Speaking of Turmoil – a sermon on Matthew 21:1-17

4702067918_33f067ebe1_bMathew 21:1-17

His reputation certainly preceded him.  Adoring crowds accompanied Jesus and gathered ahead of him, while the anxious city awaited his arrival.  His supporters had been building around him for some time.  His ministry started of more like a small group than a megachurch, but after the word started to spread about the healings he provided, the miracles he performed, the blessings he procured, he wasn’t traveling alone much anymore. Coming down from the mountain of the transfiguration, a crowd was waiting for Jesus, out of which he cured a boy with demon.  Traveling to Judea beyond the Jordan where he was tested by the Pharisees on the intricacies of religious law, crowds gathered to hear and see Jesus, even to be healed by him.  Leaving Jericho and turning toward Jerusalem, having just predicted his punishment, death, and rising to new life, a crowd is determined to follow Jesus, even into the unknown.

It’s no wonder the city was stirred up in turmoil when this crowd of Jesus’ supporters was heading straight for Jerusalem.  They came marching toward the gates, waving branches, offering even the cloaks off their backs to honor this him, talked of prophecies being fulfilled and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  The city was expecting devout pilgrims for the Passover observance.  But now they had either a parade or a protest.  It may have been hard to tell the difference. The teachings of this Jesus were not the normal teachings. He di something with them.  He didn’t counter them, but someone reapplied them.  He took the law of Moses, kept the core, and expanded on it for a new day.  It was challenging to some, to say the least.

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Ready or Not – a sermon on Matthew 25:1-13

Matthew 25:1-13

Hide and Seek was a favorite pastime in the neighborhood growing up.  When we first moved to Shore View Circle in Indialantic, Florida there were easily ten children between the ages of about seven and twelve in small cluster of homes whose side and back yards all met up together forming the greatest field of play in existence.  Large shrubs, a few fat squatty palms, tool sheds, some fenced yards, and back patios all provided stellar hiding spots.  In fact, sometimes the problem wasn’t finding a place to hide, but simply choosing which spot would be the right one this time.

3662330204_54e1404d62_qAt the start of each round we would gather pretty much at the center, the spot where the corners of three or four properties all met.  The counter would start counting – 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… – and the hiders would start hiding.  There was always a mad dash for some of the favorite spots and no end to strategizing.  Did you want a great spot far away from base or something that might be a little more exposed, but with a shorter run?  If you were indecisive, as I was, you might still be looking when the counter announced, “48… 49… 50!  Ready or not, here I come!”

“Ready or not!”  Those are the words that could strike terror in the hearts of the unprepared, those with no place to hide, no cover chosenfor this round of the game.  Continue reading