Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Message for the 6th Sunday of Easter; 25 May 2014; Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 17-21

Scripture for this Sunday: Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 17-21 (NIV2010)


UMH 435 – O God of Every Nation

UMH 717 – The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Prayer found on page 440 in UMBOW’92


{NOTE: Today is Sunday before the Memorial Day;2014 but this message is not about the meaning and significance of the Memorial Day. We will talk about the meaning and significance of the Memorial Day at the service scheduled for 12 noon today at the War Memorials Park in Chestertown.}


I think that it is safe to say that yesterday (Chestertown Tea Party Festival’ 2014) was an important day in the life of Christ United Methodist Church. As a matter of fact, I would say that every time that we do something together, when we get involved in an outreach project that lets our neighbors know who we are and that we are willing to work together and be in mission together, is an important day in the life of our church. Another example of that would be the day we hosted a Stop Hunger Now event last November, and will host again in October.

All of us have experienced such moments. We experience them as a community and we experience them in our personal lives. It was not a mountain-top moment and it was not a deep-valley moment; it was not magic and it was not tragic. It was somewhere in-between, and it was a special moment that makes a statement about all of us who make up Christ United Methodist church in Chestertown, and helps us to recognize the Spirit of Jesus in our midst.


We are in the season between Easter and the Day of Pentecost. I think that Pentecost is the least understood Holy Day of the calendar in most North American churches. The meaning and the joy that we share in what happened yesterday draws its energy from what happened at Pentecost.


Our identity as Christians is rooted in what happened at Easter and then at Pentecost. I would venture to say that most of us understand Easter. In order to understand Pentecost, it is important for us to talk about what happened in the lives of the Disciples between Easter and Pentecost.


We now know that on Easter the tomb was empty, and that the Disciples and followers of Jesus were confused, scared and frustrated. Today we understand that Easter is about redemption, Easter is about renewal and regeneration, Easter is about transformed hearts. Today, almost 2,000 years after the Resurrection, we celebrate Easter, but the Disciples living in First Century Judea did not comprehend or understand the magnitude of what had happened or the implications. They were still scared, frustrated and confused.


Let us look at one episode in the lives of the Disciples from that season in their lives. It is found in the Gospel of John 21:1-12

1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples DARED ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.


For the Disciples, it was not a mountain-top moment (like the Transfiguration) and it was not a deep-valley moment (like the Crucifixion); it was not magic and it was not tragic; it was somewhere in between. It was a transformative moment and it was still a special moment because the Disciples recognized the presence of Jesus in their midst. That recognition prepared them for what was to come at the Pentecost.


It is not all that different from what happened among us last week and yesterday.

(Explain: it was easy to feel the presence of Jesus among us last week and yesterday – sense of camaraderie and accomplishment, feeling of the community}

That recognition prepares us for what Jesus calls us to next.


During the period between Easter and Pentecost, Jesus was helping the Disciples to flush out the vision of how they would go about making disciples for the transformation of the world. He did not tell them how to do that or how to organize themselves; all that Jesus helped them to do was to develop their own vision, and from there they figured out how to go about it. It was up to the Disciples to figure out how to “walk in obedience to [God], to love [God], to serve the Lord … with all [their] heart and … soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees” (Deuteronomy 12:12-13).


The Disciples obeyed and the Disciples figured it out. Most of us do not have a Jewish pedigree like Jesus and His first followers, and yet we are followers of Jesus because the Disciples and others through the generations “loved the foreigner” and reached out to others with the Good News. Those of us who came to the service of Seven Last Words at The Potter’s House on Good Friday heard a great testimony on how God reaches out to the “fatherless” and to the “widows.”


I think that it is time for our church to start developing our vision of what we want to be in the future, and to start thinking about how we will go about it.

{Talk about visioning process}


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