Life Notes—September 29, 2011
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin” Isaiah 58:6-7
I was raised in a church of hypocrites. The original church building, which was near our neighborhood, burned down and was rebuilt in another section of town. I did not know most of the kids my age. They didn’t go to my school and we had very little in common. Most were better off, financially, than my family. They were better dressed, lived in nicer homes and their families drove newer cars. I judged most of the adults of the church harshly, as two-faced types that acted holy and righteous on Sunday mornings, but something less the rest of the week. As soon as I was old enough to do so without stoking my mother’s ire, I stopped attending and never returned—at least not there.
Now, many years later, do you know what I remember about that church of hypocrites? Following the sudden death of my father, which left my mother with four children aged five to fourteen, I remember the members of that church descending on our family like an enveloping cloud. We were covered with attention, listening ears, helping hands and lots of food. The following spring, one of the Sunday school classes painted our house.
Today, I suspect there are young people in my church that judge me as harshly as I judged others in my youth. I am certain I appear my holiest and most righteous on Sunday mornings, and I know I do things through the week I am not proud of. Of course, now I don’t judge myself as a hypocrite; I judge myself as an imperfect, fallable, human being. And today I know God loves me, anyway.
This week’s sermon is titled, “Why God’s Love Prevails.” But the theme of this Life Note is “HOW God’s Love Prevails.” One consistent theme of Reverend Hamilton’s book is that we are God’s hands on this earth and God’s love is spread and God’s work is done primarily through us. God’s love prevails on earth by working through imperfect people, like you and me, who see a need and respond. That is HOW God’s love prevailed in the past, how God’s love prevails today, and it is how God’s love will prevail into the future. The “Why” of God’s love is a mystery, but the “How” is up to us.
This Sunday will be the last in Tom and Mitch’s four-week sermon series. This sermon series is based on the book Why? by Adam Hamilton. Tom is downtown, where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00. Mitch will be at the west campus, where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. We will celebrate World Communion Sunday at all five services.
Come home to church this Sunday. Become a part of the ‘How’ of God’s will.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator