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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Way of Wisdom

Sunday Sermon Summary: January 21, 2007

Today's gospel lesson speaks of another way of life--through God. How can we know the way? (John 14:1-7) When Thomas asks this of Jesus, he takes it to a deeper level. He says, I am the way, the truth and the life. Jesus Christ is the way. He doesn't just point the way or give directions. We are blessed to welcome in new members to St. Andrew's. As we welcome them we make a promise to help them know and follow Jesus Christ.

To know and follow Jesus Christ--what does it mean to make that promise? To know the way, the truth and the By helping them understand who we are---the body of Christ. We are a scripture reading community. The role of scripture is worship. All prayers and songs give voice to the words of sacred writing. Reading scripture is central in our worship. Scripture shapes our thoughts, hearts and minds. It also shapes how we live as we seek to follow Jesus Christ in the way of wisdom. The way we live is shaped by scripture. It is a way of life.

(Psalms 1-41) 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night. The law for tribal Hebrews meant the 10 Commandments. That is what we think of first. It could also mean a list of do's and don'ts. The law can become a prescription or a burden. Are we doing it right? The law of God is not a burden. It is a gift of grace. It is not a list of do's and don'ts. The first five books of the bible is what the law of God refers to. It is more than a list of do's and don'ts. It is a story of how God created the heavens and the earth and delivering his people from slavery in Egypt.

He is not committing to only do's and don'ts. He is committing heart and mind to the Lord of all creation. In the scripture the psalmist discovers that God is not a last testament. He sets us free from those things that enslave us so we can live in God's grace. Stories teach us how to live. Words evoke images. Law teaches us who we are. It serves as something we can delight in if we let it shape our hearts and minds. Laws of the bible are universal in its application for all of human history.

Language today talks about "going to church." Church is not just a building. It is the people. It is who we are. Who Jesus is, he desires us to be also. As we delight in his word the goal is not what god can do for us, but what can he do through us. As we follow Jesus Christ this week, what does he want to do through us? Bless through us? We put ourselves into position to be used by God.

Monica was a believer. Her heart was for her son to know Jesus Christ and His presence. Her son very good looking and very smart. Pride was his downfall. Monica prayed for her son all the time. Her son had lots of girlfriends as well. Monica still prayed for her son. One day he was passing by some children one day and they were singing about reading the bible. "Take up and read. Take up and read, " they sang. Monica's son was struck by that. He began to read scripture. Scripture changed his life forever. Her son ended up becoming the most popular spiritual leader in the history of the christian church.

How will we help new members know and follow Jesus Christ? How will we help their children know and follow Jesus Christ? Perhaps it is they who will help is? The children of our church know the stories of scripture. We have creative, knowledgeable teachers, like Onalee, to help the children know the word of God. We need to delight in God's word day and night. Smith Blackburn teaches the Wednesday night adult bible study and they are on the famous stories of the bible. I bet not one person in that class would disagree that they are learning about things they had never considered before in regards to the parables. We never outgrow learning God's word. All are invited to study, to fall in love with Jesus Christ. All are welcome to journey with is in the way of wisdom.


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