It is unseasonably cool in our neck of he woods. Our furnace has been reengaged. I was at Dr. Jenny’s Dentist office yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed petting one of her Boxer dogs. It caused me to reminisce about our recently lost, Parker. I was talking with a group of friends, the other day, and we were ruminating regarding change and our comfort levels with it.
When Jesus brought his ministry to the people of his day he was rejected by the established religions that surrounded him. ‘Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want a sign from You.’ But he answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was Three Days and Three Nights In The Belly Of The Sea Monster, so will the Son of Man be be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12: 38-42.
Little Jesus was the title of a blog that I wrote recently. My Little Jesus is a small stuffed Jesus figure that I purchased from Hallmark. It is designed for children and it suits me perfectly. Little Jesus brings me significant comfort. Sometimes it is the little things that make the difference in our lives. Many times we in the church seek a master plan for change and renewal and outreach for those who need a faith community. We scratch our heads and study and strive to discover a comprehensive plan that will tell people that we love them…and that Christ can help… Often a kind word that is said by the person in the pew in front of you…or a uplifting song…or a greeting from a smiling and caring minister that says come back and be with us…works miracles.
Jesus made people uncomfortable. The Christian message to the rich man of, ‘Sell all that you have and give it to the poor…and come and follow me,’ is uncomfortable for many. Over two years ago I felt a call to join the governing board of our church at First Presbyterian, in Carbondale. That is uncomfortable for me…I am an introvert and I like to sit in the back of the sanctuary and be unnoticed and for the most part…unheard.
Christ had such an impact on the earth that we are talking about him today. His message of loving the poor and caring for the needy and accepting the unwanted…is uncomfortable. The Christian walk through life is about seeking the will of God. To truly be open to the will of God is to be like the cowboy of old with a burr in his bedroll. No matter which way that he turns…there is some prickly pain to endure. When Jesus was taken by the Romans to be tried and then crucified, Peter was asked a question. Now the Messiah had prepared Peter for the upcoming question prior to his being asked it; ‘Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ Matthew 26:34. KJV.
‘Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ All the disciples said the same thing as well.’ Matthew 26:35. KJV
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl come up to him. ‘You also were with Jesus the Galilean,’ she said. But he denied it before them all: ‘I do not know what you are talking about. And when he was gone out onto the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. But again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man! And after awhile came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.’ Matthew 26: 69-74. KJV