Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Souper Bowl Sunday Sermon (U2charist)

One man come in the name of Love…

And so begins the song "Pride, In the Name of love" by the Irish rock band U2. The first song at our U2charist this morning at 10:15.

My mind always thinks of Jesus when Bono sings that line…one man come in the name of love.

Today in the Gospel, we hear that Jesus gets in a boat because the crowd was so great, pushing him out into the lake of Gennesaret; he gets in a fishing boat, has them just go out a little ways from shore and sits down and teaches the people.

Why? Because he comes in the name of Love. He came to teach, to show a better way of living, he came to help dig up our soul, to help us be lifted out of our blues and to be reconciled with each other and with God.

The crowd is drawn to him, and as he begins his ministry, he needs some help, and he begins to call the disciples…

The boat he is in, is owned by Simon Peter and James & John, the sons of Zebedee, who are partners with Simon in their fishing company.

But on that lake, when they have not been able to catch anything, it is Jesus who tells them to go to the deep water and fish. Reluctantly, they go.

And the catch was amazing, all on board that boat were amazed at the catch of fish…

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"

And Jesus sees in them, disciples, the help he needs.

Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

They left their business, their families, the fish, and went with Jesus to catch people.

I can imagine those first disciples thinking, using the words of U2:

It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day
Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I'm not a hopeless case

It was a beautiful day on that lake, and they left everything so it would not go away, Jesus had touched something so deep in them that they had to go.

We are gathered here this morning because of something inside each of us, God has touched us in some way that we are here, compelled in way we may not understand but like the disciples, we are here to be touched, to be taught, to not let this beautiful day get away.

But there is more to our discipleship than following that call inside of us to come and worship on Sunday, it is important to be part of community, to pray and worship but it is not the only piece…

Our discipleship is also beyond these windows, these doors, out in a hurting world.

Just as Jesus and his disciples gathered amongst themselves and then went out to the villages and highways to minister to everyone, so to we gather here and then go forth into our world.

For the other piece of our discipleship is what we do in our world…
I saw a t-shirt the other day that asked “If You Were Arrested For Being A Christian, Would They Have Enough Evidence?”

Which of course, speaks to our discipleship, our living out what we believe. It is our actions that show what we believe.

Bono said in 2003, "This generation will be remembered for three things: the Internet, the war on terror, and how we let an entire continent go up in flames while we stood around with watering cans. Or not." He was seeking support from the West for AIDS relief and debt reduction in Africa.

I also think of Bono’s words at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC last February. He said:

“A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it… I have a family, please look after them… I have this crazy idea… And this wise man said: stop.

He said, stop asking God to bless what you’re doing.
Get involved in what God is doing—because it’s already blessed. Well, God, as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing. And that is what He’s calling us to do.”

He’s right, it is our discipleship, our calling from our baptism, that we are to reach out in love to those in need, just as Jesus and the disciples did and what God is doing in our world now.

That’s why on this day, a day where revel in football, we join other faith communities, schools and community groups around the nation to remember those who go hungry every day, and help fight hunger and poverty in our local communities, by what we collect and give away, both money and canned goods.

If indeed we are going to make poverty history, then we must tackle the issue at home and abroad, that’s why we continue to learn about the Millennium Development Goals, and how we can play our part in achieving them.

Bono said, “These goals—clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme and senseless poverty—these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals, which the US supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes for a Globalised World.”

Beatitudes, which mean blessed or happy, and indeed, Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.”

And in our day, it is God who looks to us to come in the name of love and to help fill the hungry, to aid the poor, the sick, those in need, for everyone to get taste of the Kingdom of God in our time.

It is as John Wesley of the 18th Century would have us do, following the call of Christ, he wrote:

“Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can." -- John Wesley

I believe Bono would agree. For by doing all the good we can, we are following the one who came in the name of love, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 comment:

Sarah Dylan Breuer said...

Very cool, hosting a U2charist for Souper Bowl Sunday!

A mere three years and change after I instigated the U2charist (the first service was April 17, 2004 in Baltimore), I've finally gotten around to starting a U2charist resources page, where I'm posting not just information about how the U2charist started and what we did in services I've put together, but also prayers, sermons, playlists, and collected wisdom from folks across the church who have held U2charists. If there's anything you'd like to contribute -- with full credit, of course -- please pop by the page and give me a shout! (There's an "email me" link in the sidebar.)