Scripture/Sermon of the Day.  June 6, 2021

Scripture Reading:  Mark 3:20-35    The Message

20 Jesus entered a house. A crowd gathered again so that it was impossible for him and his followers even to eat. 21 When his family heard what was happening, they came to take control of him. They were saying, “He’s out of his mind!”
22-27 The religion scholars from Jerusalem came down spreading rumors that he was working black magic, using devil tricks to impress them with spiritual power. Jesus confronted their slander with a story: “Does it make sense to send a devil to catch a devil, to use Satan to get rid of Satan? A constantly squabbling family disintegrates. If Satan were fighting Satan, there soon wouldn’t be any Satan left. Do you think it’s possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man, and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean him out.
28-30 “Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.
31-32 Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.”
33-35 Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you—my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Reflection/Sermon:

I.      I was walking my trash container to the corner on Wednesday and a passing car stopped and backed up.  A woman said, “HI — do you live here?”  Then she said she had something to show me.  She got her iphone and pulled up a picture and handed it to me — it was a large black bear standing in my driveway, right next to the garage door.

II.     Isn’t that incredible!?  Now I know a bear was right over there, in daylight.  So, we talked a little bit more.  She lives just two houses down — she’s my neighbor.  And in my 28 years here — I’ve never seen her!  Just two houses from the parsonage and I haven’t seen her!
        We can live right next to someone and not know who they are.  And she and her husband are also ministers — they minister to a community of motorcycle riders.  This woman, who’s a nurse and looks like she could be a grandmother — rides a Harley!
        And it took a bear walking in my driveway and her stopping to take a picture of it to get us to finally meet each other.

III.    Do you think God had a part in that?  Breaking down barriers of 28 years to finally meet and talk?  She asked me:  “With all this going on in Israel, and the possibility that Netanyahu may be removed — do you think Jesus will come back soon?”

IV.     I didn’t want to push her away with my answer. There are Christians who believe that Jesus is going to actually return to earth in a physical, human form — like he was 2000 years ago in Israel.  A second coming — and he’ll judge people.  And after he throws the bad people into eternal hell and torture, he’ll rule the earth and there will be peace and happiness for the small group of Christians who survived his judgment.

V.      So I didn’t say what I believe about that.  Which is — if Jesus ever returned, like in a physical second coming — he’d probably get shot his first day back.  Especially if he came to America.  We’d shoot him.
        In fact, JESUS, IF YOU’RE LISTENING — AND IF YOU REALLY ARE COMING BACK — EVEN AFTER what we did to you the first time you were here — YOU BETTER COME BACK TO SINGAPORE or JAPAN or SOUTH KOREA — which have almost zero gun violence.
        But please don’t have your second coming in America because we will shoot you before you unpack your bags!  Especially if you’re dark complexioned.

VI.     So I didn’t share these thoughts with my neighbor because she seemed like such a nice and kind person and I didn’t want to frighten her away with my unorthodox Christian thinking.  So I told her, “Well, I feel Jesus’ presence now.  I believe he’s already here.”
        She said, “Well — of course.  But I mean the second coming — like the book of Revelation.” So I just said, “Hmmmm — I don’t know.”

VII.    DIDN’T EINSTEIN SAY that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  So God’s not going to come again as Jesus Christ — because we’ll kill him again!  God learned his lesson the first time!  Because despite what they said about Jesus — that he’d lost his mind — that he was crazy — GOD IS SANE AND WE ARE THE ONES telling and believing lies, making conspiracy theories, believing the Q-Anon madness, and shooting each other every day with assault rifles that a judge in California just compared to Swiss army knifes.  God is fine — we’re the ones who are losing our minds.

VIII.   That’s why since the crucifixion God has chosen to return by way of the holy spirit living in us.  WE ARE GOD’S WAY OF RETURNING TO EARTH AND SPREADING THE GOOD NEWS OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND FORGIVENESS FOR EVERYONE ON EARTH!
        THE SECOND COMING HAS ALREADY HAPPENED — IN YOU AND ME!  JESUS HAS RETURNED — THROUGH US!
        But be careful who you say this to — they’ll think you’re crazy!