Methusala the Dragon: Welcome one and all to story time with Jesus of Nazareth, and his trusty sidekick, the Camel who went through the eye of a needle! I hear them coming along right now…
Jesus: Hello Camel so good to see you! I am here to tell you a story of my Apostle Paul and when he went to the Areopagus in Greece
Camel: Did you just say the Oreo-in-my-esophagus?
Jesus: No, Oreo-in-my-esophagus?? What??
Do you always have food on the brain?
No, I said, the Areopagus, a place in the city of Athens
All the way in Greece
Camel: Ooooo!!.... what is the Areopagus??
Jesus: It is a place where they had all these idols and altars
To gods from all over the world. And the people would hang out
And talk about different forms of knowledge and wisdom: all day long
Camel: Sounds kinda boring but…
Jesus: Anyways, So, Paul the great missionary was there
He found an altar with an inscription that said “To an unknown god”
Paul said I know that God who you do not know!
See the Hebrew people hold a tradition that
They never pronounce the real name of God
They always say Lord or just generic god
So, this unknown God was actually known
The creator of everything
Jesus: Paul even quoted from one of their great Poets and said
That God is everywhere around them
They had always had that God right next to them
Even in their hearts and in the air they breathe. But they didn’t know it!
Camel: What about me Jesus? Is God around me and in me?
Jesus: Yes of course!! God is right there next to you and everyone all the time. We just don’t always pay attention or notice it!
Camel: One more question Jesus… Do you have any more of those oreos in your esophagus? I would prefer one in my stomach but I’m not too picky.
Jesus: Okay okay, can’t learn when you got food on the brain huh? How about we go get some pancakes instead? And I can tell you more… (leave stage)
Methusala: Well there you have it folks! Another fabulous lesson from our trusted Rabbi Jesus, and once again I am left hungry after this conversation. I’m off to get some beignets, I have heard they are a quite delicious form of donut, quite strange name of course but I’m not one to judge! See you next time, and remember: Stay Christ-like Fullerton!!
Well Jesus is really nice to Camel
But he doesn’t know the truth!
Let me tell you!
Today we read that if we love Jesus we will follow his commands
The Commandments of Jesus are intense!!
I read through 49 commands of Jesus
You know, the part about if someone punches you in one side you let them punch you in the other side just doesn’t sit well and then if someone sues you for your coat your supposed to give them your cloak as well.
Love your enemies!
Forgive 7 X 70 times
Have no covetous or lustful thoughts
And a whole lot more
Literally tells us to be perfect!
Jesus, are you for real??
Jesus? You looking at me? Nah I don’t think so..
Can’t be looking at me…
I don’t know about in your imagination
But one of the first things that comes to my mind
Thinking about this passage
A song from the Contours:
“Do you love me, do you love me, do you love me, do you love me”
“Now that I can dance…”
We actually cannot keep Jesus’ commandments completely
We probably get F’s most of the time (well most of us do)
But God promises to abide in us, and we abide in him
So, we can let God act through us for good
Are we at least trying to seek after God
Trying to seek after love and peace
We search for God constantly
And yet “in him we move and have our being”
How can God be right there next to us
Inside of us
All around us
And yet we still miss out?
We look for God in the wrong places?
For the people of Athens and Greece,
And many other cultures of that age…
They were looking for God or the gods
in stone, silver, gold, in statues
This was a time of ignorance
even though they were very religious
Now many are non-religious yet still need to fill
The place that God should have
So, it is filled with other things
That do not bring life
Profit over people
Success, respect from others
Our national identity
Our ethnic background
Our class in society
Always seeking to put others down
And lift ourselves up
Our arrogance gets in the way
Of God and God’s justice
But God is always right there around the corner
If we but repent of our ignorance
Say YES to God
There is a movie that came out some time ago
With Jim Carrey as the lead actor
A man who has trouble saying yes to anything good
Gets hypnotized/ encouraged
by a persuasive public speaker
He can only say YES
Say yes to everything someone asks him to do
He has all kinds of adventures
and has a lot of fun along the way
But things get out of control
And he starts to question saying yes to everything
It costs him a lot of money
All of his time
Eventually a relationship
He comes to realize that what you say YES to
Is very important
We only have a limited amount of time on this planet
We should say YES to what we truly find is important
And not give in to the distractions
that are so readily around us
And God can indeed do miracles
God can cleanse us,
Lead us in the right direction
With plenty of pitfalls along the way
Plenty of wrong turns
And God will use us anyways
Love and grace will win out
The Psalm says that if we prayed to God
Holding onto iniquity and cherishing it in our hearts,
Than he would not listen
But if we abhor iniquity, repent of it
If we say YES to God’s love
Even though we ourselves often fail
Then God will still listen to us
We surely cannot get it right
We will make mistakes
But we can cherish the truth
Cherish what is right like the Psalmist
We can know and appreciate what God says is right
We can know and appreciate God’s love
In us and around the world
All people move and live and have their being in God
Because he is the creator of all that exists
However, we might not all recognize this little fact of life
By following after Jesus as our teacher,
We can go after the clearest way to God the creator
In our baptism
We remember that God has already claimed us
So, In everything we do,
let us say YES to God!