July 4 Sermon Notes
Vacation – What do you pack?
· Lightly – bare essentials?
· Over pack – to be prepared?
· Nothing at all? Relying on others?
When Jesus sends out 70 – they take nothing
· They will rely on others hospitality
· They will proclaim: kingdom of god has come near
· Condemn none; proclaim to all
· Important: not the effect but our names written in heaven
What is Jesus doing?
· Radical vulnerability
· Dependence on God & others
· Not interested in statistics
· Making his ministry our own
We take up our empty suitcases from here and proclaim the Kingdom of God has come near!
On this Independence Day – I reflect on the work of our founding fathers & mothers – as they worked to prepare us for Nationhood, I think of two of them, who wanted our suitcases to be nearly empty too. Thomas Jefferson & James Madison both hailed from VA – they both knew how religion was too often connected to the state and became oppressive to others – how those religious minorities were not obtaining any "life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness."
They came up with the idea that the church should not be supported by the state, be it Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Baptists, RCs, - all should be allowed to practice their religion without judgment from the state and without state sanctioned support. It began in VA and then spread throughout the young nation.
Their position in many ways, is Jesus position, to take nothing with us, and through our relationships proclaim the kingdom of God. Madison believed and was right – that religion would flourish in our country if it were not bogged down with ties to any state or federal government.
On this Independence Day – let us remember Jesus who calls each of us to go forth – not worrying about our stuff – leaving it all behind – to proclaim through our lives the kingdom of God. And for our founding fathers & mothers who gave us a gift – a gift that separates our church from the state – and frees us to proclaim without worry that glorious Kingdom that we all will inherit. Amen.