May 30, 2010 – Maritime Conference Annual Meeting Sunday
Psalm 8 and John 13:31-35
To escape criticism — do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. - Elbert Hubbard, American writer, satirist, artist, philosopher, keen proponent of the early arts and crafts movement
(If you find yourself being criticized in the midst of your ministry, know that means you are doing something, something that probably needs to be done.)
Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing. - Albert Schweitzer
And, these words of Sarah Hall Maney, written in 1982, might serve as a more contemporary and contextual reflection of Psalm 8:
You are an original blessing…
On the day (you were) born, God danced.
Did you really, God?
Was it a ritualistic, dignified bow-from-the-waist kind of dance?
Or was it just possibly a wild and crazy arm-flinging kind of thing?
Did you pronounce somberly that here was another ‘good girl (boy)’ that you had created?
Or did you yell and holler and grab the guy on the corner to let him know that this time you had really done it!
This time you created a winner…
This one was going to go all the way!
I hope you did, God…
I really hope you did.
In his book The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus, Peter Gomes tells of a preaching assignment he had in a very prestigious church. Of the occasion, he writes:
“…just as the rector and I were about to proceed to our prayers before the service, a wildly disoriented young man burst into the room. He spoke loudly…nonsensically, seemingly either ‘on’ or ‘off’ something. Whatever it was…his erratic behaviour was familiar to (my host), who treated him with enormous but firm courtesy and let the little tantrum run its course. The intruder left as abruptly as he had arrived, and while I was shaken the rector was not, and was clearly used to the interruption. As we pulled ourselves back together, his thoughtful comment to me was, ‘I keep hoping (he) isn’t Jesus.’” (pg 197)
Mark Twain said: “It is not what I don’t understand in the Bible that troubles me; it is what is perfectly clear that does.”
Peter Gomes: “To love God is one thing…what is it to love what (...as) God loves?”
Jesus says, “By this (kind of loving) all people will know that you are my disciples”, i.e., followers, students