Southpoint News – Week of November 25, 2018
Have you parents out there ever said no to something your child really wanted? Maybe Captain Crunch for breakfast, a later bedtime, or a phone with a data plan? Have you ever heard this response: “Why not? EVERYONE ELSE gets to do it?” Can you guess the the next line in the parent/child dialogue? That parental moment where you miss the empathy cue and go straight to defensiveness? “Yea, well, just because its normal, doesn’t mean it’s good.”
Teasing out what is good from what is normal is tricky business.
Since September we’ve been listening to Jesus sum up the ethics of the kingdom in his Sermon on the Mount. At the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, and at the heart of the ethics of the kingdom, is LOVE. God loves us, each of us. We are all God’s beloved children, sacred, made in God’s image, pearls of great price. Therefore, Jesus calls us to love – even our enemies. When we do this, God’s love, which is flowing into us, flows out of us into the world.
Each week, however, Jesus has confronted something that is NORMAL for us humans but that blocks the flow of love and injures God’s beloved. This is the table called NORMAL. Each week, we’ve watched Jesus take that table called NORMAL by the sides and turn it upside down. It’s been illuminating to identify as precisely as we can what exactly Jesus identified as NOT OK.
Jesus then went on in his sermon to show us a better way – a way that unleashes the flow of God’s love rather than blocks it, re-humanizing us rather than dehumanizing us.
This week, we reach the end of the Sermon on the Mount. In this final section, Matthew 7:13-29, Jesus doesn’t identify anything new on the table called Normal. He simply appeals to us to choose this better way. He makes this appeal by using 4 concrete images: gates and ways, sheep and wolves, good and bad fruit, and building on sand or stone. Each image contains a choice, highlighting the importance of discernment.
Jesus ends the sermon with an appeal to listen to his words regarding the better way that positions us within the flow of love, which is the coming kingdom. We cannot escape life’s storms. They will find their way to our shore. However, a life built on the better way, the way of love, will weather the storms, while a life built from bricks on the table called normal, will have no stability. Hate, vengeance, judgement, broken promises, contemptuous anger, egoic posturing, hoarding, and so on, will lead to increasing chaos. The very foundation of life will be shaken.
When the Sermon on the Mount ends, the crowds marvel at his authority. They sense the integrity, the foundational truthfulness of his words.
This Christmas UGM is creating a hamper store where parents in the Downtown Eastside can shop for gifts and food for their families, at no cost.
If you, your family or small group would like to donate a Christmas hamper, details can be found at ugm.ca/gifts-of-hope. Register by Nov 26.
Fall 2018 Ordinary Time
The Flow of Love: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Friday, Nov. 23:
Christ the King Sunday: ALL IN + POT LUCK
Storytelling presentation: In the tidal zone
presented by the Saplings and the Artist guild
Tuesday, Nov. 27th:
Kostamo’s, Kingfisher Farm
Focus: Love in Action
Saturday, Jan. 5:
Skating at Centennial Arena, 3:00-5:00
There are many prayer needs in our community right now. If you would like to join the prayer chain to be in more intentional prayer for our community, or if you have a need for prayer that you would like to pass on to the prayer chain, please contact John Hardy.