This morning I ventured again to the Church of the Messiah in Heflin. This little church sits on the edge of a lake which is apparently the nursery for a flock of Canada Geese. So here is a sermon offered on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, June 20, 2019.
The readings for this Third Sunday after Pentecost focus upon the reality of being a follower. Jesus surprises James and John by rebuking them for their certitude of being right and wanting to call down fire from heaven on those who rejected Jesus. He would then challenge potential followers to follow if they must put conditions on it.
Paul surprises us as well by taking our general idea of freedom–that we can do and say what we want–and turning it upside down. To be free in Christ is to serve each other, and if we fail to live in this freedom and in the Spirit we will devour each other.
In this world of 24/7 instant news and comments and echo chambers, how do we live as followers of Jesus? What if in loving our neighbor, we also bore fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What if instead of being quick to be right, we were quick to love?