Monday, September 27, 2010

Sermon Scraps: I am the Gate, John 10: 1 – 10

What can I say about Jesus as the Gate? I think I’ll start with closed doors. I wonder if, for too long, when people came to the church, the body of Christ, they have found a closed door. It seems to me that once we got through the door, we decided to close it behind us. Once we got in, somehow we began to think that we had a say as to the others who would be invited in. And perhaps you are thinking, surely not Pastor. This cannot be.

Well, I think it is. We tell people all the time we don’t want them. When my favorite pink-haired lady (mentioning no names) started coming to church, how many comments did she receive about her hair? Or worse, how many times did she hear, “we’re so glad you’re coming to us?” In this comment, what I hear is, ‘we’re so glad you’re going to stop being yourself and maybe you’ll start being like us.” I can think of nothing worse than for my favorite pink-haired lady to give up who she is, who God created her to be to make feel more comfortable. Two Sundays ago, when we had a new visitor who didn’t look like us, some people came up to her, and conspicuously, there were some who ignored her. Was it the bald head? Was it the cane? Was it the color of her skin?

I’ve been trying to get baby changing stations in the bathrooms. My campaign is in full swing in one church and will begin in the other soon. And I have heard, ‘yes, but Pastor, we don’t have any babies here.’ I would like to point out that I had babies in both of my services yesterday, and, as usual, the grandchildren stole the show. But that’s not the point. That we don’t provide a place to change a baby’s diaper could be translated by some to say that we don’t have a place for young families with babies. Is that really the message we want to give others – there’s no room in the Body of Christ for your family?

I have to ask, do we really believe the kingdom is complete with us? Are we the sum total of who and what makes up the kingdom of God?

It seems to me that the gate remains open behind us on purpose, not just to let others in, but for us to go out as well. John 10: 9 reads, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (NRSV). Jesus is the gate, the way by which we come in and go out and find pasture. I don’t think we come in and hang out. I believe we are meant to go out and show others and tell others about this wonderful gate we’ve found. I’ve shared this before, but the best definition of evangelism I’ve ever heard was this, ‘one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.” It’s not like there’s not enough bread for us to share, and I am beginning to believe that if we try to keep all the bread for ourselves, it becomes like manna – it goes bad if you hoard it.

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