“Deep Thoughts”

Reflections on Worship

Heritage Christian Services - Pieter’s Family Life Center

Friday, June 22, 2018, 10:30am – 11:30am

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

West Walworth: Zion & East Rochester United Methodist Churches

 

Luke 9:47-48

But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”

 

Prayer.

 

Have you ever thought deeply?

About God,

About others,

And your place in the universe?

 

It’s good to think deeply.

 

The disciples were thinking deep thoughts.

They had just witnessed Jesus being transfigured,

His face changed and also his clothes,

right before their very eyes.

Wow.

The transfiguration was followed by the voice of God speaking from a cloud

“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him” (9:35)

Luke continues,

“And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.” (9:36)

Stunned to silence.

Wouldn’t you be?

 

It’s good to think deeply.

 

The disciples were thinking deep thoughts.

The disciples witnessed Jesus healing a boy with a demon.

The spirit of the child was seized, the Gospel author reports.

He shrieks;

Foams at the mouth.

The demon mauled him and refused to leave him.

That’s some scary stuff, right there.

“Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit,

Healed the boy, and gave him back to his father, (good as new).

And all were astounded at the greatness of God.” (9:42-43)

Astounded. Speechless.

 

It’s good to think deeply.

 

The disciples were thinking deep thoughts.

As if seeing Jesus transfigured,

Hearing the voice of God, and

Experiencing the healing touch of Jesus

Wasn’t enough to make the disciples wonder,

Jesus now tells them that he will be betrayed into human hands.

Wait! What?

They didn’t understand, Luke reports,

“its meaning was concealed from them,

So that they could not perceive it.

And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” (9:45)

 

The disciples of Jesus had much to think about.

 

Instead of thinking of heavenly things,

Their thoughts were entirely earthly.

Who was the greatest? They wondered.

Who was the top dog, the first among equals, the one closest to the master?

They didn’t have to say it;

Like a child covered in white sugar caught eating forbidden donuts,

Jesus could see their question written all over their faces.

Jesus took a child and put it by his side.

“Whomever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me,

And whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me;

For the least among all of you is the greatest.” (9:48)

 

Indeed, the disciples of Jesus had much to think about,

And he just gave them a whole lot more.

 

1. First, welcome a child and welcome Jesus.

What does it mean to welcome a child, let alone, to welcome Jesus?

The original Greek word is de-chet-ai,

Which means,

To take,

To accept,

To receive,

To receive kindly.

 

Traveling to Guatemala with the Heritage Christian Team of short term missionaries each August,

My job isn’t to do the most work,

Pour the most cement,

Distribute the most bags of food, or

Fit the most people to wheelchairs.

Though, these are very important jobs.

 

But, my job,

Being the old man of the team,

Is to play with children.

Actually, it’s the most important job of every team member.

Receive God’s love,

Share it kindly with families and children,

And receive it back ten-fold, a hundred-fold, and more.

 

“Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me,” Jesus taught.

Perhaps we can hear these words of Jesus and likewise begin to wonder,

To think deep thoughts.

With whom can I share God’s love?

What might it look like to share God’s love?

Where, and in what circumstances, can I share the love of God?

Who is in the greatest need to receive God’s love

This. Very. Day?

This. Very. Moment?

 

Life is short, and time is not to be waisted away.

Take the time,

Sooner, rather than later,

To let someone know,

By your words and your actions,

That God loves them,

And you love them, too.

 

2. Secondly, welcome Jesus and welcome our Heavenly Father.

Accepting Jesus into your life is a great and monumental occasion!

But it’s only a first step

On a lifetime spiritual journey

That leads the disciple of Jesus

Straight to the heart of God.

 

God loves you so much

He wants to walk with you throughout your life,

Sharing your joys and your struggles,

Your ups and your downs,

Simply because God loves you

And wants the best for you throughout your life.

 

What a privilege it is to walk with Christ,

To abide in Him and to allow Christ to abide in you.

I remember the day I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Ever since that day I have lived a privileged life,

Surrounded by fellow disciples of Jesus,

Upheld, supported, and loved

In local churches I have attended and served.

 

God’s acceptance for who you are,

Made in God’s own image,

Loved unconditionally,

Is life’s greatest victory.

I pray that it be your victory, too!

 

3. Lastly, Jesus teaches his disciples that

The least is the greatest.

 

Let us think deeply what this means.

 

To be a true leader,

Molded and shaped into the man or woman Christ calls us to become,

Means that we must become a servant to all.

Humble service means we place the needs of others first.

It means we think deeply about the needs of others

Before we discern or meet our own needs.

Anticipate needs, meet them, and exceed the needs of others.

 

Yes, it’s a tall order.

But we can do it.

We can, if we so choose, to become a servant to all.

 

The best way to start is through friendship; authentic friendship.

Make friends.

Be a friend.

Get to know your friends.

Be daring enough to dig beneath the surface

Of just talking about the weather.

Allow your God given curiosity

To get to know others and learn their deepest, most heartfelt needs.

Only then, leaning on your deeper understanding,

Can you or I become the servants Christ is calling us to be.

 

Our greatest role model is Jesus himself.

When we make ourselves vulnerable enough to become a true friend of Jesus,

He can begin to meet our deepest needs;

To be forgiven of our sins,

To be guided to make good, healthy choices,

To journey with us through life’s most challenging circumstances,

And by his resurrection,

Save us into eternal life.

That’s what friends do for each other.

 

Dearly beloved,

Think deeply,

Just as the disciples did,

About accepting the child that exists in others,

Accepting Jesus,

Being received by our Heavenly Father,

And becoming Christ’s servant to all.

 

God loves you,

And so do I.

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

Amen.