July 18, 2021 “Compassion and Need, and the Need for Compassion”

Posted by on Sep 28, 2021 in What's Happening?

“Compassion and Need, And the Need for Compassion” Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 “Compassion is the basis of morality.”  ~ Arthur Shopenhauer “More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgement. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” ~ Roy T. Bennett “That’s what I consider true generosity. You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir __________________________________________________________________________________________ Jonathan Booth offered me this bit of wisdom the other day. He said, “A good preacher always starts his sermon with a joke. A lesser preacher will start his sermon with a good story. And a third rate preacher will open with scripture. Our gospel passage today is from the book of Mark, chapter 6…..” Let’s try this on for size: Let’s say that you have been granted the distinct honor of being in charge of the Community Compassion fund in – let’s say – Yamhill and Polk counties. Your newfound job is simple, really: it consists of distributing money and resources to those in need in your community. And because this is a totally made up scenario, let’s say that you have been promised unlimited funds – all the money you could ever need. It would be like winning the lottery. The big difference is, of course, that you don’t get to keep this mountain of cash for yourself, but that’s all right. This is better than winning the lottery. This is a chance to make a real and lasting difference in the world. It’s an opportunity to be a changing force; a messenger of good news, an everlasting source of joy. Sounds like a dream job, right? Well, it is for a while. But soon enough, after you have hired staff and set up programs around the area, you just might find that you haven’t really made things any better. Sure, this new job of yours has made a lot of folks happy and financially secure, but you made one mistake: you never asked people what they need. It was a mistake, because what people need can’t always be satisfied with money. All of a sudden, this dream job ain’t so dreamy. Our passage today from Mark’s gospel is all about two things: compassion and need. Come to think about it, these two things go hand in hand. You probably noticed that we read just a few verses starting at vs. 30 and then skipped all the way to verse 53. What we skipped over was Mark’s account of the feeding of the multitudes – you know, the loaves and fishes story – and the incident on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus had to walk out on the water to rescue his disciples who were about to drown in some mighty rough seas. Now both of these episodes were amazing and important. So why should the scholars that created the...

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June 20, 2021 “The Pitfalls and Perils of Being a PK”

Posted by on Sep 28, 2021 in What's Happening?

“The Pitfalls and Perils of Being a PK” Mark 4:35-41 “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato “He who has overcome his fears is truly free.” ~ Aristotle ______________________________________________________________________________________________ A couple years back when we could do such things, we were having a bar-b-que at the neighbors’ house on a beautiful summer’s day. All told, there were 3 couples sitting around the back yard and half of them worked in a school district in some capacity or other. So, the conversation was a little one-sided, if you know what I mean. Now, don’t get me wrong: I find the passion that educators have for their work to be truly amazing. But for those of us non-educators who would thoroughly enjoy talking about fishing or football or even, God forbid, politics, it is sometimes a little hard to get a word in edgewise – if you know what I mean. The third couple at the bar-b-que were from Butte, MT, so to break things up I asked them what it was like growing up in Butte. The husband talked about old abandoned mine shafts and tourists and winters that were bitter cold. When his wife started to describe her childhood, he interrupted, saying, “She’s a PK, you know.” Now, I’m going to assume that we all know that feeling of what it’s like to be the only one in the room that doesn’t know what people are talking about. “She’s a PK,” and that meant nothing to me, yet everyone else sat there nodding their heads like this was yesterday’s news. So rather than wait around in total ignorance until I figured it out myself (or not), I simply asked, “What’s a PK?” “A pastor’s kid,” her husband laughed. “She grew up in the parsonage of the Baptist church.” His wife then went on to describe some of the unique perils and pitfalls of being a pastor’s kid.” It was a fun evening and the fact that the conversation had drifted from education to church life had nothing to do with it – if you know what I mean. Now the reason I bring this up is because there is no better example of our gospel story today than the real life adventures of another pastor’s kid – one John Wesley, in fact. John’s father, Samuel Wesley, was a clergyman for the Church of England, as was his father before him. So yes, you could say that John Wesley was the classic pastor’s kid. He was raised in the rectory of the Epworth Church and had studied scripture and church polity since he was able to read. He...

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