Let me ask us a question.... If Jesus stands at the door of church on Sunday morning, who would he restrict from entering and worshiping with us?
Sound like a silly question? Well our scriptures for this week invite us to consider whose sins are the worst and who should be more likely to be welcome by God at the time of salvation.
So, if we agree that Jesus would let anyone and everyone "in", what might we expect Jesus to say to all who entered church for the day ...what might his sermon say to all of us?
What and who would Jesus condemn? How would Jesus separate the sinners from the saints? Let us consider just who Jesus did condemn from any of the writings in the scriptures. Hmmm, I can't find anyone that Jesus condemned, ...can you?
What I expect Jesus would say to us in a sermon, is to remind us just how blessed we are that we love God and want to follow Jesus himself. I would expect to hear all the ways that we could know how to have a relationship with God. I would also expect to hear him talk about forgiveness and reconciliation.
I think he would talk a lot about God's love, given unconditionally to everyone. I expect that he would also say that it is up to us to let God love us and experience the joy that comes in worshiping him.
So much for this silly question.... But in all seriousness, we must know that regardless of the depth of our sins we are equally judged and reconciled in the heart of God. This judgment is never up to us, so we should never feel compelled to condemn anyone by our judgment. This does not mean that we condone inappropriate and bad behaviors, ...but it does mean that we work hard to turn the hearts to God, who have fallen away.
On another note...
By now I hope you have recognized that there are bibles in most the pews. They have moved them from a book shelf into the church for use as anyone may be led to use them. We will soon have additional bibles to fill each pew. Our Episcopal traditions include the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the singing of hymns. I will do my best to make references to these resources in our pews during services. If you find anyone having difficulty determining which book to use, I would hope that you would reach out and assist them, especially visitors and new comers. I know that for some, knowing when to sit and stand, kneel and genuflect, what book to use, and what hymns to sing can be confusing and cumbersome. I personally feel we have an obligation to know our traditions and help others learn them, and that starts with me being more helpful during services to better lead folks. We will have an instructional Eucharist later when the program year starts up in the fall. This will also coincide with the start of an "Inquirers Class" for any and all who want to know more about the Episcopal Church and Resurrection our particular parish. Stay tuned.....