top3 for May 10, 2019

#1 – In other words, teaching that is not embodied by the teacher and experienced within the relational community is at risk of being nothing but empty words.

Christina Walker

Many people think that writing a sermon is one of the most difficult things I do each week.  While I do admit that it is never, or rarely, easy I will say that the above quote is the real difficulty.  Giving a message is not the objective…being the message…now that is the hard part!

#2 -So between the death of Christ and the Last Day it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians. It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s Word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands stand alone. They know that visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist did, how they went ‘with the multitude . . . to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday’

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together . Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Grace permits us to worship together. Let that sink in when we decide whether or not to make Sunday worship a priority. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from people who can no longer make it to worship how much they miss corporate worship. As with many things, we take for granted in the moment that we long for when it is no longer possible.

#3 – We must not think ourselves summoned to clean up the places within the world before we can decide to live in them.

Karl Barth Church Dogmatics

Be in the world and not of itthat is Jesus’ wisdom for us. Begin with love and not a garbage can is my translation of the Barth quote above. Jesus had the audacity to tell us to run toward the mess and not from it.