In case you missed worship this morning, we got a phone call from God. We only have a transcript from this end of the conversation to share.
Epistle Reading Ephesians 4:1-16
Gospel Reading John 6:24-35
So, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…
Oh wait, my phone is ringing. Sorry, I have to take it. It’s God.
Oh, hey God! Um, you do know we’re in the middle of worship right now? You didn’t get the e-mail about our new summer worship hours? Oh, that’s okay. I’ve got some time. Nobody is in a hurry to get out of here. Way too hot to do anything anyway.
So, how’s it going?
Yeah, I bet! I’m sure there were days last week when you wished you had never created the chicken.
Having any luck with getting President Assad to quit bombing his own people in Syria? Oh, right. That whole free will thing. Can’t you bend that rule just this once and get him to do the right thing? I know. I know. If you did it for him, you’d have to start doing it for everyone.
Um, anything you can do about that global warming thing? We’re bearing up under the heat okay, but I’m getting really tired of all those church signs asking, “You think it’s hot here?”
How are things here? Well, they could be better.
What? Really? Gratitude prayers are down 68%? I hadn’t realized it had gotten that bad. We’re not even saying thank you anymore?
Well, you know we still have that hungry people problem. I know. I know. There is plenty of food to go around. We just haven’t figured out how to get it in the hands of the right people. Maybe you should have made us smarter—or never allowed us to invent the television…or Angry Birds. That might have freed us up some more brain power.
Well, we’re still having trouble with the whole making-You-too-small thing. You know, believing that You are only big enough for a certain kind of people. Like you’re not the God of all—only the God of people like us. No, no. Not the people in MY congregation. They know that you are the great and gracious God revealed to us in the history of Israel and in the life, death and resurrection of Your son Jesus. They know. I’ve told them. The thing is, there’s just not that many people who actually show up on Sunday morning. And even though I’m sure all the ones who do come go out and share the good news in word and in deed with everyone they meet, our reach is fairly limited.
You just wouldn’t believe how your people are acting down here. Well, I guess you believe it. But I’m guessing you don’t like it very much.
Remember that letter that you had Paul write to the church at Ephesus a few years back? The one where he called everyone to a life gentleness, humility and patience? Where he urged everyone to the kind of life where we bear one another up in love? You know the one I’m talking about? Yeah, well we aren’t doing any of that down here these days.
Forget humility. We have totally forgotten that we are the created and you are the Creator. Now all sorts of people claim that they know exactly what your will is—for everyone. We don’t behave as if our God is ultimate mystery, the immortal, omnipotent, God only wise whom we will never fully understand. Oh, yeah. Folks have completely tossed out the mystery of You and decided that they know exactly what you want us to do. And in a weird ironic twist, that is completely lost on most people, if I should disagree with someone who knows definitively what and who you would have us do and be then I’m the one who is arrogant and audacious for claiming to know better than God! I know! Craziness.
And gentleness? Patience? Forget about it. Some of your people are trying to come of with a different name for folks who believe in your son. “Christianity” is being linked with some pretty harsh behavior. Did you know when you started all of this that one day the terms Christian and Hater would be linked together? Well, of course you knew.
Lifting one another up in love? We prefer tearing each other down with words. Whether it’s in our government, our workplaces and even in our churches, love and encouragement seems to be the last thing on our minds. We would much rather be right than loving. We would rather claim victory than find common ground.
I don’t know what our problem is. Your Son told us in plain English—okay, well, it was Aramaic at the time, but he was very clear. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” Yet there are all these people who claim to be followers of Jesus running around like they are starving and don’t know where to find sustenance. I figure you are just about to throw in the towel on the whole lot of us.
Really? You still have faith in us? Even though we act the way we do? Even though we struggle with and even lose our faith in you? You still believe in us? Why would anybody do that?
Oh, right. You’re not anybody. You are God, and we’re not. If we could just remember how you humbled yourself to become one of us. How gentle and patient you are with us. How you have been lifting us up in love our whole lives, maybe we could offer some of that to other people.
Hey…you knew exactly what time worship started, didn’t you? Thanks for calling God. Always good to hear from You.