Sermon for 26 July 2020

Sermon 901 The Earthly Kingdom in Five
Jesus was very enthusiastic about his vision. He was very excited about his solution for the world’s problems.
If you know the story of Archimedes, he was a Greek mathematician, who was trying to figure out how to measure volume. He stepped into a tub of water and suddenly discovered the answer. The story goes that he was so excited that he jumped out of the tub, and ran naked through Syracuse shouting Eureka, which means I have found the answer.
I don’t think Jesus ever ran naked through town but he was so intent and focused that he was willing to die for his vision.
His vision was of a world where people could all live abundant lives. He tried to share his excitement in parables, We look at five of them today.
Usually when you preach a sermon there is idea that you should have 3 points for each idea. That means 15 points. I will try to put them together into fewer points. Of course with the way things are you can just turn the video off when I reach your limit.
The first parable is about a mustard seed. Jesus says it is the smallest of seeds and it becomes the greatest of shrubs. In actual fact it is not nearly the smallest seed, the orchid has that distinction but he may not have known about orchids. The point is that something that starts out tiny becomes a place of comfort and security. His vision only had a few followers but he knew it would make the world a better place.
The second parable compares the kingdom to the way that yeast leavens the flour. One small amount changes the whole thing. The image is of how Jesus idea could change the world.
The third parable is about a person who finds a treasure in a field. They go and sell all they have, so they can purchase the field and keep the treasure. It reminds me of the job-lot at an auction sale. When the auctioneer knows that there is some items that will never sell, he puts them in a pile and then puts an item of value in the middle of the pile. The job-lot sells because the person who buys it is so excited to get the item of value that they are willing to deal with things they have no use or. Jesus was trying to imply that the kingdom was so great that people will put up with a lot of negative.
The fourth parable is about a merchant who sells everything to invest in a pearl he thinks is the most valuable thing in the world. Again Jesus is portraying that the vision is more important than possessions or anything else,
The fifth parable is stating that everyone will eventually get caught up in the gospel net. Some will understand and some won’t. The ones who don’t get it will be left behind and have a dismal life
What is there to get?
Why did Jesus think this was such a great vision?
Because he walked around and paid attention to the world he lived in.
He saw murder, war, oppression, disease, injustice and poverty.
He knew that this was not the way God wanted people to live.
He knew he had an answer.
The answer was and is Love.
This week some sports teams changed their names to be more correct. So often we hear of another word that is incorrect and we are to find a replacement. Sometimes I can understand it, sometimes it seems like a stretch, but a couple of years ago I was introduced to one that did make sense. The suggestion was to change the term from KINGDOM of God to KINDOM of God. Take out the “G” which would change the meaning of the phrase from a top-down hierarchy to a sharing of all. It would portray that we were all equal family or KIN.
One of the difficulties with Jesus vision was that it was offensive to those who would want power over others. In Matthew 12: 24 those of authority comment that Jesus must be from the devil.
If you truly read his words, he believed in a world of equality and caring. Institutions such as governments and the church operate on inequality. They exist via having power over others.
So what happened was they changed Jesus message from this world to the after-life. People were taught that they could and even needed to suffer in this world so they would gain paradise in the next. That way the powers could continue with their injustice and also preach about Jesus.
An extreme example of this is the fact that the Swastika is a Christian cross.
In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec and erected a 10-metre cross bearing the arms of France and claims the territory for King Francis I.
So many Spirituals that Blacks sang were about crossing the river Jordan, in other word, death, to get away from their suffering in this life.
Jesus was not preaching about the next life. In the Lord’s Prayer he says “Thy kingdom come ON EARTH as it is in heaven.
In the parables he points out that the “Seed” or the “pearl” are already present in the world
Jesus was excited about making a new world
He caught the vision
Over history people have caught that vision and worked for it.
There are multitude, but I refer to Martin Luther King Jr. He was a preacher who embedded in the traditional Christianity. When he was asked to become involved with civil rights, his first response was no. He didn’t think a preacher should be involved in that type of dissention. Then he caught the vision or the “dream”. We know the rest of the story.
Jesus was excited about his vision. In the third parable the man goes back “With Joy” and buys the field.
It is easy to get defeated and think the world is never going to get better. But it will and it is.
That is what faith is all about – seeing the possibilities and believing they will happen.
Recently Rev. Sonja Free sent me a Facebook post that is just a series of green blotches. At first it looks like a waste of pixels. The instructions say “Put your nose on the picture and slowly pull away while looking at it”. Suddenly it comes into focus as a 3D picture of an animal. Watching other people do this is great. Suddenly their face changes from curiosity to understanding and laughter. Their first words are “Wow” or “Amazing” They get it!
Jesus wants us to get it. His message of a beautiful world is right in front of our eyes. Once you get it – you understand the excitement and the joy.
God, help us to cut through all the misinformation and fear. Help us to see past the greed and materialism. Sweep us up in the hope of a better future, where people really do trust and care. Help us to be each other’s sister and brother. Help us to find a kinship on earth. Help us not to get defeated but have the faith to carry your vision forward.
We pray now for people who are close to us, we pray for others who especially need pray at this time.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
The mid-August Steak BBQ at Gilford church has been changed. This
year we’ve had to cancel and in its place we are fundraising by
organizing “Ready to Cook” Take Out meal kits for $20.00. Each kit will include a steak, 2 cobs of corn, baked potato, coleslaw, butter tart and 1 bottle of water, and will be ready for you to take home to cook.
If you are unable to enjoy one of our dinner take out kits donations are always welcome (e-tansfer – )
Thank you and we look forward to your continued support, The Gilford United Church
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Opening Prayer
Hymn – 697 O For a World
Scripture Matthew 13: 31-33 + 44-52
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn 713 I See a new Heaven
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen
Info about contributing
The traditional way is to send a cheque via mail to one of the treasurers.
Make the cheque out to:
Churchill United Church
send to Agnes Cole at 226 Valleyview Dr. Churchill, Ont L0L1K0
or Gilford United Church
send to Doris Coborn at 1468 Gilford Rd, Gilford. L0L1R0
An Alternative (and better) way is Etransfer
(This method is faster, cheaper and cleaner. If you don’t know how to do it, the bank or some young kid has instructions)
Send the Etransfer to
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill
No security question
Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks