February 13, 2006

Looking Ahead to February 19, 7th Sunday after Epiphany

The Scripture readings for February 19 are (click here to read them):
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 43:18-25
  • Psalm 41 (VU p.765)
  • From the Letters of the Church: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
  • From the Gospel: Mark 2:1-12

The hymns will be:

  • 326 O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  • 605 Jesus, Teacher, Brave and Bold
  • 578 As a Fire is Meant for Burning (tune 374)
  • 649 Walk With Me

THe Sermon title is Evangelistic Passion. Some early thoughts:

Imagine it. To be so convinced of the importance of getting your friend to meet Jesus that you are willing to dig a hole in someone's roof. What passion, what depth of feeling that must take.

I think the church needs to recover that sort of passion for Jesus. I think that we need to reclaim evangelism. That's right I said evangelism. Evangelism is a word we don't use much (or enough) in the United Church. It is one of those words we have left to other Christians to define and since we don't like they way they do it, we say that we aren't into evangelism. I think we need to claim a definition and style of evangelism that works for us.

Last week we heard about a leper who was so moved by his healing encounter with Jesus that he couldn't help but tell everybody. This week we hear about a group of people who are so convinced that Jesus has an answer that they will do whatever it takes to get their friend in that room. What keeps us from shouting out what God has done for us? What keeps us from saying to a friend "you might find an answer here"?

Unless we in the church can learn to share our faith and invite others in we risk becoming a meaningless sub-culture. We have to reclaim evangelism as something that we do in our own way--not just something that those other people do. The only challenge (especially for those Introverts among us) is "how?".

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