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Outside of the Box

Sermon - 10/10/10
Rhett Ybarra
First Christian Church, Eugene, Oregon

Luke 13:10-17

 

Greetings, hello, what a beautiful day today is already turning out to be. Birds are chirping, sun is shining, and perhaps an unfamiliar face to look at telling the sermon today. But hey, what message are we trying to get across here? If anything let’s focus on “outside of the box” and our first example would be well… me, and then these other talented children taking on the tasks service today.

How often do you hear of a 17 year old preaching on Sunday morning? But I could go on talking all about how our church is out of the ordinary, or more fitting, out of the box. Yet, we’ve heard this before, and I’m certain we’ll hear it again… and again and again. Rather, I’d like to use my opportunity to speak on more of a personal level. Now, as most of you know, I suffer from a severe case of stage freight and am not comfortable speaking in front of large crowds :)   But hey, outside the box right?

So, this being my opportunity to share with you today it would be a blessing if I could ask April (Oristano) to come up here and assist me for one moment.

 

 

[Cup Of Water analogy -- Rhett called April to the pulpit, and asked her to drink a small cup of water, then 'return' the water to the cup, and then drink it again!]

Eww… I know right? But I promise you that I didn’t just do that for my own personal pleasure and I actually have a point I’m trying to make with this whole analogy.  So I’ve researched that in a typical day, you will swallow your own saliva more than a hundred times, more than a thousand even. It’s so common, so routine, that we don’t even realize we are doing it time and time again. I mean, now a few of you are self-conscious at the moment because I had just brought it up, but in general we never notice it. So how can something that is so routine and simple be so immensely out of the ordinary when we change it just slightly? I saw faces cringe and words muttered when he/she took that swallow. But how many of you were essentially doing the same thing at that very moment? I do apologize for my use of perhaps “distasteful” analogy, but hopefully it will help me get my point across.

As we sit here together we feel comfortable with each other. When we come together on Sundays, we can expect to hear God’s word. We listen, we learn, we talk, and discuss. Our conversations are filled with God’s glory, the interpretation of the word, the feelings we all have. Every Sunday, this is why we come together. And looking out among you, I have seen nearly all of your faces before. What does this mean? It means this isn’t your first service. It might be your second, third, fourth, or fifth. Or, in some of our older attendees’ case, their fourth or fifth thousand. But before we get caught up on math, let me continue.

This tells me that we’ve been through countless hours together hearing of the amazing power of God. What he has done, who he has healed, and the love he possesses for all. Really take a moment to think about it… Here, inside these walls, you have conversed among yourselves countless times about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let’s say you miss church a few weeks, so you go oh… 30 times a year. And most of you out there are at least close to or have long passed 40. A lot huh? A lot of time spent immersed in God’s glory. It’s so very familiar to us all.

Let me ask you this. When you’re making small talk in line at the bank, or starting a conversation while watching a soccer game, what do we normally talk about? “How bout that weather huh? Dang those Yankees” Or “Goodness gracious, did you see the Duck game?!”

And what are the two things that we were taught never to bring up in a conversation as children? Politics… and Religion. Why? To avoid conflict? To avoid judgment? But, if you think about it... Most of us really do try to avoid it. Face it, if I was to sit down next to a complete stranger at a restaurant and said “Sir, let me tell you a little something about the love that God has to share with you”… Well, I would probably get looked at pretty funny, he would probably shift uncomfortably in his chair and perhaps try to make for the exit because at this point he thinks I’m off my rocker. And why is that? Why, that in the “real world”, outside of here, our faith is something that we may not care to share as freely and become a little more self-conscious about what we say, and who we say it to. Personally, I find it quite difficult to speak freely, even with some of my close friends, about the way I feel about my religion. Why is our society somewhat turned off by this? Why are we less likely to share our feelings outside of these walls?

But when you really think about it, and get right down to the center of things… Is it really so different? When we change things just slightly, has it now become such a big deal? Swallowing your saliva hundreds of times a day is fine… But when you do it once outside of your mouth, eyebrows are raised. Talking about God every Sunday here with us is fine… But outside of your church, eyebrows are raised as well.

Luke 13:10-17

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.’ 15But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?’ 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

  

Do you think Jesus did what was the “social norm” when he saw this woman in need? Regardless of what was “acceptable”, Jesus healed this woman. He held no fear in doing something different to help someone else. He held no fear for living his life outside of the box.

So, the choice is yours.  Neither way is right or wrong. But I would like to ask, will you go on like you always have?

Or will you drink your spit?

Amen.

 


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