July 25, 2021

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This months Website is 

sponsored by

Charles & Jade Mound Family

in Memory of

Trudy Peterson

Live Streaming is sponsored by

Gregg& Deb Griewski

If you would like to sponsor a month

contact the office.

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Members Login



Soup & Pie Fundraiser

Please join our Youth Group on Valentine's day and enjoy a bowl of soup & a piece of pie along with fellowship!

Last week's Sermon

July 18, 2021

 

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 & 2 Samuel 7:1-14a

“Disciples & apostles”

“Well, at least you are doing the Lord’s work.”


It was a statement that was made this past week in conversation with a neighbor out at Custer. We had been discussing time off from work and how sometimes it is hard to get excited about going back to work after having some time off. Some times it is just hard to feel the motivation of going to work other than there is a job that needs to be done and it is required if you want a paycheck. Some times that motivation is difficult to get excited about. I can empathize. His response was, “Well, at least you are doing the Lord’s work, right?”


The assumption is that with the title of pastor there comes extra motivations. There is some incentive and reward in knowing that you are doing the Lord’s work.   After all, it is important work that pastors have been entrusted.


Titles and names matter in our society. For good or for ill, we automatically draw up some assumptions simply by the title some one has or the work that they do. Give a person the title “pastor” and we immediately draw on our experience and information as to what that person does and what she or he might be like. Give the person the title “doctor or nurse” and we immediately draw on our knowledge and experience with medical personnel. The same can be said for “teacher” or “construction worker” or “farmer” or whatever the title might be. Give a person a title and we can begin to know something about that person.


The beginning of today’s gospel reading, the writer of the gospel of Mark uses a title for a group of Jesus’ followers that he does not use anywhere else in his gospel …apostles. Every other time, the twelve named followers of Jesus are referred to as disciples. This one time they are known as apostles. At the beginning of chapter six, Jesus comes to his hometown with his disciples following him. Verse 30 begins, “The apostles gathered around Jesus…” Just a few verses later in verse 35 they are back to be known as disciples. “His disciples came to him…”


The same group of men ….two different titles. The reason? …two different functions or tasks. Earlier in chapter six, Jesus sent the 12 disciples out by two on their own little mission trips. It is reported that they went out and proclaimed that all should repent and they cast out demons and cured many sick. We, the readers, are left with them out on their mission journeys while the writer of the gospel of Mark has this little interlude concerning John the Baptist.


Today’s scripture then returns to the twelve as they return from their mission journeys. Upon their return, they give their reports of all that they did and taught. They return as apostles. The Greek word “apostle” means messenger. The verb form means is “send.” An apostle is one who is sent as a messenger. Today’s scripture begins with the 12 who were sent out as messengers giving their reports to the one who sent them. According to the Greek definition, a disciple is a follower …a pupil …a learner …a student. Jesus calls the 12 as disciple and sends them as apostles. Upon their return, they revert back to disciples …students and learners of Jesus.  


And it is immediately that the lessons begin. Jesus begins by demonstrating that even those in mission work need some time to rest. The time of rest is quickly interrupted by crowds of people coming to Jesus. They came with a hunger to learn more about God. They came with their curiosity about Jesus. They came with their needs. Jesus responded with empathy and compassion. Jesus responded in empathy and compassion that went beyond words and was transferred into action. He fed the five thousand rather than sending them away hungry. He healed the sick wherever he went. Jesus’ compassion and empathy were on full display wherever he went.


Jesus even walked on water and calmed the sea, but the disciples never seemed to quite understand who Jesus was or what he was about. They were a little slow at learning and would require more student to teacher time. The mission and ministry of Jesus Christ was wherever the people were.


As Christians …as followers of Christ …as Christ’s body …as the Church, we are called first to be disciples of Christ. We are called to be students …learners of Jesus. We are called to learn about Jesus …learn about who Jesus is …learn about what Jesus’ purpose was …what his mission and ministry was all about. We are called to be life long learners of Jesus. This does not end after our childhood Sunday school days. Each and every day is an opportunity to learn more about Jesus Christ and what that means for us and for the world.


We are also called to be apostles. I know. It is difficult to think of ourselves as disciples, much less apostles. But when we consider the definition of disciples and apostles, we can better understand that that is exactly what we are called to be as followers of Jesus. We are called to be learners, but we are also called to be sent out as messengers. Our message is the salvation message of Jesus Christ. It is the message of the love and grace of God offered, not only to us, but to the world. It is a message that is not only to be spoken, but also to be witnessed and experienced in our actions and deeds of compassion and empathy just as they were in the ministry of Jesus.


The mission and ministry of Jesus Christ is wherever the people are. It cannot be contained to a building. That has been the message of God from the establishment of Israel under King David. In our 2 Samuel reading today we find that David has finally found some rest. He is no longer on the run. He has conquered his enemies. He has established his rule of both Judah and Israel. He can finally live in a house built out of wood.


David understands himself as a servant of God and as a servant of God he realizes that his house is nicer than God’s house. His house is made out of wood. It has a sense of permanence where one can rest. God’s house is the tabernacle in a tent. It is made out of cloth which can easily be moved. It gives the sense of transience …that it might not be there for long. David’s house of cedar is a symbol that his kingdom has been established. David desires to build God a temple as a symbol to the people that God’s kingdom has been established. The temple would be a visible sign of God’s presence with the people. It is where God resides.


God’s message to David through the prophet Nathan is that God does not need nor desire a house. God does not want nor can God be boxed into a temple …a building …a specific place. God is wherever God needs to be. While the temple might be a nice symbol of God’s presence in the midst of the nation, the reality is that God is with the people, not in a building.


Our church building is a place for us to find rest. It is place for us to experience God’s empathy and compassion …hear a message of hope. It is a place for us to continue our discipleship learning. Our church building is also a symbol to those in the community that God is present in their midst. But God is not …cannot be contained in a building or in a specific place. God is where the people are. And where the people are is where God is calling us to go.


You see, the Lord’s work is not just the work of the pastor. The Lord’s work is for all of us to participate in. Whenever we show empathy or demonstrate compassion to those who are hurting, we are doing the Lord’s work. Whenever we show love or offer grace to others, we are doing the Lord’s work. There is Lord’s work to be done wherever there are people.


We are both disciples and apostles. We are learners of what it means to do and be about the Lord’s work. We are also sent out to perform the Lord’s work as best as we are able. Amen.