Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Last Shall be First

The service today ended on a very positive note with the blessing(s)"sanctify you with the light of His blessing... steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and constant in love...rejoice in the first Advent of our Redeemer..." This last note will help counteract the whole lot of negativity that came at us today. I have been thinking of ways to change those things into positives. For starters, what about the Great Litany? I think it is in need of some positive energy. Too much bemoaning our faults. How about a new refrain after telling God how miserable we are? Let's try "Thank you for saving us good Lord."
One thing about the power of positive thinking is that while one person stays focused on the "first shall be last" part of the lessons, us pewsters can think about the last being first. I am of course referring to the sermon where the "American Empire" term was used to chastise us Americans A.K.A. "the first." Being number one makes us a target for naysayers. If Charlie keeps putting us down, doesn't that mean we will be moved to the front of the line on judgement day? In all honesty, I just hope to be in the line heading into heaven. Last in line will be fine. Charlie did manage a few positive notes in the last few words of his sermon today. I would like to think that was the result of all the positive vibrational energy we have been producing. But the last was the best part of this service, so cycle back to the beginning, or read the article "The Intellectual Origins of America-Bashing By Lee Harris: The utopian leanings of latter-day radicalism" linked in the title.


  1. I enjoyed our annual sermon wherein we are chastised for the increasing commercialization and secularization of Christmas...carols in October, decorations after July 4th, etc. This, of course, immediately follows on the heels of our participation in the Christmasville extravaganza, the local acknowledgement of the pending arrival of the winter solstice by the local druids and their minions, the Chamber of Commerce (no mention of Jesus Christ allowed). How very Christian of us to relieve the unwashed masses of their hard-earned dollars on Friday and Saturday and then to decry such crass commercialization on Sunday morning. Excuse me while I phone David Booth Beers to find out how to spell "hypocrite".

  2. Quite right, even though any money made from the Christmasville is supposed to go for mission and outreach, wouldn't it be a more meaningful event if we served the community free hot chocolate, chile, cookies, and gumbo to warm their bellies on a cold winter's night?

  3. Excellent idea. Profits from Christmasville going to M&O smacks of the end justifying the means. Our outreach might very well be more effective if we gave away cocoa and cookies or whatever. Even a prominently placed "tip" jar to accept good-will offerings would be preferable to the rank commercialization of this past weekend. Do you think that, if Jesus walked into Lumpkin Hall, He might be inclined to drive the money-changers from His Father's house?

  4. From John Young's radio show:

    "Recently, I saw a group of people eagerly passing out snacks and hot cocoa on an Atlanta street. The group was dressed in a uniform of sorts that read: 'The Church has left the building.'

    Surprisingly, the church name wasn't on the shirt. No plug. No quotas being met. No guilt being given in the form of 'we fed you now come visit us.' That a church would simply want to serve--without any apparent effort to self-promote--is rare indeed in our culture today."

    In our case, perhaps we've been acting a bit more like Martha instead of Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Moreover, perhaps we need to remember just what it is we are to be busy with---the Lord's work.

    The church has left the building---and the church is you.

  5. I have put a plug in for this approach with at least one member of mission and outreach. Initially they had a hurt expression. Later, it began to dawn on them that M+O is more than selling cookies.