Sunday, 17 November 2013

What do we really need?

Pentecost 27 year C Sermon 13 

Title slide
When Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray
he identifies God as our loving father
who cares about our basic needs

And most of us who claim to follow Christ…
would agree that everyone deserves to have their basic needs met… simply because they’re a child of God…

But we wouldn’t necessarily agree
what those basic needs are…and sometimes in our consumer culture…it’s hard to tell the difference between our wants and our needs…isn’t it?

Sale slide
Especially when we’re constantly bombarded
with attractive… delicious… possibilities for purchase and acquisition…on television and in magazines
and on the internet.

Child slide
Without some guidelines… we are likely to become confused about the difference between our wants and our needs. Like little children at the checkout in New World…who think a lolly is essential to their very survival. [pause]

Writing slide with text
Now I want you write down three to five things… that you think …are basic human needs….Again I’m not going to ask you to share these with anyone else.
Your list is for your eyes only.

They write. I wait.

Writing slide without text
I guess one way to tell the difference between needs and wants … is whether we would die without something.

I’ll give you an example…

Some people think sex… is a basic human need…
yet I can assure you that no one in the history of the world …has ever died… from not having sex.

Jesus slide
I wonder how the list you just wrote…
compares with the needs identified in the Lord’s prayer

when we pray for God’s will to be done in our own lives…
just what is God’s will…what does God think…are our basic needs As our creator… you’d imagine our creator would know

If Jesus is the one who reveals God’s will to us…
We learn three things from the prayer he teaches us to pray
Three things about our most basic needs
from God’s perspective

Slide words
1. daily bread…daily sustenance and
2. forgiveness and deliverance from evil.

And 3 ….
we learn in the prayer Jesus taught us to pray
that the way God meets our needs…
is directly related to the way we…
are to meet the needs of others.

As Jesus followers… we’re to meet the needs of others…
for bread and forgiveness…in a way…that reflects God’s generosity and mercy… toward us

Feed the five thousand…forgive the crucifiers…
That’s what it means to be a disciple…a follower…of Jesus
Does Jesus include a loophole in the prayer for any of us?

So why do we behave as though he does?

None of us denies our need for food…but many of us deny our need to be forgiving…as we are forgiven.

Jesus slide
A couple of weeks ago I preached on the benefits of gratitude …for our emotional… physical… and spiritual health.
And remember…not only is the feeling of gratitude
good for you ….but expressing it is even better for you.
Some of you may have tried this out.

Well today I’m telling you…
human beings not only need to feel gratitude
but as it says in the Lord’s prayer
we need to forgive…and be forgiven.

Why… because God knows that unforgiveness is lethal…
When we refuse to  forgive it’s like drinking a bottle of poison and expecting the other person to die…

Have you ever known anyone who was so consumed with bitterness and resentment …
it ate away their entire enjoyment of life…
well that’s what I’m talking about. God knows that un-forgiveness destroys the one who refuses to forgive
whether an individual or a nation

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened…or minimise it…or say it was ok…
in fact forgiveness is not an emotion…
forgiveness… is a decision

Like deciding to cut through a heavy chain…
between you and the person you need to forgive…
releasing them from what they owe you…That’s why in some translations of the Lord’s prayer… sin is translated as debt!!!

Of course God is the main one…
from whom we need forgiveness …
and our gracious God has shown us on the cross…
just how much we are forgiven and how much it cost.

We can’t control whether another person forgives us …sometimes we just have to live with the
uncomfortable consequences of our actions or
their stubbornness.

But God has wiped our debt on the Cross
and asks us to do the same for others…

So why do we pray this prayer week after week and continue to behave as though it doesn’t really apply to how we live?

Word slide
Feed and forgive and deliver people from evil as you have been fed and forgiven and delivered! What do you think
do justice love mercy and walk humbly with your God means?

How dare we pray give us this day our daily bread and then refuse to share what we have… so everyone can have enough…in our community and in our nation and in our world. And do we demand our politicians do the same?

Remember what we’ve learned…
feeding and forgiving are actually essential…
for our own wellbeing…not just the wellbeing of others…

Hand slide with words
So now some time to answer the other two questions on the inside of our bulletin.

Who do I need to feed as I have been fed?

Who do I need to forgive as I have been forgiven?

[Wait while they write]

Jesus in tallit slide
Do we really think God’s kingdom can come…
and God’s will be done on earth
if his children refuse to be as generous and forgiving
of their brothers and sisters…

as is their father in heaven?