Sunday, February 03, 2002

SermonWatch- Check out this sadly-funny link about practical compassion. Pastor Milton referenced this modern parable and I managed to Google my way to it just now. Even an agnostic will get a kick out of it. The sermon was on "Possessing the Heart of Christ," pointing out that compassion and action go together. His primary text was Mark 6:30-34, with verse 34,"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things." being a focal point. This is just before the feeding of the 5000 later in Mark 6. Jesus didn't just feel, he did. While he didn't mention this verse, I was reminded of James 2:15-17 "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." This isn't to get us into a mentality that we need to earn our way into heaven, but that by following God, we'll be doing the compassionate things he wants us to do. The verse that struck home the most was when he quoted Psalm 103:8. Here's versus 8-10 "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities." Many people picture God with His zapper, looking for people to send to Hell. Just the opposite, he's looking for people to bring to Himself. People tend to dwell on the downside of rejecting Him and not the blessings of being able to snuggle close to Him. Jesus referred to God as abba, Aramaic for "daddy." I remind myself of that when we do old hymns with thees and thous. Other languages have a second-person you (for example, the German du or the Spanish tu) for friends and intimates and a third-person you (German Sie or Spanish usted) for more formal relationships. Modern English lost the second person, which was thou. Those old hymns looked at God as an intimate. So should we.

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