Monthly Archives: January2016

hi archyive

Pastor’s Blog  Rev. Todd Watson

Though we don’t like to admit it, we are all guilty of putting off to the future what needs to be done now. We create conditions and list expectations that must be met before we will address deep life needs. This is especially true of our life of faith and of the deepening of our relationship with God. See if any of the following phrases are like something you have spoken:

  • I (we) will get more involved with church when our children are older (when our children are out of diapers, when our children are in elementary school, when our children are in high school…).
  • I am going to begin to get serious about scripture study and prayer after…the holidays, this school semester, this summer, on vacation, etc. ….
  • I am going to get serious about tithing when…my house is paid off, when my credit cards are paid off, when I’m totally out of debt, etc. ….
  • I am going to get serous about volunteering my time and energy for worthy causes…when I retire, when I’ve lost weight, when I get some spare time, etc. ….
  • I will offer myself as leadership in my church when I feel more secure about my faith, when I sense my gifts will be valuable, when I am not so busy….

Any of this sound familiar? If we wait till conditions are perfect, we will NEVER follow our God. There will never be the perfect age of children for church involvement, there will never be a perfect time to practice the disciplines of discipleship of Jesus Christ, there will never be a perfect financial space where tithing will not be sacrifice, there will never be an empty space in time for volunteering your life, and the perfect church leadership position that perfectly matches your desires and gifts does not exist. However, life goes on, and God’s Kingdom moves on—and we are called to live all of these dimensions now!!

In Nehemiah 8, the people of God have moved back to Palestine and rebuilt their towns and cities. Commerce and farming have resumed, wealth is accumulating, prosperity is rising, politics is as confusing as it has ever been for them. Peoples’ lives are continuing, yet they have little regard and involvement with God. Any of this sound familiar?

When Ezra brought out the scroll and read God’s commandments to the people, they began to weep. We do not know if the people were weeping because of the wrong they had done, or if the people were weeping because they realized how much they were missing. I tend to believe they realized what they were missing. Their lives are full, their business constant, their farming stable, and they have missed God.

Yet, when they recognize their omission of God in their lives, Ezra and the other leaders do not heap guilt upon them. They are told, “Do not weep, the JOY of the Lord is your strength.” Then the feasting and celebrating began.

We are God’s people, we enjoy remarkable prosperity and plenty (despite economically bearish predictions for the future), we have incredible opportunities, and we need God. A good measure of the place of God in our lives is to ask ourselves, “Am I any deeper in God’s Kingdom or more intimate with God than I was last year at this time?” Be honest with yourself. If the answer is, “No,” then NOW is the time to begin to deepen our journey. What are we waiting for—REALLY? God continues to call us. Will we too be weeping because of all that we have missed?                                                                        Peace,

Todd

Pastor’s Blog  Rev. Todd Watson

The Baptism of Jesus and the Wedding at Cana, the two biblical texts preached last Sunday and this coming Sunday (01/17) have always been mysterious texts to me—even long before I became a pastor. The baptism holds mystery because Jesus evidently didn’t “need” a cleansing from sin or a sign that he had been forgiven. Yet he did it anyway, and we explored those reasons last Sunday. The Wedding at Cana holds mystery for very different reasons.
ALL of Jesus’ miracles that are included in the 4 gospels found in our Bible are for people in extreme need, except the Wedding at Cana: 1. the hungry 5000 who had listened to his sermon on the mount and needed feeding; 2. the ill, diseased and demon possessed throughout his ministry; 3. the dead who are raised to life. These are all dramatic life sustaining miracles. Somehow the wedding at Cana doesn’t quite seem to fit the pattern.
Additionally, I’ve always wondered if I were the Messiah, would my first miracle be supplying a wedding with the needed libation for the days of feasting that were a part of that tradition? It seems that the first of anything sets the trend.
Finally, for those of us who grew up in Southern, United States, Christianity, the fact that Jesus would create alcohol, and not just a little alcohol, but LOTS of alcohol, is problematic for most of us. Why would the Lord, who calls us to the “straight and narrow,” create the temptation we may have once believed was forbidden to us.
I think my perceptions, and maybe your perceptions, of God have been and maybe still are too narrow. We, especially those of us who have been believers for a long time, assume we know the mind of God. We “harrumph” over stories like this because they do not fit easily into our perception.
But what if God is as concerned and interested in our enjoyment of life as God is interested in our health and survival? What if Jesus is revealing a part of God that we miss because we are so focused on keeping the commandments we miss the joyous life the commandments are supposed to guard? What if God’s Kingdom is more like the wedding party described in the text that any image we currently hold? Remember, many of Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God describe feasts, and not just small feasts but LARGE, ABUNDANT feasts.
What if Life with God is supposed to be about exuberant, extravagant, full living, and we are settling for the lowest common denominator? What if God is not afraid to risk on “questionable” scenarios, like weddings feasts and wine, so that we might understand that the “straight and narrow” is not “joyless and loveless?”
God and Jesus do nothing accidentally, and the Wedding at Cana was no mistake. Jesus deliberately saved the wedding feasting by creating the wine that would keep the party going for days to come. Just because there might a person who would abuse God’s gift, did not keep God from giving the gift.
We might do better to imitate God, rather than to question God, as I have done most of my life with these particular stories of Jesus life. There is a joy in the journey, a wonder and wildness to life that we need to embrace, rather than try control. By not participating the joy, we are missing life itself. If God can be in a wedding feast, God can be in us. God, please be FULLY in us.
Peace, Todd

Covenant Bible Study
Covenant Bible Study, Session II resumes on Sunday, January 10th at 6:00
PM in the Upper Room Sunday School Class and Thursday, January 14th
at 11:30 AM in Ferguson. If you are interested, please contact Todd immediately
so that enough materials will be purchased. Session I is not required
for you to participate in Session II. Come join us!