Tuesday, 28 July 2015

You're Gonna Have to Serve Somebody

Yesterday was the Eight Sunday after Trinity if you follow the Book of Common Prayer as we do in our Parish in P.E.I.  I was presiding at the services at St. Alban’s, Souris and St. George’s, Montague.  The Gospel appointed was Matt. 7: 15-21.  The opening verse is: 15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits.” (NRSV) 
I opened my sermon with the aboriginal teaching of the two wolves:
An elder was teaching his grandson about life.  He said to him, “Grandson, a fight is going on inside you and me.  It is a terrible fight between two wolves”.  “How come there are two wolves grandfather?” the boy asked.  His grandfather answered, “One wolf is evil – he is anger, envy, regret, greed, conceit, self-pity, guilt, lies resentment, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.  The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person.”  His grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The elder replied, “The one you feed.” 

To quote Bob Dylan (which I did):
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
The question for each of us is which wolf are we going to feed; which prophet are we going to serve?
Later yesterday afternoon I came across a wonderful video on Huffington blog by James Gerkin.  In the video an African American evangelical preacher who gave a wonderful exposition of this: Georgia Pastor Has No Time For Anti-LGBT Hypocrites http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/georgia-pastor-gay-equality_55b50b09e4b0074ba5a4d6e2.  The video ends by the pastor saying, “We all need to look at ourselves” and condemning Christians for being hypocrites in their attitudes to the LGBT community. 
An excerpt from the post follows.
Georgia pastor E. Dewey Smith said in a videotaped sermon that was posted Thursday. Smith, who is pastor of the House of Hope Atlanta in Decatur, Georgia, and the House of Hope Macon, chastised his congregation and others who "demonize and dehumanize" artists and even members of their own choir who are gay while enjoying and benefitting from their work.
"We have done what the slave master did to us," he said. "Dehumanize us, degrade us, demonize us, but then use them for our advantage."
Vocal opponents of homosexuality will cite Leviticus, Smith went on to say, but the same book of the Bible also prohibits eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics and sharing a bed with a woman while she's menstruating.
"Here’s my point. We pick and choose the scriptures that we want to use to beat folk up with, rather than look at our own lives." 

"Look at your neighbor and tell your neighbor, ‘I don’t condemn you. I don’t judge you. I will preach Christ to you,'" he said. "You can’t evangelize and antagonize at the same time." 

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