Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Sermon

It's been over a year since I last wrote this blog. In fact, it was September 2, 2010 and I wrote abou the passing of my father. I've made various attempts to, "pick-up the pen", so to speak, but just couldn't quite get there. Why today? Only God knows......really.

I was at home this Sunday morning and, as is my custom, I was reading "the good book", and contemplating the words and meanings behind the passages. For some reason, it just wasn't connecting. So, I turned on the television and was flipping through the channels, when I saw someone I knew.

It was Pastor Carter of a church in Morristown whom I heard preach at the funeral of a friend several years ago. He was preaching about Mark chapter 1. This chapter deals with the evangelism of John the Baptist, the preaching of Jesus, and His selection of the disciples.

It was an incredibly captivating and informative sermon. One particular question he asked during the sermon, really got my attention.

Remember the story of how Jesus picked his disciples? He didn't pick them from the religious aristocracy, or from those who loudly, through speech and actions, felt they were the "worthy" ones.

No, Jesus chose everyday people - with all kinds of issues and weaknesses. Definitely not the kind of folks you'd think would be chosen. These average ordinary folks didn't go to church or synagogue or walk around "piously" looking religious.

So it makes you wonder why Jesus picked them. Then Pastor Carter upped the ante by asking, "I wonder from what part of the church would Jesus select a disciple if He had done so. From the front pew? From the back of the church? From the altar area? From the Church leadership? Definitely not the guy who only comes at Midnight Mass or Easter and smells like he had a few before coming, right? Or would He? Who knows?

Whew. The sermon kept getting deeper and deeper through the simplicity of the Pastor's questions.

Look, I don't know why this sermon struck a good nerve within me this morning. But I do know this - it left me with more questions than I had answers.

And it has changed the way I will approach reading the bible in the future. I'm not doing that sermon justice at all in trying to explain it. Let's just say it was like seeing a movie in IMAX 3D verses reel-to-reel. There is no comparison. It also left you wanting more. You know, like reading a really good book and when you get to the end, you can't wait to get the sequel.

Maybe this is the way we are supposed to feel and react to our spiritual instruction and experiences. I'm not saying there is a right or wrong way, because each person's spirituality is their own.

Some folks like the repetative nature of their religious service where Sunday after Sunday, they follow the script and order of prayer and service (I grew up Catholic, so those of you familiar with the Mass know what I mean) and that's ok.

Just like in school, memorization and recitation had its place, but the classes I got the most from had active and vigorous discussion of issues. Maybe there is something to be said for that in religious and spiritual instruction as well - but that's my opinion. What do you think........