Sunday Message Notes (02/16/20) Based on Matthew 5:21-37

I don’t know about you but after reading this passage… 

I feel like a terrible person! 

Like geez louise Jesus, 

you mean even my thoughts and my emotions can condemn me? 

It’s not looking good I can tell you that much… 

I’m taking a class for a certificate in diversity and inclusion 

Talked about stereotypes that we all form 

We categorize people and things to make it easier 

Day to day 


 Our brains tend to filter out information 

That disconfirms our stereotypes 

And focuses on information that confirms them 

So, for instance, you may look at me and see a young man 

Not wisdom, perhaps also not pastor 

Or I think about my mom being a pastor 20 years ago 

And what that must have been like 

Because many couldn’t see a woman as a pastor 

(and still don’t) 

It reminds me of that movie Sister Act… 


There were so many stereotypes going on 

The main character is a singer in Vegas 

Happens to be dating a crime boss 

Who owns the hotel where she works… 

She witnesses a crime on accident 

And flees, later getting put in protective custody 

As a nun 

Stereotypes include: 

The lifestyle of someone living in Vegas 

Combined with 

What you would expect the nuns to be like 

Two of the nuns in particular 

One was slightly irreverent, 

The other very shy bottling up a lot of passion for life! 

In one scene, the main character has to get away at night 

Goes to a bar dressed in her nun outfit 

The other two end of following her 

And you can imagine all these rough guys hanging there 

playing pool, drinking whiskey 

Not like the good scotch from the men’s 

whiskey tasting event either! 

Here come these two nuns, 

So, the main character tries to get them out of there 

But the irreverent one hears a favorite song and starts dancing 

They end up having a fun time together 

Still Sister Mary Clarence had problems with the Mother Superior 

And the expectations they all had 

Typical case of traditionalism versus new wine 

Which is very much the situation we find Jesus in here 

He is teaching people something different 

Based on the tradition for sure 

But taking it even further 

Making it even harder to follow 

Jesus sets an impossible standard 

Knowing we are going to fail and get it wrong along the way 


we are never going to be able to live up to that standard 

And, this is actually a good thing for us… 

It forces us to keep working at it 

We never come to a conclusion but continue learning 

From our mistakes 

To grow 

We can never fully quite integrate 

the teachings of Jesus into our lives 

But it is something to always strive toward 

So, feel good about feeling terrible!! 

That means we are on the right path perhaps… 

It takes a little bit of intentionality 

Like the evil thoughts, we have 

Or even the negative thoughts we have 

About ourselves 

Or other people 

We don’t always have all the control 

on whether or not the thought appears in our mind 

Yet we do have some measure of control 

over where we go from there 

We can mentally disregard that message, 

we can even say to ourselves 

That it is wrong 

That we don’t agree with it 

We can reframe it to be a positive perspective 

instead of negative 

And this applies to the stereotypes we have 

about people as well 

We have to be aware, 

mindful of our own thoughts and emotions 

Where are they coming from? 

How can we intentionally look at the world differently? 

More like Jesus taught us how to do… 

With compassion, and humility, and… 

Just when we think we have it all figured out… 

Again, something comes along and snaps us back to reality 

That is our reality 

Because we try to get it all perfectly 

But we can’t really do that 

We keep messing up 

Another thing we can do is focus on getting to know people 

From a bottom-up perspective 

When we learn about people and their story 

Build a relationship 

The stereotypes cannot hold up 

The focus on relationships helps us 

Get passed the garbage and prejudice that is in the way 

It was the same way in Sister Act when Sister Mary Clarence 

And the Mother Superior actually got to know one another 

They came to admire each other and support one another 

And their shared perspectives made the work even better! 

They combined the tradition 

and the change, into something magnificent 

And I think each one of us realizes at some point 

That we are only here by the grace of God 

That God’s love is what sustains us 

Because even in our relationships we are gonna mess up 

And so, it still comes back to God’s grace 

We are imperfect yet 

With all our doubts and rough edges 

God works in and through us 

God is the one who makes the growth happen 

So, we can rest in God’s forgiveness 

Again, and again, or once and for all, 

Whichever way you wanna look at it.  

We can trust in God’s love 

And that God is active in the world 

And God can do unexpected things 

For all of her faults, and the stereotypes 

That separated her from the nuns 

Sister Mary Clarence 

Brings a breath of fresh air to the sisters 

To the congregation 

And to the neighborhood 

She brings the joy back in their work 

And reminds them 

what it was all about in the first place 

Not about being perfect, it’s about God’s love! 

What a Happy Day it was, 

When Jesus washed my sin away 



Let's stand together as we sing "Oh Happy Day"