There’s all kinds of wrong in this story today. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Faithful people tearing up a roof. Jesus announcing God’s forgiveness and being called out for it. Jesus having dinner with both tax collectors AND sinners. So much apparently wrong in one little story.[audio http://www.buzzsprout.com/33052/341007-share-the-good-news.mp3]
Preacher’s note – Many of you know I write a manuscript but don’t exactly preach from it. This week’s sermon went even farther afield so the spoken sermon at the link above is somewhat better than what I wrote.
Have you noticed that Mark doesn’t waste a lot of time in his writing. He doesn’t waste a lot of time in general and in today’s story he gets right at it. He doesn’t spend any time with backstory and very little time setting up the front story. Details are not terribly important.
Today Mark jumps in with a group of people who want their friend healed. Apparently they’re not the only ones looking for Jesus. In a short amount of time Jesus is known well enough that when he stops by his home, a crowd finds out that is where he is located and they chase him down there.
Sharing no details like, oh, names; Mark tells us the four come late to the party. Showing up late they have to find an alternate means to get their friend in front of Jesus. You know how it is, right? It’s like getting jammed up and getting to church late on Easter. There’s just no way to get in. So the four do the obvious, the same thing we do when we can’t find a seat in church. Like us, they go up to the roof and tear a hole in it. This has got to endear themselves to everyone who is around them. I mean, it is relatively easy to tear a hole in a roof but fixing it is another story. Not to mention the mess.
All because they had enough faith to believe that Jesus could make a difference in their friend’s life. They tore the roof off a building because they believed Jesus could make a difference.
What building would you be willing to tear the roof off of to have Jesus make a difference in someone’s life? Or do we hesitate at the idea of tearing the roof off when it comes to faith matters? Or do we hesitate when it comes to displaying any kind of faith matters?
Jesus seems to be pretty cool with the four that tear the roof off to bring their friend in need of healing into his house. He sees their faith. Not a looking deep into their souls kind of sees their faith but an actual seeing of their faith. Jesus sees a group of people, 4 men in this case, who are willing to tear apart a roof because of their faith.
All of us have likely stumbled a bit on whether to display our faith. Or not. There’s a lot of reasons for that I suppose. We worry about not pointing at ourselves and saying, Hey! Look at me! We don’t like to call attention to what we’re doing. And in how many places is it really cool to be a person of faith? And really, we do want to be careful about displays of faith. There are good ways to let people see our faith and there are some ways that are frankly a little nutty.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about looking for good news instead of bad. It is ever so easy to get bogged down in bad news and finding good news that isn’t cheesy isn’t so simple. That begs the question, how do people see the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ? If they don’t see us being Christ-like, how will other people see and hear the good news?
I’m not talking about big signs and bumper stickers that ask you to be obnoxious in traffic if you love Jesus. Pr Lance says offending 6 people here this morning who have big signs or bumper stickers about loving Jesus. I’m talking about displays of faith that don’t call undue attention to ourselves but instead let people know that God is here with us and in Jesus Christ we are a forgiven people.
Here’s the thing. Our signs and bumper stickers don’t impress anyone other than people who are already followers of Christ. They’re not the people we’re trying to get the Good News out to; they ALREADY have heard it. We’re trying to get Good News to people who haven’t yet experienced the love of Christ or those who have and have turned away for whatever reason. That doesn’t happen by big flashy signs, it happens by stories of Bringing Christ’s Love to Life.
Stories about being part of the community and serving others in the community. Stories of 500 some pairs of shoes in Kicks for Kids. Stories of 100 or so meals served on a cold Friday night at Matt Talbot Kitchen. Stories of lunches being delivered every Sunday with Meals on wheels.
Those are pretty good stories, aren’t they? Those sound like pretty Good News, don’t they? The question we have to ask ourselves is who are we telling the stories to? Who are we sharing the Good News with?
I’m not talking going door to door here with the ‘Have you seen Jesus’ bit. I’m not talking about big signs or bumper stickers. I’m talking about stories, stories of people of faith in action. Stories we share with our friends and neighbors, stories we share on social media, stories we share telling the world that people of faith are in the world making it a better place.
How many people know you’re in worship this morning? Let’s try a little experiment. If you are a social media user and have your electronic device with you, pull it out and just check in here. There is only one person that does that on a regular basis. Or ever, really. The rest of us can, too. Something fairly simple that sends a profound message. Worship mattered to me this week.
Here’s something to take away in the coming week. We talk about spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible reading and the like. Those are important activities, make no mistake. But what if we added ‘sharing stories about the Good News of Jesus Christ’ to the list. Make it a practice every week to share a story of Good News. Tell a friend. Tell a relative. Share it on social media and tag Spirit of Hope in your post.
Seriously. Get the word out. The word of a guy named Jesus. A guy who healed and forgave people. A guy who hung out with tax collectors and sinners. A guy who saved the world. That’s pretty good news.