Things that Make You Go Hmm..?
“We have the freedom to hold a belief. Many do not. We have the right to change our belief. Many do not – it is chosen for them. We have the right to express our religion or belief. Many do not.
As we’ve heard – Christians can only express their belief in hiding. We are blessed. We have no reason to hide. In addition to our being liberated in heart, mind and soul, through Jesus Christ, this Easter, we also enjoy liberation through our country’s human rights.
We have no reason to hide behind locked doors. Instead, we take advantage of the freedom granted to us and we seek where prayer is needed; we seek where nappies are needed; we seek where forgiveness and reconciliation is needed; we seek for where we can assist where encouragement is needed; we do not hide as the disciples and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world were and are being forced to – we seek to be involved in what is already happening in God’s kingdom here on earth.
We seek to help the person sitting next to us; we seek to love the person who is the most difficult to love; we seek to intercede for those suffering around the world; we seek to engage in a healthy routine of daily and weekly worship of the God who sends us. And all because we can. We have the freedom to.
In the game of Hide and Seek – we are it. We seek on behalf of those who are forced to hide.”
- “Don’t Hide but Seek”,
Rev. Gary Mauga
"The Master Needs You"
"GOD does not need you and me for His kingdom to come. GOD does not need you and me for His plan for salvation to come to us. GOD’s plan will continue to be fulfilled whether humans are part of that plan or not. GOD will continue to be glorified for all eternity whether humans choose to praise and honour Him or not. For GOD, our GOD, is GOD Almighty – who needs nothing from us. It is we, His creation, who need the Creator. And as people who have received the gift of salvation through Christ – in the body and blood of Christ and also in his resurrection – our responsibility is to respond. Respond.
You know, sometimes humans can be the worst at showing gratitude or responding with thanks. I don’t know if some of us feel entitled to everything we receive in this life – some of us are just plain spoilt – we ask for this and that and we get it – we demand to have this and that and we get – without even a gesture of gratitude. Our world needs to learn how to respond.
Our world needs to learn how to say thank you. And as far as entitlement is concerned GOD owes us nothing. The world owes us nothing. Our lives are full of what we choose to make of it. All the bits and pieces that make up my life are my decisions. I fill my basket with what I choose to. I choose whom I drag along on my life’s wagon. We are all responsible for what our lives look like.
But hold on. We’re forgetting that we are part of a much bigger story: a meta-narrative. We are participants in a story of a GOD who delivers His people and in generations to come brings salvation to all peoples. That story is the story that shapes us: GOD’s story. Well, why else would we meet regularly? Why else would the Holy Bible be so significant to us? It is because this is the story in which we live. In other words, our lives, are little stories taking place within a larger story: GOD’s story.
And central to that larger story is the story of a Saviour – a Messiah – the Anointed One – JESUS – the Son of GOD who will be nailed to a cross – will die – and rise again – so that we can all continue on with our non-responsive, ungrateful lives. We can then go back to living out our own little stories of consumerism and entitlement. This doesn’t make sense.
We need to rediscover our eagerness to respond. We must regain our zeal to be gratuitous for all the good things, successes and achievements in this life we have and live. GOD needs nothing from us. But we can still live lives that respond to GOD’s goodness to us. If we won’t respond and if we remain quiet, well, as I said, GOD will be responded to. How do I know? Well, at the end of our gospel story in Luke we are told that as Jesus was entering the gates of Jerusalem on the donkey, many of his followers were shouting:
“God bless the king who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory to God!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus saying,
“Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet!” Jesus answered, “I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones themselves will start shouting.”
Wow! Are you hearing this St Andrew’s?
If the people did not shout, “Hosanna!” then Jesus says “the stones themselves will start shouting.” GOD does not need us.
We flip the script and switch the roles when we think GOD can only operate in consultation with us. What is clear though, is that if we do not respond to what warrants response – then GOD’s creation will respond. It does not sit right with me if we are to let stones respond to GOD on our behalf. No! GOD did not choose stones – GOD chose people. Jesus does not die for the sins of concrete fragments but for the sins of the world. GOD does not need us. We need GOD and everything GOD has done for us we have needed. And so we should respond.
Where do we begin? How do we respond? Well, in our thanks and gratitude to GOD we action our response – not only to GOD but to one another. How can we respond in a practical way? Well, here’s a start. What is the first greatest commandment? “Love the Lord your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” What is the second?” Love your neighbour…” (Matt. 22:37-39).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are not called to be like a donkey tied to a post, that hasn’t been ridden – never to be ridden – never to be used. As a church, we can become complacent and tied down by our own comfort - never to be available to the divine plan of the very GOD we proclaim to worship.
The truth is, Jesus does not come riding on a donkey into our church. Jesus does not ride into a town of people ready to accept him with open arms and a celebratory welcome. No, Jesus rides towards a lot of hate and opposition in Jerusalem where he will meet his fate. Jesus chooses to ride in amongst those who need him the most. I won’t settle for us to be overlooked as responsive participants in the economy of GOD. Stones will not take my place. So let us respond by living lives of THANKS. Every single day. In Jesus' name. Amen."