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Last Sunday's Sermon

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The readings

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
The Gospel
Luke 4:21-30

In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, and began to say, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed
through the midst of them and went on his way.

The Sermon

OK, so they tried to run Jesus out of town and not just any town, his home town. Have you ever had something like that happen to you. I don't mean people attempting to push you over a cliff. I mean people getting angry and saying things about you because you maybe did the difficult thing and exposed the truth? Think about it and while you are thinking I will share with you a personal experience.

When Sherry and I lived in Wyoming we belonged to an Episcopal church that had a minister who decided he did not like the bishop and he was going to leave the Episcopal church and align himself with an Anglican diocese headquarted in Rwanda on the continent of Africa. In addition, he decided to attempt to take our congregation with him.

He was doing all of this secretly. I knew something was up but I wasn't sure what. This priest made a mistake in confiding his plan with Sherry and he stressed that she was not to tell me. It took almost no time for Sherry to share with me his plan. I immediately took action and confronted the priest. He denied everything and fortunately a parishioner who was present during our conversation came to me afterward and told me the priest had been untruthful to me. I immediately called our bishop and shared with him what I knew.

To make a long story short, there was a group within the church who would have pushed me off a cliff if they could have. I slept well knowing that I was on the side of truth and I had done what needed to be done. Exposing the truth can be a difficult thing. There are all kinds of incidents in our history where people spoke for what was right when it was an uncomfortable thing to do. The bishop who ordained the first female Episcopal priests came under much criticism for his effort. Rosa Parks new she had every right to sit wherever she wanted on that bus. She was tired and she knew she was on the side of truth. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold new he was being true to his faith when he ordained Gene Robinson the first gay bishop in the United States. What many people do not know is that both Griswold and Robinson werewearing bullet proof vests during the ordination.

So often, telling the truth is really showing your love for a belief and for others. Love is important. Paul tells us in first Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.”

I showed my love for my church family when I exposed the truth. Rosa Parks showed her love for humanity when she stood up for herself. Frank Griswold expressed his love for his faith by ordaining Gene Robinson.

In closing, I am compelled to say be strong. Do what is right and speak the truth. Show your love.

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