Learning from Jesus Together

[]This summer, we are focusing on the things we do as the church. We have talked about worshiping together, we have talked about praying together, and today we talk about learning together. And we do that in various ways. One of those ways is through our worship. We come together, we worship, and we pray, and we open our minds and our hearts to the Scriptures that are read. And every Sunday, and pretty much at every gathering, even if it isn't a Sunday, we tend to have a Gospel reading from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John which focuses on teachings from Jesus…something he taught, something he said, or something he did. And so, as the Christian church in 2008, we are still learning about Jesus. And through Jesus, we are also learning about God, and we do that together.

Worship is not the only setting where these things take place. Some of you may do some private reading of Scripture at home. I know some of you follow that practice. Some of you use devotionals, and then the devotionals refer you to particular Scriptures, and so you are learning. Some of you belong to devotional groups and you gather for a time of prayer and study, and you're learning together in that setting, and it's a wonderful thing. We've been talking about doing Bible study for many years since I've been here, and we're finally going to do this. So if you can come during the day for this time, please do. This is an opportunity for more learning together outside the four walls of this church. And we hope that after this one gets moving, we will have an evening one for people who work so that you may be able to attend. But that's another way that we learn together.

But we learn when we meet together in Bible studies and for devotions. We learn together when we come together in Sunday School. Remember that if you want to learn a whole lot about God, about Jesus, and about the church, become a Sunday School teacher because you are forced to do all the preparation work before you go into the classroom to teach the children or to have constructive adult conversation. You have a lot of homework to do. So, actually, by teaching you learn even more than everybody else in the class. The class becomes extended learning for the teacher. But if you don't feel called to teach, which I know is probably a concern for most of us, just come and be present. Even if you're the silent voice in the room, there is so much learning that takes place because if you're not speaking, you're listening.

But if you're speaking, you're also learning. As most of you know, I'm pretty much an extrovert and so I can hold conversation for a very long time. I'm aware of that. For extroverts, sometimes our learning comes through the talking; reasoning comes along with the talking. So by either listening or talking, by just being present in Sunday School you will learn so much about God, about Christ, about your Christian journey of faith, about each other, and about who we are as the church. So I encourage you to come to worship, go to Sunday School, take opportunities for reflection and study on your own, join a Bible study, join with others for times of devotions. These things are important for us to do, not just by ourselves, but along with others. When we learn these things by ourselves, we have no one to share with, to talk with about our experiences, and to process what we have learned. It's usually in a gathering that we start to see other perspectives of the experiences that we've had and a whole new learning emerges, a whole new way of Christian devotion and spirituality that uplifts us beyond what we're able to accomplish on our own.

So that is why it is so important for us as the church to come together and to learn. In a future week, we will talk about, "As the church, we teach," but that's a different Sunday. Today the focus is on learning. How many of you went to Sunday School as a small child? I know I did. And when you come from that very basic level, you learn so much, and you continue to learn as you grow up in the church. I know I learned some things from our Sacred Conversation on Race this morning, and that felt good to me. Even though I may not like everything that I learned about myself and that I may take issue with myself about, it is good to learn. It is how we expand and grow as individuals and as people of Christian faith.

So there are opportunities all around us to continue to learn. But as the church, it is important for us to come together with that being a goal of our gathering, not just to worship and praise God, not just to pray or to receive, but to learn. It is the only way that the church can continue to march forward into history, and this is the entirety of the Christian church. We must all learn together. We must all learn from one another, and we must all look to God.

Read other Sermons by Pastor Steve