Easter conclusion, May 20, 2012 – What does it mean to be “in the world” but not part of the world?

Title:Easter conclusion, May 20, 2012 – What does it mean to be “in the world” but not part of the world?

Rev Amy Turner  2012-05-20

Catherine was away on vacation with Rev. Amy Turner as her substitute.  A smaller crowd of 33 was on hand. We are in the last week of Easter, just after the Ascension with Pentecost a week away. The bulletin is here and the readings

The Gospel reading was the "high priestly prayer" of John 17:6-19. He’s praying out loud in front of the disciples, ostensibly to help them understand their relationship to God as much as he is praying to God on their behalf. However   "they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world…As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. "   The reading comes on Thursday of Holy Week, the Garden of Gethesemane.  The other New Testament readings,  the Acts passage and the Epistle of John  describe events after this one. 

The prayer acknowledges God’s gifts to us as the beloved – Jesus, the disciples and the Word.  However, we who are separate through our baptism often get mired in the concerns and complexities of the world where we become lost, moving away the teachings of Jesus. (Amy ‘s metaphor was to use a container with oil and green liquid which she then shook up to show this interaction.)  We forget about the promise of eternal life which is the key to witnessing to Christ in the  Epistle of John. The world around us does not know what it means to love God with all one’s self and to love our neighbors as ourselves

The world for John consists of  humans, forces and ideas against Christianity. So how to deal with it ? She quoted from Richard Niehbuhr’s Christ and Culture. In the book, Niebuhr gives a history of how Christianity has responded to culture. He outlines five prevalent viewpoints. The most attractive "Christ Transforming Culture" as we work within the world  to understand the needs of people and transform of world of hurt into God’s kingdom.  As Jesus Christ was sent to this world by God, so his disciples are also “sent” out into the world. This is mission work and Christians are missionary people to be sent out in the world which energizes them.  

The Acts passage occurs after Ascension and before Pentecost. The struggling Christian community is energized selecting a new Apostle, discussion the requirements of the Apostles. They transform themselves in the spirit of Jesus into a new community, the new Israel with Peter at the helm. It is this step which is the Prelude to Pentecost when the church is created.

Brad and Paige

Brad and Paige presented a wonderful treatment of "Sing of Mary""  

"Sing of Mary, pure and lowly, Virgin mother undefiled,  Sing of God’s own Son most holy,
Who became her little child…"   

"Glory be to God the Father;
Glory be to God the Son;
Glory be to God the Spirit;
Glory to the Three in One."

The choir also presented a descant to "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name! " 

The blue wild flowers on the altar were stunning. Here is a closeup:
Flower close 05-20-2012



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