Before reading the below sermon I wrote and delivered on World Communion Sunday please take a moment to share my GoFundMe page. This missionary needs your help raising money to pay for graduate school! The reason why I am pursuing a doctorate of educational leadership and learning in organizations is to better serve the people of Honduras. It is with my education that I will be able to tackle some of the macro issues preventing so many Honduran families from being able to lift themselves out of poverty. Do I think it is possible to transform Honduras into a place filled with justice and a vibrant economy? You bet I do! How is it possible? Read my book, but start with a preview of my theology below. And don't forget to share my cause https://www.gofundme.com/help-missionary-with-tuition!
On this World Communion Sunday our dear Pastor Stryker has asked me to present today’s sermon in both English and Spanish. So I guess I better say “Buenos Dias” also. Buenos Dias!
I want to start off by saying thank you to Pastor Stryker for inviting me to speak today. Our former Pastor Capron calls on me from time to time to speak and present to his church in Gurley, Alabama when he is going to be out of town or is out for some reason. So this is quite different today having Reverend Stryker right here with us. Knowing I would have a minister scholar right here next to me forced me to do a little more homework, prepare a little more, and stick to standard theology. However, I heard last week’s sermon concluded we all interpret the Bible in different way. So, Pastor, let me know if I start to veer too much of course. My friend Vince Morrow has referred to me as “Wind Bag” Franklin ever since the first, and only, time he has heard me speak. So, Mike and Mary, if Pastor gives you the sign, just start playing the next hymn. Danny Arnold, let’s put 14 minutes on the clock.
Congregation, let us pray. Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, Santificado sea tu Nombre, Venga tu reino, Hágase tu voluntad, En la tierra como en el cielo, Danos hoy el pan de este día, y perdona nuestras deudas, como nosotros perdonamos nuestros deudores, y no nos dejes caer en al tentación, sino que líbranos del malo. Amen.
World Communion Sunday
What does it mean to be a part of a world communion Sunday? What makes a world communion Sunday different than any regular communion Sunday? We will still recite the same readings, eat the same bread, and drink the same juice. Salvation is promised just the same. What I think makes this World Communion Sunday different then is the fact that on this day we celebrate the uniting potential of the church for the world’s salvation. Today is a reminder that, yes, our individual, personal relationship with Jesus is the stairway to heaven, but the Last Supper was not a dinner for one.
In probably one of the most-recited verses in the New Testament, John 3:16 we learn that God so loved the world that Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and give humans the opportunity for everlasting life. Eternal life is not a guarantee, but it is a check that is cashed through a personal commitment to turning one’s own life to God. There is a Christian we all admire for embodying a full relationship with Jesus, and whether we know it or not, we are that person to someone else also. It might be envy; however, we may also be employing what our reading in Philippians says to “value others above ourselves.” Christians need not worry about their salvation if their hearts beat for Jesus; however, our daily walk with the Lord must also match our interest in joining Jesus in heaven, our grandparents in heaven, our friends in heaven.
The Great Commandment explains what is written in John Chapter 3 in a different way. In our cliff note, synopses-driven world, where headlines and not the article drive the news cycle, Matthew 22:36-40 sums up what Christians all over the world must do to access salvation in heaven. First and foremost our job as Christians is to love God with all of our bodies and souls, with every breath we take, with every bite of chocolate cake, en cada minuto de cada hora durante el dia. Hay que tener el amor de Dios en todas las palabras que hablamos y en las palabras que oimos tambien. This isn’t an easy proposition. We are human; we sin. It is as difficult to never stray from personifying God’s love as much as it is for a Palestinian Christian to visit Jesus’ birthplace, as difficult to trust the drinking water in Flint Michigan, and as difficult to access healthcare in war torn Syria. Our own human frailty is mended by knowing Jesus as Lord, but how do we love the Lord? I interpret the 2nd half of the Great Commandment as the “How to Guide” of loving God – loving thy neighbor as thyself. You see what I mean? Cual es el valor de salvación personal si no afecta su relación con otras personas? What is the value of personal salvation if it doesn’t affect your relationship with others? What I mean to say is that we show God love by also loving every other earth inhabitant.
Yes, the message I want to share with you today is that World Communion Sunday, every communion Sunday, is a reminder to commune with others as God does with us. For what good is saving your own soul if you are not also an example for others to do the same? What is the value of everlasting life if your impact here on earth is not impactful? Your life here on earth can be as eternal as it will be in heaven if your temporary life perpetuates positivity after you are gone. Consider the impact of this missions-based church on Walker County. How many hungry bellies have been fed? How many souls have been nourished by sermons from this pulpit? How many friends have been made here through kind words echoed through these hallways, and how many utility bills for cash-strapped families have been paid from our church’s offices? How many children in our midst learned from our leaders that to love of God is to love others without question? How many floods of tears in our communities have been gated by God’s love in action?
How we use our bodies here on earth is as equally as important as where our souls go after our time on earth is spent. For it is not nearly enough that we fill heaven with God-lovers. It is not good enough for God that all of earth finds salvation in heaven; the job of Christians, non-Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims alike, the job of all of us who believe in an all loving higher power is to usher in a heaven on earth. In Exodus, as Moses said to the Israelites in the desert when they cried out for water believing that they were to die of thirst, “Is God not with us?” God is with us, and as such, our jobs as God’s servants is to make our towns, states, nations, waters, and skies thrones for God, to make heaven on earth.
Join me. Help share my #GoFundMe page to help me fully approach the BIG issues affecting the Honduran people. Please help me to do so without crippling debt. For like the Honduran economy, neither I nor the Honduran government can completely focus on the problems facing Honduran families with gross outstanding debt.
Together, we are the difference.