A Destination in Mind

Mostly we do church as usual. Every Sunday. Same time, same place. Worship, Prayer, Teaching. Each of us serving once a month in our area of technology, singing, kids, or hospitality. The rhythm of our lives of faith and community. 

For years. Jesus’ ministry was like that. Every Sabbath teaching in a synagogue. Traveling around. Healing, speaking, feeding. The disciples got into the rhythm. The movement grew. More planning was needed to accommodate large groups of followers.

But then something shifted: a goal. A specific destination. With implications. 

As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem. Luke 9:51 (CEB)

Sometimes we do something different. It isn’t church as usual. Last Sunday, we went to Restoration Urban Ministries. Nothing was familiar. A late start, a long service, and a whole lot of volume. A different theological spin- from the lyrics through the sermon. 

He sent messengers on ahead of him. Along the way, they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival, Luke 9:51-52 (CEB)

I camped out in NCF’s lobby before the service in case someone forgot or visitors showed up. Impressively, everyone seemed to know of the change of venue. I found it strangely quiet at 10:30am. Alone in my thoughts and prayers. The NCF turnout at RUM was impressive! 

But not everyone can get on board. For some, it was a travel weekend. We all have reasons that we can’t turn up to everything. We can’t always go where the pastor wants us to go. Or provide hospitality to crowds of strangers. Whose goals don’t match ours.

but the Samaritan villagers refused to welcome him because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to consume them?” Lk. 9:53-54(CEB)

Wow. Whom should we judge first? (Always a great question, right?!) We want everyone to embrace our great ideas. To do their part. To welcome our movement. Rearrange their lives to accommodate our needs. Because we really do have a great plan. Happening now. 

But whether it is our personal goals or a new family venture. A great corporate plan or the best church trip ever conceived. Not everyone will be able to get on board. And then our response is what matters. 

But Jesus turned and spoke sternly to them (James and John), and they went on to another village. Lk. 9:55-56(CEB)

I am an idea person. Not all of my ideas are great. Some just fizzle out or need to be reconfigured. I hope that as I listen more and more to the Lord, my thoughts are more and more in line with Jesus’ plan. But no matter how brilliant my ideas may be, not everyone will be able to get on board. Some folks won’t want to help accomplish my goals. My plan won’t line up with theirs. 

But neither anger nor judgement are Jesus’ way. So I need to check myself. And sometimes hear reproof. From the Lord. Sternly or gently. And then we move on. Toward the goal. Without taking it personally, or getting distracted from our mission. 

May we go where Jesus goes. May we welcome Jesus’ presence and embrace Jesus’ plan. May we respond without judgement or violence. And may we keep moving.

Sermon: Honor by Pastor Ervin Williams at RUM (email Renée for a recording)

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