Mother’s day – 2013-05-12 – Sermon

Mother’s day

I’d like you to spend a moment talking to your neighbour mum’s;
what do you think is a mum’s most important role?
Or what was your mum’s most important role?

Think for a moment what this role was once
you were no-longer completely dependent on your mum,
so imagine yourself at age 18 or 30, or something like that.

After sharing with your neighbour,
you can feed some-things back to us.

< – gap – >

I think what our mum’s do is an echo of what God does for us in Jesus.

For me, mums, grandma’s, nannas, aunts,
their key role is drawing the family together.

It’s hard to draw families together;
it requires a lot of effort.

As I thought about mum’s I got to thinking about Jesus and what he said on mum’s,
and the answer is not a lot,
though he doesn’t say a lot about fathers either.

One quote though that comes readily to mind is from Luke:
and it’s Luke 13

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! … I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

I translate this slightly differently for today,
I translate it as “People of God, People of God.”

Jerusalem was the city of God’s chosen people,
the people so close to God that they would bring all others close to God.

And Jesus says,
I’m a mother,
I’m a hen,
I want to gather all my family together,
I want you together,
to eat,
and for protection.

Aren’t family gatherings some of the best moments in life?

If we can look beyond the struggle to get together,
if we can look beyond that one obnoxious person,
they can be great moments.

Moments when we realise we are part of something much bigger than us.

And being together as family,
whether that is God’s family,
or our biological family,
requires us to be together with the occasional obnoxious person,
so get used to it!

Or is that too harsh a thing to say?

I guess though,
reality is we look around us here today,
or around our family gatherings,
and we realise that we are with each other because of a common goal,
and that is family.

We all need to be in family.

None of us can live forever without connecting with others,
into some form of family gathering.

And that gathering
requires us at times to be together with those who are not our preference,
in one way our church gatherings are good preparation for family gatherings,
and what God’s Kingdom will be like with diverse people gathered.

Now God wanted his people to gather together,
so he sent prophets,
he sent pastors;
he sent all kinds to gather people together.

But it never really worked.

So here is Jesus in today’s reading saying:
God wishes,
I wish,
to gather you together.

Now is a good moment to take a break and full reading:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. 35 Now your temple will be deserted. You won’t see me again until the time when you say,
“Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.”

There is this desire by God to gather us together.

I guess in a similar way to how our mothers want to gather us together.

And sometimes we go willingly,
and sometimes in our teenage years we rebel and don’t go.

And Jesus is saying,
look,
like your mother I want to gather you together.

But you’ve killed those God sent to you,
what gives?

And this challenge to the people from Jesus comes after many others have just challenged him.

Luke 13 is a direct challenge to how we live;
it is Luke’s way of recording the sayings of Jesus that challenge our way of living;
he challenges us to look at our relationships.

And he ends with:
“I long to gather you together like your mother.”

His first challenge comes to those gathered about the death of the people in the temple,
and Jesus says: “unless you show some humility you too will die.”

We are going to go through Luke 13 very quickly,
you might want to turn to it in your pew bible.

[1] Humility is one of the keys to gathering together.

[2] Jesus then tells the parable of the fig tree,
where Grace is the key message.

As God extends grace to us,
so we must extend grace to others.

[3] Then there is the parable of the mustard seed,
to remind us that these things of God will grow in our life,
hidden for a while till they break through and offer all kinds of new opportunities.

So there are new opportunities.

[4] Then there is the parable of the yeast,
to remind us how much a little bit of God’s goodness can help.

God’s goodness.

[5] Then there is the story of God’s narrow door,
reminding us that they way of God isn’t easy,
it requires some dedication,
it doesn’t accidentally happen,
rather it requires perseverance and dedication.

So there is this blue print then for what life should look like in Luke 13,
if we are to live together as family.

It requires:

  • humility
  • grace
  • looking for new opportunities
  • a reliance on God’s goodness
  • dedication and perseverance

Living in God’s family doesn’t just happen,
it isn’t an accident,
just like living in good relationship with our family doesn’t just happen,
it requires hard work.

It requires

  • humility
  • grace
  • looking for new opportunities
  • a reliance on God’s goodness
  • dedication and perseverance

We start to get the picture that living in any family,
whether it is the vast big family of God,
or our smaller biological type families requires similar characteristics.

Our mum’s then draw us together,
they show us what:

  • humility
  • grace
  • looking for new opportunities
  • a reliance on God’s goodness
  • dedication and perseverance

Look like.

Our mums gave birth to us,
and that required a look of perseverance and dedication,
through something like 9 months worth of carrying us,
and then a painful and energy sapping birth process.

But at the end of that,
there is a bundle of joy placed in your arms.

Which ultimately they then have to let go of so that we may discover,
the new opportunities for us.

And of course sometimes we get things wrong,
like the woman in our story today with an evil spirit.

Luke says this:

13:10 One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. 11 A woman there had an evil spirit that had kept her sick for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free from your sickness!” 13 He placed his hands on her, and at once she straightened herself up and praised God.

We have to be careful who we hang around with,
because we catch things,
whether that is a good habit,
or a bad habit.

Clearly this woman had been hanging around with the wrong people,
so much so that her body was distorted,
she was bent over in the weight of what ever evil it was that consumed her.

Yet through the compassion of Jesus she goes through something of a second birth,
and is freed.

There is an example in our reading of what happens when things go wrong,
and what happens when it goes right.

We must always show compassion.

The Pharisees lacked compassion,
and it is the Pharisees and those they represent who Jesus is saying of:

Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me.

You see their reluctance to let God work,
with how Jesus almost has to force his way in to heal,
and the negative response to Jesus from the Pharisees,
after this person has just been restored to God and the community.

The Pharisees block him,
and it is their lack of compassion that blocks.

So if we want to gather together then,
we require:

  • humility
  • grace
  • looking for new opportunities
  • a reliance on God’s goodness
  • dedication and perseverance
  • and compassion

Or as the opening words to our song “Mighty to Save” puts it:

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that’s never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

That verse ends with “Hope of nations.”

The hope of nations is that we will allow our mothers to draw us together.

For me,
mums, grandma’s, nanna’s, aunts,
their key role is drawing the family together.

We’ve seen that it’s hard to draw families together;
it requires a lot of effort.

But with:

  • humility
  • grace
  • looking for new opportunities
  • a reliance on God’s goodness
  • dedication and perseverance
  • and compassion

It is possible.

If we allow these values to shape us,
then we will also allow Jesus to shape us as Jesus says in Luke 13:

People of God, People of God! … I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

Today we thank God for our mums,
for gathering us together as Jesus does.

What our mum’s do,
is an echo of what God does for us in Jesus.

Let us pray:
Jesus,
thank you for our mums,
help us to show:
– humility
– grace
– compassion
– dedication
– perseverance
and may we rely on your goodness,
that new opportunities will come through in our lives. Amen.

Luke 13

Turn Back to God

13 About this same time Jesus was told that Pilate had given orders for some people from Galilee to be killed while they were offering sacrifices. 2 Jesus replied:

Do you think that these people were worse sinners than everyone else in Galilee just because of what happened to them?

3 Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also be killed. 4 What about those eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were worse than everyone else in Jerusalem? 5 Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also die.

A Story about a Fig Tree

6 Jesus then told them this story:

A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. One day he went out to pick some figs, but he didn’t find any. 7 So he said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs on this tree, and I haven’t found any yet. Chop it down! Why should it take up space?”

8 The gardener answered, “Master, leave it for another year. I’ll dig around it and put some manure on it to make it grow. 9 Maybe it will have figs on it next year. If it doesn’t, you can have it cut down.”

Healing a Woman on the Sabbath

10 One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years. She was completely bent over and could not straighten up. 12 When Jesus saw the woman, he called her over and said, “You are now well.” 13 He placed his hands on her, and right away she stood up straight and praised God.

14 The man in charge of the meeting place was angry because Jesus had healed someone on the Sabbath. So he said to the people, “Each week has six days when we can work. Come and be healed on one of those days, but not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord replied, “Are you trying to fool someone? Won’t any one of you untie your ox or donkey and lead it out to drink on a Sabbath? 16 This woman belongs to the family of Abraham, but Satan has kept her bound for eighteen years. Isn’t it right to set her free on the Sabbath?” 17 Jesus’ words made his enemies ashamed. But everyone else in the crowd was happy about the wonderful things he was doing.

A Mustard Seed and Yeast

18 Jesus said, “What is God’s kingdom like? What can I compare it with? 19 It is like what happens when someone plants a mustard seed in a garden. The seed grows as big as a tree, and birds nest in its branches.”

20 Then Jesus said, “What can I compare God’s kingdom with? 21 It is like what happens when a woman mixes yeast into three batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.”

The Narrow Door

22 As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he taught the people in the towns and villages. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

Jesus answered:

24 Do all you can to go in by the narrow door! A lot of people will try to get in, but will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and locks the door, you will be left standing outside. You will knock on the door and say, “Sir, open the door for us!”

But the owner will answer, “I don’t know a thing about you!”

26 Then you will start saying, “We dined with you, and you taught in our streets.”

27 But he will say, “I really don’t know who you are! Get away from me, you evil people!”

28 Then when you have been thrown outside, you will weep and grit your teeth because you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom. 29 People will come from all directions and sit down to feast in God’s kingdom. 30 There the ones who are now least important will be the most important, and those who are now most important will be least important.

Jesus Loves Jerusalem

34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. 35 Now your temple will be deserted. You won’t see me again until the time when you say,

“Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.”