February 14, 2010
Isaiah 2:1-5; 1 Peter 2:9-12; Matthew 5:1-16
This week, we are finishing our series on the Gospel. Maybe this is a good time for a little review. First, we need to read the Bible forwards, not backwards. And when we do read the Bible forward, understanding each new step in the context of the building story, an amazing picture emerges. The Gospel is that God is on a mission to heal the whole world, and God is starting by healing us - even though we don’t deserve it. Amazingly, God wants us to help! We can become farmers of the Gospel. Through service to the poor, loving friendships, planting seeds of truth, waiting, and watering, we can help the Gospel grow and take root in our world.
This week we are exploring what it means for us as the Church to live the Gospel. To help us understand this, I need to describe two other communities first.
We usually spend time with Sarah’s family in Iowa every summer. A few years ago, we visited the Iowa Living History Farm. Through volunteers and paid staff, they re-enact what life was like on farms in Iowa throughout history. It’s pretty cool.
We were overwhelmed with sensory experiences. We could see with our eyes what a village street was like. We could hear the sound of our own feet on the village board walk. We could go in and out of different stores: the drug store, the doctor’s office, the post office, the general mercantile, the lawyer’s office, and town hall.
We smelled the cookies baking in the oven. (But they wouldn’t let us have any cookies because then their 18th century kitchen would have to meet 21st century health code standards. That was torture!)
We could smell hay in the barn and touch the hot sweaty side of a horse after he plowed a field. We could stand in the hay and feel it poking at our ankles.
We could taste old fashioned root beer and rock candy.
We could go into the black smith’s work shop and hear the pounding of his hammer on the metal. We could feel the heat of his fires on our skin. Just standing in his workshop made us sweat!
We were also able to get even more personal through explorative action. We discovered that back in the day, one of Iowa’s biggest crops was broom corn. We actually got to use some of their 200 year old machines to practice making brooms. (It was fun, but I think I’ll stick to preaching.)
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