Church Service from Churchill Gilford United Churches
Sermon Life is Always a Choice
There is a story about a man who sees his friend on the street. The friend looks quite upset. He says to his friend “I thought you were going to ask your girlfriend to marry you?” The friend replies that he did ask her. The man hesitantly says “By the look on your face I am guessing she said no?” The friend replies “She said yes. The look on my face is ecause I am not sure what to do with that answer”
In some ways many of us can relate to that moment. Did you ever notice that as soon as you sign a deal to buy a car or a house, a better offer comes along. Of course we all have the neighbour who tells you they could have gotten the item cheaper.
Decisions and choices are great but they are not always easy.
The story today is about a man named Matthias. He was elected to be the replacement disciple for Judas. Judas was the disciple who identified Jesus in the garden so that he could be arrested and eventually crucified. I personally believe that Judas thought the arrest of Jesus would bring about the apocalypse or end-of-the -world. When Jesus was executed Judas was overwhelmed and in the Gospels he hanged himself. In Acts it just says he burst open – not an image for the supper table.
This left the disciples short of the twelve that they felt Jesus wanted them to have. There were twelve tribes of Israel and so you can follow the symbolism.
The disciples gathered and the story says there were about 120 of them. They needed to pick a new disciple. There were two conditions of approval. The new disciple had to have been present at Jesus baptism and also at the resurrection.
Two names were brought forward; Justus and Matthias. (They both have alternative names). The disciples cast lots and Matthias was chosen.
I wonder how they each felt when they got the news. Certainly Matthias would have been overjoyed but at the same time he would have realized that his life was about to change.
We have very little information on him. We don’t know if he was married or if he had children. We don’t know if he was working but we do know that the life he had lived abruptly came to a halt.
By the preconditions we know that he had been very involved with the new faith and with Jesus. He would have heard many of Jesus teaching. There is even a book called the Gospel of Matthias, although most authorities don’t believe it to be authentic.
But for him his life changed completely. The history tells us that he went on to preach the gospel in Cappadocia and on the coasts of the Caspian Sea, residing chiefly near the port Issus. According to one history text his first sermon was in Judea, the province where Bethlehem is.
Another account called the “Acts of Andrew and Matthias”, places his work in “the city of the cannibals” or Ethiopia. There is a marker near the ruins of the Roman fortress in the region of Adjara claiming that Matthias is buried at that site.
We do know that by all accounts his death was violent. Apparently he was stoned and then beheaded.
That is relevant because he knew when he took the position that that type of death was likely.
So how did he feel when that decision was made?
In one way I am sure he was excited but also I am sure he was apprehensive. He knew the costs.
One of the advantages he had was that his mission was confirmed.
Many people would like to change their lives and become someone different. Many would like to devote themselves to a mission or a propose but they have to finish mowing the lawn; or paying the bills; or
Whatever it is that gets in the way.
Matthias was catapulted into that decision and with that came the respect and support of the other disciples. There was one hundred and twenty people there that day and every one of them would now know that they were to support this person because he was chosen.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone else made and supported that decision for you.
I give Matthias great credit for carrying on and bringing the news of Jesus to so many people at the final cost of his life.
There was another person there that day and that was Justus.
He was not chosen. The people believed that God had a hand in the way that the lots were cast which in effect meant that God did not chose Justus.
What effect would that have on him? We really don’t know anything more about him. There is speculation based on his name that he was the brother of Jesus and that is why he was chosen to run. Christian traditions says that this Justus went on to become Bishop of Eleutheropolis, where he died a martyr and is considered by the Roman Catholic church to be Saint Justus of Eleutheropolis but that is mere conjecture.
We certainly hope that he carried on even though he wasn’t chosen by his peers and he didn’t have the decision made for him.
In some ways we can relate more to this Justus than we can to Matthias. We have not been set aside as special by others. As I said, I think Matthias did a wonderful job but maybe Justus had a more difficult decision.
All of us have that decision that we have to make in private, whether or not we will follow Christ in our lives.
Whether someone tells you that you are chosen or not – you are. God has chosen each one of us to spread the news of life.
God, our lives take different journeys. We have different talents and gifts. Sometimes we hope to hear a clear message from you. Sometimes we desire that you tell us what we should do, but God we know that you have a purpose for each of us. You have a direction that we should pursue. You have made us each different.
Just as the disciples went to diverse areas and challenges, help us to use our gifts and talents to spread the word of faith to different people and unique situations. Guide us, oh God. Amen
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
SERVICE May 16, 2021
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers: Cathy and Cheryl
Check the link to the Innispirit Concert – in your email
Hymn – 222VU Come let us sing
Scripture Acts 1:15- 17 + 21-26
Hymn 209 MV Go Make a difference
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
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