Sunday, October 28, 2007

Holier than thou - NOT

Read Luke 18:9-14

In this parable Jesus compares a Pharisee who thanks God that he is holier than the sinner next to him and the sinner who knows he is less holy than anyone. Of course the one who knows his sins and prays for mercy is put right with God and the one who thinks he needs no mercy is not.

Our worst response in reading the parable is to think "Thank God I'm not like that Pharisee." Because it would make us exactly like that Pharisee. We should not think we are better or holier than anyone regardless of appearance. One might feel superior to a murder, to a Muslim terrorist, or a Catholic priest who is in jail as a pedophile. While they may have done more evil things than we have, they are also children of God and salvation is available to them. We should be praying for their salvation not thanking God that we are better.

A more subtle problem is feeling like we are more holy than some other denomination of Christianity. Thinking that our church has a better knowledge of scripture or superior doctrine or more pleasing rituals. I think God is more interested in the fact that none of us is perfect and neither is any of our churches. We should be praying like the tax collector - for mercy. Then perhaps we would be able to heal the body of Christ on earth by praying for each other.

Lord God, forgive our failure to be what you want us to be. Bless us as we strive to be one body in your service. Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path. Proverbs 3:5-6.

These are two verses that have stayed with me since my youth. I have lived in many different areas in my lifetime. Many years we would always go to Eldorado Youth Institute. One year the song leader was a man from Greenville, Illinois named Rex Moon. He as a song evangelist and every evening during the service he had all the congregation repeat these two verses. I have never forgotten them. At that time I had no idea that for many years now I would live in this Greenville area which was his home. Experiences in our youth help us thru many situations later in life.

Thank you Lord Jesus for your continuing help and guidance day by day. Amen.

Submitted by Evelyn Koertge

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We are one body in union with Christ

October 7th was World Communion Sunday, which originated in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1940 as a global, interdenominational event prompted by the impact of World War II. It reminds us of Paul's many references to our being one body in union with Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians he states in chapter 12 verses 12 and 13, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Even though our churches are different in our approach to worship, our understanding of scripture and our adherence to ritual and tradition, we are the body of Christ. When we work together in ministry, when we promote each other's programs, we are strengthening the body of Christ.

Whatever any of us do in ministry in our community, give God the glory. As Jesus said in Luke 17:10, "...when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, "We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!" Give God the glory and get back to work.

As Paul sumarized in I Cor 12:27, "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."

Father God, Jesus prayed that we might be one – one in spirit, in mission and in communion with each other. Give us eyes to see you in Christians everywhere. Give us a mind to accept and celebrate our differences. Give us a heart big enough to love your children everywhere. Amen.