In Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 we find yet another perplexing parable. For contemporary readers, a cursory reading of this passage may bring to mind issues of membership, prompting us to ask "who is in?" and "who is out?" But this simplistic approach to these words of Jesus ignores the complexities that lurk within the text and within our world. To classify any person as wholly righteous or wholly evil is problematic--we all have a wide and varied inner landscape. If we step back from this passage a bit to see the picture it paints, we find a world full of good and evil, occupied by people who sometimes bring hope and peace and other times bring heartache and pain. Yet, in the midst of all this, God is continually working to bring to life communities of grace and mutuality where humanity can thrive.
Want a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the summer? If you’re between the ages of 6-12, bring your family and join us at the home of Jamie and Rebecca Wallace for an afternoon of fun and fellowship. We will have a swim party at the home of the Wallaces at 2906 Edinburgh on Sunday, July 23 from 2-5 p.m. If it rains, the event is cancelled.
On Tuesday, July, 25, the whole church is invited for a night of bowling and fun at Collins Bowling Alley on Southland Dr. We are gathering at the bowling alley around 6 p.m. Individuals are responsible for cost of shoe rentals. A trophy will be awarded to the highest score of the night. Please contact Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or any questions.
The Parable of the Sower is one of those interesting places where we have a parable as well as Jesus interpretation of the parable in the text. The parable naturally invites us to introspection. If we are honest, as we examine the state of our own hearts we often find a variety of soils from rich loam to hardened clay. Attending to the condition of our hearts is not merely a pious exercise for inward holiness, but a path to create generous, sustainable communities that produce sustenance for our neighbors. Rather than living in the fear of scarcity, Matthew 13, invites us to see the love of a generous God who longs for all of his children to live in communities where there is enough.
As we come to the table we remember how Christ has called us from death into life. We remember that though we are sinful, our truest selves have been called forth through the grace of God by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As we encounter Jesus, we can come without pretense because our whole selves are fully embraced by God grace. God knows our darkest secrets and our greatest aspirations and envelopes all of these in a grace that pulls us up toward Jesus way of love and justice.
This Sunday, we continue our journey with Abraham by considering Genesis 22 and the binding of Isaac with Associate Pastor of Missions & Outreach Aaron Austin. This difficult passage leads us to ask some hard questions. It pulls us into Abraham's struggle. What does the way of God look like in this time and place? What does it mean to be faithful? As we journey this difficult way with Abraham, we will see how God helps us look past our limited theologies and cultural confines to a place of liberty and welcome—a place where we can release the bonds we use to marginalize and oppress others, and ourselves.
Each year I am reminder and encouraged by my time meeting at the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering. It is always a nice and peaceful week to be among other Baptists who think and act as we do at Central. This year the theme was Embracing God’s Call to Justice and Love. And much of what we heard was in our grand tradition of provocation and dissent. In order to live out our calling to be love and work toward justice, it is imperative for us to understand our heritage as Baptists and our history of dissent.
This year, we will focus our Lenten journey on the process of “unlearning.” Unlearning starts with the recognition that we have, over time, developed very specific biases in the course of our lives. These perspectives have served us well, but they are not universal. Everyone has their own set of discriminations. The Christian practice of Lent is a purposed and discipline plan of letting go, of changing our patterns, of seeking to approach our life from a fresh angle. It may require a different pattern of behavior or response. It may seek to undo old and more familiar ways before new connections and pathways can be made.
You are invited during this season of Lent 2017 to reflect on and ponder anew the teachings of our Lord in the beginning of chapter 5 of the Gospel of Matthew. These celebrated sayings often beginning what the English words, “Blessed are…” might be the most famous of all of Jesus’ words. Yet, instead of inviting us into a deeper insight, their familiarity can actually lead us into a nearly neglectful form of inattention. We can be so certain we already “know them.”