Jesus's physical healing of him, hearing impaired person, challenges us to receive healing of our spiritual impairments with the same word, be opened.
And looking up to heaven, he sighed,
and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, "Be opened."
Our denominational motto is, "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open
Doors." We unite together with others in a stance of openness around the altar.
We believe in an open communion, and so we have an open table and an open
ministry of our spiritual gifts amongst all who have received Christ as their
savior in order to be in ministry to the world around them. And we have the
open and full participation in the faith in life and ministry of the church,
the inclusiveness statement that we adopted in our congregation in 2018 is a
reflection of the openness that we live out in our relationships with each
other and our community.
Listen, again as we reflect on those words:
We invite everyone to share fully and the worship services, life, ministry, and leadership of Briensburg United Methodist Church, inclusive of age, race, nationality, gender, LGBTQ, theology, politics, and legal status.Transcript of sermon preached extemporaneously
on September 5, 2021 at Briensburg UMC | [Audio] | [Video]
We believe in
openness, we profess a belief in openness, and we pray that God will continue
to open our hearts, and our minds, and our doors, along with every other aspect
of our lives for the love of Christ to flow freely through us and among us.
My audiologist recently demonstrated the importance of
correctly hearing consonants in the voice range, for words that may sound
similar, but might have completely different means. For example, wife, white,
while, wipe, and so forth, they all have different meanings but they sound the
same, and with my particular hearing, in addition to my selective hearing problem,
is that distinguishing those consonants that make those words mean different
things. And so if we hear the words incorrectly, then the message will also be
distorted. And the more distortions, the more incorrect our understanding will
be. Then if we pass on to others the messages we have heard incorrectly, then
they will begin their understanding of what we were saying with the distortions
Jesus repeatedly said in the gospels, and in the
revelation, "Those who have ears to hear, let them hear." Love is the
greatest commandment and the core teaching of the Bible. Wherever our spiritual
ears seem to be hearing a different message we need to check our spiritual
hearing. Paul instructed Timothy, "Study to show thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth." The Psalm that's in today's reading, it praised God for setting
people free and restoring their senses, lifting us up and loving us.
The psalmist praised God for setting people free, restoring their senses, lifting us up and loving us.
The Lord sets prisoners free and gives sight to the blind. He lifts those who have fallen; he loves his righteous people. (Psalm 146:8 GNT)
He said that in The Good News, "The Lord sets
prisoners free and give sight to the blind, he your lifts those who have
fallen. He loves his righteous people." Our purpose in coming here
together to worship is just this, to praise God collectively, as we do other
times individually. For loving us, for healing us, and for as Psalm 23
highlights, restoring our souls. As Charles Spurgeon points out in the Treasure
of David on verse six and seven of this Psalm, that God of our hope is creator,
truth keeper, vindicator, provider, deliverer. The Bible invites us to join the
eternal host of Heaven and all God's people here on Earth. And we end in the
sacred refrain. Hallelujah, praise you the Lord.
And we don't praise God because of difficulties, but we
praise God through those difficulties. And, because of God's love and presence
and strength that he gives us, and the providence that he provides spiritually
and temporally to shepherd us through the hazards and difficulties and
struggles of life. And this particularly potent thought during this particular
season and this week with all of the things that have hit people all around the
world so hard, and continue with the pandemic right now that we praise God. Not
because of all of those struggles, but in the midst of them, for God's
providence in helping us to navigate them. And God's love in helping us to
overcome them in God's eternal life that right in the midst of it all, he gives
us hope, and assurance, and direction.
Isaiah prophesied all the things we sing about in O For a Thousand Tongues to sing, culminating with “anticipate your heaven below and own that love is heaven:”
The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:6 GNT)
Isaiah promised all things that we sang about a while ago
in the opening hymn, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing." As we
culminated that song with the verse that says, "Anticipate your heaven
below, and own that love is heaven." In The Good News Isaiah said in
today's reading, "The blind will be able to see, the deaf will hear, the
lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy."
We can't understand clearly what we can't hear clearly. Our spiritual
understanding improves as our spiritual hearing improves. We can address the
physical hearing issues with technology, but spiritual hearing issues are only
resolved through intentional listening to the love God is truly communicating.
In a world of mixed and distorted messaging and endless choices hear this
message James expressed in The Good News translation. "You will be doing
the right thing if you will obey the law of the Kingdom, which is sound in the
scripture, love your neighbor as you love yourself."
In a world of mixed and distorted messaging and endless choices, hear this message James expressed in the Good News Translation:
You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (James 2:8 GNT)
I like that because do you ever wonder if you're doing the
right thing? You ever wonder which way to go when we have a choice more than
one choice? And you ever known what's the right way to interpret something in
the Bible? Really, if you can't hear the love in what you're reading in the
Bible, then that's a passage you need to revisit later. Because if you're not
hearing the love then you're having some... it's not working out, something
needs to be checked on later on that because there's not another direction that
God is going with anything in the scripture but to teach us about his love, and
his presence, and his care for you and for all. And so that's how you know when
you're going on the right path with anything, love your neighbor as yourself.
In a world of many voices, enticing us to adopt their greatly differing viewpoints. As The Moody Blues sang, listen to the one who sings of love. In a world of many leaders telling us to follow them in widely diverging directions, hear Jesus calling us, "Follow me." As he gives his glorious commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you."
us attend to our spiritual hearing that we might correctly receive and pass on
these divine messages of love. Amen.