Emmitsburg Council of Churches


The Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew
11:16-19; 25-30

"[Speaking to the Crowds who were following him, Jesus said,]

"But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 11:17 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; 11:19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." . . .

11:25 At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 11:26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 11:28 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

This is the Gospel of the Lord . . . praise to you O Christ

Jesus is Coming, Quick-Look Busy!

Our Youth have, once again, had an incredible time At the Creation Music Festival in Uniontown, PA. Before I get on with the sermon, I would like to tell you a little about the highlights of the week for the kids. It went something like this:

100,000 people came to the "Agape Farm" to hear the latest and the greatest Christian Music of today. We also heard inspiring messages from many preachers and teachers and persons who have been able to give expression to their faith in very meaningful ways. The bands and singers also spoke about the meaning behind their songs or of their personal experience with Jesus and how they were living their faith witness . . . whether it was by their choice to practice abstinence with regard to sex, or if it was identifying their oneness in Christ across racial or ethnic backgrounds or if it was their experience of reaching out to young people in the secular rock music world with a message of Hope. All of the messages were given to help young people follow Christ and do good things with their lives.

Then there was also the Hot Sun! Lots of walking on dusty roads. COLD SHOWERS!! and a new appreciation for having our own outhouse on the campsite . . . perhaps some of our senior saints could teach the youth just what it is that you do with the Sears Robuck Catalogue in an Outhouse!!!!!!

Some of us really worked hard at keeping clean and looking absolutely beautiful in spite of the dust, dirt rain storms and mud. But I think by Friday afternoon, even our well stocked teenage girls (wardrobers and all!!) had gone through all of their clean clothing.

There were all kinds of people there with all kinds of wild hair- dos: Red Hair, Purple Hair, Blue Hair, Pink Hair, SPIKED HAIR!! Rooster Combs . . . and there was even one guy walking around with half a watermelon on his head!!! It was just amazing.

Another aspect of the time was about us growing as a group. To begin with the kids had some issues with one another . . . about mid-week, the adults had issues with the kids!! But we worked through all that . . . By week's end we were becoming of "one accord." Christ was present amongst us. We prayed for one another, we prayed for ourselves, we prayed for you here at Elias, we prayed for the world. It was very touching to hear our kids, everyone of them asking for peace in the world, healing for their parents and families, and some had special concerns that we talked about. It's really hard for our teens these days–please pray for yours!

One of the thousands of T-Shirts with various Bible Verses and Moral themes I saw read: "Jesus is Coming, Quick-Look Busy!"

Even though we know that God knows what we do and what we don't do for him . . . and that we can never get away with "Just Looking Busy" for Jesus . . . . Yet the little joke brings out an important idea. People around you and I ought to be able to see through our lives that we are living and breathing the reality of our faith every moment of every day. People ought to know by our behavior and actions -- that we are God-fearing people . . . not that we walk with our heads bowed down in an display of regrets, but that we have our heads lifted high and our deeds go before us – our lives being a demonstration of our devotion to Christ, esp. through our service to others less fortunate than ourselves.

Now serving others can take many forms. I dare say that just giving someone else your undivided attention (especially when that someone is a person, different from you or your closest friends). Giving to the stranger or the outcast -- your very self, becomes the highest form of spiritual worship.

Jesus said, "You Go!" You go and do these same works that you have seen me do, and you will do even more than I have done-- for I will be with you always."

But too often we are not truly seeking Christ nor do we try to do his will in caring for others or for the world. Too often we are like the children in Jesus sermon we heard this morning. We are like children in the market places, we are playing games rather than taking Jesus seriously. We are calling to one another telling the gossip of the town rather than strategizing or discussing how we might help the family down the street whose children are all over the place or the old woman or lives alone or encourage our nation to become more active in helping the world's poor who struggle just to eat and drink or live safe from sickness or be delivered from wars and injustice.

Christ is calling his followers to become serious about LIVING the FAITH!

We are too distracted with the things of this world, we are too quick to demand ENTERTAINMENT, rather than Taking the time of day to listen to Jesus seriously. Jesus is not just some man who walks around pleasing everyone that he meets. His message and purpose are not to serve as a side-show. His church cannot gather just to be entertained nor to hear sweet things all of the time. But we are called to listen to Jesus, to hear and take in HIS WISDOM. We are then called to start to live by the teachings Jesus has given us.

We went with the kids to Creation to learn more about God. We went with the intent on growing in body, mind and Spirit. We went to Creation not to be entertained, but to Learn from Jesus how it is that we might serve him more genuinely and live our lives for him -- how it is that we might become engaged and active in establishing his kingdom here on earth.

True Story:

David Livingston was a famous missionary of an earlier generation.

He spent most of his life serving the Lord in very primitive circumstances in what was then known as "Darkest Africa." In his quest to take the Gospel to the people of Africa, he became one of the world's greatest explorers, exploring nearly a million square miles of that great continent.

On a visit to England, he spoke to a church group, telling them of his experiences in Africa, including bouts of fever, near starvation, and attacks by wild animals.

After his talk, one of the group said, "Oh, Dr. Livingston, I could not help but feel so sorry for you as you told about all that you did for the Lord."

Livingston replied, "Oh, please, dear madam, if I have given you the wrong impression, I apologize. For you see, I was having the time of my life!"

This should be our attitude and goal of living for Jesus, serving him with great joy and enthusiasm, not begrudging our service, but flourishing in doing his will! We ought to be exuberant as we seek to serve Christ by serving in the church or taking the Gospel message to others. Remember that you have unique talents (Gifts) that God has given you. If you don't know what they are, be more conscious of the things you enjoy doing and what your good at doing . . . these are your gifts. Now, go and use them to do God's will and so bless his name by your good deeds.

Let us pray,

Lord Jesus, I remember your words when you said that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented if they had experienced your healing presence and ministry. I have known your salvation, so, let my life be a demonstration of the love you have shown me. May I express my devotion and appreciation for all you have done for me by serving others and being always thankful. Amen

Read more writings of Pastor Jon