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September 11, 2016
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
The Body of Christ…?
Galatians 6:1-5 NLT
Acts 20:7-12 MSG
Hey…Are You Asleep Yet…
Prayer of adoration and for God’s illumination so that His Word would be heard through me or in spite of me…
I remember as a child I went to many sleepovers at my friend’s houses. Now, being a mom, my daughters love to have friends over to sleep. I don’t know how much sleep happens during these sleep overs. I remember trying to go to sleep at these sleep overs and saying to my friends “Hey…are you asleep yet?” Of course they weren’t so we would start talking until the sun came up… I am not sure these should be called sleep overs…maybe “stay up all night having fun talking and having random dance parties while we constantly eat night” …but that is way too long…
There are times when we gather together as a church family…the body of Christ…that we may ask each other…hey are you asleep…during our church services…I know that would never happen here during a sermon right…right? OK…to be sure we are all awake here I want you to turn to your neighbor and say “Hey…are you asleep…?” But it is unfortunate that there are times…within the body of Christ…within our family…the answer is yes…yes I am asleep. Maybe that answer needs to change…maybe it’s time to wake up from our slumber and see the world around us…
How would we define the body of Christ? Last week we defined it as family. We asked ourselves the question “how would I define family?” We even talked about how God would view family and discovered that we sometimes don’t even come close to how God would define it. We can tend to leave out people who, for whatever reason we have, just don’t fit our idea of family. I left us with some questions to ponder and I pray we really did ponder them, because unless we do…there will be no change in the tide we are in…the scripture is clear in Matthew 25:34-46 what will happen if we don’t change… Shyanne reminded me this week of a saying from the movie “Lilo and Stitch”, Ohana means family…and family means no one is left behind or left out.
OK…so how are we going to change the tide? That seems like a really daunting task. I would say yes; it is an intimidating task but it is one that must be done. And yes…we can’t do this alone. We need God’s help to do this because if we try to this alone we will be overcome by the immensity of the problem. So…here’s where we begin…by simply waking up.
Let’s listen to a story in Acts that talk about falling asleep. It is found in chapter 20 verses 7-12…I am reading from the Message Bible Translation this morning…
Now this man Eutychus’ name means fortunate…and yes he was very fortunate that Paul was there. This story kind of symbolizes what happens when we, as the body of Christ, decide to fall asleep. We fall…we miss the mark…and die. But there is hope in this story. God can make us alive again when we decide to open our eyes again.
In order to begin to live outside our own little world…outside our walls…we need to wake up to the world around us. We need to see beyond what is right in front of us…what we see may not be what is truly there unless we look with the eyes of love and grace…through and with the eyes of God…those same eyes that looked upon us and showed mercy and grace even as we sat in sin. Sometimes we just go through the motions …in our lives…in our worship … in our fill in the blank. Maybe…just maybe…it is not so much about staying awake at church but staying awake as a church.
Look…there may be many reasons why we don’t want to wake up to the world around us, maybe there is too much pain and sorrow…maybe there is too much evil that we see…it can be overwhelming. Speak from the Spirit about the world around us…
But the problem is this…if we go numb and decided that it is better to sleep…we miss the blessings God has for us…even as we deal with the pain and despair around us. If we go numb what is going to happen to those on the outside reaching out to take hold of the rope that will pull them out of the spiraling vortex of pain and darkness into the light of a new day…a new beginning?
Here’s the Good News. God is waiting for us to wake up…He is waiting to lay across our lives…our churches…our ministries and bring them back to life…to bring us back to life…so we can truly live…! Church…as we wake up as the body of Christ…as Christ’s Church we reclaim the hope and power…we can and will make a difference.
Ok…so here’s the scenario…As we open our hearts and our doors to those who are on the outside we become family…as we become family we can work together as the body of Christ…as a family of believers who reach out to those who are looking for someone to grab their hand to pull them out of the vortex they are in…in doing so the word Ohana becomes our battle cry because no one is left out or left behind. And we do all of this in the name the One who is the heads of the coin toss of life…being the head of the church, our Risen Lord Jesus Christ… Got it?