God's purpose. Max reminds them that God anointed each with individual talents, and so God expects that those talents will be used accordingly.
It becomes a lesson about the Christian life not being a solo act, but living as part of the Body of Christ.
In the course of about 45 minutes, these talented youth from Mt. Vernon, less than 20 miles north of Winnsboro, do a lot of shaking, high fives, soft rock and the like, wearing at times hard hats and star-crossed sunshades. They sing, they play, they act and they testify.
Actual Scripture is read and discussed, including Psalm 139:16 and verses from 1 Peter 4, while helping to make a case for every individual to participate, although not all can sing the melody. Still, all are truly necessary, according to God's Word and some of the music, including songs with messages like You Be You And I'll Be Me and working together for the Lord.
At one point in the script, one of the youth asks Max what it's like to have people scream and yell for you. To which, Max replies that while he used to want that sort of adulation, he no longer does, since he found Christ: Everything changed in my life that day, he explains.
At the end, Tinney Chapel's full house stands for a lengthy applause as each participant is introduced individually.
It's a great lesson, from the mouths of our youth.
For more on the background of this musical and those who developed it, click on the title of this Weblog post at the top of the page, or go to:
http://www.littlebigstuff.com/lr/index.html, copy-pasting it in your browser window if it does not show live on this page.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tuesday's Special Call @ Tinney Chapel
Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click the arrow below to view a video of a break time food line during ESL Class.
The Special Call of Tuesdays at Tinney Chapel
When Pastor Sue Gross heard the Lord call her to establish a language ministry at the quintessential country church, she heard it as clearly as when He called her to the ministry itself: Now is the time!
She talked it up at church gatherings, plus District and Conference events, and eventually put it to a vote at the Tinney Chapel administrative council, where it passed quickly, with several volunteers signed up to help before the night was over.
But English As A Second Language (ESL) was not something that anyone at Tinney Chapel had ever considered before as a likely ministry for this church, and several events did conspire to delay the launch of this new ministry.
But it did launch, and grew rapidly, largely by word-of-mouth!
Every Tuesday evening, from 6 pm to 9 pm, passersby on County Road 4620 probably wonder what's going on: cars are parked all over the property, kids are playing at the basketball court and in the fenced playground, all supervised by Tinney Chapel volunteers, of course.
Inside, the parents are eagerly immersed in the learning of English as a second language. Most of their kids are already bilingual. Some of those kids are inside playing games in the church's youth classroom at Tinney Chapel's 8,000-sq.-ft. Family Life Center, itself another surprising ministry--built and paid for in just four years.
Four of the Sunday School rooms are used for ESL classrooms on Tuesday nights. The roomy commercial kitchen is a beehive of activity in preparation for the food line at ESL's 7:30 p.m. break and the big auditorium is filled with a mix of parents, kids and church volunteers munching on snacks and drinking iced tea or sodas.
The new ESL ministry has already surpassed the crowds at Wednesday night Bible Study, and just keeps on growing.
On this Tuesday, some are working on a video about this new ministry, which we hope to make available on the Conference website in hopes that it will inspire other churches, especially others in rural settings, to follow our example.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Public Invited to Fish Fry @ Tinney Chapel June 19, 2010 featuring Pleasant Mountain Boys
Click on any image to view it in larger format.
It's fish fry time again at Tinney Chapel
For years now, Tinney Chapel has sponsored a free-to-the-public fish fry every year, usually with some kind of special entertainment. There's no admission, but a love offering to help with expenses will be appreciated.
This year, the cook is once again everybody's favorite: Bobby Thompson.
The menu will include Bobby's special fried catfish and hush puppies, plus french fries, cole slaw and desserts with plenty of iced tea.
For a preview of the Pleasant Mountain Boys, go to their website address, shown elsewhere on this page.
See you at the quintessential country church on Saturday, June 19, between 5 pm and 7 pm.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Mothers Day @ Tinney Chapel, sixth Sunday of Easter
Click on any image to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view the video of Kids Time at Tinney Chapel on this Mothers Day.
Mothers Day @ Tinney Chapel
It was a time when both sermons--for adults and for kids--drew heavily on personal recollections and reflections from Pastor Sue Gross and Georgia Goggans.
Both are gifted with strong voices and confident deliveries, so the congregation was doubly blessed on this sixth Sunday of Easter.
Pastor Sue remembered a time of trauma when she was a small child and the family house burned to the ground. She recalls the comfort she received from both her mother, Nyla, and father, Vern, who actually built a new house for his family over time.
The Pastor also reflected on the history of Mothers Day observance as a holiday, and the unconditional, agape love that comes from both mothers and from God. She also reminded us to honor those women who may not become biological mothers, but who nevertheless contribute to society as mentors and surrogate mothers. While she did not specifically say so, we might have also remembered those women who choose to become pastors, and thus affect countless lives via the Love of Christ.
Georgia told Blaine about her own (Blaine's) mother, reminding her that she is a hard worker at home and at school, where her mother is a teacher, which is yet another life choice that involves transformed lives for many youngsters.
Georgia also told Blaine that her own (Georgia's) husband, Glen, had written her a letter on this Mothers Day, expressing his appreciation for the kind of mother that Georgia has been, and is, to their children and grandchildren. She said the letter was too emotionally touching for her to read it aloud on this occasion.
Both Pastor Sue and Georgia prayed for blessings on the women in our lives, those who are mothers and those who are not.
The Pastor asked Blaine to pass out special Mothers Day pens, inscribed "Blessed Is The Woman Who Walks With God," to all the ladies, whether mothers or not, in today's congregation.
The video on this post features Georgia Goggans at Kids Time.
A Tribute To Grandmothers on Mothers Day @ Tinney Chapel
Click on any image, above, to view it in larger format or click the arrow, below, to view the video of Angela reading her original poem.
GRANDMOTHERS OF MY PAST, by Angela Newton Wylie, Lay Speaker
Grandmothers of my past.
Those both known and unknown to me.
Some of you I only have names found on paper
Or taken from cold lichen weathered stones
A few of you are listed only as someone’s wife.
Yet I know that you were more.
Much, much more.
Of a few of you there are precious photographs
Carefully passed down through the distant years
Treasures worth more to me than gold
For through these I can look into your eyes
And imagine what sort of person you were
Pictures or names both declare
That I came from you
You grandmothers that I do not know
What were you like deep inside?
I wonder about such arcane things
As I seek to span the vast gulf of time past by
Did you dream the same dreams that I do?
Did you ponder the same mysteries and
Seek to know the unknowable?
Was your nature like mine, tender and
So easily hurt by a harsh word,
Or were you stoic and strong,
A force to be reckoned with,
Ruling heart and hearth and table too
With a dominant unbendable spirit
The stern matriarchs of your line?
I know that you bore children
And sat up late into the night with them when they were ill
Washing dirty faces and combing tangled hair
Scolding and encouraging as the need arose
You worried about them when they went astray
For mothers do these things and the records show
That you were all mammas; you my Grandmothers.
But, did you sketch or paint and seek to capture
A small glimpse of the beauty of the world
As I do when I hold my camera in my hand?
What small things did you find quiet joy in?
What made you smile or shed a moist, misting tear?
Was it sunsets and fresh rain and the green push of spring?
That brings an end to dreary winter and numbing cold?
Did you sing or hum as you went about your work?
When the day was done, did you look up into a night sky,
And feel small as you wondered at the majesty Creation?
What caused you heavy sorrow or fear?
What hardships did you choose to endure,
For the sake of children, husband, or societies demands?
What secret tears did you shed when life became unbearable?
Your times long ago were different from mine
As I sit here in this oft’ confusing world,
yet, people have ever been the basic same,
What of you in your nature and your personality
Did you pass through the misty years to me?
This present woman with your genes, mixed and swirled
Together like waters in the rivers all rushing to one singular end.
Did you make things with your work calloused hands?
Did you set before a fire in the winter and piece together
A quilt, creating pattern and beauty and form
From scraps of discordant disharmony; creating something
Warm and useful and as well as a small part of you.
Did you prick you finger as your needle slipped through the
Resisting cloth, staining the fabric with a drop of your blood?
The same drop of blood that runs though my veins
As I too sew various bits of colored cloth together
And dream and contemplate the thought of you.
I wonder if you ever imagined there would be a me
Blood of your blood and alive because of your life
And I thank you, Grandmothers for that life
And seek to honor you with my own
Because of you and for you I will remember
And pass down what I know to my own grandchildren.
I will treasure your memory and keep your
Stories, pictures, and those names found in dusty files.
I will reach out and touch the frozen names carved in stone,
So that you will not be forgotten
My grandmothers of my past
Copyright © 2010 by Angela Newton Wylie,
Certified UMC Lay Speaker
Sunday, May 02, 2010
They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love
Click on any image, above, to view it in larger format or click on the arrow, below, to view the video of the Pastor's sermon.
What Is Reliable Evidence That We Practice Christianity?
Pastor Sue Gross titled her sermon, They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love, but she quickly segued into a reference to an article she had read about former U.S. President Jimmy Carter who once pondered another sermon title, If You Were Arrested For Being A Christian, Would There Be Enough Evidence To Convict You?
She said that former President Carter thoughtfully and honestly concluded, upon reflection, that he could probably talk his way out of being convicted, despite being a member of the largest church in his hometown, despite being a Sunday School teacher and despite considerable other evidence, including a lot of writing on the subject, that might also be presented.
If you plug that provocative phrase into an Internet search engine, you will find numerous choices to check out. We include only one example here:
You may have to copy and paste that website address into your computer's web browser if it does not show up on this screen as a live link.
Pastor Sue also mentioned a group of Oxford scholars, writers in England who formed a group during the darkest days of World War 2, called The Inklings. Among the Inklings was the well-known Christian writer C. S. Lewis. This group met regularly in a pub to discuss the possible fallout from their writing should the Germans actually invade and occupy Great Britain, a possibility that seemed very real at the time. But their concern was not for how they might be punished by the Germans, should that occur, bur rather if their writing would be sufficient to help the British maintain their Christian faith during such a calamity.
The Pastor's main purpose today seemed to be directed toward making all of us ponder the question to ourselves: How might we actually know that we are truly Christians? The Internet link, provided above, provides a good start toward answering that query.
She concluded her sermon by repeating its original title: They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love, linking it to one of the commands of Jesus for His Disciples and for us--that we love one another as He loves us.
Following the Pastor's sermon, and after Holy Communion, the congregation sang the well-known hymn, They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love.
Still, it's a great question to ask ourselves every now and then: Would there be enough evidence for conviction?